Hardware Queries For New Build

First off, great work to all for the Rockstor project. Looks like an ever growing solution for a solid, feature rich consumer NAS product.

I first started looking into building my own NAS with Freenas a while ago. I had decided on hardware and was about to go ahead with the project when I stumbled across Rockstor and decided that this path was the better choice.

Having read the hardware requirements for Rockstor, and as my hardware selection has been clouded by Freenas, I am unsure whether or not my build (or certain components) is now just very competent or completely overkill. I would love some feedback and/or suggestions!

I will be using the NAS mainly for data storage and streaming media internally and externally.

Lian-Li PC-Q26 Case
ASRock E3C224D4I-14S Motherboard
Intel® Xeon® Processor E3-1241 v3
Crucial CT2KIT102472BD160B 16GB (2 x 8GB)
SeaSonic G 550W 80+ Gold Certified
2 x Small M.2 SSD’s for Rockstor
Western Digital Red 3TB x 6 (expanding to 10) in RAID 6
A 4 port NIC PCIE GbE card

A few questions:

  1. Is Rockstor as RAM hungry as Freenas? The board I have allows 32GB max. As my storage needs grow I don’t want this to be an issue. Is 1GB per TB too little, too much or just right?
  2. I was planning to have another 4 port NIC in my desktop and connecting the desktop and NAS directly to increase data transfer. Is this possible?
  3. I have chosen the board due to the 12 SATA3 ports. However, as have other people on this forum, I am leaning towards the C2750D4I/C2550D4I. These also have 12 ports but are a mix of SATA2/3 and Intel/Marvell. If I were to make one large pool, would either of the 2 of these mixes cause an issue?

Thank you for any help.


Your specs look pretty good. Not so sure about that case though. Take a look at these two blog post for two other options. silverstone and chenbro
. I’d be interested to know how your motherboard fares with Rockstor.

Among other advantages like being able to use drives of different sizes, dynamic redundancy changes etc… not being memory hungry is a big plus of BTRFS and hence Rockstor.

Yes, but not via Web-UI. You’ll have to manually configure it using Linux utilities.

Those two motherboards are pretty widely deployed, both by Rockstor users and others. The motherboard you picked may also just work. LSI also has solid support in Linux.

Another thing I loved about this project - rapid responses! Thanks.

I liked those cases, as well as most of the fractal design cases. However, the 10 internal HDD trays sold it to me plus the 1 slot for the SSD would be perfect for 2 M.2 SSD’s in this.

So if I were to eventually have 10 3TB drives in a RAID6 (24TB usable), would 16GB RAM be suitable?

Good to hear, thanks.

So would the mix of SATA2 and SATA3 in one pool not cause a performance drop?

Are there any users who can shed some light on whether the C27/550D4I M/B’s are suitable for between 15-30TB of storage?



One case I was considering was the UNAS NSC-800. Its a perfect replacement for a case very similar to Synology/Thecus and all those companies.

My only complaint is that it has 1 PCI-E slot. So I had to choose between picking my own raid controller or 10/40GBE

What do you need the raid controller for?

It could and in many cases will, unless IO load/working-set is entirely located in drives on SATA3. I have mixed setups here but never compared performance on a pure sata3 pool vs a mixed pool. Would be interesting to see iozone or some other numbers on that. I’ll get to it eventually, but feel free to share your feedback. Happy to collaborate.

Not enough SATA ports on most motherboards to support 10 devices. Thus a raid controller is needed. There is a special motherboard out there with 12 ports but then you were sacrificing on CPU.

Do you differentiate between RAID-Controller and HBA? In fact, you don’t need a RAID-Controller for Rockstor, a HBA is the better choice. Some Controllers support both functions so be aware of that before buying. :slightly_smiling: