Saturday, March 19, 2016

Planning to build a NAS

DIY NASImage courtesy of Lifehacker

Now that I am mostly settled down in Australia, I think it is the time to kick start that old project of mine: building a NAS box.

I looked at the prices of of- the-shelf NAS enclosures online and the ReadyNAS 104 which I was looking at when I was in Japan, is still an economical option at around $240. But all of these ready built NAS enclosures have one problem that I am not very happy about. They use proprietary filesystems or not-so-easily mountable ones in Windows. Thus, I am still leaning towards the DIY solution. But it is expensive, however at first. But in the long run, it would be economical as I can easily upgrade the hard drives. If I get a proper case, I would be able to add as much as 6 hard drives in it. A six bay ready built NAS would be very expensive.

So here is the list of components I have come up with.

  • Case: Fractal Design Node 304 (mini-ITX with support for ATX PSU and six 3.5” HDD)
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte H97N Wi-Fi (because of 6 SATA ports, dual LAN ports and Wi-Fi)
  • CPU: Intel Celeron G1840 (cheapest Intel CPU that would fit the above motherboard and I plan to under-volt the CPU as much as possible)
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3 1600 (no specific brand, will be getting the cheapest; and will be under-volting)
  • SSD: 120GB (no specific brand; will be getting the cheapest – just for the OS and other utilities; 120GB is overkill but 60GB is only slightly cheaper)
  • PSU: Corsair V350 (cheapest PSU with a known brand)
  • Video card: AMD R5 230 1GB card (because the onboard video cannot drive my QX2710 monitor, and can be used as a backup video card for troubleshooting the main PC)

The total cost of the NAS box would come close to $600. I wish I could get rid of the video card and go for a cheaper motherboard + CPU combo by using an add-on controller card, but it is difficult with mini-ITX. But having the PC as not-so-crappy. I can use my GTX 970 whenever I want to troubleshoot something, but it is too much of a hassle; so I suppose the above configuration will stay.

I will be using Windows Server Essentials on the NAS, so yes, Windows and NTFS! I won’t be using RAID. I will manually setup daily backups. I will be using the two Western Digital Green 4TB drives that I bought last year from Japan for the data. I think they are about half full and I should be able to survive with them for some time to come.

So that is about it. Now it is time to start shopping. Fun times after a long time!!!

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