NAS Killer 4.0 build guide [$125 - $400]



Update the NAS Killer line of builds to iteration 4.0. Moving on to socket 1155, we should be able to see much better performance and power usage, while maintaining the expected low price targets.

This guide will feature not only Xeon processors, but also consumer Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors. Market pricing for 1155 CPUs has dropped significantly in the past year, bringing it in line with where 1156 was a year ago. RAM prices and availability are still an issue, although it is possible to get a good deal if you’re patient.


  1. Add RAM Recommendations
  2. Add more sample builds
  3. SSD Options
  4. HDD Options
  5. Prebuilt Chassis options (add DAS later)
  6. Validate links, prices, and searches
  7. Tabletop video (YouTube)
  8. Sample build video (YouTube)


Motherboards (LGA 1155)

Please carefully evaluate CPU and RAM support / requirements from the manufacturer’s spec page. Each motherboard will be different. This is not an exhaustive list of motherboards, just a handful of selections by the team. Feel free to use another make or model should you find a good deal or already have one on hand.

Review checklist:

  • CPU support (Xeon / Core / Pentium, etc.)
  • RAM support (ECC / non-ECC, etc.)
  • Form factor (ATX / mATX / ITX, etc.)
  • Onboard SATA controller and number of ports
  • Onboard NICs
  • Display output ports and requirements (iGPU), if any.
  • Heatsink mounting method (fixed backplate?)
Brand Model (link) Specifcations CPU RAM Form Factor PCI-E Video SATA NIC Expected Price
Acer (ECS OEM) Q77H2-AM Link Core i3/i5/i7 Non-ECC UDIMM ONLY Micro ATX 3 DVI, 2xDP (via CPU) 2xSATA3, 4xSATA2 1 $24.38
Acer (ECS OEM) Q77H2-AD N/A Core i3/i5/i7 Non-ECC UDIMM ONLY Mini-ITX…ish 2 DVI, 2xDP (via CPU) 2xSATA3, 2xSATA2 1 $26.88
Supermicro X9SCL Link Xeon, Core i3/i5/i7 ECC UDIMM ONLY Micro ATX 3 VGA (onboard) 4xSATA2 2 $45.00
Supermicro X9SCM Link Xeon, Core i3/i5/i7 ECC UDIMM ONLY Micro ATX 4 VGA (onboard) 2xSATA3, 4xSATA2 2 + IPMI $50.00
Inventec B400GA0 N/A Xeon, Core i3/i5/i7 ECC UDIMM ONLY ATX 3 VGA (onboard) 2xSATA3, 4xSATA2 2 $25.95
Gigabyte GA-H77-DS3H v1.1 Link Core i3/i5/i7 Non-ECC UDIMM ONLY ATX 4 VGA, DVI, HDMI (via CPU) 2xSATA3, 3xSATA2, 1xmSATA 1 $75.00
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CPU Options (click for full CPU sheet)

As stated in the motherboard section, make sure to find out which CPUs are compatible with your motherboard. The top half of the table are Core i3, i5, and i7 CPUs, and the bottom half are Xeon CPUs.

Model (link) Cores Threads TDP iGPU Base Clock (GHz) Turbo Clock (GHz) Passmark Passmark/Dollar Expected Price
i3-2120 2 4 65W YES 3.30 3.30 3920 261 $15.00
i5-2500 4 4 95W YES 3.30 3.70 6326 253 $25.00
i5-3470T 2 4 35W YES 2.90 3.60 4483 150 $30.00
i5-3570S 4 4 65W YES 3.10 3.80 6746 211 $32.00
i5-3570 4 4 77W YES 3.40 3.80 7131 204 $35.00
i7-2600S 4 8 65W YES 2.80 3.80 7091 105 $68.00
i7-3770S 4 8 65W YES 3.10 3.90 8892 114 $78.00
i7-3770 4 8 77W YES 3.40 3.90 9280 103 $90.00
- - - - - - - - - -
E3-1220L 2 4 20W NO 2.20 3.40 3563 103 $34.50
E3-1225 4 4 95W NO 3.10 3.40 5889 262 $23.50
E3-1260L 4 8 45W YES 2.40 3.30 6534 163 $40.00
E3-1270 4 8 80W NO 3.40 3.80 8238 172 $48.00
E3-1220 V2 4 4 69W NO 3.10 3.50 6997 280 $25.00
E3-1230 V2 4 8 69W NO 3.30 3.70 8860 253 $35.00
E3-1265L V2 4 8 45W YES 2.50 3.50 7403 93 $80.00
E3-1270 V2 4 8 69W NO 3.50 3.90 9476 126 $75.00
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RAM Options

