Dell R720 Freenas

Using this type of hardware for freenas isn’t usually what I do. However I was able to get my hands on one of these systems. I have supply of 8T SAS drives and I want to run Raid z2, that should give me about 80T of usable storage, more than enough for home/lab use. After some googling I learned that the H710P can’t be flashed with LSI firmware to enable IT mode. I know I need to replace the H710, but I need recommendations for an affordable( $100 -$200) HBA that can support 12 drives.

I’ve also toyed with the idea of making two smaller pools, either one 8 drive pool and a 4 drive pool or two 6 drive pools. Any advice or gotachas that i’m not thinking about ?

@logikgear would know he just finished getting a Dell ready to be a freenas box I will see if I can find out what card he is using

If you want to stay in the Dell world, consider the H310… I put one in my R720xp and it works well with FreeNAS. It can do “Non-RAID” up to 32 devices. eBay has them at fair prices… make sure you get the correct cables though if the ones you have are not compatible. I think I reused mine. For good measure, look at putting a set of 2.5 inch drives (spinners or SSDs) on the back of the server. You will need the caddies, backplane and cables…

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I have a R710 and I used a H200 due to the R710 Sas having the right angle connectors. The H200 has the ports on the side of the card and the H310 has the ports on the end of the card. If you want to use the dedicated storage slot you are going to want an H200 or H310 and flash it a special way to put it in IT mode to work in the storage slot. If you don’t and just want to use one of the normal PCI-E slots you can just do the normal cross flash to IT mode. OR you can just get a LSI 9211-8i or LSI 9207-8i in IT mode and it will work just fine.

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Just wanted everyone to know @Night_Rider0 pointed out, @logikgear made a free massage box if anyone didn’t already notice.

Attached picture for reference.

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Good catch there I will get it corrected

@Night_Rider0 I’m just saying. Its forever on the internet now.

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Thanks for the replies. I have a really dumb question, if a card is an 8 lane SAS card for example!18045!US!-1 , doesn’t that mean I can only connect 8 drives to it? or does that only matter if you’re using RAID ? If it’s the case that It only matters for RAID I have a spare LSI card from a previous NAS build using an R410 and Unraid.

Honestly any HBA card you get that’s SATA 3 you can just throw a SAS expander on and have at it. Nothing wrong with the M1015 for about $50 + a SAS exapnder for another $40. Not a great idea if you plan to run full flash but for spinners you’re good to go.

There is a guy on ebay and posted on r/homelab and /homelabsales hes has successfully flashed a h310 in IT mode and H710 in IT mode. They both will work with the 720 I have one in my 420 and my 720xd. I did not believe it until I got them and switched the servers to unraid. That is another option i think they both sale for less than 100 bucks a piece

I learned a lot about HBAs and flashing to IT mode from these guys: