2TB 3-4 drive ZFS array - identical vs heterogeneous drives?

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I'm building a NAS (FreeNAS, Xeon E5640, ~4GB ECC) to replace my Synology 1212 (single 2GB drive) with a more redundant and fast system.  Primary usage will be ensuring integrity of data that's rarely used but needs to be immediately accessible (will have offsite backups as well as FreeNAS/ZFS snapshots), with an occasional need to transcode for Plex.

The system will have SSD-based SLOG/ZIL and L2ARC, and I will upgrade those in size so they should encapsulate commonly-used files.  Thus for the spinning portion of the system it is more important that it be reliable than that it be an extra 10% faster.

My plan is for either RAID-Z1 or RAID-Z2, with 2TB disks.  That more than doubles my current storage needs (which have been stable for several years), so I can put the extra money into redundancy rather than capacity I won't use.

The Question

Given these goals (reliability > performance but with terrible performance being bad), what drives should I get?

  • Lightly used vs new
  • Heterogeneous vs identical models but with different batches vs identical models purchased from the same place

Aiming to keep it to $50/drive shipped or less, preferably more like $40.

Any recommendations for specific model numbers or brands or lines would be helpful as well.  My habit in the past has been to buy whatever's cheapest from a major manufacturer, and that's served me just fine but trying to be a little more thoughtful this time.


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