Advice on NAS build needed

I am looking for advice on building a new NAS / media server.

I have very modest needs: I store on the server all movies, TV series, music, and photos, at the moment I am at about 80% of a 4 TB drive. The server runs a Logitech Media Server for music, video is simply accessed on a Samba share and played in VLC on the client. Occasionally there’s a torrent download running and in the future I might install Home Assistant for automation. I also backup my workstation to this server.

Currently I run all this on an old (14 years) PC hardware (AMD Athlon, one system SSD, one data disk backed up to two alternated external ones, OS Ubuntu server) without any performance issues. However, the machine idles at 45 W and with the current energy prices in Europe that is too much, esp. taking into account that the machine typically idles for 20 hours a day. Also, due to the age of the current HW it is probably just a question of time before something dies. Hence, my need for a replacement. I am currently happy with one data disk, but I’d like to have some flexibility for the future. I run my current machine headless, but an integrated GPU would be nice, for setup / troubleshooting direct access is always useful.

I went through the stuff on your wonderful site, but there seems to be very little said about the real consumption of the recommended builds (or I did not find it, in which case I apologise). I’d like to achieve cca 15 W at idle, with the disk(s) spinned down. This should save cca 100 USD a year at current electricity prices, so the cost of the new machine should ideally not exceed some 250-300 USD, although, as mentioned above, I will have to replace the current HW soon anyway, so the return on investment is not so crucial.

Can you suggest a direction?

Many thanks.

I think your power target might be a touch difficult - but it seems like you could do alot with little.

I’m thinking any board that has enough ability will pull 10W on it’s own but you did say at idle.

Also thinking some board with an onboard SATA controller that can run without raid. my HP workstations all seem to have this as an example. so without getting an HBA card - I could put 4 drives on a controller that both TrueNAS and Proxmox/ubuntu server recognized as open and allowed setting up a ZFS pool. so it works well on the cheap - and since integrated to the board doesn’t burn much power I would hope.

Processor and number of fans might become where your idle power goal gets hard. That and number of drives. MIght take some time to research rated power but that’s sometimes not listed as idle and instead full pull.

Processor wise I’ll defer to the group here and I rarely looked at processor wattage as a concern for my build. but I think there are some i5 and i7 items in the 6000 and 7000 series that would be lower draw.

From there one SSD for OS and I suppose cache to some degree, and one SSD for applications. but you could save effort there with just one larger one. I run a 128 and a 256 gb sata ssd. Will move to M.2 one day. M.2 drive with NVME other than faster might also be lower power - not sure.

And I run 4 - 6TB drives in ZFS raid 1 setup. If I was worried alot on power I’d look into the drive power draw and maybe look at laptop spinning drivers or use some 5400 RPM drives. I hear that drives with power saving features and variable spin speed are not good for this use - so avoid that.

How much space do you want to have? I assume you want to move beyond 4Tb useable but not way more than.

I’ve been meaning to hook some some meter to mine to see what it really draws - it has a 600W 90% rated PSU so it’s efficient but I also know I’m not drawing near that other than when I pull video with trans coding. Which I might be offloading to a new machine anyway

OH and welcome to the Forum.

Thx for your thoughts.

I was hoping someone else would chime in on the processor and power concerns.

anyway I did manage to get a read on how much my machine uses. I have an HP Z420 box with a Xeon e5 something processor and 64gb of DDR 3 EEC ram - 4 7200 RPM, Hitachi 6TB hard drives and 2 SATA SSD’s. no video card, and a LSI HBA for the 4 drives and an intel 4 port GB NIC.

Power while mostly idle seems to hover in the 150-180 W range. I suspect with some I5 processor and fewer cores that would come down. Mine has 8 cores for 16 threads. even though idle I think idle draw on my processor and then the ram is a bit. Moving to say a 4 core I5 which would be plenty for the needs you have might be lower. Not sure if you’d get to the 100 W idle range but you might. I don’t have a good feel for that but others might.

For me power is still fairly cheap so my rig doesn’t bother me in this regard. and I plan to add to it with home assistant and probably some video cam system.

E5 something? There’s a huge range of CPUs and power usage of each…

Are you using low voltage DDR3/DDR4 RAM?

I typed that at work and I don’t keep my specs in my memory

It’s a e5- 2590 I forget what version - but it’s not a light power device.

and no I don’t use Low Power ram - which I don’t think would work on my machine but it might for other boards.

That’s why I was hoping someone could chime in on using like an I5 4---- or 5---- series if that matches but is a lower power device - fewer fans. I have memory fans and 3 large case fans (on on the drives, one on exhaust and one on intake - all 120mm

So mine is no way geared toward lower power - but I do think it could be done.