Question HP Z420 Storage and Linux System Build Questions


Jun 20, 2015
Hello there. I am planning on purchasing a fairly robust z420 for under 200 Canadian Quid with the intent of adding an LSI 9260-8i with SAS to SATA cables to run a pair of 2TB HDDs in RAID 1 with the O.S. installed on a third HDD that is already in the PC. The purpose of this workstation will be to serve a dual purpose of being both a tanky storage PC and a daily driver.

They do not have their own computer which is why they decided to not go with a NAS. The budget is only 450 CAD which I am hitting with z420, 2 2TB HDDs, 2 extra HDD caddies, and the LSI 9260-8i.

The questions I have are:

1. I want to run Linux on this but which is the best one that will be easy to use for a Windows user, plays nicely with the SAS card, and is at least as stable as CentOS (while being more user friendly of course). I am thinking either POP O.S. or Mint. Which do you recommend because I do not want to spend 3 hours copy and pasting code I do not understand into the terminal so that I do not have to manually mount the RAID array everytime I boot or whatever strugglebus Linus Torvalds decides I must endure.

2. Even if the HDDs in the RAID array are only used to save pictures and video but are otherwise inactive, can the computer still be used as a daily driver without worrying about said array or its contents being compromised or worn out in anyway? Not for any practical reasons, purely peace of mind (the O.S. will be installed on a third drive).

3. Is there any software I would want to install in aiding me with this besides the obligatory drivers?

4. Should the O.S. (third) drive be connected to the LSI card or the SATA ports on the motherboard? - I am guessing no to the former but feel the need to ask anyways

5. Are there any changes that you would recommend while staying in budget?

The reason I am going with this workstation is because a family member lost hundreds of family photos after some memory cards were damaged in an unfortunate event and a lot of them somehow did not save to the cloud when they had attempted to before. This was absolutely devastating for them and so for peace of mind, and knowing how well my own z620 is serving me, they wanted me to create a beastly storage system that does not break the bank. I do not know if the ECC memory in it will actually help in safeguarding the contents of those drives but it adds to their peace of mind. They have also seen how W10 keeps breaking, with or without updates and especially on my laptop, which is why we are going with Linux instead.

Bonus Questions: Which is the best free games pack that resembles the windows default card games that come bundled?

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