Gotta Start Somewhere! Planning stage... motherboard battle!

  • Hi all, my first post here... I'm new to DIY-NAS and not super tech-head. Which way people are going with new NAS builds?

    Tried a RasPi3B+ as a test/education session with OMV (first use ever, got it to work but it's useless at large x-fers of course :D ) - now I want to go next level. Home office & home media use.

    Is it true that the 'old' way (to build an x86 NAS box) is becoming less popular and SBC's are taking off? The variety is huge and it still looks like SBCs are a work in progress. I lean towards x86 and small form factor at the moment. But I can see that people are doing good things with an SBC and a couple of USB3 HDDs attached for very little cost!

    Question; is it still 'valid' to build an x86 ITX architecture board (such as an ASRock server board or general moboard setup) in a box such as the Fractal Node 304? My goal would be to keep to 4xHDDs (NAS rated, large capacity say 6TBx4) and a USB or m.2 for boot. Some moderate power consumption is acceptable as this is also for my work.

    If it's still OK to go with building one of these systems, which motherboard would be suitable? Are the ASRock C2750D or C2550D or J4105 type still appropriate? What to look for? Or a more general ITX (or even mATX) the way to go? Other solutions (new components, not too rare to get) available?

    I want to end up with a solid dependable system that runs OMV, not necessarily the cheapest. Somehow, opting for a Synology or QNAP seems a COP-OUT to me! But I get the huge time differential needed to master DIY-NAS for the first time.

    Thanks in advance! :)

  • My build, some details in my sig is coming up on four years old. I'd do it more or less the same way again today if I had to.

    Google is your friend and Bob's your uncle!

    OMV AMD64 5.x on ASRock Rack C2550D4I C0 Stepping - 16GB ECC - Silverstone DS380 + Silverstone DS380 DAS Box.

  • Hey, thanks!
    I -did- see your sig. and I looked up that board... was just curious to see a product still around after a few years!

    >> I'll do some reading... looks good... I believe ECC RAM - you have to get one off the ASRock list?

    I also assume the power supply doesn't need to be too huge - but I'll look into it --thanks!

  • I would stick to RAM that is on the ASRock qualified RAM list for the board unless you have a very good reason not to and you run it past ASRock support first.

    I have a 450W power supply in it and it is fully loaded with eight hard drives. Pretty sure you could go with less, say 300W.

    I run it headless and it is stored in my gun safe.

    Google is your friend and Bob's your uncle!

    OMV AMD64 5.x on ASRock Rack C2550D4I C0 Stepping - 16GB ECC - Silverstone DS380 + Silverstone DS380 DAS Box.

  • Thanks mate!

    also just been watching a few NAS builds on YT that use the Silverstone case... looks good

    noticed one guy used a Supermicro board but I prefer your suggestion, reading-to-follow!
    SUPERMICRO MBD-X10SDV-4C-TLN2F-O Mini ITX Server Motherboard - Intel Xeon D1520 4 Core, 8 Threads, 45W, SOC
    the build;

    I run it headless and it is stored in my gun safe.

    I assume you mean the NAS... :D better safe than sorry... plus it's a Faraday cage!

  • Yes, the NAS is in the safe. The only connections to it are power and ethernet.

    Google is your friend and Bob's your uncle!

    OMV AMD64 5.x on ASRock Rack C2550D4I C0 Stepping - 16GB ECC - Silverstone DS380 + Silverstone DS380 DAS Box.

  • I would try to have a general idea of how many drives you want. Then start looking at boards. My only real requirement for a motherboard is it must have an Intel NIC (most server grade boards do).

    As for the Node 304. Used one several years and liked it. My recent rebuild however.. I really wanted hotswap... Almost got the Silverstone, but ended up with a 4 bay trayless hotswap case from istar. S-35 I think is the model.

    Air Conditioners are a lot like PC's... They work great until you open Windows.

