Diy nas on the cheap 2017 edition (WIP)

So I have been running a nas that I built myself with some off the shelf computerparts on a very tight budget. I decided it was  time for an upgrade when I was faced with the dilemma: xpenology vs freenas.

My old setup

So my old setup consists of the following parts


ASRock C70M1

CPU Onboard AMD c7 soc
Memory 4GB DDR3
Case Silverstone DS380
Additional storage controller HP Smart Array P410i
Disks 4xHitachi Ultrastar A7K2000
SSD 2x960GB
Power Supply be quiet! SFX Power 2 300W

This setup has been running xpenology dsm 6.0 a little over 6 months my total storage space consists out of 4x2tb disks in raid5  and two 960GB SSD in raid1 that is used for read write cache. This setup nets me about of 5.6 TB of fast reliable storage and I use it for backups, mediastorage and as an iscsi datastore for my vmware ESXi cluster.

But this setup has its limits: it only has one gigabit network interface, the ports of my additional controller only supports sata 2 and disks no larger than 2 tb. Furthermore the cpu is heavily underpowered and is barely able to keep up with heavy (iscsi) usage.
My plans are to intergrate plex into my nas, since plex needs a lot of cpu power for transcoding my old setup just is not powerfull enough.

The new setup

I have been searching the web for quite a while and was exited to read Brian Moses his blogs about his diy nas builds. However his choice of parts is just way above of what I would like to pay for some nas goodness.


The biggest costs of all Brian his nas build seems to be the motherboards, so I started to look for a cheaper alternative. This is what I came up with:

Gigabyte GA-Z170N WIFI


This itx motherboard has 6 sata ports, 2 intel gigabit NICs, can hold up to 32gb of ram. For full specs please check here.
I managed to pick up one of these boards for 120 euro (about 130 $) which off course is a lot less than Brian uses but keep in mind this board does not have all the features that Brians past 3 DIY nas builds did have.
What this board does not support is: ecc (altough it does support ecc memory in non ecc mode), onboard management, or xeon processors. This motherboard does not come with a cpu so I still needed a nice, ecofriendly but powerfull cpu.


I browsed around  and figured out that if I did not want to use a power-hungry cpu, my best option would be a i3 or i5 from the T-series.
Why intel gives its CPUs for power-optimized-lifestyle the letter T at the end? I wonder. Anyway I ended up buying a second hand Intel Core i5-6500T off ebay for 75 euro. This meant that my motherboard+cpu combo has cost me less than half the options Brian came up with.


Passive cpu cooler

I almost forgot to mention that you need a cpu cooler! Since I want my nas as silent as possible I picked up an Arctic Alpine 11 Passive cpu cooler.
This giant lump of solid aluminium is rated for a TDP of 45W  so it will have no trouble with the 35 watts rated i5-6500T.

More on this project later!