Seeking (yet another) recommendation for low-power solution to fit 2 new 3.5" WD Red 4TB HDD

  • Hello everyone,


    I've been reading a lot of posts on this and other forums, but haven't yet reached a decision on what hardware (for home NAS) to get to fit 2 new 3.5" WD Red 4TB HDD that I bought recently and that will replace my very very old D'Link DNS-323.
    So I'm seeking some advice here.


    All the posts I found, none really fully fits my needs, so I'll try to give out as much info as possible (sorry for the long post).


    First some background about myself:
    - I'm an electronics engineer and a Debian user for 20+ years, so OMV seems like the best option software-wise.


    Main uses/needs for my home NAS:
    - make daily backups from other debian computers (probably using restic)
    - store some media files (photos, audio and videos) to be accessed from my LAN (samba, NFS or similar)
    - locally connect to gigabit ethernet
    - run openvpn client to connect to my personal openvpn server so I can access it remotely if needed


    Optional uses for the future (nice to have but not that much of deal breakers):
    - run LAMP server
    - connect one (or more) surveillance camera(s) and store the images from it (no immediate plans for that, so no idea yet on the type of connection for the cams)
    - connect some sensors/switches (GPIO?)


    Hardware requirements:
    - low power (under 15W idle would be great)
    - at least 2 SATA connections (3 or 4 better)
    - min. 4GB RAM
    - some USB ports are always handy
    - GPIO optional, but would be a plus
    - SD card slot for running the OS?
    - video out (HDMI?) would be a plus, making it reusable for other means in the future
    - hardware that I can buy in Europe (online is fine)


    Budget:
    - under 200-250 euros would be great, but I can be flexible



    Some thoughts on several issues:


    Low power:
    - It will be ON 24/7 and electricity costs me about 1.4€/year per Watt, so this is one of the most relevant points.
    - I have an old quad-core with a decent motherboard (ATX) with plenty of SATA connections, that I could use, but power consumption can be close to 100W when idle... that's 140€ at the end of the year... with a low power SBC I could get the new NAS paid in 2 years


    Harddrives:
    - I already bought 2 WD Red 4TB (it was too much of a bargain to let it pass), so I'll have to stick to that.
    - I've always used software RAID-1 (on linux, mdadm+ext4) in the past with no issues, so I was planning to go with that here as well, though from what I've been reading that seems to be an outdated solutions nowadays, so I'm open to alternatives.
    - I'm still deciding whether I should add a small SSD for caching and run the OS from it or run the OS from an SD card or USB pen (it would be easy to keep 2 SD's/pens and replace it if one fails) and in the latter case, I wonder how much difference I'd notice if using an SSD for caching


    Motherboard:
    - Odroid single disc devices don't really convince me, neither sound like the best option for the discs I got... and connecting discs through USB doesn't convince me at all.
    - Raspberry Pi 4 or Rockpro64 have the advantage of being low power, both can run Debian-like OS and have GPIO (a good plus, but just an optional one), on the other hand they require an expansion card to get SATA.
    - some ASRock ITX boards (J5005?) seem like a popular option as well
    - what else would you recommend? (with low power in mind and the HDD's mentioned)


    PSU:
    - efficiency and price run in opposite directions... 80 platinum would be great, but the extra cost would require quite a few years of electricity saving to recover the initial investment... On the other hand good PSU also means healthier HDDs... So still trying to figure out where the sweet spot is. Any suggestions?


    Memory/CPU:
    - 4GB RAM and a decent CPU would be nice, so it doesn't run out of steam for a few years and can still be reused for other means in the future
    - is ECC really needed? I honestly don't think it is... I understand it's advantages, but this won't be used in a life critical scenario... so if one bit gets corrupted and one file is lost at some point it's not the end of the world... Of course if I can get ECC just for a small (up to 10%?) increase in the price then it might be worth looking into it.



    I think this sums it all. Looking forward to hear (read) your suggestions.

  • You may be looking for something a bit more polished than this but I really like my NanoPi M4 with SATA hat. The drives rest in an open 5-bay disk cage with the M4 secured on top and a Mean Well power supply (LRS-100-12) sitting down in the first bay.


    Apparently the original M4 now is only available with 2gig of ddr3 ram. The newer M4V2 comes with 4gig of ddr4 ram. With the SATA hat and heat sync it runs about 102 US dollars and the Mean Well power supply is about 16 US dollars. The 5-bay cage was also about 15 US dollars. I have a photo somewhere but cannot find it presently.