  • Yeah. Liking the hot swapping!
    Research continues... 50 tabs open in F-Fox !
    I think if I use a case that supports 8 drives comfortably, that would be plenty.

    There seems to be different schools of thought about HDD capacities on the forum & elsewhere
    * use fewer larger drives
    * use more drives in the range of about 4 or 6TB as this is a cost/ reliability / redundancy (if using RAID) tradeoff

    > one thing I've noticed about HDDs is the price per TB is about the same regardless of capacity, between 4-8TB (AUD$44/TB)

    I'm thinking based on current needs that 8x drives would be ample and I could populate the drive bays 4+4 over time

  • Silverstone DS380 has eight hot swappable drive bays, either 3.5 or 2.5in. Internally there is room for four more 2.5in drives. The ASRock Rack C2550D4I I use has 12 SATA ports on board.

    After almost four years with it all eight bays are full and I have begun swapping in larger drives for existing smaller drives. Currently I am using 12TB drives to replace the smaller 3TB ones I started with.

    Current drive complement is 2x 12TB, 2x 8TB, 1x 4TB, 3x 3TB. I grow by about 1TB/month and it will be about 9 more months before I swap in another 12TB (or larger drive).

    Google is your friend and Bob's your uncle!

    OMV AMD64 5.x on ASRock Rack C2550D4I C0 Stepping - 16GB ECC - Silverstone DS380 + Silverstone DS380 DAS Box.

  • After almost four years with it all eight bays are full and I have begun swapping in larger drives for existing smaller drives.

    You're super fortunate! It looks like there's been a rash of board failures on NewEgg; see reviews tab - if you do the 'math' these board failures all predate the article I link to below (Feb 2017) where it looks like Intel was about to implement a fix in the silicon... so if these boards are still under warrantly, I'd be contacting ASRock.

    A good sign is that they still sell them! [NB- I'm not an expert in this domain!]
    C2000 family clock timing bug

    My current position is to look at this further understand the issues and decide if to push the button on this system. It does exactly what I want it to do so I'm keen to keep checking it out... it's such a unique server board solution!

    Even a lot of the 'negative' reviews (board failure) said they thought it was a great server board, so it's go that going for it too... now to find someone in AUS to sell it to me! Otherwise, order it from overseas maybe.

  • The boards being sold lately have revised silicon; so that bug is a non-issue for those buying new hardware.

    I asked ASRock support about this when I first read of it years ago, and I was told that they were extending warranty to anyone impacted by the bug whose board failed because of it. If and when I need to test that promise, I'll find out if it's good or not. Knowing what I know I would still buy this board again without hesitation.

    Google is your friend and Bob's your uncle!

    OMV AMD64 5.x on ASRock Rack C2550D4I C0 Stepping - 16GB ECC - Silverstone DS380 + Silverstone DS380 DAS Box.

  • Hey thought I'd post an update, local suppliers of ASRock report that they can't supply that board to Australia, making support that little bit tougher. I can order it from the 'states but support would entail having to send it back there, assuming the manuf would honour that. Not off the table altogether but I have to also look at alternatives.

    Currently looking at something like the ASUS P10S-M WS Motherboard…rd-_-13-132-819-_-Product

    About the same cost level as the ASRock, Intel NICs 8xSATA6 ports onboard etc mATX form factor DDR4 RAM (ECC or nonECC)

    A possible advantage with this one is that the machine can do double duty as a workstation, depending on CPU & graphics card choice - although I'd be running OMV in a VM under Win-10 as the CAD packages all run on Win or Mac-OS (except FreeCAD and similar FOSS packages)... the search continues!

    Bottom line though is that I'd still prefer a dedicated NAS box, so likely to select & spec accordingly. Simplicity, reliability and lower operational power needs.

