[Guide] NAS Killer 6.0 - DDR4 is finally cheap

This is a question that comes up a lot here from folks in Europe. It sounds like there is not a good market there for used computers or computer parts. Long story short I haven’t heard a good solution and it seems like a lot of people end up buying new.

The idea behind these guides is that by buying used gear a couple of generations old you can build a NAS for significantly less money than an off-the-shelf solution that will also have better performance and expandability. By buying new you will get tons of performance, way more than you can actually use in a NAS, but the price will also be higher than an off-the-shelf solution from Synology or Asustore etc. If it is more expensive than a comparable off-the-shelf then, depending on your needs, it may not be worthwhile to build it yourself.

For the build you outlined above it looks like you will be spending around €750 for the system not including storage and cache. It will have more than enough computing power to handle any NAS / Media server / transcoding tasks, but as stuffwhy pointed out it will be overkill for the task and will likely sit idle most of the time.

There are a few other options you might consider.

Off the Shelf Solution
You could get an off-the-shelf Asustore, Synology, Qnap, etc. Anything that can either run Linux as an OS or supports Docker out of the box. If you can find one with an N5105 or newer CPU that should be plenty for your use case including transcoding. It won’t have any options for upgrades or expandability but if it does everything you need it will cost less than building new. At least in the US these run around $400 - $500.

Unfortunately there is a good chance Unraid will not run on these so take that into consideration if you prefer Unraid. You can do everything you mentioned above on any OS that supports Docker containers, but the experience won’t be as good as Unraid.

Low End Off the Shelf + QSV Box
If you can find an inexpensive thin client, mini pc, firewall box, etc with an 8th gen or newer intel CPU you can use it as a stand alone Quick Sync Box to run Plex and handle transcoding. Then you can just get the cheapest off the shelf NAS that supports as many disks as you need. This is probably going to be the most cost effective solution.

Seek out local used gear
What happens to all the computers when businesses upgrade? What do regular folks do with their old hardware when they upgrade their gaming PCs? It must go somewhere, Unless it all just get shipped off to China for recycling? If you needed to sell an old computer where would you start? Maybe that would b a good place to look.

Used gear from China
There are many sellers on Ebay located in China that ship worldwide at relatively low cost. You can probably put together an NK6.0 level build for a reasonable price with parts shipped from China. The downside is shipping time; it typically takes a few weeks to get your stuff. I haven’t personally had any issues, but I imagine that returns might be tough if something arrives broken or DOA.

If none of the above options work for you there is certainly nothing wrong with spending a bit more and building a higher end server with new parts. It will run Unraid and fulfill all your NAS / Media server requirements easily and you will even have headroom to do some more compute intensive tasks or run a few VMs down the line.

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I agree on getting the Arctic F12 120mm 5 fan packs. They even daisy chain together to make wiring easier without a fan hub.

Thank you so much! Appreciate the info and the advice, I’m not on a time crunch so will look into the ebay option. Cheers!

Anyone else having terrible parity check speeds with this build on UnRaid? I’m only getting 9MB/s. I’m not sure what the bottleneck is. I’m think it’s the HBA or the drives (I bought these 6TB (RTG) Seagate ST6000NM0095 SAS3)

Can you share some details about your setup?

Unrelated, but you shouldn’t be doing parity checks more than once every quarter.

Sure. I’m also having the problem of disks going unmounted: unsupported partition layout after reboot. This is just the parity check on initial setup.

I’ve tried two different Adpatec HBA ASR79805 to no avail. I originally had the setup on an older ASRock mobo,i5-3870,DDR3, with the same issues. Just went ahead and upgraded to the ASUSE with DDR4, no change.

What case and how many fans and is a fan directly on the HBA

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Decade old NZXT case… can’t remember the model but it’s good size. 5 fans (2 intake front, 2 exhaust top, 1 exhaust back). Cooler Master Hyper 212 evo on the processor. It’s slow right after boot, so I don’t think it’s from overheating.

The Adaptec cards tend to run quite hot. Try putting a fan right on the heatsink on the HBA card and see if that helps the issue at all.

Its also possible that the HBA is just having issues unrelated to temperature.

