Which CPU would you use for FreeNAS & XBMC?

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Which CPU would you use for FreeNAS & XBMC?

Postposted on Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:02 pm

Hello all, long time TR reader, first time poster. I am looking to build a FreeNAS server, and I am curious to get some input on hardware choices. I have an HTPC that I can repurpose for FreeNAS and rebuild, or just build new for FreeNAS. I currently have:

AMD Athlon II X3 440 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103843)
MSI 880GMA-E45 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813130276)
8GB DDR3 1600
Radeon 6670 1GB

It performs pretty well with XBMC, but I've always felt the CPU could use a little more power for playing HD content (for content that doesn't render properly with DXVA).

Would you use the Athlon X3 for FreeNAS or XBMC? I'll build around a dual-core Sandy Bridge for whichever doesn't get the X3.

Thanks!
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Re: Which CPU would you use for FreeNAS & XBMC?

Postposted on Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:19 pm

Honestly I would probably run The Athlon II X3 as the XBMC just because the FreeNAS will be on all the time, and as such benefit from the cooler running more power efficient Sandy Bridge. For $100 you could look into putting a quad-core Phenom II in there that will handle all your content. However, that CPU actually studders when playing 1080p? I have run 1080p on my Athlon II laptop pretty well, even without DXVA acceleration.
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Re: Which CPU would you use for FreeNAS & XBMC?

Postposted on Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:31 pm

The X3 doesn't stutter, but I guess I get the feeling it could be more responsive in XBMC and Windows. I do leave my HTPC running 24/7, but that's mostly because I lose HDMI audio if I boot it up when my receiver is on another input. I may just be looking for an excuse to upgrade since it's the slowest CPU I actively use haha.

Which reminds me, I have a Pentium E6300 (2.8GHz) + P35 + 6GB system lying around doing nothing that I could use for the FreeNAS box. However, from what I've read ZFS + RAIDZ can be CPU and RAM intensive, so I'm not sure that system will give me the best experience.
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Re: Which CPU would you use for FreeNAS & XBMC?

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:53 am

I can't speak for FreeNAS but your current system is more than adequate for XBMC. You really only need a dual core desktop-class processor running around 2.2Ghz (or so) to do 1080p content (reference anemic nettop HTPC's that squeeze by). Acutally, I would repurpose your E6300 system with 4gb of ram and something in the AMD 6570 or equivalent graphics to XBMC and use the x3 440 and 8GB ram for your FreeNAS system. I'm not disagreeing with StuG's advice, but this route would definetly be cheaper and still perform perfectly well for the same purposes.
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Re: Which CPU would you use for FreeNAS & XBMC?

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:48 am

For the $100 it costs for a Sandy Bridge Celeron G530 and matching H61 motherboard, I would just use those for both. Its plenty fast enough to do either or.
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Re: Which CPU would you use for FreeNAS & XBMC?

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:01 pm

Corrado wrote:For the $100 it costs for a Sandy Bridge Celeron G530 and matching H61 motherboard, I would just use those for both. Its plenty fast enough to do either or.


Which is a downgrade from the OP's current x3-440 system (CPU-wise)
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Re: Which CPU would you use for FreeNAS & XBMC?

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:13 pm

Thanks DPete27, you make some good points. My P35 motherboard (ATX) won't fit in my current HTPC case (MicroATX mini tower), but that system sits in a closet so I could easily use a bigger case. Since the Radeon 6670 should do most of the HTPC work, I'm sure the E6300+6GB would be plenty. Plus, I wouldn't be stuck trying to upgrade DDR2 if 6GB ended up being insufficient for ZFS+RAIDZ.
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Re: Which CPU would you use for FreeNAS & XBMC?

Postposted on Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:14 pm

Judging by the recommended specs from the FreeNAS site, the X3 or the Pentium should work fine for FreeNAS.

Full ZFS
4GB Disk Space
6GB+ RAM
http://www.freenas.org/category/version-comparison

Below are the specs for a FreeNAS device iXsystems sell.

One Dual-Core Low-Power Intel processor
8GB of DDR3 memory in a 2 x 4GB layout
http://www.ixsystems.com/freenas-mini

File sharing isn't too CPU intensive, so it's really about RAM and network speed.
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Re: Which CPU would you use for FreeNAS & XBMC?

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:33 pm

I've got a Pentium e2140@2.2ghz and 8gb ddr3 and a gts250 doubling as an htpc/network storage and it runs flawlessly. Both those cpu's destroy mine.
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