NAS Built from spare parts

Hey guys,

I have experience with traditional computers, but not a whole lot with NAS servers.

Here are some of the parts I have laying around that I plan on using:
Asus M5A78L-M LX(AM3+ mATX)
AMD FX-4100
Kingston 2x4gb RAM
Coolermaster 550 watt PSU
Random 750gb Seagate 7200rpm HDD

I don't have an extra case laying around, so if anyone has any ideas what would work well to house 5-10 HDDS that would be great.

I am planning to start off with between 6-9TB of storage, with redundancy. I will add more drives as space is needed and money is available. Obviously I only have .75TB right now, so what would be the most reliable and cost efficient set up to achieve 6-9TB of space?

I am looking to run either FreeNAS or Windows Server, but I am not sure which to use. The main function of this rig is to be my network backup/storage server.

Thank you in advance for any advice, tips or tricks you might have for me.

In summary: I have random desktop parts laying around and want to make a NAS from it. What hard drive set up should I use to get around 6-9TB with redundancy, what case to fit all my parts into, and what OS should I use?
2 answers Last reply
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  1. If you are going to run FreeNAS, this would mean the advanced and reliable ZFS filesystem is within easy reach. In this case, all that you should change is to get an additional controller to add more disks. Or just start with 5-disk RAID-Z and add 5 disks more later. In this case you can get an IBM M1015 controller which works well with ZFS because its a non-RAID controller and can connect up to 8 SATA harddrives.

    If you choose ZFS-based (FreeNAS) then you can use cheap 'green' drives like the new WD Green 3TB, specifically:
    WD20EZRX-00DC0B0 2TB (2/4)
    WD30EZRX-00DC0B0 3TB (3/6)
    according to the HDD platter database.

    Other options would be the Seagate 7200.14, WD Red (if you disable TLER). These three have the latest generation 1000GB platters. That is what you want for use with ZFS.

    If you go the Windows route, you may need very different disks (TLER enabled) if you opt for onboard RAID or hardware RAID. If you use WHS or similar solution this is not necessary as long as you use non-RAID controllers.

    Being a strong advocate of ZFS myself, I can only recommend you go the FreeNAS route and use ZFS. It will give formidable protection to your data for example against bad sectors and other corruption.
  2. sub mesa,
    I would like to start off by thanking you for taking the time to reply to my post. I greatly appreciate your insights in FreeNAS. I do have a few more questions for you though.

    1) If I were to only purchase 3 3Tb hard drives now, would I just be able to expand the RAID-Z and not lose any of my data if I add in more drives at a later date?

    2) You listed a few different options of the drives I could get. Are any one of those models you listed better or has a longer lifespan?

    3) After doing a little bit more research into FreeNAS, I find that most people just use an USB thumbdrive to hold the OS to free up a SATA port. Do you know if it makes any difference if the USB drive is attached via the motherboard USB ports on the IO shield or if I just hook it up to an internal header on the motherboard to help protect the drive?

    Thanks again for your tips and advice.
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