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Upgrades to Aging Server


myrkr
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I'm in the process of trying to figure out the best path forward with my home server. It's about 8-9 years old now, running WHS 2011 on an i3-4150 with 8gb memory. It's mainly used as a file server and streams media to a media player. The motherboard has 6 Sata connectors, the C:/OS drive is a Samsung 840 SSD, the other 5 HDDs are a mix of HGST drives ranging from 4TB-16TB. The system has been performing fine, usually I get around 120MB/s with any transfers and I'm happy enough with that performance for now. My main issue is I'm out of space and can't back up my movie collection (about 20TB). So given the age of the system I'm debating my options and have come up with the following

1) Replace one of the 4TB drives with another 16TB drive. This would solve the problem for about $350 dollars

2) Add a PCIe SATA expansion card to connect the x4 old 4TB drives I have sitting around. Though I'd need an external enclosure since my case can't hold any more drives. It seems like from reading reviews that these cards can be finicky and I don't really wanna deal with instability. So I'm not sure on this option.

3) Upgrade motherboard/cpu to a mobo that has at least 8x sata ports (ideally would aim for x10-x12 ports). I'm not finding a lot of decent options here though unless I'm missing boards it seems like most are $500ish dollars, plus then a cpu (haven't even looked for another cpu that supports ECC yet).

4) An option I'm not thinking of?

Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks

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Thanks for the replies @Sirkassadand @Umfriend

I agree that the drive replacement is definitely the easiest path to take, which is partially why it's been my main go to over the last 3-4 years. Each time I replace a drive I think "next time I'll more seriously consider upgrading the whole system". But that never seems to happen. lol Looks like maybe I'll just bite the bullet and do another drive swap.

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4 hours ago, dsteinschneider said:

What kind of 16TB drive did you purchase?

EDIT - I see your using HGST - not very familar with that brand - I've had a few laptops with Hitachi drives. How did you decide on those - I'm shopping drives - thanks

Went with a Western Digital WD Ultrastar DC HC550

I had done some research many many years ago and found that the Ultrastar 8TB seemed like a pretty solid drive with low failure rates based on the data available from storage companies. I've more or less stuck with them since then. I think Western Digital bought them years ago and that's what the HGST brand name is if I remember correctly. I think (but could be wrong) that WD didn't actually change anything and still has Hitachi producing these drives?

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41 minutes ago, dsteinschneider said:

I've read here and there that 5400 rpm drives are better for NAS enclosures. Is that concept obsolete?

I think each person will have different needs with their specific use case. For some people noise is a factor and they might prefer 5400 rpm drives, while others want more performance and want 7200 rpm drives. Those aren't the only reasons of course, but it really comes down to individual needs. In my case I want max single mechanical drive performance alongside close to enterprise or above reliability. So these HGST drives fit the bill for my needs.

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On 12/21/2021 at 8:47 AM, myrkr said:

2) Add a PCIe SATA expansion card to connect the x4 old 4TB drives I have sitting around. Though I'd need an external enclosure since my case can't hold any more drives. It seems like from reading reviews that these cards can be finicky and I don't really wanna deal with instability. So I'm not sure on this option.

This is my answer.  

Specifically, not a SATa card, because ... most chipsets are garbage, unfortunately.  But the LSI SAS 9207-8i  card (or similar) are a good option.  They're on the more pricy side, because they're SAS cards (entirprise). but they're rock solid, allow you to immediately add 8 more drives (with the proper SAS to SATA cables), and can chain over 100 drives, in theory.  

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On 2/23/2022 at 1:55 PM, Christopher (Drashna) said:

This is my answer.  

Specifically, not a SATa card, because ... most chipsets are garbage, unfortunately.  But the LSI SAS 9207-8i  card (or similar) are a good option.  They're on the more pricy side, because they're SAS cards (entirprise). but they're rock solid, allow you to immediately add 8 more drives (with the proper SAS to SATA cables), and can chain over 100 drives, in theory.  

Thanks for sharing that! I think that will probably be my next step is to get an LSI SAS card as I had a look at them before and they seem to be a very good option. For now I took the easy way out and went with option one and swapped out a 4TB drive for a 16TB one. So this bought me some time, but I do need to probably do something next time I run out of space beyond just a drive swap as this system is 11 years old now and could use an upgrade.

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im getting ready to upgrade my Z97 E3-1246v3 server to a epyc 16 core 7313 Milan cpu and from 32 gb ddr3 1600 ram to 128gb ddr4 ecc and ill then slowly add storage to my 12TB pool .. also swapping from windows 10 pro to windows server 2022 standard. in a 4U 24 bay athena power case with 24 port hba card

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On 2/11/2022 at 5:35 PM, myrkr said:

Went with a Western Digital WD Ultrastar DC HC550

 

I've now bought two Western Digital Ultrastar DC HC530 14TB drives from serverpartsdeals.com . I found them on Amazon but went direct because I support some clients who participate on Amazon Seller Central and I don't like how Amazon conducts business. They ship fast and seem like a great company. I always run the Probox fans on full speed so if the DC HC530's are noisy I can't hear them.  Thanks for the heads up on the Ultrastars!

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I credit Scanner with the reliability of my WD30EZRX Greens. I ran the wdidle to stop the parking. A bunch of them are 9 years old and running fine. Scanner reported temps that prompted me to put the Probox fans on high and not place the plastic front cover on. They run nice and cool now. They're in spot where the noise isn't an issue Not really that noisy anyway - sound like a small desk fan. 

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i just saw the new WD red Pro 20TB on westerndigital.com for 499.99 and may consider them as an upgrade as well. to think i can have 40TB in 2 HDDs for $1000.00 thats awesome

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