First to the Setup:
I'm planning to use 8-11 USB3 Disks to form a MediaStorage
The idea is to use 2 USB3 Hubs to balance the load between two seperate USB3 Ports (on different hubs)

Now from what I've read so far it seems a terrible idea to use any kind of software Raid when you only got non-ECC RAM

Studys from google say you get bitflipping approximatly 8% per DIMM per year, with 4 DIMMs its just 32% that you got one bitflip per year if the server is running 24/7

Since I only store big media files where i don't care if i loose a bit or byte a year, and any degredation of this kind seems not to pose a serious threat

Since i already got 16GB of ram and I don't want to buy new ones the quesion is, is the threat so great or is there a better alternative to ZFS ? Raid6 would be nice =)

1 Answer 1


If, as you said, you're not too worried about a potentially small failure rate then give ZFS with non-ECC a try. Set up the pool(s) with some form of redundancy (copies=2, raidz or raidz2) and check their integrity regularly with zpool scrub. Any bit errors will be picked up during the scrub and should be automatically repaired if the pool has some form of redundancy.

I use ECC memory and back up to external USB HDDs with ZFS. I have on one occasion detected an error on the backup during a scrub so, even with ECC, the process is not error-free. Bit errors can occur at the disk level, during read/write or the media itself.

Using ECC helps prevent bit errors while the data is in RAM. ZFS checksums and redundant pools help prevent bit errors on disk.

  • Thought it would be wise to use at least raidz2. Feb 6, 2014 at 11:28

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