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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 26 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 31 reviews
on April 28, 2014
After receiving and opening the unit, I filed a ticket with iXsystems to find out where I should mount two internal 2.5" drives -- the documentation on their site said it supported them. One was easily identified on the side of the hot-swap drive bays (inside the case). iX sent me (for free!) a carrier that fit into the slimline cd drive bay on the top to hold the second drive. One 2.5" is for the host os (freebsd10), the other is for a ZFS L2Arc (ssd).

So far the unit is running very well. The fan is a bit noisier than an hp microserver, but the sound it makes is more "whooshy" and less "whiney" -- I attribute this to the hp microserver having a very noisy psu, and the FreeNAS mini's large fan is louder, and clearly pulls more air through it than microserver. I wouldn't want it sitting near me on the top of a desk while I was working for very long, but under a desk or in a corner of a room it is bearable.

The build quality seems very good. Support has been timely and responsive to the few questions I have asked.

In addition, I had ordered the 16GB of additional ram separately, and iXsystems noticed this and incorporated the ram in the build, as well as refunded the additional shipping cost of the ram. Very nice service.
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on March 14, 2015
Absolutely the best home NAS server. I am running Plex on it and it has no problem serving 4 movies across my network at once. Could probably serve more if I wanted. Extremely fast and flawless uptime. It is also used as a cloud backup for my home computers.

I got this to replace a home made freenas box running 2x 3 disc raid arrays (500mb used drives). It worked OK but was slow sometimes and would have to be reset manually after power outage. The new box is extremely reliable with no issues at all. I am glad I built one first to learn about freenas but if I ever have to do another one, this box is the way to go. Worth the extra money.
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on August 20, 2016
The FreeNAS Mini is a wonderful product for someone who is willing to put some time and energy into making the most of it. On the positive side, it's a very capable piece of hardware – far more so than the average NAS device. The open source operating system sees continuous free improvements with an underlying ZFS file system that's fast, reliable, and very flexible. The snapshot model is a great way to provide basic security against accidental deletions and overwritten files.

All that said, it's not a simple plug-and-play device. Basic administration tasks can be done with a serviceable HTML interface but it relies heavily on understanding UNIX conventions and you can reasonably expect to need to use the FreeBSD shell from time to time. Not surprisingly, the included documentation is sketchy at best. The quick start guide states that a VGA display is an absolute requirement for setup, which is thankfully not true. It also says nothing about how drives are removed and inserted, which is pretty fundamental.

I'm very happy with my purchase but anyone interested in the product should know what they're getting into.
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on September 18, 2016
Summary: Cutting edge, robust storage solution and server for those willing to learn. Not recommended for users who just want to plug in a drive and not deal with it (I wouldn't recommend that approach anyway, but to each his own).

Hardware: they are not charging much more than it would cost to buy the parts yourself-- and of course it's fully assembled and tested with the OS installed. You get a motherboard that DIY people use and recommend with a great processor (8-core Intel® Atom™ C2750), 16MB of Samsung server RAM, excellent power supply, and quality case. Drive installation: They do not include instructions other than to remove the plastic trays mounted in the drive carriers, before inserting the drive. However it was easy to install the drives. Each tray has a circular button on the right side. I pressed this button and the front flap of the carrier opened like a door. At that point I pulled out the carrier and plastic tray assembly. I replaced the tray with a drive, and *making sure the front flap was still open*, re-inserted the carrier-drive assembly in the box. Then, I closed the front flap.

Software: Running the FreeNAS OS, which is based on the FreeBSD OS, and the ZFS file system. It's worth spending a few hours reading about these technologies if you are considering purchasing a FreeNAS box. Start with the ZFS Wikipedia entry. Bottom line is now your native file system/OS supports many advanced features such as periodic snapshots, data integrity, and compression. Want to set things up so you can recover versions of files up to one month back? Not a problem. Since I am new to the ecosystem, it wouldn't do it justice for me to attempt to describe everything you get. Perhaps what I like best is the "dataset" scheme. You don't partition volumes and allocate space in ZFS as in other file systems-- you make datasets: "Permissions, compression, deduplication, and quotas can be set on a per-dataset basis, allowing more granular control over access to storage data. A dataset is similar to a folder in that you can set permissions; it is also similar to a filesystem in that you can set properties such as quotas and compression as well as create snapshots."

Advanced Capabilities: The box has the usual standard services available, easily switched on/off from the web interface (Rsync, ssh, FTP, CIFS (Windows drives), NFS, and much more. If you want your box to run other things, like Minecraft servers or databases, you can do that to with a little work. FreeNAS OS supports two types of Jails, the FreeBSD containerization scheme. You can make a regular FreeBSD jail, or a phpVirtualBox. I am also told Freenas version 10, coming soon, will support Docker jails. For now, if you want to use Docker, you must create a VM with phpVirtualBox first.

