mATX Case & Drive suggestions?

Hey all. I’m in the process of putting together my first NAS. My use case is pretty basic, two pools, one small one with around 2TB of usable storage that is for photos/documents and other critical data that I will backup off site, and second much larger pool (>= usable 8TB) for media storage. This pool won’t be backed up, it’ll pretty much exclusively be for storing Bluray/DVD’s i’ll rip, but keep the discs for. I’ve done my best to research as much as I can before buying anything, currently the parts i’ve ordered are:

Supermicro X10SL7-F
Intel Xeon E3-1241 v3
4 x 8GB Samsung M391B1G73QH0-YK0
Cryorig C7 CPU Cooler

I’m now looking for a suitable case, effectively a chassis with 6-8 slots for a reasonable price. I don’t intend to purchase more than a couple of drives straight away due to financial constraints, but would like room to grow down the line.

The Fractal Node 804 appears to be the de facto recommendation, but this seems to be out of stock everywhere in the UK. Plus I’ve read some people have had issues with cooling the hard drives.

The runner up choice often appears to be the Fractal Define R7/XL, but this costs a bit too much for me (I have only spent £170 so far and have some extra RAM and a CPU to sell from the motherboard purchase, so spending close to this again on a case doesn’t sit well with me)

In the mean time I have an old Carbide 600Q from an old desktop build that I can use, so i’m not in any rush while I don’t intend on buying too many drives up front.

On the subject of drives, the board has a Broadcom 3008 2308 SAS controller built in which is ace, but i’ve never worked with SAS drives before so i’m a complete novice with understanding how to connect them to this motherboard. What sort of cable do I need to be able to power from the PSU, but have data coming from the motherboard? Or is there some other solution?

My intention was to purchase a couple of refurbished enterprise SAS drives to start off with. Is this just asking for trouble?

Thanks in advance, I really have tried to do as much reading and research as I can before posting a question here, I have years of experience building PC’s for gaming and general use, but when it comes to NAS hardware/software, I have a lot to learn.

Nope, it’s a SAS2308. Still fine, but the real question is: why? 22 TB HDDs are available off the shelf, it makes very little sense for most home users to expand beyond a half dozen disks, realistically, when they could just buy larger disks. Better power and noise-wise, and a wash cost-wise.

On the X10SL7-F, the answer is “like any SATA port”, since the SAS ports are exposed as SATA-style connectors, which is unusual. SAS disks need an adapter to mate with separate data+power cables, but they’re readily available.

Yeah, even experienced users have been burned badly by “refurbished” disks. Best to stay away unless you have an extremely reputable source with a very robust warranty and provide sufficient redundancy to deal with disk failures. Remember that these drives stopped being used for a reason, and that’s rarely “we just upgraded everything and threw out these functioning disks”.

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Nope, it’s a SAS2308.

Thanks for the correction on the SAS controller, i’ve edited the post to correct it.

On the X10SL7-F, the answer is “like any SATA port”

Ok, that’s interesting. Is it possible to run regular SATA drives from these ports? Is there a reason to use SAS vs SATA drives or it’s literally just a connector and doesn’t matter?

Remember that these drives stopped being used for a reason

Yes very good point. I will purchase new instead :slight_smile:

22 TB HDDs are available off the shelf

I look forward to picking up up discs like this one day, for now it’s out of my budget sadly. I could afford to pickup (new) 3 x 4TB WD Red Pro drive, 2 x 8TB WD Red Pro drives, or 1 x 16TB now (basically my drive budget for the media pool is £400 (£500 max and that’s really stretching it). Maybe just getting 1 x 16TB is worth doing and save up for another down the line to mirror?

Most SAS controllers can talk to SATA devices.

SATA controllers cannot talk to SAS drives.

SAS stuff often uses multi-port cables, which simplifies things.

(Ie one cable, 4 drives)

You can get a breakout cable which goes from MiniSAS/HD to 4x SATA.

And a reverse breakout cable which goes the other way (this could be useful on your board)

And then SAS Expanders, which are conceptually like Ethernet switches… but for SAS. And allow you to use more than just 8 drives.

Just any case which can hold enough drives is suitable.

