Description

I needed an all-in-one HTPC and storage system (NAS) that will be on 24/7 and accessible within my local network at home. I looked into pre-built individual systems such as Synology, QNAP, etc., but they were too pricey even for a 4-bay system (over $300). For that money, it was better to build my own 8-bay PC system with much more power and customization.

I had originally looked into a mini-ITX build with the SilverStone DS380B (8-bay hot-swappable) and ECC RAM, but it was a bit over my budget. Perhaps for my future builds when I needed something more portable. The LGA 1150 micro-ATX platform was highly available and cheap, and I found a good deal on the ASRock H97M Pro4. I went with the G3258 for its low-cost raw power and 53W TDP. The 16GB RAM was plentiful for what I need, which I planned to run Kodi (XMBC), Plex, JRiver, etc. on Windows 10. The Fractal Design Define R5 case was the perfect housing to fit everything in, including the 8-10 3.5" HDD & 2 2.5" drives--it's a little big for that micro-ATX motherboard :D.

For the redundancy or resilience setup for my storage, I have tried Windows 10's Storage Spaces to no success. I have tried two-way mirror and parity, and found that parity was a lot slower with 40-50 MB/s write, as compared to 100 MB/s write. Storage Spaces's setup was pretty straightforward, but the data recovery is painful from reviews I've read online. Also, I did not like the idea where I cannot simply unplug a drive and put it on another PC to transfer. I went with SteadyBit's DrivePool, which was a lot easier to setup and run. So far so good.

Overall, I am extremely happy with the setup. With 3 x 5TB WD green/blue drives running on idle, my Kill-a-Watt meter was at 25-30W. At full power, it is roughly at 50-60W. I imagine topping at 100W with a full rack of 10 drives.

Comments

  • 43 months ago
  • 3 points

Btw a little tip, if you are going to add more terabytes of storage, you'll need more 1 extra gig of ram for each terabyte. http://youtu.be/2-qrX8RGLCs

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I was thinking about that same video. But is that requirement just for the FreeNAS he used or an overall standard for NAS build like this?

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points

Here is a better article to understand why more memory is required. This requirement isn't for FreeNAS specifically but if you are going to use the ZHS file system.

https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/slideshow-explaining-vdev-zpool-zil-and-l2arc-for-noobs.7775/

https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/zfs-primer.38927/

More memory is required if you're constantly reading/writing data, for example if you have workstations pulling files directly from the NAS. For a home use system where one or maybe two computers are going to pull photos/videos/backups then 2 gigs is minimum (FreeNAS recommends 8 gigs).

http://www.freenas.org/hardware-requirements/index.html#minihwr

For a strict Windows file system, your processor is going to have more of an impact on the system than anything else (Thanks to Samba).

I ran several file systems and learned several big lessons. 1. Never use hardware designed for gaming. 2. Always, Always, ALWAYS use ECC memory. 3. Stick with server grade hardware (xeon, server boards, server SoC's, ECC memroy). In the end it can save you a lot of headaches, and can be far more reliable (my home NAS cost me $500 without drives. C2750 Asrock Rack SoC and 32gigs ddr3-1600 ECC. PSU and case harvested from parts around the house. Operates headless with IPMI support ).

My first two NAS systems were similar to yours. One was the main system and then a backup. I used old PC hardware with some upgrades for memory and drive space. But after a year or so I wound up with corrupt data across all 3 drives. This was a result of bad non-ECC memory. Bad data exiting memory was being written as faulty data on the drives. When I went to go to my backups I realized that the bad data on the drives was then turned into backs. Lost 5 years of pictures including my oldest sons first year of pictures. After that I followed the professionals instructions and have been running great since.

I still love your build, brings back some good memories. Be careful with your data though!!

+1

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you for this! Your experiences with similar setup is making me rethink and going the professional route with server grade hardware for my next HTPC/NAS build. Yeah, this build is essentially my first HTPC/NAS build, so I am kind of in an experimental approach for the build. Thus, my data are just a ton of backup BluRay movies for now.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah that's exactly what my first one was!!! Hehe I got super lazy as it moved away from a media library to a more true nas system. But we all learn lessons, and passing on what we learn will hopefully save one person the same headache.

Good luck :)

[comment deleted]
  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Good info! I didn't know about that!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Glad I could help!

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points

It's a really bad idea to ever have electrical components on carpet... especially in the winter. Static shock will fry everything.

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points
Technically speaking, the computer case is on the carpet though OP should get a flat piece of wood that goes underneath the case so the PSU can intake better. Unless it's been relocated somewhere else then never mind. Yes we do see a component on the carpet from (photo #15) the CPU Cooler but no longer on carpet.
I understand your concern but seems like the build is running. As long OP did not rub their hands, feet... their body... same for the component but that would be very odd. Then the static will not occur. Sure, it is a gamble so it is something to keep in mind. Unless OP had an ESD wrist strap too or was very careful.
  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, I should be more careful about this, although I always grab the case or anything metal before anything else within the case. This was for photoshoot purposes. I've put the running PC on a solid surface since near my TV.

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points

Great build! I absolutely love the idea of HTPC and home servers. It's a refreshing change from the "My First Gaming" builds. I hate to bring this up since it's a sore topic, but I wouldn't suggest that PSU for a 24/7 server. Don't get me wrong, it's not the worst ever and it has it's place in certain builds, but I would get something more reliable for that type of use. You can even match that price and get an Antec 450.

HERE is the tier list that Tiny_Voices used to link everyone too. Maybe check it out if you are interested in a bit of research. I'm not a PSU police but I never looked at PSU's the same again.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point
It looks great! A very organized and clean HTPC and NAS build. I appreciate the nice photos, thank you for them. +1
  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Overclock?

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points

Its a HTPC/NAS with no graphics card?

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

There are on-board video output (D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI), which I think is sufficient enough for 1080p movies. :]

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I did some overclocking for some giggles. Was able to get it to 4.2GHz at 1.25V stable. It's not a good chip from the silicon lottery. :[

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Well at least you overclocked :)

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

You don't really need an aftermarket cooler for a Pentium, but good build nonetheless.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha I know. I got the cooler for dirt cheap, and used it for overclocking fun. Then decided to just leave it on there.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Great case to use for a NAS. It's what I plan to use for mine :D

+1

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

It's quite heavy for a case though--not your typical ATX case. This is due to the high quality build and sound dampening side-walls. It's very nice!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, this case is one I already have. I plan to buy a new case for my own build and use the R5 for a nas. Mostly because the R5 has so many HDD bays.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks great! The only con I'd say is that you could of gone with the cheaper G3220 since you don't need to overclock.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build, man! One thing you might want to fix (not trying to be rude, just thought you might want to know) is that in your description you said Asus H97 Pro4 instead of ASRock. I don't blame you though. I make the same sort of mistakes XD

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha fixed! For some reason, I keep thinking ASRock is with Asus still.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH CARPET!! jkjkjk, awesome HTPC!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

You can easily get in the 4 Ghz+ range with that cooler and the G3258

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I could only get it to 4.2GHz at 1.25V. It's a decent chip, but not the best. That's silicon lottery for me!