Freenas Server

I put this Freenas server together over the holidays.  If you don’t know what Freenas is all about, this box and all the new parts inside was inspired by the developers over at and some writing by proligde who build a similar system.

I will spare you a repeat of abundant online discussions and just tell you this unit contains two (2) 3TB Western Digital Red drives, an ASRock E3C226D2I Mini ITX motherboard that accepts the Intel Core i3-4170 Haswell cpu and 16GB ECC unbuffered memory.

As mentioned, there a many online guides where I followed the most popular hardware recommendations except the rule specifying that the storage space, the number of drives/memory holds significant how the unit performs and safe from data loss.

With this lingering in my mind, at first only had one (1) 3T red hard drive, but later caved and procured a second identical HD so at least, (according to the Freenas folks) I can now use a ZFS mirror space to store my files and test this unit out.

So for now, I’m just testing.  The project should include a space for WMC recorded shows and backups from several computers.

To finish the unit, installed the motherboard and drives into an In Win CE685 desktop case which has room for two 3.5-inch hard drives.  In Win makes a cool NAS enclosure. but I rushed out to find this one on a budget–a mini ITX case to enclose my new computer parts.


In Win CE 685.FH300B3 Disktop Computer Case


E3C226D2I Mini ITX motherboard fitting into the In Win case


A complete Unit


The Intel Raid/Server Motherboard

I bought the parts surplus, piece by piece–first the Intel server board; STL2, then memory, two Pentium III processors and finally, an Intel server case (SC5000).  The tower case from Intel was huge and designed to match the STL2 board to ultimately complete the system for a full blown RAID server if desired.  Naturally I had to find the companion RAID controller for it to test it out, an Intel SRCU-31 bought on Ebay.  It is a PCI card that augmented the SCSI controller already on the server.

Once set up, you could create Raid 0, 1, 5 and 10 volumes, and with the five full hard drive bays, could store a lot of data.  I got the courage to get it working again recently and attempt to sell on eBay here: Ebay $99 US.

Computer Backup Server

While looking for offset funds to build a Freenas system, went through my bins looking for computers I have built in the past.

Here is the find–IWill ARO RAID board.  Sadly computer technology changes rapidly but for old time’s sake, put power to the ATX Molex connector, sans computer case and booted to an old DOS drive.

  1. Original IWill Server board

The first computer server I built contained RAID.  It an IWill BS100 motherboard and Adaptec RAIDPORT II a PCI slot-extension card.  This PCI like board was uniquely produced for the BS100 motherboard.  IWill sold the BS100 motherboard around the years 1999-2000 and you needed to buy the Adaptec ARO-1130C board separately to get RAID storage.  Once integrated the motherboard could support up to 15 SCSI hard drives connected that leveraged RAID levels 0, 1 or 0/1, 5 .  It was my first hardware RAID based computer.  At the time I was only interested storing my stuff and OS all on the same Raid(0) hard drive striping scheme. 20161220_154934

Here is the naked IWill board with Pentium II processor.  This unit still works.


IWill BS100 booted running DOS Scandisk utility.