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Old 21st May 2022, 18:19   #1
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Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

I want to build a home NAS and I do not want any branded NAS-solutions like Synology etc.

The last time I actually built a computer was before cell-phones existed, so I am completely lost when I look at motherboard- and CPU-specs now; and therefore need help.

I want to use Openmediavault for this.

I want to build a computer from scratch for this. Since this will be used only as a NAS I do not need a powerful machine.

These are my requirements:
  • Cheap, cheap and cheap.
  • Micro-ATX form-factor case
  • Cheap motherboard
    • that can handle at least two SATA HDDs (3.5") and
    • at least one NVME SSD
    • if it can take a few 2,5" SATA drives in addition to the two 3.5s, that would be welcome too, but not a dealbreaker.
    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • at least two USB3 ports
    • onboard graphics (not sure of this is part of the motherboard or the CPU)
    • that does not need much power to run, so the fan should not keep turning on often.
  • Power supply that just meets the needs of this machine - I do not need to cater to any future extra capability.
  • Fan that is quiet
  • CPU that need not be very powerful, but needs to be able to run Linux (Debian - Openmediavault is based on Debian) - also on-board graphics because I do not know if this is part of the CPU or motherboard.
  • 8GB RAM
  • And did I mention cheap?
Like I mentioned earlier, I am completely lost when I look at tech-specs now and so have no idea what even to look for.

I need recommendations for these things that I can buy here in Bangalore (I shall go to a brick-and-mortar store to buy the components, no online ordering for me - too much hassle in case I need to return stuff etc).

Alternately, if someone here has an old computer they are not using because it has become too underpowered, I can take it off you hands, as long as it meets my requirements mentioned above.

Thank you all and cheers
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Old 21st May 2022, 19:27   #2
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re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

What is your budget ? If you want to limit expenses to 20k (excluding disks); this can be a great option :


https://www.amazon.in/MSI-Celeron-Pr...dp/B09V2R1BNR/

Should be available offline as well. With this, you can add 1 hdd and 1 ssd (NVME). You can attach more disks via USB C.

If your budget is 30k or higher; there are better options.
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Old 21st May 2022, 22:22   #3
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re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

Hello,

Since its a NAS, minimum of 3 disks as per your requirement.

Strictly 20k budget

Processor :- Intel Pentium Gold G6405 @ 6k (has built in iGPU)
Motherboard :- MSI / ASUS / Gigabyte (anything you prefer or cheaper) H510 (Intel Chipset) Board with NVMe slot @ 5k (All of them comes with 1Gbit RJ45 and minimum of 4 SATA Ports)
RAM :- Crucial / ADATA or anything cheaper (from good brand off course) 8GB DDR4 @ 2.5k
SSD :- 120GB (OS Boot Drive) SATA (not NVMe) SSD from local brands Rs. 1.2k
HDD :- 2 x 2TB WD (Total 4TB) Blue @ 9k (4.5k x 2)
Cabinet + SMPS :- Local Brands, Select any you like (Rs. 2k MAX, should be lower)

Total -> Rs. 25.7k (As per Amazon Pricing). You can lower it down by 10-12% with hard bargain in local physical stores. So I guess, it should be around Rs. 22k

There are couple of weakness in this system,

1. Your Boot Drive is SATA SSD, not NVMe. There is no room in your budget to push a decent NVMe.
2. If you plan to run this system 24x7, your PSU is the weak link.

However, this (Intel H510 chipset based) motherboard supports higher range of 10th or 11th generation processors. So down the line, if you plan to run more services or VMs, you can simply add a better processor (Like Core i5 11400 or higher) or add more RAMs.

Lastly, a Desktop CPU itself is way more power hungry compare to the CPU FAN. FAN off mode would help with noise rather power draw. But if you really wish to shut off the FAN, consider throwing any entry level CPU Air Cooler (like DeepCool GAMMAX 200 V2 / Cooler Master Hyper T20 /
Antec A30). Intel given default CPU cooler is really poor. Even these cheapest entry level 3rd party coolers are way better. So much so that you can indeed set the motherboard BIOS to turn off the FAN completely, albeit at a relatively higher CPU idle temp.

Thanks.

P.S.

I am too running a home cloud backup server with NextCloud. If you like -> Read More (Cloud File Sync & Backup : Google Drive vs Dropbox vs OneDrive vs?)