Type Model (link) Speed Capacity Price/GB Expected Price
NON-ECC PC3-10600U 1333MHz 2x4GB = 8GB $2.38/GB $19.00
NON-ECC PC3-12800U 1600MHz 2x4GB = 8GB $2.13/GB $17.00
NON-ECC PC3-12800U 1600MHz 2x8GB = 16GB $2.50/GB $40.00
NON-ECC PC3-12800U 1600MHz 4x4GB = 16GB $2.13/GB $34.00
NON-ECC PC3-12800U 1600MHz 4x8GB = 32GB $3.28/GB $105.00
ECC UDIMM PC3-10600E 1333MHz 2x4GB = 8GB $4.00/GB $32.00
ECC UDIMM PC3-12800E 1600MHz 2x4GB = 8GB $3.50/GB $28.00
ECC UDIMM PC3-10600E 1333MHz 2x8GB = 16GB $4.88/GB $78.00
ECC UDIMM PC3-12800E 1600MHz 2x8GB = 16GB $4.38/GB $70.00
ECC UDIMM PC3-10600E 1333MHz 4x4GB = 16GB $4.06/GB $65.00
ECC UDIMM PC3-12800E 1600MHz 4x4GB = 16GB $3.06/GB $49.00
ECC UDIMM PC3-10600E 1333MHz 4x8GB = 32GB $5.00/GB $160.00
ECC UDIMM PC3-12800E 1600MHz 4x8GB = 32GB $4.38/GB $140.00

SSD Options

Unraid is going to be the most common choice for OS. In that case, it makes sense to have a decent size SSD to store your appdata and to be used as a write cache. This improves file transfer speed to your server immensely. Typically these files will be moved off of the cache drive and onto the array daily (at minimum), so keep that in mind when selecting a size. Smaller SSDs can be used as “unassigned” drives, which are neither part of the array or part of the cache. Unassigned drives can be used as VM data stores, file unpacking drives, or whatever you want really.

I’d recommend picking out a decently sized but cheap SSD for caching, such as the Pioneer 512GB for $44.00. I like to use small 120GB SSDs for VMs (divide it in half and put 2 VMs on each drive). The same thing can be accomplished with the SUN/Oracle F-series drives, since they present as 4 separate drives.

I don’t typically recommend NVMe drives as cache drives because you’ll be limited by your Ethernet upload speed anyway, which a regular SATA SSD is more than fast enough to keep up with. However, I like to use NVMe drives for unassigned appdata, because they are extremely good at handling many small files, for example: Plex metadata.

Brand Model (link) Condition Capacaity Form Factor Interface Price/TB Expected Price
Kingston A400 New 120GB 2.5" SATA $142/TB $17.00
Pioneer APS-SL3 New 256GB 2.5" SATA $109/TB $28.00
Pioneer APS-SL3 New 512GB 2.5" SATA $86/TB $44.00
Pioneer APS-SL3 New 1024GB 2.5" SATA $78/TB $80.00
ADATA SU635 New 480GB 2.5" SATA $96/TB $46.00
ADATA SU635 New 960GB 2.5" SATA $89/TB $85.00
ADATA SU800 New 512GB 2.5" SATA $107/TB $55.00
ADATA SU800 New 2048GB 2.5" SATA $92/TB $188.00
SanDisk SSD Plus New 240GB 2.5" SATA $138/TB $33.00
SanDisk SSD Plus New 480GB 2.5" SATA $125/TB $60.00
SanDisk SSD Plus New 960GB 2.5" SATA $102/TB $98.00
Sabrent Rocket New 256GB M.2 2280 M-Key NVMe $117/TB $30.00
Sabrent Rocket New 512GB M.2 2280 M-Key NVMe $97/TB $50.00
Sabrent Rocket New 1024GB M.2 2280 M-Key NVMe $107/TB $110.00
Sabrent Rocket New 2048GB M.2 2280 M-Key NVMe $107/TB $220.00
Intel 660p New 512GB M.2 2280 M-Key NVMe $117/TB $60.00
Intel 660p New 1024GB M.2 2280 M-Key NVMe $93/TB $95.00
Intel 600p New 2048GB M.2 2280 M-Key NVMe $88/TB $180.00
SUN/Oracle F40 Used 400GB (4x100GB) PCI-E 2.0 x8 eMLC $88/TB $35.00
SUN/Oracle F80 Used 800GB (4x200GB) PCI-E 2.0 x8 eMLC $100/TB $80.00 OBO
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HDD Options

