PCIe x16 3.0 slot: NIC or more drives?

I’d be using TrueNAS SCALE to be a NAS, as well as using the nextcloud, wireguard, and pihole apps.

I have an old hp with 2 SATA connectors, 1 PCIe x16, and 1 PCIe x1 slot. I’m thinking of using the 2 SATA connectors for a mirrored vdev. I was also thinking of using the PCIe x1 slot for a boot ssd. That leaves the x16 slot, which I could use to add more drive space or add a NIC. My system has a gigabit Ethernet port, but I’d like 2.5. Could I even use a USB to Ethernet adapter if it’s good quality? In that case I could use the PCIe for more drives and be good. Otherwise, could I be fine with just 1 mirrored vdev and no expandability? Thanks in advance.

You can expand a mirror by adding another mirror of drives later on.

If you choose to add a NIC, go for 10G, 2.5G is a bit wonky. Intel is to preferred over Realtek chips.

Also, if you choose to expand on disks, dont use pci-sata expansion cards. Use a HBA in IT mode.
They can be found for cheap on ebay (e.g. a LSI HBA 9300- 8i or rebrands)

For the bootpool, a USB SSD is “ok”, but choose a good quality one, since Truenas Scale is very chatty and will wear out a regular USB stick quickly.

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Do additional drives recieve power from molex or from the PCI slot? Also, I’m not booting from usb, I’m booting from the PCIe x1 slot using a PCIe x1 to M2 adapter.

I’ll probably be adding drives because the mobo has an M2 wifi card slot that I could change out for a wired NIC. Is there any issue with that?