Last edited by NaXal : 21st May 2022 at 22:35.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 00:19   #4
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re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

What NaXal suggested looks good. However a few pointers
  • Do not skimp on the psu.Especialy when you are going to be running it 24/7. Get something branded. Most local psus are terrible and wattage is often wrong.You need the most current on the 12v lines but cheap PSUs have more current on the 3.3v or 5v lines. You can calculate the proper psu wattage by multiplying the 12v x the current for 12v.
    Refer to the Linus Tech Tips PSU tier list
    https://linustechtips.com/topic/1116...-tier-list-40/
    Coolermaster mwe v2 450W should be fine
  • Keep in mind with low-end chipsets you make some compromises. Eg. If you populate the nvme slot on your motherboard, you might lose a sata port since they share bandwidth
  • You can check prices from multiple retailers on pcpricetracker.in
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Old 22nd May 2022, 00:26   #5
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re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

Another option is a used SFF box
https://www.oldlappy.com/refurbished...44-cpu-core_i3

Plenty of other options available. If you want to buy from local brick & mortar - search on olx - plenty of them available
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Old 22nd May 2022, 06:56   #6
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re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tilt View Post
I want to build a home NAS and I do not want any branded NAS-solutions like Synology etc.

I want to use Openmediavault for this.
If you can tinker with devices and want cheap/reliable NAS, use Raspberry Pi4.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 08:08   #7
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re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

I use RPI (2) as a NAS, wall mounted (hence practically invisible), just goes on and on without any trouble. Cheap, sturdy, reliable, noise free.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 11:28   #8
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Re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

Out of curiosity, why would you not simply use Dropbox, Google Drive or similar? These services are built for storage + syncing and offer so many more benefits (multiple offsite backups, security, apps, smartphone access etc.)? Will also be cheaper in the longer run as there is no hardware cost, electricity etc. Just a monthly subscription and you're all set.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 12:30   #9
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Re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Out of curiosity, why would you not simply use Dropbox, Google Drive or similar?
These services are just better and fuss-free.

Building your own NAS / router / Security + DVR / etc is like doing a jeep. Fun if you are into it, and can drain/save a ton of money.

Upside : If you are in software dev / IT, there is no substitute for "learning by doing".

A CPU + 4 TB storage would cost around 40k. Like most hardware, will require upkeep (say : will fail in N number of years). Anything other then personal usage will need at least 2 of such things in two different buildings..
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Old 22nd May 2022, 14:07   #10
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Re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

Hello,

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Out of curiosity, why would you not simply use Dropbox, Google Drive or similar? These services are built for storage + syncing and offer so many more benefits (multiple offsite backups, security, apps, smartphone access etc.)? Will also be cheaper in the longer run as there is no hardware cost, electricity etc. Just a monthly subscription and you're all set.
I am not talking on behalf of the OP. He / she may have his / her own reasons for the NAS.

But in general on this topic of Self vs Subscription,

NAS or Cloud are two different use case. Technically speaking, any NAS can act as cloud storage but in practice, NAS (Network attached Storage) are used within local (or very fast) networks. As the name suggests, being on network, it helps to store massive / large files (single copy) and makes it available to all the users of the network. Reducing the need of local storage in those user devices. Further it helps to share stuff easily.

Use cases are different.

For Word / Excel / PowerPoint / Family Photos and small Video files, subscription based services are better indeed. But only when these files are lower in size. However, when you are dealing with file sizes in several GBs or in huge quantities, going via the internet isn't a practical option.

Every user has his/her own work flow with different software and projects. If that work flow is producing files in such large sizes, storage becomes a nightmare with Laptop platform. Too many external HDDs to deal with. Having that data available on your local network makes it much easier to work on.

There are various types of work flow which may produce such large file sizes or high number of individual files. Without going into details, let's take one example, easy for most of us to understand. Video / animation projects and related workflow. File sizes are way to big for internet connections and it becomes hard for the editors to find something from archived portable HDDs. NAS is well suited here.

Self Hosted Cloud?

Unless you are a business, it's just ideological need. Apart from I own my data type philosophy, fear of future price increase, hating the subscription model and lastly data privacy, there are no practical reasons. Practically speaking, service providers are cheaper and more reliable.

However, when you build a NAS or Self Hosted Cloud (like what I have). You get access to the entire hardware. You are no longer limited to one use case only. You can run multiple projects within that same hardware at no additional cost.

For example, my employer may not grant a VPS for automating many stuff (work related) that I would like (purely due to cost savings). But once the Home NAS / Cloud Server is functional, one can run a VM and off load and automate many of his / her office tasks. Freeing up some time to enjoy the work from home privilege.

Everyone has their own use case. Once the hardware is running, possibilities are endless.

Thanks.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 16:17   #11
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Re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

I have been using an Intel NUC with an i3 processor for the last 5 years or so. Two USB drives from WD are connected and configured as RAID 1 and then I have Nextcloud running on top.