I have the same problem. I removed the Adaptec HBA card and connected straight to the motherboard. My motherboard does have 2 x m.2 and 6 x SATA 3.0. Still need another 3 SATA port for expansion (2 Storage and 1 cache). I bought a LSI SAS9207-8i card but not install it yet. Getting it ready if I do run out of storage. My setup during the issue was on XFS and had to xfs_repair on those drives. My understanding on the adaptec card was that it was writing something on them. There are some had issue with the latest version of Unraid and HBA. I couldn’t get it to work so I stop fiddling with it. Hope this helps.

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That sounds a lot like my issue. Unfortunately all my drives are SAS so I can’t just plug into the mobo SATA. I guess I’ll start looking for a different HBA.

Are you using the latest Unraid version? If so, downgrade. There’s an issue with Adaptec HBAs.

I’ve got a TrueNAS Scale setup that I’d like to migrate out of the Dell R720XD electricity eater.

I’ve got 6 x ZFS storage drives (3.25) as well as 2 x apps drives (2.5) and a system drive (could be M.2 / NVMe).

I’d also like to have it rack mountable, and memory needs to be ECC.

Any recommended build that would meet these requirements?

Hi and welcome to Serverbuilds.

Can you provide more details about your use case? Besides TrueNAS Scale are you running additional VMs or containers? Probably most importantly do you require an integrated GPU capable of Quick Sync Video for media transcoding?

If you are running a media server and want transcoding for Plex or Jellyfin then you will likely want to go with an LGA 1151 Coffee Lake build similar to the NK 6.0. For ECC support you would need a C246 chipset motherboard such the X11SCA-F or similar and you will need to select an E-2100 or E-2200 Xeon or an 8th or 9th gen Core i3 CPU. Core i5, i7, and i9 do not support ECC RAM.

If you don’t need transcoding or you are planning on using a discreet GPU then you have more options such as the AMD AM4 platform or you could stick with the Xeon E5 server platform and just upgrade a couple of generations from V2 to V4. V4 will draw less power than your current V2 setup, but will still be a pretty big power hog compared to the more consumer focused platforms from AMD and Intel.

If you can let us know a little more about your use case we can probably provide more specific advice.

Hello all!! I just wanted to shared with you my NAS Killer 6.0 that I built!
I did not start from scratch, because I already had unraid running on another machine but this guide got me thinking about making a new one.
So this is what I bought:

What I already had from last build:

  • Case $59.99
  • (3) 8TB drives
  • (2) 2 TB M.2 drives (cache)
  • Power supply (from a friends old build)
  • Sata cables - SATA-III Cable

I made some mistake while buying the memory, I thought memory was memory, I had built PCs before, many of them!! but never a server, and I picked that i3 CPU because it can handle ECC memory, now but trial and error I came to find out the Supermicro motherboard only support UNBUFFERED ECC memory and that was not easy for me to find used so I bought it new from amazon, after buying another 2 sets of 32G memory that now I am going to try to return.

Over all, I am very happy with the outcome!
Now my next step is to do iGPU passthrough to my Jellyfin container and then move to my next project… Pfsense router upgrade!!!

That’s actually really impressive. That 8/8 and x4 will come in handy big time if you need the pci lanes (most of us find ways to cram boutique cards into them).

The PFsense router, I’m using an HP290. It works well. I wonder if the cost/benefit of a lower wattage N100 mini system, that also has the ability of more compute for Suricata type stuff, is worth it.

Hey everyone, I’m new to building servers and want to understand why the HBA card is necessary. Is it solely for having sufficient connections for hard disks?

And can the Supermicro X11SCA-F mainboard be used without ECC memory, I had the option to cheaply acquire an i5-9500 and I want to use it with this motherboard.

Thank you!

Welcome to Serverbuilds.

The HBA is mostly for folks who want to use SAS drives, or potentially those who want to use SATA drives but have more drives that the motherboard supports. If you are using SATA drives and have 8 or fewer then you don’t need an HBA.

The X11SCA-F will work fine with non-ECC memory. You should be able to use your i5-9500 no problem.

Yes only the 8/8 will be able to use because the x4 is shared with the m.2 in the bottom of the board and I decided to use it!

I am currently running it on a Intel Dual Core Celeron 3867U without any issues at all, I do not have Suricata enabled in it, I have 6 networks plus some VLANs, certs, haproxy, DNS resolver, and the CPU is never over 30%. this is the appliance.

I ran mine for a bit with regular DDR4 from my desktop without any issues.