3 Reason Why I Got 2TB HDDs For My TrueNAS File Server

Why did I get a Western Digital 2TB Red Plus NAS hard drive and not a larger hard drive? That was one of the questions I got when I ordered a new hard drive for what turned out to be a failed SSD boot drive. Here are three reasons why I’m using 2TB hard drives in my TrueNAS file server.

YouTube Storage Needs Are Very Modest

My storage needs are very modest for my modest YouTube channel. I record talking head videos in 4K and transcode to DNXHD for editing in Davinci Resolve Studio. A transcoded 5GB video file becomes a 110GB video file. I don’t keep the transcoded video file after I’m done editing.

Steve at Gamers Nexus talked about the storage needs for his channel a few years ago. He runs a script that deletes older talking head videos to free up space on his file server. The best parts of a talking head video are in the finished video uploaded to YouTube. Keeping the talking head video after a certain amount of time doesn’t make sense.

I wrote a Python script that runs as a cron job to delete talking head videos after 90 days. That script deleted three years of talking head videos when I first ran it. Freeing up enough space on the 1TB drives that the 2TB drives I added in 2020 still have 2TB in formatted free space.

Only once or twice did I ever regretted not having the talking head video available for another video.

$50 US Hard Drives Every 5 Years

For over 20 years, I’ve bought $50 US hard drives for my file server every five years. Why new hard drives every five years?

The Seagate drives that I used to get for 15 years died like clockworks after running 24/7 for five years. They hit the five-year mark and the “click of death” would soon follow. Older hard drives would start clicking before the read/write head crashes into the spinning platters.

I switch to Western Digital Red NAS hard drives in 2015.

The size of a $50 US hard drive increased every five years. I started off with 20GB drives in 2000, 80GB drives in 2005, 160GB drives in 2010, and 1TB drives in 2015. That changed in 2020 when the Western Digital 1TB Red NAS hard drives were still $50 US when on sale.

When I added the SAS card and two new hard drives, I got the 2TB hard drives instead. The 2TB hard drives are available from $60 US to $75 US.

The 2015 1TB hard drives are still fine after running 24/7 for seven years.

Controller Card 2TB Limitation

Another reason why I got 2TB hard drives was because of the LSI 3081 SAS/SATA-2 controller card. That controller card only recognizes 2TB of hard drive space. If I got 3TB, 4TB, or 20TB hard drive, the controller card would only format the first 2TB. The rest of the hard drive would remain unavailable for use.

I paid $15 US for that controller card in 2020. Prices went up to $150 US on both Newegg and eBay because of the coronavirus for the last two years. Depending on where you look today, prices are a bit different.

  • A third-party seller on Newegg has the controller card for $275 US.
  • A glut of these controller cards on eBay are available from $20 US to $200 US.

Why don’t I upgrade the controller card?

Buying a SAS/SATA-3 controller card would cost $100 US or more. Since my storage needs and financial commitment are modest, I don’t need anything larger than a 2TB hard drive.

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