Any technical reasons why we cant have a NAS Killer using the intel HP 290 or ProDesk 400 G4?

I am really interested in seeing how far we can take these cheap, low-power devices. With a typical 11W idle, they really appeal to me as a foundation to build upon.

Wanted to ask you all whether there are any technical reasons why we cant have a NAS Killer using the intel HP 290 or ProDesk 400 G4?

Some issues I see with (an attempt at) building a NAS Killer using the intel HP 290 or ProDesk 400 G4:

  • space? because these come in small cases, there’s barely space for drives for storage - something we need a LOT of in a NAS.
    The hack I propose to address this, is to use:
    i. expansion cards like this:
    ii. mount the additional drives externally in a DIY enclosure. This is not the most compact nor aesthetically, pleasing, but unless I’m missing something, completely functional

  • limited stock RAM? - the HP 290 comes with 4GB stock while the ProDesk 400 G4 comes with 8GB stock. Ideally, we would (possibly?) like to have 2x8GB = 16GB instead to handle the file buffers. Thankfully, both support that expansion.

  • PSU might be underpowered? - these come with a 290W peak stock SMPS. I am likely worrying unnecessarily here, because even if I connect 6 external 2TB HDDs, each drawing 5W, that’s 30W, plus a 20W idle (likely far less)/40W peak for the system itself, for a total less than 100W, which is 1/3rd of the PSU’s ability.

My use cases:

  1. Build a “NAS” that’s a JBOD using Proxmox, SnapRAID (parity), MergerFS (pool), openmediavault/OMV. I am thinking of using EXT4 FS as the underlying FS for now but if any of you suggest something else, like ZFS, let me know

  2. While either of the intel HP 290 or ProDesk 400 G4 are QuickSync enabled and can do transcoding, I really intend to stream documents/text files/PDF and audio (music, audiobooks) out of the drives - the whole point is to get these drives on the network so 3 computers and 5 phones on the network can access them. Hence, these boxes really will just be serving content off the drives

  3. If there’s some capacity available, I would like to run a OpenWRT/r00ter container on this

Power is pretty expensive (50c/kWh) where I live: every additional watt costs me $5/year. A 10-20W idle, that’s realistic on both these cheap, low power devices, would cost me ~$80/year. Both the low initial amount (~$100) and the ongoing utility expenses (~$80/year) are what attracts me to these machines.

More powerful machines will probably double this budget?

So what do you all think?

Doable or insane/poorly thought out/unrealistic?


best case, run with a das like loheiman did at SFF NAS/Plex Server w/ DAS

otherwise, limited space, cost to get it up and running in a similar form factor of a real nas makes it a wash.

next you can look at the OTIS builds, specifically the recent U-Nas Build, [Official] U-NAS 8-bay Mini-ITX NAS (OTiS - 8th/9th gen Intel) JDM used an 8500t but no reason he couldnt have gone even lower power if he wanted to.

overall, not really a technical limitation outside of just better options out there.


Got it - so if I were to create a “NAS” which is just a SSD backed/tier cached by some external HDDs with openmediavault/OMV and SnapRAID (parity), MergerFS (pool) on either the intel HP 290 or ProDesk 400 G4, it should work well, serving the files, if I were not loading it heavily (like asking it to transcode etc)?

i mean, that should be fine too, though im not very familiar with omv and snapraid, but sure technically it could work and probably do some hardware transcodes, since the 290 can transcode 21+ 1080 files.

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These systems aren’t magic. You should be able to build a DIY system that has the same power draw just by using similar components, but have standard ATX compatibility and a case that can hold more than one hard drive.

Also, don’t forget that hard drives draw a lot more power spinning up. Just make sure that you’re still under 200W during that period.