Five Home NAS Server builds were chosen to represent this category's BestConfigs in Q4 2013.
Ultimately, Network Attached Silence by Casper triumphed with 32 percent of the vote. He won by sticking to the category’s primary purpose. While the competition had more capacity, flashier enclosures, and even SSDs, Casper went with a silent case and cooler, a ton of RAM, and a fanless, 80 PLUS Platinum-rated PSU.
Congratulations to forum member Casper for having his recommended build picked by the Tom's Hardware community this quarter!
Unlike Breadwhistle’s NAS PC last quarter, Casper went with an Intel CPU over an APU from AMD. This move makes sense; a NAS appliance doesn't need AMD's superior graphics engine, while it can benefit from Intel's more efficient x86 cores. Like the rest of this build, Casper’s Core i3-3220T is task-appropriate.
ASRock’s microATX-based H77 Pro4-M serves as Casper’s motherboard for this build. With gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and SATA 6Gb/s, this platform has all of the connectivity a NAS server should need for years to come.
A whopping 12 GB of DDR3-1333 from Mushkin is indeed a step up from the previous build’s 8 GB.
The only repetition between this quarter’s NAS system and the last one involves the hard drives. Both Casper and Breadwhistle chose a trio of 3 TB Western Digital Red disks to handle their network-attached storage needs.
An 80 PLUS Platinum-certified PSU from Seasonic’s X Series powers this system. The Platinum certification alone is a massive upgrade to last quarter’s Bronze certification. That step up in efficiency translates to less waste heat, and as a result, this power supply is also fanless.
The final component that allowed Casper to create the awesomely-named Network Attached Silence is the chassis. Breadwhistle opted for the Cooler Master Elite 430, a pretty standard mid-tower. Casper went with Fractal Design’s Define Mini. This case is not only silent, but smaller and more NAS-like in appearance.
This configuration came to $993.22 when originally submitted by Casper, a good $200 pricier than last quarter’s NAS PC. The current prices of Casper’s Networked Attached Silence can be found in the BestConfigs shopping tables.