Server Grade Hardware for NAS and virtualization.

(This is an old draft that was not posted sequentially with the related post.)

After much consideration I decided to upgrade the motherboard, CPU, and RAM on the NAS. The performance on NAS v2 was dismal due to enabling encryption on the ZFS pool. The encryption is worth it in my opinion which is why I have upgraded the server’s motherboard, processor, and RAM. Back on NAS v1 I selected using a socket LGA775 chip because that’s what my desktop uses. I figured if I ever needed to upgrade to a more powerful processor either on the desktop or the server it would be to a cheap Intel Core 2 Duo Quad. Well the prices have held for that model while it’s features have remained the same. Or rather the Intel Core 2 Duo (Quad) haven’t received any new technologies due to chip limitations. I’ve concluded after many sleepless nights that switching over to a Xeon server based processor would yield better serving from my NAS.

One reason the Intel Xeon E3 will yield better performance, especially for encryption, is the Sandy Bridge processor line (except the i3s) utilizes the AES-NI instruction set. This instruction set speeds up applications using AES encryption by a large factor. According to this benchmark using TrueCrypt a 429% increase in encrypting speeds and 355% increase in decrypting speeds was achieved just by enabling the AES-NI instruction set in the BIOS with a compatible chip.

A future post will showcase the hardware I finally ended up choosing including my impressions after nearly a year.

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