So unRAID then...


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Hi all, I have been looking at larger NAS solutions for my media storage mainly Video, Pictures & Music, I have been using Windows Server with a LSI Raid controller with 8 x 3tb WD Red's in Raid-5 for last few years but out of space now and can't add any more drives to the controller I am using so going to look at slowly buying (tight budget) in 8 & 10tb Red's or most prob shucking Externals.

I really don't want to be Raid-5'ing such large capacity drives and can't easily just add one to a R5 array so after reading quite a lot online I have got it down to going for either a FreeNAS or unRAID NAS but just can't decide as pros/cons are different for each.


I prob wont be using a lot of the advance unRAID features as just mainly want a low power NAS box, the main reason I really like it is the fact you can just add single drives to grow it but then the write speeds have put me off (I know a cache disk can be used) but I need to be able to transfer saturating a gigabit link as I do read/write large amounts of data around often.

I have had a play with a trial key of unRAID and like what I have seen but its awfully hard to justify the cost for the I/O speeds being seen, is there anything that can be done to it to properly saturate a gigabit link when writing to disk?


Its the cost that has me on the fence, if unRAID were free or a fair bit less then I would be going for it but I can make FreeNAS do what I want and its free even though I cant add single disks which is what I really like with unRAID, hmmm just not sure what route to go, what other advantages does unRAID have worth noting and is there ever any sales on the unRAID licences?


Cheers 🙂

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As @1812 pointed out, the cost of the license is a minuscule in the building of such a system. It's less than single 4TB Red (much less the 8TB & 10TB you plan to use).

I'm curious what the use case is that requires "saturating a gigabit link as I do read/write large amounts of data around often". I can't do that on any machine I own writing to a local high-end SSD drive. I can do it at my office where we use dedicated bonded-nics to SAN arrays (but at a software and hardware cost WAY more than I've spent in 8 years on Unraid).


Regardless, if the ability to write to a disk at 1000mb/s is your requirement, Unraid will not fulfill it.

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I typically (not all the time but typically) saturate a 1 Gb/s link (i.e. write at 112 MB/s) when writing to unRAID, under the following conditions:

  • Server isn't busy doing lots of stuff
  • I'm writing one (or a couple) of large files rather than lots of small ones
  • My array generally has larger, high density drives
  • I'm bypassing cache, writing directly to the array
  • Must use TurboWrite!

I spend more on Starbucks K-cups than I spent on my unRAID license.

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See my sig. I have 2 unRAID servers. So 2 licenses. Yes, I spend money for it. Yes, it is absolutely worth it. The other members pointed it out. You´re going to buy 8 or 10 TB drives, but don´t have the money for 1 license? That doesn´t really make sense.


But there are also other solutions free of charge.


Openmediavault, see


There´s a plugin for SnapRAID inside OMV, see


You don´t have to use NAS4FREE or FREENAS or OPENMEDIAVAULT. Just download any Linux server distro of your choice, see

If you´ve choosen the right one for you install and begin to configure your system free of charge. Meanwhile we in this forum can drink beer and have tons of snacks, BBQ and fun with our wifes.


Oh, and good luck when updating or upgrading your free of charge system to the next version. On unRAID there´s an easy way if something goes wrong, done by a community plugin Backup & Restore. It´s done in a pitty. And we´re good to go again.


So, choose wisely.

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Thanks for the replies some good info, although some slightly sarcastic 😏 I never said I was unwilling to buy a license, I was not fishing for discount it was a genuine question if there are ever sales on licences same as what Plex do for Plexpass sometimes.  I just want to know I am getting value for money with the features it can offer me.


I cannot afford to spend out on a bunch of 8 or 10tb drives which is why I mentioned tight budget and will have to start with a minimum of 2 I know so I have one for parity and then when I have spare cash and see sales on the big drives then slowly get more, whole reason I really like unRAID is the add single drive feature.


Thanks for the info on Turbo Write I will install that on my test rig and see what I get.  With my current Raid set up I constantly saturate a gigabit and have done flawlessly for years so I really want to keep that speed and I have a spare LSI HBA 6G SAS card (can't remember model bit it's non-raid) for which will be perfect.


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23 minutes ago, Coolamasta said:

With my current Raid set up I constantly saturate a gigabit

With modern disks and turbo write, and as long as there aren't any other controller bottlenecks, it's very easy to get 110MB/s, gigabit will be the bottleneck.


This is from one of my servers with 10GbE:



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Ive been using unRAID for many years and I've lost a few drives and done countless hardware updates and I still have every bit of data I started with. Things sometimes just happen beyond our control, but at least unRAID and the community here have always had my back. Even the occasional sarcastic ones. Lol


Great thing about unRAID is you can use a Trial Key and see if it suits your needs. If it doesn't simply return your system back to whatever state it was and continue on. It is only a USB drive your booting off to look around. 😀

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kizer is spot on--the community here is incredible--I've had my butt saved by incredible members here.  I've been using the same license (and same USB key now that I think about it hmmm) since buying a 1TB drive was considered HUGE and cost prohibitive.  If you look at the cost of my license over the last decade plus, it's amounted to absolute peanuts.  

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