Low Power Home Server Build Advice

Hi Board

I'd love some help deciding the best way to go for a new system. Details below:

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as possible

Budget Range: up to GB£250

System Usage from Most to Least Important: NAS, Web Server for development purposes

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, optical drive, discrete graphics

OS: Something like FreeNAS. Suggestions & recommendations welcomed

Case: Room for 2 x 3.5" HDDs eg ThermalTake Element Q, CFI-A9849

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: UK supplier of SFF systems & components eg scan.co.uk or mini-itx.com

Country: United Kingdom

Additional Comments: Ideally a fanless system but definitely a quiet one

Looking to replace my aging Synology Disk Station DS207+ NAS box. It does the job as far as storage & back-up are concerned but can no longer handle the

latest version of Wordpress that I use for developing web sites.

The system will be used for file storage & back-up; remote file access; web server for local development. It will not need to act as any form of home

theatre PC.

I could buy a new Disk Station but I think I can get a good system for less than the cost of a new Synology box. Also I'm quite keen to get my hands dirty

setting up whatever OS I decide to use.

I'm looking for suggestions & recommendations as to the most economical way of acquiring this system. Should I buy an off-the-peg system such as those from Shuttle, Zotac or Asus and use USB attached HDDs for big storage? Or should I build from scratch using a mini-ITX board with processor along with an appropriately sized case?

I would also like suggestions & recommendations as to the best OS to use for my purposes. Is FreeNAS the way to go or has anybody had good experiences with something else, Ubuntu Server for example.

Looking forward to hearing from the board.


8 answers Last reply
More about power home server build advice
  1. Have you looked at Windows Home Server? If your other systems are pre-dominantly Windows based, WHS integrates nicely with them. Otherwise FreeNAS or just about any Linux distro can be configured to meet your needs.
  2. Thanks Thent

    However, the Verbatim PowerBay seems to be purely network attached storage. I'm looking for something with web server capabilities.


  3. Thanks COLGeek

    I have investigated WHS but would prefer the flexibility offered by the Linux based OSs.


  4. jonnystv said:
    Thanks COLGeek

    I have investigated WHS but would prefer the flexibility offered by the Linux based OSs.



    Understood. Hard to not like Ubuntu. Do you have an old PC that you could "recycle" for this effort?
  5. Hi COLGeek

    I don't at the moment. When I upgrade my current desktop set-up I think the old system would be too power-hungry for what I'm looking for.

  6. I think you would be better off in tne FreeNAS forums.
    Here is a system for you:


    Or Tiny PC:

    - RAIDMAX ITX case (30$, no PSU, only slightly bigger than some premade NAS out there)
    - MSI E350IA-E45 motherboard (140$)
    - picoPSU 120W 20-pin (65$, should've gotten the 24 pins)
    - 1 x 4GB RAM (40$)
    - 3 x 2TB HDDs (240$)
    - 1 x 8GB CF card - 1 x CF-to-SATA adapter (5$, eBay)
    - 2 x Home depot metal plates (79 cents)
    - 20-24pin adapter (3$)
    - CPU 4pin molex connector from a broken PSU

    Total: ~525$
  7. An old rig, underclocked, without a discrete GPU, can be pretty efficient. That being said, you do have options. You could try something like this HP server (see below) or build your own, as previously mentioned.


    I am sure you can find via HP's UK website.
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