I need help Choosing the Right Parts for a NAS Build

Hey Guys! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I am completely new to building servers and could really use some help putting together a NAS for my home network. Basically, I want a rock-solid system to store and stream all my media (movies, music, shows, the whole shebang) and back up important files. Here’s the lowdown on what I am looking for:

  • I hoping for around 20TB of usable space, with some room to grow in the future.
  • My budget is around $1000, but I’m flexible if something’s really worth it.
  • Primarily for media streaming with Plex, regular file storage, and backups.
  • I’m a total newbie, but I’m a quick learner and willing to tackle a challenge.

I’ve been doing some research on building a NAS, and let me tell you, there’s a crazy amount of info out there on processors, motherboards, and RAID setups. Honestly, it’s all a bit mind-boggling!
I also check this guide: https://forums.serverbuilds.net/t/guide-750-20-core-40-thread-amd-ryzen-threasnowflakedripper-killer-aka-thread-runner-lower-cost-configs-startin But I have not found any solution.
Anyone out there have suggestion for a solid build that fits my needs? Any advice on specific parts or configurations would be a huge win.

Thanks! :innocent:

A great place to start would be the NK 6.0 Build Guide

LGA 1151 (8th / 9th gen) is currently the sweet spot in terms of price / performance; at least if you are buying used and located in the US.

For a CPU I would probably go with an i3 (8100, 8300, 9100, 9300) Those are the least expensive for the socket, but they still offer plenty of performance for most home server NAS use cases, will trancode for Plex / Jellyfin just as well as the more expensive CPUs on the socket, and even have ECC support depending on the motherboard.

If you need a little more performance and don’t care about ECC you can go with an i5 for only slightly more cost.

Finally if you want lots more performance and ECC you support you can check out the more expensive Coffee Lake Xeons and C246 chipset motherboards.

You will want to dedicate a drive to parity; So to get to 20GB of storage you could get 2x 20TB drives which maximizes your future expansion, but 20 TB drives are expensive. You might be better off with 3x 10TB drives instead.

For OS I highly recommend Unraid. Unraid has unfortunately switched to a subscription model which is a bit of a turn-off, but it is still worth it IMHO. They do have an expensive tier with unlimited updates which you could potentially upgrade to if / when it goes on sale.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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$1,000?! Jaysus! I wish my wife would have given me that kinda budget! I think I got mine all said and done for around $500, and that was with the mistakes I made.

If I had your kind of budget, I would focus on processor / motherboard / PSU then storage. RAM is cheap enough, and you will need only 8GB but go ahead and spring for 16GB. Case would definitely be form follows function thing. If it’s going to be in a basement, a tank with cooling vents and big fans. Don’t worry about it being quiet if no one is around. If it will be in the living room or home office, give more consideration to a quiet and energy efficient combo of CPU & PSU.

Media streamer means 8th gen or better Intel CPU in my opinion. 10th gen would be a sweet spot for cost / performance. I have an 8th gen and frequently have 4 concurrent users spread out across 3 states streaming a minimum of 720p video but frequent 4K video with not so much as a hiccup from the server. And I tinkered with the same machine doing a Nextcloud setup. Still no performance hit.

Many people here like Unraid for the OS. I have never used it, but I refuse to do the software-as-a-service thing. Especially with an operating system. I would recommend OpenMediaVault or TrueNAS Scale for people who prefer appliance type NAS with Docker images. If you want a traditional “roll your own”, Debian or Ubuntu server works great.

My most important piece of advice though is this - screw up early. Make a mistake. Figure out what you did wrong and fix it. Doesn’t matter if it is buying the wrong part or messing up a configuration of something. It’s the best teacher and it’s not like it’s a matter of life and death. Once you get over the fear of messing up something, the whole thing gets to be a lot more fun.