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Hugh Chen

Compact NAS/VM setup (opinions appriciated)

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Hello everyone! I am thinking about repurposing my HTPC using unRAID. I have constructed this thread in sections and will have questions after each, thanks for your precious time.

 

My questions:
Q1: Are 2.5' HDD any good in a NAS, longetivity wise?
Q2: Is ECC memory absolutely necessary? What will happen if I don't have them?
Q3: Are the upcoming QLC SSD any good, longevity wise?
Q4: How powerful should the PSU be for a 10-drive setup?
Q5: Are the following tasks achievable via unRAID? (ordered in priority)
Must have:
1. NAS
2. VM for Windows (will run MAME and other exotic acrade rips) 
Strongly wanting:
3. Hosting a LAN-only personal wiki (if that's a thing)
4. Off-site backup for my parents Synology NAS (which they will bring to me for regular backup via direct ethernet connection)
Might-as-well:
5. VM for Linux Distro 
6. Plex server
7. Personal Minecraft server

 

-------------------------
Current setup:
CPU: i5 4590
Mobo: AsRock Z87m Extreme 4 (6 x SATA 6Gb ports, has had a RAM issue recently, didn't pop up again after shuffling the sticks)
RAM: ADATA value ram 16GB (4x4) at 1600 MHz
Boot drive: Samsung 960 evo 128GB
Other drives: WD Blue 1 TB, HGST 3TB
GPU: Manli GTX 1070ti (blower style cooler)
PSU: Delta flex server PSU 650w, 80+ Platinum, modded to be fully modular (yeah, that's a thing)
Case: Sliverstone SG-02F (4 x 3.5in HDD max w/t 5.2in bay conversion, 8 x 2.5 with conversion)
Misc: Pioneer Blu-ray drive, Intel wireless-AC 8260 on PCI-e adapter

As of now, it is under my TV shelf, has very limited space to the rear, and runs very warm to the touch when gaming at 4K high, able to reheat a thin-curst pizza (verified). It never had a failure due to heat or power delivery, however.

 

Extra stuff kicking around:
EVGA GTX 650 Ti Boost 1GB (blower style cooler)
16GB Optane SSD

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12 hours ago, Hugh Chen said:

Q1: Are 2.5' HDD any good in a NAS, longetivity wise?
Q2: Is ECC memory absolutely necessary? What will happen if I don't have them?
Q3: Are the upcoming QLC SSD any good, longevity wise?
Q4: How powerful should the PSU be for a 10-drive setup?
Q5: Are the following tasks achievable via unRAID? (ordered in priority)

 

1. I've been running a single 2.5in drive as my cache drive for about a year. No issues. That doesn't necessarily translate as having great longevity.

2. No. Nothing.

3. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=QLC+SSD+reviews&t=ffnt&atb=v173-2&ia=web

4. For 10 drives a 450w would probably suffice, but that's not the real question. What else requires power?

5. yes.

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Thanks, whipdancer.

 

I am actually thinking about populating the NAS with all 2.5 inch HDDs since they are dirt cheap, that’s why I am concerned about their longevity, especially in a cramped environment. I have seen chassis that only takes 2.5 inch drives, I wonder if any self-respecting data centers actually deploy 2.5 inch HDDs.

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15 hours ago, whipdancer said:

4. For 10 drives a 450w would probably suffice, but that's not the real question. What else requires power?

The GTX650ti has a 6-pin connector

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Posted (edited)

 

  1. Q1: Are 2.5' HDD any good in a NAS, longetivity wise?
    2.5" HDD maxes out at 5TB (and that is the 15mm thickness, some cases don't let you mount 15mm 2.5") while 3.5" maxes out at 14TB currently. That means you will have to use 3x as many 2.5" for the same capacity, likely means needing additional SATA controller, which adds potential points of failure.
    So longevity isn't more or less a concern vs 3.5" but it's just more troublesome.
     
  2. Q2: Is ECC memory absolutely necessary? What will happen if I don't have them?
    It's only necessary if your hardware demands it (e.g. some sever-grade motherboard/CPU only works with ECC).
     
  3. Q3: Are the upcoming QLC SSD any good, longevity wise?
    Nobody knows! Longevity needs time to test; however, SSD generally will last longer than HDD simply for not having any moving parts.
    QLC to SSD is like SMR for HDD i.e. reducing price for higher storage capacity at the cost of lower performance. On some workloads I tested, a TLC SATA SSD is faster than the QLC Intel 660p NVMe. Emphasis on "some".
     
  4. Q4: How powerful should the PSU be for a 10-drive setup?
    Go to pcpartpicker, enter your hardware and see the power estimate. Then add 20% just to be safe.
     
  5. Q5: Are the following tasks achievable via unRAID? (ordered in priority)
    Yes but your hardware might be slightly underpower. It's recommended to reserve core 0 for Unraid tasks, at least 1 core for dockers, leaving only 2 left for your gaming VM. Not the end of the world but for CPU-bound games, you will be able to tell the diff.

 

 

Edited by testdasi

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Posted (edited)

@testdasi provided some good information.
 

19 hours ago, Hugh Chen said:

I am actually thinking about populating the NAS with all 2.5 inch HDDs since they are dirt cheap, that’s why I am concerned about their longevity, especially in a cramped environment. I have seen chassis that only takes 2.5 inch drives, I wonder if any self-respecting data centers actually deploy 2.5 inch HDDs.

I work with a data-center that is all 2.5" enterprise drives - but they are solving a different problem (speed and density - with a majority around the 1TB mark - are their primary concerns). The drives they use are also not cheap.

I considered and eventually decided against using all 2.5" drives for my unraid setup. I needed raw capacity more than I needed the smaller footprint. Cost was also a big consideration for me. Knowing that I would require at least 2x more drives for the same space didn't add up for me. So while I can buy an inexpensive 2TB 2.5" drive, I would have to buy 2 of them to equal the inexpensive 4TB 3.5" drive. I couldn't find a scenario where 2 drives was ever cheaper than a single drive of equivalent space.
 

Edited by whipdancer

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17 hours ago, testdasi said:

Q5: Are the following tasks achievable via unRAID? (ordered in priority)
Yes but your hardware might be slightly underpower. It's recommended to reserve core 0 for Unraid tasks, at least 1 core for dockers, leaving only 2 left for your gaming VM. Not the end of the world but for CPU-bound games, you will be able to tell the diff.

 

The games I plan to run can be handled by a Celeron J1900 with ease, I guess that i5 4590 could do well even with all the overhead. Plus I will have another HTPC in the living room if more computing power is needed, should I really want to move on.

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