I’m sharing my build hoping this might help someone.
|Intel Xeon E5-2618L v4||ebay||188|
|Delta Electronics DPS-400AB-12 D 400W||ebay||20|
|Supermicro CBL-0237L & CBL-0180L-01 SATA Cables||ebay||12.65|
|Kingston 240GB A400||Amazon||25|
|FA07015E12BMC Cooler Master 70mm x 15mm||ebay||5|
|SUPERMICRO SNK-P0057PS 1U||ebay||10.30|
First, my requirements
- Entry cost bellow 600 without including disks and network gear.
- Low power.
- 4 or more disks
- 10G if I could
As you can see, I way blew way past my budget . At least I enjoyed building a custom setup that will last me for years to come. Let’s dive into little bit about each item and why I chose it and small reviews for future builders.
- Motherboard : I picked X10SRM-TF up first and then I picked everything else based on this. I loved it at first sight, when I saw the form factor and two 10G interfaces. For icing on the cake, ebay seller included 32gb ECC memory and 1U Dynatron fan (super loud, more on that later) at no cost. Came with 6 sata interfaces and 4 on a custom cable (Supermicro CBL-0237L & CBL-0180L-01 SATA Cables). This eliminated needing to buy a PCI HBAs card. Overall this motherboard serves me very well and has more than enough features.
- CPU : I wanted to pick up a higher core count CPU with low power budget and I think I nail it with E5-2618L v4. I was lucky enough find a listing on ebay selling the processor as damaged. Only damage was a scratch on top of the die. With the 14-lithography processor can run up to 3.20ghz on all 10 cores and can stay below 75W. Only thing I regret about is, cost! It was 188$.
- CPU Cooler : Dynatron fan came with the board allowed me to get started but it sounded like a jet taking off (even with IPMI tuning). X10SRM-TF only can have a LGA2011 Narrow ILM cooler. Which restricted my options by quite a bit. To make the matters worse, I only had 58mm clearance to top of the case with U-Nas (more on that later). After trying many things, I ended up buying a passive 1U supermicro heatsink and I installed a Noctua NF-A9x14 on top of it using silicon. Yes, its glued on and works like a charm. Unless you guys can come up with better idea.
- Power Supply : I got lucky on this one as well to find an 80PLUS gold powersupply for 20$. To sweeten the deal, power supply came with i2c cable and long motherboard power cable that reached my board installed on u-nas case (more on that later). What is this i2c cable? Turned out these motherboards can talk to the power supply using a i2c cable and get all the statistics about the power draw, fan speed, etc. What about noise level? Short answer is, its loud! However, I only consume max of ¼ power, supply can produce. This made the fan not spin at all. I only seen it rarely spin at very low speed when CPU pinned at 100%. Fan only spins at full speed at start up.
- Case : I spent most of my time on this one. Getting into this build I thought case might be an easy choice, I was wrong. I needed a case that didn’t look like big tower or a server case. This went into my guest bedroom and I wanted to have case somewhat representable. I do like the look of the Synology units, so I eventually gravitated towards the U-Nas NSC-810A case. This was an expensive choice that I don’t think worth 220$. We need more choices on this category . There are plenty of good small cases, but they all seem to fit only mini-ITX not micro . This is my short review of the case: First I would say stay away from U-NAS cases if you can. If you don’t have a choice, read the rest of it.
- First quality: I would say medium, there was sharp ages everywhere and some screw hole didn’t line up properly. When I ordered it, came directly from china and packing was not that impressive. They don’t mention any of that that on the website.
- Interior design: Poor. The way mother board installs into the case makes the power connector opposite to the where power supply sits. This makes the power cable travel through the tiny space above the motherboard, making things cramp and most likely needing a cable extension. I got lucky with my power supply but yours might not fit. Another thing I didn’t like about is, fan placement. After installing the motherboard, you cannot access the top mother board fan. So, install the fan before the board and use the Noctua rubber mount instead of screws.
- CPU cooler: You only have about 58mm so most coolers won’t fit, I had to custom make my own. If the case was 5mm higher, there are plenty of choices.
- Fans: Case came with three fans and all are good and quiet. However, I decided to switch out the motherboard fan with 4pin fan to control the speed. If you want to change out the fan get a 70mmx15mm fan.
- Noise: Case does not help you in this department but fans that came with quiet. Top motherboard fan makes the most noise so you could move the fan away from the outside case and mount it inwards. Which seems to help a lot. Look at pictures for how I mounted it.
- Cooling: This is a cramped case so cooling going to be challenge but with two 120mm fans at the back, hard drives seems to be happy, but I would recommend mounting it backwards to pull in air so that you can install a magnetic air filter.
- Disk trays: These are well made, and it gets the job done. Only thing to note is, backplane does not work with shucked WD drives. You need tape over the pin.
- Network gear : I only needed few things to get 10g working. A network switch to hook into existing gear and a fiber link since my gaming rig sits few rooms down. I was surprised to find fiber gear lot cheaper than copper. So, I ended up using fiber to connect my gaming rig to the switch and rj45 with the NAS. Fiber runs went under the carpet across the rooms. Yes, it does fit since fiber doesn’t take much space.
- Power Consumption : This was an important topic to me, and I managed to hit what I wanted. My previous OptiPlex setup took 100w at idle and that was the line I didn’t want to cross. With the new setup, at idle new setup using around 60w with 3~ drives spinning always(thanks to nextcloud). At full load I was getting around 100W with 5 drives spinning and all cores pinned at 100%. This is more than satisfactory to me. Look at IPMI power usage screen shots for proof . With all my gear (network switches, Aps, Pfsense box, IOT units.) consumes around ~100W at idle.
- Software : I originally planned to use Freenas but then I ended up going with Unraid because it allowed me to add hard drives as needed and does not have a huge Ram requirement. So far, I love Unraid. Only thing I would use and missing from Unraid is support for ISCSI. Kingston SSD, I bought is used in Unraid as my docker app-data storage as an attempt to lower the need to spin up drives when my docker applications are running.
I would love to hear you thoughts and if you have any questions feel free ask.