My FreeNAS Build

UPDATE: I have replaced this server with a newer build.

I have had quite a few people ask me about my FreeNAS build, so here it is in all of it’s glory.

There has been quite a debate about what memory works with the SuperMicro motherboards.  While the Crucial memory is not on the compatibility list, I have had no trouble with them.  The only hiccup occured when testing using Memtest86+ for the initial burn in.  When testing under SMT mode Memtest86+ would consistently lock up no matter what memory configuration was installed.  Switching to the default single threaded mode showed success on all memory tests.

I decided to get a Xeon because I run Plex and wanted additional horsepower in order to handle transcoding of the video streams.  The SuperMicro motherboard was recommended to me by the folks on the FreeNAS forums and IRC.  I purchased the pair as a combo on Newegg.  My initial plan was to start with 8 or 16 GB and expand later as my needs required it.  But due to the aforementioned memory issues I decided to get all of my memory at once so that any problems would come to light during the return window.  The Rosewill case was selected mainly for the fact that it was affordable and one of the few 4U 12 bay cases I found.  I need a quiet server which meant larger fans.  This ruled out the used 2U cases that a lot of FreeNAS builds are built on.  While 650W is a bit overkill for this server I wanted to make sure that my PSU could handle the amperage of 12 hard drives spinning up at the same time.  Also the PSU fan will turn off depending on the current draw and temperature.  Again reducing the noise of the server.

The IBM ServeRAID M1015 was configured using the instructions at

Due to shipping delays the initial test build was done with a generic PSU that I had laying around.  Here are the power figures I collected using my Kill A Watt.

  • 66W – Motherboard only and using generic PSU
  • 44W – Replacing generic PSU with HX650
  • 55W – Adding the M1015 and a USB boot drive
  • 53W – After flashing the M1015 with the IT firmware
  • 57W – Connecting the rear case fans
  • 49W – Booted into FreeNAS

Unfortunately I have lost my notes showing the current power usage.  I seem to recall that the server idles around 80-90W and while doing plex transcodes with 100% CPU usage the server stays under 120W.  I will add specific numbers to this article once I determine them.

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