How-to: Mini DIY Project: 2TB NAS Box for $360 (Update 3)

. Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The idea of building a cheap homebrew Network Attached Storage (NAS) has been flying around my head for a long time, and today I decided to share some of my ideas with you, my dear readers.
Here is the ingredients list:

Qty. Image Product Description Unit Price Total Price
Rosewill R223-P-BK 120mm Fan ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
$19.99 $19.99
Foxconn G9657MA-8EKRS2H LGA 775 Intel G965 Express Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
$49.99 $49.99
Antec Basiq BP-350B 350W ATX12V Version 2.01 Power Supply - OEM
$9.99 $9.99
Intel Celeron 430 Conroe-L 1.8GHz LGA 775 35W Single-Core Processor Model BX80557430 - Retail
$37.99 $37.99
Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model KVR800D2N6/1G - Retail
$14.99 $14.99

$0.0 $0.0

$0.0 $0.0
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
$74.99 $224.97
3 Optional Part: iStarUSA T-5-SA 1x5.25" Bay Trayless Anti-vibration SATA Mobile Rack - Retail $14.99 $44.97
Subtotal: $357.92
Subtotal (with Mobile Racks) 402.89
A seasoned techie probably can stop reading here, but for the rest - allow me to share a couple of considerations and thoughts:
  • Case: Cheap case: The real possibility of sharp edges, but we not using it for open stand or test pc - it'll be built and closed and never touched (Especially true if you choose to include HD Mobile Racks - a small extra which will pay-off the second one of hard drives dies. Plenty of space in Mid-tower ATX for a small MicroATX motherboard, Back 120mm Fan (included) and optional 80mm (high recommended to add)
  • Power supply - You simply can't afford to skip on having at least a decent power supply and this "little" Antec pulls the job - currently on sale only $9.99 - What more can you wish for?
  • Motherboard - Who's Foxconn?? Not really a big known retail brand, but they are the main OEM motherboard makers for Intel - so then you buying Intel made motherboard - it's actually built by Foxconn. This model, even if Newegg forgot to mention have full ICH8R and R stands for Raid.
    It supports SATA II 4 Ports with RAID 0, 1, 5, 0+1, GbE LAN, 1066 Mhz FSB CPU, 800Mhz DDR2 Ram plus 10 USB ports and onboard video.
    You may not even need the features above and instead, choose to build your Raid with software only
  • Memory - Not much to discuss here - a value and solid Kingston DIMM - you can go 2x512 to get dual-channel and I doubt it will add a lot of performance.
  • CPU - Intel 1.8Ghz Conroe Celeron - More than enough to run fast, stable and cold (only 35w) NAS
  • HD - Western Digital brings the top bang for the buck right now. Alternately get 640Gb Green drives from WD - even less heat/noise/power usage in the expense of a small reduction in speed - most of the time the drive will run at 5400Rpm. Or a slightly more expensive Seagate with 5 years warranty.
  • OS - FREE! My personal choice is Freenas for friendlier interface and ease of installation or you can go hard-core with OpenFiler with it's myriad of options, mostly oriented towards more experienced storage professionals.
I'd gladly receive any critique and suggestions. Please use comments and my contact link on the bottom of page. Enjoy.
P.S: 2Tb Space is raw, in Raid 5 formatted your storage will be closer to 1.1Tb - still an awesome bang for a buck!!
I just found this good video online on how to convert old and dingy pc into a powerful 4Tb home server. I'd wish YouTube won't compress video's that much and the author would have a better video camera, but it'll give you an idea anyways:
Video:Making a 4 Terabyte Server with Freenas.

Gary Sims has created a great resource for learning FreeNAS more deeply and It's simply a must web site to visit and bookmark if you're serious about building FreeNAS box -, among other things he made a great video on step by step creating a software RAID5 with FreeNAS - Enjoy!

Setting up RAID 5 on a FreeNAS server


Gary Sims said...

Great post. I am a FreeNAS fan too... I have made a video on setting up RAID 5 on FreeNAS.

Setting up RAID 5 on a FreeNAS server

Thanks, Gary