    RAID is NOT a backup and not useful for most home users. Rsync makes true backup and restoration stupid easy, and it's built right in to OMV. Use this command in a Scheduled Job: rsync -av --delete /srv/dev-disk-by-label-NAMEofSOURCEdisk/ /srv/dev-disk-by-label-NAMEofDESTINATIONdisk/

    Hardware: OMV 5 (current) - NanoPi M4: Nextcloud, Plex, & Heimdall - Acer Aspire T180: backup - Odroid XU4: Pi-Hole (DietPi) - Odroid HC2, Raspberry Pi 3B+, and HP dx2400: testing.

  • looking for the same advice exactly now!
    I'm running (since 2015) on a HP microserver gen8. but want to do something about the power consumption.


    Thinking about a nanopi M4 with the sata hat like Agricola (nextcloud for documents and samba/nfs music, pictures and movie storage), and an Odroid N2 for my cctv with Motioneye (that is a bit more cpu hungy).


    but I can't find if the NanoPi M4V2 is compatible with the sata hat


    edit: All the eternal modules that work with the nanopi M4 can work with the nanopi m4v2 (see link)

  • RAID is NOT a backup and not useful for most home users. Rsync makes true backup and restoration stupid easy, and it's built right in to OMV. Use this command in a Scheduled Job: rsync -av --delete /srv/dev-disk-by-label-NAMEofSOURCEdisk/ /srv/dev-disk-by-label-NAMEofDESTINATIONdisk/

    Hardware: OMV 5 (current) - NanoPi M4: Nextcloud, Plex, & Heimdall - Acer Aspire T180: backup - Odroid XU4: Pi-Hole (DietPi) - Odroid HC2, Raspberry Pi 3B+, and HP dx2400: testing.

  • The SATA hat has a square 4-pin molex power plug that powers everything. With the hat installed the barrel plug on the M4 is not used. The disks get their power from the SATA hat.


    You notice the stack to the right has a dual voltage power supply for two Odroid HC2’s (12v), a Raspberry Pi3 (5v), and an Odroid XU4 (5v). It also supplies the Ethernet switch below it all.

    RAID is NOT a backup and not useful for most home users. Rsync makes true backup and restoration stupid easy, and it's built right in to OMV. Use this command in a Scheduled Job: rsync -av --delete /srv/dev-disk-by-label-NAMEofSOURCEdisk/ /srv/dev-disk-by-label-NAMEofDESTINATIONdisk/

    Hardware: OMV 5 (current) - NanoPi M4: Nextcloud, Plex, & Heimdall - Acer Aspire T180: backup - Odroid XU4: Pi-Hole (DietPi) - Odroid HC2, Raspberry Pi 3B+, and HP dx2400: testing.

  • Thanks for the feedback.


    I wasn't aware of how many raspberry pi-like SBC there are on the market nowadays, but a quick search revealed a great number of brands: Raspberry Pi, Pine64, Orange Pi, Rock PI, Firefly, NanoPi, etc...
    Most of them seem to be based on the RK3399 chip, such as the NanoPi M4. Definitely looks like an interesting option.


    On the downside - with exception of the Raspberry Pi 4 - most brands might not be easy to find in Europe though...


    In that matter the ASRock J5005-ITX seems much easier to purchase around here - it's even available at local stores for as low as 125€.
    Cons: probably higher power consumption, nor does have the GPIO flexibility of the ARM-based SBCs.
    Pros: already has 4 SATA ports built-in and probably more processing power.


    @Agricola what wattage is your PSU that is supplying the disks/nanopi?

  • Some more info on the ASRock J5005-ITX:
    - board doesn't include RAM, but 4GB should cost about 20-25 €, so that's about 150€. Adding a box and a PSU should be able to keep it under my intended max. budget of 200-250€
    - rated power: 10W which is not that much more than a "Pi" solution


    Some benchmarks comparing the J5005 vs some ARM boards:
    https://rk.edu.pl/en/are-cheap…er-end-makers-arm-boards/


    Quite a big difference in processing power for a fairly small difference in power consumption.


    After seeing this numbers I'm now leaning more towards the J5005 solution for the NAS and buying a cheaper "Pi" later for playing around with the GPIO.


