First build questions and sample build

I’m putting together my first build and have been referencing the OTiS 1.0 and NK6 guides. First off, here’s what a typical work load will look like:

  • Plex server streaming 4k to a single TV in the house. Transcoding support would be nice.

  • *arr containers and unpacking NZBs

  • Home Assistant

  • General NAS stuff, backups etc.

Here’s what I was thinking.

Part Model Price Notes
Motherboard ASUS mATX Motherboard ASUS Prime H310M-A Rev. 1.02 $50
CPU i5-8500T $50
Case Cooler Master N400 $75 Do I need something this big or can I go smaller?
RAM Silicon Power Value Gaming 32GB DDR4 $54
SSD Something 512gb Should I go with TLC or QLC?
PSU Whatever
Heatsink Is this necessary?

Am I missing anything?

I have a single 4TB HDD right now that is hosting all of my media and documents. I plan on getting at least one more for redundancy. When it comes to Plex, the OTiS guide says that SSDs can handle plex metadata wonderfully. Is there a way to only store the metadata on the SSD while keeping the media on my HDD?

Thanks so much!

Welcome to Serverbuids!

Build is looking good so far. What OS are you planning to use? Unraid?

TCL will tend have better Performance and Endurance, QCL will have a lower cost per TB so it really comes down to your priorities. If your have room in your budget and you can find a good deal on a TCL SSD then go for that. The performance difference will likely not be particularly noticeable for your use case so if you want to save some money or get a bigger drive for a low price then go for the QCL. It probably won’t make a big difference either way.

Its not quite clear from your question what sort of heatsink you are referring to. You will certainly need some sort of heatsink for your CPU. I’m guessing you are refering to your SSD? In that case you probably don’t need one especially in a big case like the N400 where its easy to get good airflow. You only really need a heatsink for very high-end high-performance NVME SSDs.

Plex Metadata
Yes you can keep your Plex Metadata on the SSD and the actual Media files on your HDD Array. Assuming you are using Unraid and running Plex in a Docker container you will keep your Docker data in the “appdata” on your SSD Cache and your media files in the main Array.

Thanks got the response. In terms of heatsink, I get confused between a heatsink, cooler, and fans. It looks like most heatsinks have fans so do I need additional fans as well? Also, do I need a HBA for anything?

edit: Oh, and as for OS I’m still thinking about it. Unsure if I want to go with Unraid, TrueNAS (I haven’t used either of these two), or just go with Ubuntu. Looking at the motherboard, it says it only has OS support for Windows 10. Does that seem right? I wouldn’t think the mobo has anything to do with that.

The CPU cooler you get will come with a fan. A recommendation is the Thermalright Assassin Spirit 120 which runs about $17 on Amazon.

Its not strictly necessary, but you may additionally want to pick up some 120mm case fans to ensure good airflow through your case. Just a couple is probably all you need but a 5 pack of Arctic 120 mm pwm fans is relatively cheap typically around $30 - $35.

You only need an HBA if you are planning on using SAS drives or are planning on using more SATA drives that the motherboard supports out the the box. From what you described I don’t think you will be needing an HBA.

As for OS Support on the motherboard; that is just what the motherboard manufacturer provides a driver for on their website. Any Linux variety including all the OS’s you mentioned will work just fine with that motherboard. I would recommend checking out Unraid it does have a one time purchase price, but it is designed from the ground up to be a home server / NAS and has a very user friendly management interface, curated collection of apps that work out of the box, and a great community around it. The purchase price goes to support ongoing development and IMHO is a great value for what you get.

Ok great, thank you. One (hopefully last) question: if I want to expand the scope of the server to act more as a homelab, supporting VMs so I can play around with k8s etc. would I still go with Unraid or is it better to run Proxmox with Unraid on top of that? Or is that just a terrible idea and two servers would be better?

Two servers would be better. Proxmox won’t do great inside of Unraid, and you shouldn’t put Unraid inside anything else. Also best to keep your mess around server separate from important storage and stable services like a Home Assistant etc

I wouldn’t recomend runing your Unraid / Homeserver on top of your Proxmox / Homelab. Not so much that Unraid won’t work, but because you want your homeserver to be stable and have minimal downtime.

Homelabs are for tinkering and experimenting and as such tend to be prone to breaking and needing to reboot or be rebuilt. You don’t want all your home services to go down every time you try out something new with your Proxmox homelab. Other people in your house may not like it when DNS services or Plex suddenly stop working.

Unraid is quite capable of hosting VMs. Technically it is just as capable as Proxmox, they both use the Linux native KVM, although Proxmox has more comprehensive configuration options in the UI by default. I would recommend sticking with Unraid for hosting your VMs to start, and if and when you outgrow the capabilities of Unraid then look into a second server to run Proxmox and host your homelab.