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NAS: Converting old PC

  • New Build
  • NAS / RAID
  • Hard Drives
  • External Hard Drive
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Last response: in Systems
February 11, 2013 7:15:05 PM

I am interested in building a NAS. I currently have a 1 TB external HDD, 2TB SATA HDD and a 500 GB SATA HDD. The 2 TB is failing (under warranty so I need to transfer video files from drive) and I am trying to find a cheap option to backup a large quantity of video files (The 1 Tb is full, 2 TB partially, 500 GB OS).

I have a couple of very old PCs with PATA hardrives. Can I use these older computer as a starting point for the NAS, or is it not even worth using them? Can you suggest some possible configurations (preferable <$200).


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February 11, 2013 7:38:43 PM

I tried to do this with a PIII 1Ghz, thinking that would be enough for a NAS, but I got very slow file transfer rates due to the old crappy hard drives. "Very" old PCs usually had ATA33 or ATA66 and two hard drives share that bandwidth on one bus making RAID essentially worthless.

I would say, not worth it.

For building a new NAS, I'd just go with some cheap low power kit, like a Celeron 530 or AMD A4 and then a case that fits plenty of hard drives. You can use something like openfiler or freeNAS to avoid an OS license.

February 11, 2013 7:56:44 PM

I agree, I've also tried to do the old pc way, I have even built newer stuff and I've never really liked it as much as my Synology NAS's.

I know some people are against pre-built NAS but they really are sweet.
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February 11, 2013 8:47:04 PM

+2 Here. The real problem you would run into is the life of those old hard drives. You have to pay a premium to replace them and the old system can't take the new drives. Add that to the slow transfer speeds and it just isn't worth it.
February 12, 2013 11:44:31 AM

Thanks for the advice. I suspected going from the old PATA to SATA, that I would need to scrap everything, except possibly the case.

Could you recommend parts that would be needed to build a cheap NAS? I have replaced drives, memory, and power sources before, and the rest looks simple to install. But I just am not knowledgeable about what parts (e.g. which processors go with which motherboards) that would need to build this. Any advice would be appreciated.