  • OK! Another update! Hope you guys don't mind if I share the journey. [EDIT; to reflect Option A vs B]

    OPT-A > keeping it a pure NAS server box and small form factor, hotswap bays is nice, expand mobo with a PCI slot later as needed but prefer fewer, larger disks anyway;
    * Silverstone DS380 case, ASUS P10S-I (ITX) mobo, Xeon E3 1220 v6, Kingston ECC 8mb RAM (expandable), Silverstone SFX 500W Gold PSU, WD Red 8TB (x2 to begin) > parts sourced locally in Aus. This is a trade-off in terms of MoBo because the SATA ports are generally 6 onboard and the RAM on this board is a slower speed & close to end-of-life (in Crucial brand, which is the most compatible by reputation).

    OPT-B > Mid size mATX form factor in a Fractal Node 804 case (8x3.5" + 4x2.5" bays but not hotswap), ASUS P10S-M WS mobo (8 SATA ports), Xeon E3 1220 v6 CPU, ATX size PSU (more options), RAM can be DDR4 2133mhz ECC (more mainstream, Crucial probably). This could be adapted to a workstation in future. SATA expansion card is less likely, saving complexity etc.

    Call me old fashioned but I still prefer x86 and it looks like a socket 1151 Intel is more mainstream. The Atom based ASRock Rack server boards are not easy to get in Australia (at least for a non-pro user) so I've gone for the ASUS server boards with the (yes, pricey) Xeon CPU. I've seen comparisons of power draw of an i3 versus the Atom/ASRock board (at idle) and the i3 (ie. Xeon) is way lower... for some reason... here's the link.…tone-ds380-nas/page6.html

    Finally, it's coming down to; do I want to go to all this trouble and expense!!

  • Hey, all. Thinking is evolving, so if anyone's interested in my research & learning, this is where it's at, any comments of course would be great.

    * too soon for me to get behind ARM as a pure-nas but will follow along (also less variety available in Australia at the moment) [edit; looking at the Helios4 as a way to go...]
    * workstation/Xeon based system gets up there in price, without really being a good workstation anyway (because, compromises, cost)
    * in that case, for the money, a Synology would be the go, time adjusted cost included :P

    * BUT! not so fast!
    > learned TONS already, even as a non-pro user... just in the reading etc
    > still want to be hands-on -BUT- too confused about options -SO-
    >> going to *repurpose a notebook PC* [to get going] (thanks tech dad on youtube!) :)

    > then <here we go!> will take another look at the ASRock boards [via. Newegg US] see if I can get support in Oz
    > I can get the board landed & delivered in Aus at a reasonable cost...
    [[>EDIT; I'm waiting for Newegg to reply about warranty; FYI, the Aussies on the forum << result; 'US warranty only'
    >> they say contact ASRock; sending email now... sent!]]
    > this would allow me to do an ITX, hotswap rig... [fun!]

    Noted; there's a cool looking InWin case over at... InWin IW-MS04 but I think it's pricey!

    Next step; repurpose existing Toshiba notebook... see how that goes... then, maybe ATOM or ARM system... [edit; also looking at used HP microserver, for the experience]

    Edited 5 times, last by SidAny: Added update Helios4 being considered in the ARM category, as the next step after PC-notebook as NAS. Also, used HP microserver. ().

  • In Australia, cannot source ASRock Rack server boards and get them supported under warranty. Shame.

    So, I have set up an older Toshiba (Qosmio, early i7) notebook with OMV running on the internal HDD. Two external HDDs are connected via USB (3.0 & 2.0) and I can 'shuck' them and put them both into a USB 3.0 HDD dock if I want to.

    RAID is not really a viable option on these disks but they are a transition measure anyway. Will play with Docker apps etc... good learning experience.

    Next step has been to order the ***'Helios4' NAS*** (ARM based board) which will hopefully get to the required number of pre-orders and ship by June... really hanging out for that one.

    Other ideas involve getting a HP microserver (used) &/or building a server/workstation based on a workstation board, Xeon CPU (or AMD?) and ECC ram, with probably 6 SATA ports off the mobo.

    With time... will accumulate some NAS rated drives, from different batches. WD Reds I suppose?

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