  • Perhaps your choice has to be made between :
    - ARM boards, which have GPIO ports, cost less, consume less but can't evolve, have no RTC for most of them and need proprietary cases
    - x86 ITX boards, which have no GPIO pins but give you more power, better cases and PSU, can evolve with PCIe boards, and also give you the warranty to get long-term availability of parts (anyone can assume that there will still be ITX boards / case / PSU availaible in the market in 10 years)


    I know no open standard (like ITX) ARM boards and thus it's quite complicate to find good cases for them


    I've played and used ITX boards and cases ( for ~10 years and after 10 years of use I'm very happy to be able to re-use the same case (and even PSU) with new boards and disks, this is cool.


    Thought, I had some problems with some ITX boards (reboots with J3455, solved now)



    That said, you may consider the Kobol 64 which seems relevant to your needs, as a pretty ARM solution with a nice case, low power consumption, GPIO ports, and has 2,5Gbits ethernet. It's "open" hardware but nothing warranty you will get spare parts in a few years, but it is nice :
    https://shop.kobol.io

  • @bgravato 100 watts.

    RAID is NOT a backup and not useful for most home users. Rsync makes true backup and restoration stupid easy, and it's built right in to OMV. Use this command in a Scheduled Job: rsync -av --delete /srv/dev-disk-by-label-NAMEofSOURCEdisk/ /srv/dev-disk-by-label-NAMEofDESTINATIONdisk/

    Hardware: OMV 5 (current) - NanoPi M4: Nextcloud, Plex, & Heimdall - Acer Aspire T180: backup - Odroid XU4: Pi-Hole (DietPi) - Odroid HC2, Raspberry Pi 3B+, and HP dx2400: testing.

  • Yes, my choice will be mostly between those two scenarios.


    I've heard a lot about the Helios4 and I saw they're planning for the new Helios64, but it might take a few months until it's available... and I don't really want to wait that long...
    Also considering shipping and import duties it will probably cost me quite over 300€ euros, which becomes a bit over my desired 200-250 budget...
    In addition, as you mentioned, getting replacement parts for it (if needed) might be an issue... For those reasons I didn't consider it as an option.


    ASRock J5005's power consumption and price are both lower that what I was expecting for an ITX board, that made me change a bit my mind which was initially pending more towards the ARM SBC and now is pending more to the J5005 side.


    I'll need a case and a PSU, but shouldn't be hard to find...

  • My vote goes to @Agricola. It has all what you asked for.
    Saying that the ARM world has too much segmentation right now whci is good and bad both in software and accessories.
    But with the above config in combination armbian+OMV you should be fine. And if you like your microserver case (like I do) you can re-purpose it and fit the Nano PI + disks + power supply. Hey you can even a second or third SBC board in the same case

  • Hey you can even a second or third SBC board in the same case

    Someone has posted on that not too long ago, with pics. @macom I think. Looked pretty nice.


    The Armbian community has done a marvelous job of providing an OS for just about any arm board you can think of, and Raspberry has Raspian.

    RAID is NOT a backup and not useful for most home users. Rsync makes true backup and restoration stupid easy, and it's built right in to OMV. Use this command in a Scheduled Job: rsync -av --delete /srv/dev-disk-by-label-NAMEofSOURCEdisk/ /srv/dev-disk-by-label-NAMEofDESTINATIONdisk/

    Hardware: OMV 5 (current) - NanoPi M4: Nextcloud, Plex, & Heimdall - Acer Aspire T180: backup - Odroid XU4: Pi-Hole (DietPi) - Odroid HC2, Raspberry Pi 3B+, and HP dx2400: testing.

  • That was it!

    RAID is NOT a backup and not useful for most home users. Rsync makes true backup and restoration stupid easy, and it's built right in to OMV. Use this command in a Scheduled Job: rsync -av --delete /srv/dev-disk-by-label-NAMEofSOURCEdisk/ /srv/dev-disk-by-label-NAMEofDESTINATIONdisk/

    Hardware: OMV 5 (current) - NanoPi M4: Nextcloud, Plex, & Heimdall - Acer Aspire T180: backup - Odroid XU4: Pi-Hole (DietPi) - Odroid HC2, Raspberry Pi 3B+, and HP dx2400: testing.

  • Thanks for all the tips and comments.


    I was able to bring back to life an old computer (CPU is Quad Core Q9550, 4GB RAM, MB has 6 SATA), which I'm using for testing OMV (and other things such as virtualization).


    This is all but low power (consumes about 80W when idle and can go up to 150W with cpu at 100%), but I will use it as a sandbox for testing purposes and from here I will evaluate how much "cpu power" I need for my final setup for running OMV + some extras.


    Cheers

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