First build - no transcoding - small amounts of data

Hey all of you wonderfully skilled folks - looking for a little guidence to unfreeze my undecisive option-paralizys.

It will need to serve me and my wife with various functionality (see below). Laptops and phones for each of us. Some services are to be kept local some will be outward facing.


Lower price is better - low-power is preferred over beefy-do-it-all - quality is king.

Services and functionality

  • Syncthing
    • local two-way-file synchronization for me and wife, using today
    • dotfiles, photos, pdf:s, phone movie clips and whatever else one might want to keep around
  • Home Assistant
    • mostly in order to make smart lights actually smart
  • Host my (currently local) static website
    • … with synced gemini capsule, because gemini rocks :wink:
  • A service to create, organize and access recipes (?)
  • Gitea
    • heard it now features kanban issue tracking, could use that for home improvement and investments!
  • mpd


I’m a Void Linux kind of guy. This project is family critical so I guess I’ll reach for Debian.

Docker-, {Hub, Compose, CE}. Ansible, Terraform, Kubernetes - VMs à Proxmox, qemu et cetera. Containers, virtual machines and deployment techniques - questions on the topic escalates quickly. If you run similar services to those I wish to run - which technologies, deployment route do you choose to use and go about doing things?


I don’t want to get a SBC to “start-out”, I want good enough now and into the future. The first months will probably be just faffing about, trying different strategies for deployment untill I feel comfident enought to put important stuff on it.

The thinkpad I’m on is 9 years old working flawlessly for me and my needs - looking for the same kind of deal with this server purchase. A setup where parts might be swapped out when due but as a whole, still be the same setup.

The most data hording I’ll be doing are photos and my on-going transition to purchased local music collection from the likes of Bandcamp.


Below is my idea of a redundant-enough home-server. Not sure if my use for “hot- and cold- storage” is used correctly heh…

OS - fast, smallish capacity, where the services (containers or vms) live
 |__ HOT storage (frequently accessed files), main storage
 |   |__ COLD storage (less frequently accessed) for weekly backups of OS and HOT drives 
 |   |__ COLDISH drive for nightly backups of valuables such as photos
 |__ OFF-SITE backup on Linode or something
  • OS: NVME, 128GB - As fast as possible
  • HOT: SSD, 2TB - As fast as possible
  • COLD: HDD, 4TB - As slow as possible
  • COLDISH: HDD, 2TB - As slow as possible - If I deem this even necessary?

Currently me and wife have around 200-300GB of stuff each. 2TB will be plenty for quite some time (I think?). Given the use case and the idea I’ve put together above - would you experienced folks say it’s a sane plan?


As mentioned in the title I’m in no need for transcoding - I’m guessing the most cpu intensive service will be Syncthing and backups or streaming local music.

What would be a good CPU to build around?

Other features and qualities

  • High partner approvement factor value
    • will sit out in the open, so has to be pretty enough
  • Would be cool to have a 5-10" display on the case that lights up with “health-stats” on demand.

Pre-built or parts-build?

I’m fine with both - as long as my needs are met :slight_smile:

All pointers and ideas are highly appreciated!