With my growing space requirements on my NAS, I found I needed more space. All from bluray rips, backups, video edits, and general documents. Until now I've been running unRAID with a 3TB parity, 2TB data, 500GB data, and 250GB SSD cache. However, there was recently a fantastic deal on a Western Digital EasyStore 8TB External Hard Drive at Best Buy for $179.99. At that price 8TB is an absolute steal, compared to the value of 4TB and 6TB drives. They are also shuckable, meaning you can take them out of the external enclosure. The nice thing about the EasyStore lineup is that inside the external casing is a Western Digital Red drive.

As you can see, inside the EasyStore is a 8TB WD80EFZX drive. This is a perfect drive for a NAS, which is exactly what I will be using it for. It's also not too old, having been manufactored March 11th 2017. To get it out of its casing all I needed to to was pry up slightly on the corners of the casing with a flathead screwdriver. Then, I pried the rest with my fingers and it camae off without too much effort. There was one phillips screw inside that had to be removed to detach the SATA to USB interface from the drive. Afterwards, the drive slid straight out and was ready to be installed inside my server.

The only problem was that I was using 3 out of the 3 3.5" hard drive bays provided by my Fractal Define S. Well, that wasn't a huge problem for me. I had a spare Fractal Define R4 hard drive cage from another build. Since the Define S has rails cut out for water cooling parts to screw, in I used it to screw in a cage to the case. For the screws I just used some generic ones that came with the Define S. I used two screws to bolt it down the case, as the other two holes were covered by the case. Even with only two screws it feels very secure. The power and SATA cables were then routed underneath the cage and I tried to hide them out of sight, but there is only so much you can do with cable management in this situation.

Since my SSD was getting very hot (55-60c) behind my motherboard tray when I wrote alot of data to it, I decided to mount it on my hard drive cage. At first I was going to use velcro, however since I was in a hurry I decided to just use clear shipping tape to mount it. Of course it isn't the prettiest or most secure solution to mount a drive, but since it is an SSD I'm not too worried. Plus, since moving my SSD to the front of the case it gets much better airflow and is able to stay within a reasonable temperature range.

Once I was done inside the server, and after I booted it up and discovered I forgot to plug in one of my data drives, I found out my motherboard was not detecting the new 8TB drive. I moved the SATA cable to my SATA expansion card which detected it just fine. I'm thinking that the motherboard, an Intel G45 from a HP prebuilt, just doesn't like 8TB drives. Bit of a strange issue, but I'm glad it worked out with my SATA expansion card.

Of course I'll still need another 8TB HDD as soon as I can get one, as I need another as a parity drive to prevent data loss. Running 13.5TB of hard drives without any sort of parity is a bit risky. For now though, I'm making sure to backup my most important files onto another disk and closing monitoring the SMART health status of each drive. However, the great thing about unRAID is that it makes it incredibly easy to expand. In the future, when 8TB drive costs go down a bit more, it'll make it easy to swap out my lower capacity drives for a larger capacity if I need it.

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