Rather than two pools, your needs appear to be one pool with (at least) two datasets, one of which will be backed up externally and the other could be reconstructed anew. So, one important and one which is less important but would be a pain to rebuild—sufficient resiliency for both would help.

I own that case, there is no way to have cooling issues with properly set fans unless you live in an area where ambient T in cold months is over 30C… and even then, I am confident that it would be able to cool the drives.

Thanks for the info! I think what I may do then is stick with SATA instead of SAS for the sake of simplicity, and that SAS controllers can communicate with SATA drives but not the other way around. I was mostly interested in SAS because there were cheap refurb options for drives, but i’ll buy new instead :slight_smile:

edit: Formatting

Look for Toshiba MGs, they can be found at a pretty affordable price in my experience.

Hmm this isn’t something I had considered, thanks for the suggestion!

This is probably a silly idea now that I am typing it out loud, but one of my motivations for having two separate pools, one big, one small, is I was interested in setting up the smaller pool with enterprise SSD’s for the performance benefits. I’ll have an Immich service running elsewhere pulling photos/videos from that pool, I assumed that having faster media would be beneficial for this use case? I only have 1Gb networking, so perhaps it’s a waste of resources to go down this route

Hey this is awesome, thanks for the suggestion!

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As for drives, as long as they are suitable for NAS, £ per TB is the main criteria.
SATA drives tend to give more comprehensive SMART reports than SAS drives.

Could you expand on why it would be a pain to rebuild this setup a little please?

How long would it take to rip your whole collection of BluRay and DVDs anew?
Are you looking forward to it?


Haha fair enough, I didn’t know if there was a configuration pain point I hadn’t considered.

My collection is extremely small, in fact, it contains exactly 1 box set of Malcom in the Middle and a great film called “About Time” :joy:

I’ve not ripped anything yet but I’ll figure out how painful the process is the first time around soon enough, which may influence some future decisions on how resilient to make the media storage lol

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While you are trying to plan for this, none of these require fast servicing. Any drive will be faster than you internet connection.

One possible way to go is to just create a 3 way mirror of maybe 18TB drives, this would provide good redundancy and large capacity. You would not need the SSD pool. As others have said, fewer drives, lower power, less heat, quieter. That would be almost 18TB usable space. If one drive fails, you have two more supporting and the resilvering time is faster in a Mirror than RAIDZ.

Using this method you would not need any HBA, you could use the SATA ports on the motherboard, and get a small 64GB (or what ever is on sale) SSD as your boot drive.

This is just my perspective.

Good luck in setting up your TrueNAS system.

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Yeah you (and the others here) are absolutely right

My plan now is to stick with 1 pool and have 2 datasets as suggested by @etorix. I can only afford one (very) large capacity drive at the moment, which is going to be the 20TB Toshiba MG10ACA20TE (thanks @Davvo for putting me onto the Toshiba drives). I would prefer to do this at this moment in time verses getting two smaller drives up front. In a couple of months when I’ve got the spare money I’ll purchase a second and add it to the pool to have a mirror. Tempting fate in the mean time by only having one drive, but I have multiple backups of the critical data currently and don’t even have a media library to speak of at this moment so I am comfortable with the risk in the short term :slight_smile:

I have some old ass 60GB Kingston V30 SSD’s knocking about that I can use as a mirrored boot drive. They have had their day in the sun honestly but I already have them in my parts bin so why not get use out of them

I’m also going to just use the Carbide 600Q I already have. Now that i’m only planning on having a small amount of high capacity drives, it actually serves this project well. It’s quite big, but it will do the job, and most importantly, I already have it :smiley:

Thanks for the assistance, guidance and wisdom everyone, you’ve helped tremendously :heart:

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The drive sounds good. Adding another 20TB drive to create a mirror will be easy. At least you have a good plan now.

You do not need mirrored boot drives, but that is up to you. There is no substitute for making a backup of your TrueNAS configuration files periodically.

I hope it works out for you as you expect.


@Apathy you know, there is a wonderful script that periodically sends you a backup of your config amongst other things… version for Core and Scale | TrueNAS Community.


Ahh wow no I wasn’t aware of that! Thanks for the heads up :slight_smile:

@Davvo Thanks for the plug! :cool:

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