Complete UnRaid Server Build

I have completed my first UnRaid server build to replace an old i3 gaming machine running Hyper-V in my homelab. I was originally going to re-purpose the i3 gaming machine as my main server but have decided it really is end of life. Edit: I might still replace the Gigabyte motherboard to use it as a backup/test machine.

Some of the components such as SSDs and HDDs for the build have already been picked up and the motherboard, case and PSU have now arrived. Note there are some issues reported in forums with life expectancy of Crucial SSDs in cache pool for unraid so I may need to rethink that. Edit: I opted to install one of the 2 Crucial SSDs and not have a cache pool for me. (The other SSD was used to breathe new life into a workmates lenovo laptop.)

Intel Xeon E-2136 3.3 GHz 6-Core Processor

While I was waiting on the CPU I needed to rethink my actual RAM needs. After looking into available options I could not justify the extra cost for ECC RAM. Nevertheless my original RAM purchase was way over the top for what I really needed (the motherboard only supports DDR4-2666 anyway). I have now opted for 2 x 8Gb Crucial RAM modules that I can add to later. This will give me up to 32Gb which should be plenty for my immediate needs.

I had already setup and tested unRAID on the old i3 gaming machine during the COVID-19 lock-down and while working at home. Booting from the USB is problematic with the old gigabyte motherboard and it also writes partitions to the HDDs which interferes with unraid disk provisioning.

Asus WS C246 PRO ATX LGA1151 Motherboard

The flash drive booted with the ASUS mobo after some trouble shooting at startup – of course the Xeon processor does not have onboard graphics so I repurposed the very old GTX 710 out of the old gaming machine. It is good enough for a headless server! After updating the bios I also needed to spend time working out how to configure USB legacy support and Compatibility Support Mode to boot to unRAID again.

My completed unraid server build [Edit: the cooler fan needs to be swapped around]

This case is not renowned for cooling so I added the 2 extra fans to the front of the case and relocated the original case fan to the top of the case. This should give good airflow and positive pressure. The be quiet cooler can be heard at start-up but is hardly heard once running and all of the temperatures have kept low.

Unraid seems to be an ideal platform to get into using docker containers on a VM. It’s been awhile since I have used Linux proper but did set this up at home decades ago. My first project will be installing plex and setting this up as a media server. In the meantime I have been upgrading and simplifying my home network using unifi and am well on my way to updating my home lab with a dell vostro laptop and desktop.

Published by Adrian Bugg

I am an experienced leader of innovation through data and analytics for digital transformation, small business owner, and father of four children. I want to share my expertise and experience to help others in their workplace, at home and in their daily lives.

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