Hardware Upgrade Advice

Hi all

My TrueNAS home server has been chugging away happily for a while now, but Im wary that it was built from old leftover PC parts that already had a good few miles on the clock. With that in mind Im looking for advice on some specific parts please.

Current system in an old i7-4770S in a Gigabyte B85M-D3H motherboard. Thats topped off with 32GB DDR3 RAM. No discrete GPU, but a Dell HBA in IT Mode running 8 * 4Tb drives in RAIDZ2. Id like to upgrade the board, CPU and RAM.

My case is a Fractal Define R5 which is perfect for my needs. I dont want to change that really. As such, Im limited to ATX size boards at the most. Id quite like to use ECC RAM, or at least be able to go a decent amount above the 32GB installed now. Of course in these crazy energy price times, power draw is a consideration. Budget of around £500 max, but I’d like to do something for about £300 if thats possible.

I know SuperMicro get mentioned a hell of a lot, but I cant really work out their naming convention which is making searching difficult. Im open to other brands though. If you were me - what would you build?! Would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.


Just storage, or also apps? Eight drives, or more?
How much RAM “above 32 GB”? (To decide between UDIMM and RDIMM)

Any server-grade board would do, Supermicro or other.
As for SM naming conventions, there are official “cheat sheets”. On the Intel side:
X generation S platform feature - network F
X = Intel
gen. 10 = Broadwell/Haswell; 11 = Skylake/Cascade Lake; 12 = Ice/Tiger/Comet/Raptor Lake
S = single socket (D would be overkill…)
platform D = embedded (Xeon-D); S = Skylake; C = Cascade Lake; P = Scalable (Purley) etc.
feature H/M/L = high/medium/low; E = workstation
network T = 10GbE; LNn = n 1 GbE interfaces

So you’d be looking at a X10SDV board for a low power embedded board with lots of RDIMM, or at something like a X11SS[HML] or X11SC[HML] for UDIMM with LGA1151(-2) Core i3/Xeon E3-v5/v6/Xeon E-2000.


Mostly storage so far. Just running Plex as an app currently. May look into the ARRs in the future but doubt there’d be more apps that that.

For RAM, min 64. Ideally 128. Depends on costs I’d say. Not knowing which board to go for and therefore what RAM is compatible means Ive not yet been able to scope out RAM pricing.

Im going to have a look into some boards now that you have explained the naming on SuperMicros. Big help that, thank you. From there, I can get an idea of what Im looking for, prices, availability etc and compare against offering from other vendors. As I start though, do these kind of boards come in ATX form factor? Im limited to that size at the most.

You can already price DDR4 ECC UDIMM and RDIMM, the latter being the obvious option above 64 GB.

Most server boards are micro-ATX. Embedded boards are mini-ITX or flex-ATX. Only the higher-end Xeon E5/Scalable or EPYC boards are full ATX or larger (CEB, EEB), and the larger boards are typically dual socket.
To compare across vendors, search for chipsets (C232/C236 for LGA1151, C242/C246 for LGA1151-2). For instance, the AsRock Rack equivalent of a Supermicro X11SCH would be an E3C246D4U (“C246” chipset, "4 D"IMM sockets, micro-ATX size ‘U’). Naming conventions are great :smiley:

For your budget, a Gigabyte MC12-LE0 (Ryzen board with B550 chipset) would fit, if you can find a local seller. It only has 6 SATA ports (Intel C2x6 boards have 8) but here on the Continent it comes really cheap.

1 Like

For the use case, why so much RAM? 64GB is avery good amount unless you will be running a several VMs.

There is a lot to choose from out there that will fit in your case and have a good CPU.

As for Plex, do you need to transcode on the server or is Plex just serving up the files? This makes a difference from the CPU perspective. I do not transcode in Plex, I let the end device do the work. It will take up more bandwidth but I do not stream over the internet.

I recently made a nice server, see my system below. You don’t need to make it an all NVMe system but the other components are very good. I’m extremely pleased. I’m not pushing this system in particular, just showing you that a lot of people have hardware listed and if you see something you are curious about, send them a message and ask your questions. Most of the work has already been done for you.

Another factor is where you live, what is available.
Good hunting. Oh, set your spending limit as well. At what point does it bring you pain.


Hey Joe

If 64GB will do the trick, then Im happy to stick with that. If RAM is cheap enough though and theres room for it on the board, why not fill the slots. Its always there then I suppose if I decide to spin up a VM or 2 in the future.

Currently my Plex only serves my home with 1 stream at a time. The CPU does any transcoding required (I think). I dont have PlexPass yet but would like to get that so that I can stream to my phone etc when away from home. I guess transcoding will become more of an issue then. I do have an old 3gb 1060 floating around doing nothing at the moment which I could throw in if it will be of help.