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Several questions before I buy. Almost have all the hardware


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Alright, as some background, I am an amateur here to pretty much anything server related. I have a pretty advanced pfSense setup, built a brand new home network running new cabling, that sort of thing. I find myself in possession of some older hardware but I am missing some components and intend on likely setting up unpaid.



Primarily, I intend to virtualize a pfSense install to finally be able to remove the older machine running it right now. It does not support AES in hardware so before long it will have to go anyway. My second primary use case here for an Unraid server is for centralized storage. Secondary uses will include some light docker stuff and at least one very light duty Linux server VM. PCI passthrough will have to happen for the pfSense VM but I don't think there will be a need for more than one card to be passed through.




AMD FX 8350 8 core


4x 1Gb Intel NIC

Several older video cards so tossing one in there should not be an issue at all



A simple 12 port SATA/SAS controller

10Gb Dual SFP+ NIC with fiber transceivers (Probably not immediately but in a few months)



The biggest issue I am faced with right now is the RAM. This machine was previously my brother's personal machine. One of the two 8GB ram sticks is dead so it only has 8GB at the moment. His MB most certainly supports ECC ram, it even has bios options for enabling it. What I would like to know is, is getting a good 32GB of ECC ram for this machine a good idea. It seems I can get a decent price on a pack of 8GB sticks of ECC that SHOULD work for it. Really, does Unraid benefit from ECC or is it necessary? See, I know FreeNAS REALLY needs to have ECC memory in it to work reliably without the likelihood of damaged data, is unraid similar? Has anyone used this board and had any experience with it and can shed some light?


I am also super interested in SMB multichannel but I have read some conflicting reports as to if Unraid works properly with it or not. See, I have a quad LAGG already set up as a trunk from the pfSense machine that this server will be replacing. If I can get SMB multichannel to work, I likely will not need to spend so much more money on a 10Gb setup here at the house, at least I can delay that for a bit till I can more easily afford to do it properly. This is somewhat important to me and would like some general info on how easy it is to set up in unraid and how well it works. There will likely only be a max of two, maybe three, users that will use anything over some basic internet connectivity.


I have been watching a lot of youtube videos, especially Spaceinvader One, and am pretty solid on unraid's feature set being precisely what I want. I am more concerned about the ram situation since that is the only major component I need to get.

Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated!

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1 hour ago, cammelspit said:

See, I know FreeNAS REALLY needs to have ECC memory in it to work reliably without the likelihood of damaged data, is unraid similar?


FreeNAS doesn't really need ECC more than other NAS solutions.


It's just that to get the most use out of the ZFS checksumming, you want to know that the computer did compute checksums on the correct data. The trust you can have in the correctness of the data on the disks depends on the trust you can have in the CPU and RAM working correctly and not introducing any bit errors.


Running ZFS without ECC is like running a standard car with nitro boost and thinking of it as a high-end racing car.


So in the end - unRAID and other NAS solutions can also take advantage of ECC. It really is recommended to have ECC for servers. But exactly how much use you would have of ECC depends on how much you care about a bit error introduced somewhere. Or if you decide to use btrfs (that has checksumming of data) or use some plugin that computes hashes for the files. The more you care, the more you want ECC.


On the other hand, the majority of users manages quite well without ECC, since the probability of bit errors are normally quite low - so it ends up to if you are lucky in lottery.

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Well, I have a single stick of 8GB for the machine that works right now. I can perhaps set up and get to learning Unraid, get the pfSense VM properly configured, get some of the necessary dockers installed and that sort of thing first. Then, when I can find a good deal on ECC RAM for the machine, I can swap out then. Generally, I really would like to have the peace of mind that the ECC would give me as soon as possible but if it not very likely to be an issue, I guess I can live with it for the short term.

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