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Cheap RAID6 NAS build - 12TB for $700

The first thing to realise when using consumer grade drives - even 'NAS grade' drives like the WD Red series - is that they fail. Often. And they fail without warning, without any chance of recovery. So if you want to keep your data, you have to plan on losing drives. For me, this means raid6 - for 4+ drives, any two can fail and still have all data recoverable from the remaining drives. It has slower read and write speeds than raid1 (mirroring), or raid10 (mirroring + striping, limited to 4 disks), but is also more flexible, as the pool can be expanded with additional drives.

Now, running raid isn't something one should set up through the BIOS - no consumer grade motherboard is going to include a hardware raid card, and that means it just runs software raid underneath the operating system, and still takes CPU resources. The problem, then, is that if the motherboard ever fails, you may have to find the exact model and revision to replace it with, as raid implementation quirks can differ between models, and sometimes even BIOS versions. Trust me, that's not something you want to deal with. So what do we do? Run software raid under Linux, of course! That way, the raid configuration is stored as part of the operating system, and is likely to be consistent across different machines. (Not to mention far more people work on and debug Linux's included raid utilities than the motherboard's)

So, get your favorite Linux flavor running, and set up a nice 12TB raid 6 array. Use any number of utilities to set up a SFTP server, and you're finished. And there you have it - a 12TB, redundant NAS for significantly less than any premade solution!

Compatibility: Warning! These parts have potential issues or incompatibilities. See details below.

Component Selection Base Promo Shipping Tax Price Where
CPU Intel Pentium G3258 3.2 GHz Dual-Core Processor
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Motherboard Gigabyte GA-B85M-DS3H Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard
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Memory G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 CL9 Memory
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Storage Toshiba P300 3 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

From parametric filter: Capacity: 3000 GB

Base
€71.95
Promo
Shipping
FREE
Tax
Price
€71.95
Where
Buy
Storage Toshiba P300 3 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

From parametric filter: Capacity: 3000 GB

Base
€71.95
Promo
Shipping
FREE
Tax
Price
€71.95
Where
Buy
Storage Toshiba P300 3 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

From parametric filter: Capacity: 3000 GB

Base
€71.95
Promo
Shipping
FREE
Tax
Price
€71.95
Where
Buy
Storage Toshiba P300 3 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

From parametric filter: Capacity: 3000 GB

Base
€71.95
Promo
Shipping
FREE
Tax
Price
€71.95
Where
Buy
Storage Toshiba P300 3 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

From parametric filter: Capacity: 3000 GB

Base
€71.95
Promo
Shipping
FREE
Tax
Price
€71.95
Where
Buy
Storage Toshiba P300 3 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

From parametric filter: Capacity: 3000 GB

Base
€71.95
Promo
Shipping
FREE
Tax
Price
€71.95
Where
Buy
Case Rosewill Line ATX Mid Tower Case
Base
Promo
Shipping
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Price
No Prices Available
Where
Buy
Power Supply Corsair CSM 450 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply
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Total: €431.70

* PCPartPicker may receive compensation for purchases made at participating retailers linked on this site. This compensation does not affect what products or prices are displayed, or the order of prices listed. Learn more here.

Potential Issues / Incompatibilities

  • Warning!Some Intel B85 chipset motherboards may need a BIOS update prior to using Haswell Refresh CPUs. Upgrading the BIOS may require a different CPU that is supported by older BIOS revisions.
  • Note:Some physical dimension restrictions cannot (yet) be automatically checked, such as cpu cooler / RAM clearance with modules using tall heat spreaders.

Part List Price History

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    Comments

    • 64 months ago
    • 1 point

    Running RAID 6 off the motherboard is not a good idea. Anything beyond 0, 1, or 10 should operate from a dedicated hardware RAID controller card and those are pricey.

    • 64 months ago
    • 1 point

    Oh of course it should - but given the choice between running ZFS, JBOD, or a software-based raid6 solution, I'll still choose software raid. If you've got the money to buy a hardware raid6 card, you're probably not going to be building a fileserver around non-ecc ram and a pentium processor, anyways. Or buying cheap seagate 3TB drives, either.

    • 63 months ago
    • 1 point

    Personally, I would opt for a 4 disk RAID-5 array on a hardware controller than 6 disks on a motherboard controller as it probably offers more reliability - 2/3 the chance of a HDD failure. However, this would be fun to build and configure. Not sure what niche it fills, but I'm sure someone could find a use.

    • 63 months ago
    • 1 point

    Yes, a 4-disk array will have less chance of a drive failure than a 6-disk array. But you can do RAID 5 or 6 with either set up. The point with RAID 6 is that if you are using big drives and RAID 5, you will have an array-killing failure sooner or later. It has to do with (1 drive failure) + (rebuild where (TB in your array times 1/12.5TB error rate) approaches an ugly high probability)) = total array failure. Years ago server companies (like Dell and others) started directing away from RAID 5/50 toward 6 or 10.

    But RAID 6 has similar problems at slightly higher capacities. RAID != your only backup. Look at why you are doing RAID, and then pick the right one.

    • 62 months ago
    • 1 point

    Hey, I am planning on my first server based on Ubuntu, your introduction is really helpful! If you don't mind me asking, what software do you recommend to use for RAID? It will be a super small server (3TB) since it will be my first attempt.

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