When I had questions, I was able to get multiple answers on the FreeNas forums within a few hours.

This box lets me geek out and have superhuman powers. Everything is fully open. I had used an Iomega NAS system the past few years-- did not appreciate all the closed proprietary things going on there, and I eventually lost all my data anyway. I couldn't bring myself to trust yet another proprietary solution, especially with all the bad reviews going around about products from formerly trustworthy product lines. I'm glad the FreeNAS people are selling boxes like this. It gives us a chance to learn and use FreeNAS without having to build our own box.
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on May 17, 2016
Having run FreeNAS on an old HP microserver for a some time I wanted something better and I bought a diskless FreeNAS Mini. Shipping to the UK was faster than I expected. The packaging was impressive and this little server is wonderful.
After a few months the case fan became noisy and was replaced under warranty. iXsystems were fast, efficient and friendly.
Thinking wistfully of the XL.

Some advice about the cache SSDs (you will find a lot more on the FreeNAS forum):
Before buying a Read Cache (L2ARC), increase the memory to 32 GB.
Very few situations need a Write Cache (ZIL).
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on April 27, 2015
I started a freeNAS box with an old computer over 2 years ago and was very impressed with the capabilities of the freeNAS software. Even though it was working, I knew I should put the program on a more reliable computer to host the freeNAS program. After reading Cyperjock's review on the freeNAS forum. FreeNAS Mini would suit me for all of the right reasons.I have been using the FreeNAS Mini for a month now & my expectations have been greatly exceeded. I recommend this to anyone interested in setting up a Media Server. I have installed the Plex Media Server Program and it runs great with multiple streams.

ps. The training on the hardware/software that was supplied for free was very helpful.
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on November 19, 2016
The FreeNAS Mini is one of the best small, but capable open NAS computers out on the market. It's flexible in
hardware configuration, meaning you can add memory, your own disks, as well as a PCIe card, (for 10Gbps
Ethernet, or disk controller card for additional external disks).

The OS can be mirrored using another SATA DOM, (Disk On a Module). You can add either or both SLOG,
(Separate ZFS Intent Log), or L2ARC, (Level 2, Adaptive Replacement read Cache). Or even just a pair of 2.5"
disks for VMs / Jails.

Using FreeNAS software is not mandatory. This is a normal x86/x64 server, (with IPMI / BMC), so you can use
Linux or even MS-Windows. The FreeNAS software beginning with 9.3, (we are upto 9.10), is absolutely wonderful.
FreeNAS software is generally not for the casual NAS user, as it contains some serious features. These features
find it very helpful to understand a little about ZFS, one of the most advanced file systems available.

Please note, (as of 2016/11/1), that there was an annoying problem with the system board, when combined with
the watchdog timer. Disabling in both IPMI and FreeNAS OS prevents the problem until the both the system board
vendor, (Asrock Rack), and FreeNAS OS vendor, (IXsystems), have a more permanent fix.
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on August 14, 2014
I started a freeNAS box with an old computer over 6 months ago and was very impressed with the capabilities of the freeNAS software. Eventhough it was working, I knew I should put the program on a more reliable computer to host the freeNAS program. After reading several reviews about IX Systems effort (the most influential being Cyperjock's review on the freeNAS forum) I was convinced that this FreeNAS Mini would suit me for all of the right reasons.
I am not a computer expert or programmer. There are a lot of the technical details of this equipment I don't understand. However, it does exceed the minimum requirements for running the freeNAS program by far. I am definitely a novice in using the freeNAS program. I am learning as time goes on. I am very confident that this Server has the ability to provide a stable hardware environment for me and has the capacity for expansion. I have been using the FreeNAS Mini for 2-1/2 months now & my expectations have been greatly exceeded. I heartily recommend this to anyone interested in setting up a Media Server (especially using the freeNAS software). I have also installed the Plex Media Server Program and it runs great!
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on December 24, 2014
Go to Freenas.org to get the information on this unit. It is wonderful, fast, great processor, etc. I wanted to use as a media server and file backup server. Works with PLEX and can trans-code multiple streams simultaneously. You need a good multi-core processor to run the media centers. I did not have a Unix based operating system machine before this one. It is a learning curve, but the freenas.org folks have lots of on-line resources including youtube to guide you through the installation of the various "services" you might want to run. By the way, pair the unit with Western Digital RED drives as recommended. Your choice to have them pre-installed or buy on Amazon and install yourself. Takes about 10 minutes to install by yourself.
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on March 8, 2016
After owning a Netgear RN104 for a few years with very good storage and no issues, I moved over to this box because of the processor power to allow PlexMedia to dole out my library of media. VERY pleased with its performance and scalability.
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