It has a smaller internal drive that hosts the OS and is coupled with 16GB RAM.

The system gives me 2TB of usable space with RAID 1 and has never failed. My entire laptop is continuously synced with the Nextcloud server.

Apart from a CPU Fan which was replaced there has been zero issues with this setup.

The power consumption is minimal as the NUC itself is quite efficient. The TDP is just 15w and it keeps running headless 24x7

The exact model I have is https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us...nuc5i3ryh.html

I also use it for hosting other virtual machines from time to time as well for my learning purposes.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 16:34   #12
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Re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

I wonder if you can achieve a reasonable setup with a raspberry Pi. It's cheap, can run Linux, can support sata disks, what else do you need? It's probably the cheapest setup you can make do with!!!
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Old 22nd May 2022, 17:29   #13
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Re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kozhissery View Post
If you can tinker with devices and want cheap/reliable NAS, use Raspberry Pi4.
Thank you for responding. Pi4 was my first thought, but then it oly does USB drives, and not SATA. I want SATA.

Cheerd
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Old 22nd May 2022, 18:04   #14
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Re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Out of curiosity, why would you not simply use Dropbox, Google Drive or similar? These services are built for storage + syncing and offer so many more benefits (multiple offsite backups, security, apps, smartphone access etc.)? Will also be cheaper in the longer run as there is no hardware cost, electricity etc. Just a monthly subscription and you're all set.
NAS is for local (fast) access. Cloud based services can be used as a backup to sync the NAS contents with in the background.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 18:07   #15
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Re: Building a cheap, slow & less powerful Home NAS (network attached storage)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Out of curiosity, why would you not simply use Dropbox, Google Drive or similar? These services are built for storage + syncing and offer so many more benefits (multiple offsite backups, security, apps, smartphone access etc.)? Will also be cheaper in the longer run as there is no hardware cost, electricity etc. Just a monthly subscription and you're all set.
I do not do anything Google.

I cannot afford to pay for 3TB storage for Dropbox et al. Plus I do not trust any of these online providers - there have been cases of data loss, the company being sold, their terms and conditions and sometimes even prices suddenly changing for the worse, etc.

I do not need a cloud, I need a home system where all the data is under my own custody and mine alone.

I also have multiple machines, devices, and two users at home both of whom need access to this data.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NetfreakBombay View Post
*SNIP*

Should be available offline as well. With this, you can add 1 hdd and 1 ssd (NVME). You can attach more disks via USB C.

If your budget is 30k or higher; there are better options.
USB I am afraid is not an option, I want internal and SATA. I do not want to send data over USB to wifi.

And re. budget, I already have a 4TB and a few 500 GBs and a few 2.5" terabyte drives. All I need is one more 4TB to either use as backup or RAID 1.

Therefore something that can hold one drive internally would not do for me :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by NaXal View Post
Hello,

Since its a NAS, minimum of 3 disks as per your requirement.

Strictly 20k budget

*SNIP*

There are couple of weakness in this system,

1. Your Boot Drive is SATA SSD, not NVMe. There is no room in your budget to push a decent NVMe.
2. If you plan to run this system 24x7, your PSU is the weak link.

*SNIP*

Lastly, a Desktop CPU itself is way more power hungry compare to the CPU FAN. FAN off mode would help with noise rather power draw. But if you really wish to shut off the FAN, consider throwing any entry level CPU Air Cooler (like DeepCool GAMMAX 200 V2 / Cooler Master Hyper T20 /
Antec A30). Intel given default CPU cooler is really poor. Even these cheapest entry level 3rd party coolers are way better. So much so that you can indeed set the motherboard BIOS to turn off the FAN completely, albeit at a relatively higher CPU idle temp.*SNIP*
Thank you for responding and for the components list! Would you happen to have purchase links by any chance?

Boot drive being non-NVME is not a dealbreaker - I am sure a SATA SSD would still be pretty fast, else I can always wait a few seconds

Re. CPU and PSU, I can make do with an older less powerful cooler-running CPU I suppose? Since I am only using it to serve files? And re. the fan, I do not want to turn the fan off etc. - I have no technical expertise in doing such things and managing such things. I just want a fan that will run quieter by itself without my having to tweak anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
Another option is a used SFF box
https://www.oldlappy.com/refurbished...44-cpu-core_i3

Plenty of other options available. If you want to buy from local brick & mortar - search on olx - plenty of them available
Thank you for this. I checked it out - there's no info about how many drives I can install inside, how many bays/ports it has etc.

And I did start the search on OLX before coming here - and that confusion and lack of information is exactly why I decided to post here instead of looking on OLX.

Cheers and thanks again to everyone who respone=ded
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