Purpose A little over a month ago, my gaming computer failed. I performed hardware maintenance, when the SSD decided to not work. Thankfully, I had a backup of my machine, however I had to remove a HDD from the computer and take it to the family’s computer to load the backup. I also got behind on my work because my computer was down and all my data was on the computer. I decided to make a NAS unit so if my computer goes down, I can still access my data anywhere in the network. I could have gone with a pre-built NAS; however, I would lose a lot of performance, and the off-the-shelf NAS usually cost a decent chunk.
Requirements 1) RAID 5 2) Small and quite (I don’t have too much room) * 3) Plenty of storage (Right now I use 2TB of data, 8TB will be plenty for right now.)
Budget I planned on $500 for the NAS. I knew this would be hard because of the HDDs. I decided to purchase the parts slowly, and spread this out over a few paychecks.
Motherboard I chose the ASRock C2550D4I Mini ITX Atom C2550 Motherboard, mainly because of the integrated CPU and the support for DDR3. I also enjoy the 2 x 1000 Mbps NIC ports. However, I found out my internet router does not enjoy NIC teams, so I am stuck with one NIC disabled.
Memory The Operating System, FreeNAS, recommends 16GB of ECC Ram. Due to the budget, I felt it was best stealing some RAM from an old machine I had, turns out it was a Crucial brand and 16GB of DDR3; the RAM is not an ECC-compliant. So far, I haven’t had any problems. However, the NAS has been running for a day now.
Storage/HDDs This part of the build I had no clue on how I was going to purchase the HDDs. I have a stack of 250GB and 100GB HDDs, however most of them are a IDE Ribbon Cable. Thankfully, at my work, we decided to upgrade all our NAS units that we use for Backups, with more storage. They decided to keep all but 4 HDDs from the upgrade, as spare for projects down the road. My boss asked me if I would like some of the old HDDs, and all that I could think of was YES. The only problem was I had to wipe the HDDs myself, instead of letting another employee wipe them. So, 4 free HDDs, I was happy. Late down the road, I would like to upgrade the HDD so 2 are Seagate brand, and 2 are WD. I have been caught up in a bad batch of hardware, and even though it doesn’t happen often, I don’t want to risk it for my data.
Case I wanted a system that I could do hot-swappable drive, so if one HDD was to fail, I could quickly go out and get a new HDD to replace it. I don’t need anything massive, and I would prefer to keep the NAS unit small, as I already have a ton of computers and a pile of junk parts. I ended up going with a 4-bay NAS chassis from U-NAS. The chassis came with a power supply, which met the needs of the system by a decent chunk. I do believe in having double the amount of power required, for your computer, however, I decided to give this requirement up with this NAS unit. The case has a spot for USB 3.0 on the front, however, I goofed up and didn’t confirm the motherboard had support for 3.0 USB. I will look at buying a 2.0 to 3.0 converter, just not right now.
Operating System To host my OS, I gave up the speed of a HDD, for a USB. I went with a 16 GB USB, as it met the recommended minimum hardware requirements of FreeNAS. For now, I am running the USB on 2.0, and I don’t see too much performance loss. I bet I will notice some performance loss when I start to move all of my data over to the NAS.
Note: I built this NAS unit based from the DIY NAS 2016, https://blog.brianmoses.net/2016/02/diy-nas-2016-edition.html
I enjoy having the CPU built in to the build. I love how small these things can get. The only thing I wish this had was support for USB 3.0.
There is no need to purchase a NIC card, as this comes with 2 wonderful NIC ports. It also surprised me with a management port, that I can control the NAS when it's offline.
So far no problem. Especially being a used part.
WAY TO EASY TO LOSE. That is what you get for owning a small USB. It's meant to be put in the computer and never taken out.