SAS Drives
If you’re using SAS drives, you must connect them to a SAS controller. Around here, we like to use tre LSI 2008 series cards. SATA drives can be used with the onboard SATA of your motherboard OR a SAS controller.


These will need to be flashed to IT mode in most cases. It’s a pretty simple process, and it’s covered here.

Always, always, always make use of the “or best offer” option on ebay. Especially if you’re buying multiple. Some sellers also have quantity discounts built into the listings, but those are not shown in the table below.

For the WD shuckable drives, prices vary quite a bit. We’ve linked them on Amazon, but YMMV as to current sales, pricing, and availability of them. The prices listed are common sale prices for the drives.

Brand Model (link) Condition Capacaity Spindle RPM Cache Interface Price/TB Expected Price
Seagate ST32000444SS Used 2TB 7200 16MB SAS $10.00/TB $20.00 OBO
Seagate ST33000650SS Used 3TB 7200 64MB SAS $9.16/TB $27.50 OBO
HGST/Hitachi HUS723030ALS640 Used 3TB 7200 64MB SAS $9.31/TB $27.95 OBO
Western Digital WD40001FYYG Used 4TB 7200 32MB SAS $10.00/TB $40.00
HGST/Hitachi HUS724040ALS640 Used 4TB 7200 64MB SAS $10.56/TB $42.25 OBO
Seagate ST6000NM0034 Used 6TB 7200 128MB SAS $15.00/TB $90.00 OBO
HGST/Hitachi HUH728080AL5205 Helium Used 8TB 7200 128MB SAS $17.50/TB $140.00 OBO
Western Digital Elements (shucked) New 8TB 5400 128MB SATA $16.25/TB $130.00
Western Digital My Book (shucked) New 8TB 5400 128MB SATA $16.25/TB $130.00
Western Digital Elements (shucked) New 10TB 5400 256MB SATA $17.50/TB $175.00
Western Digital My Book (shucked) New 10TB 5400 256MB SATA $17.50/TB $175.00


Brand Case (link) Fits 3.5" (Native + Non-native) Expected Price
Rosewill RSV-L4500 All 15 $135.00
Rosewill RSV-R4100 All 6 + 2 $75.00
Rosewill RSV-R4000 All 8 + 3 $100.00
Rosewill RSV-L4000 All 8 + 3 $117.00
Rosewill RSV-L4412 All 12 hotswap $250.00
Cooler Master N400 <= ATX 8 + 2 $65.00
Cooler Master HAF 912 <= ATX 6 + 4 $70.00
Cooler Master Elite 350 (with PSU) <= ATX 6 + 4 $85.00
Fractal Design Node 804 <= mATX 10 $130.00
Fractal Design R6 <= ATX 6 + 5 $126.00
Fractal Design XL R2 All 8 + 4 $135.00
Phanteks Eclipse P400S <= ATX 2 + 4 $80.00
Phanteks Enthoo Pro All 6 + 3 $100.00
Phanteks Enthoo Pro M RGB TG <= ATX 2 + 6 $100.00
Apex G1 <= ATX 6 + 5 $78.00

Other parts to consider

Type Item Price OBO? 15% OBO price Shipping
SAS HBA LSI-9201-8i SAS2 (Add 8 SATA3/SAS2 ports) $22 YES seller accepts $20.00 $0.00
Cable 2-pack SAS breakout cable $12 $0.00
Fans Arctic 120mm PWM PST low-noise fan 5-pack, P12 $28 $0.00
Add-on card 2 port SATA 3 card for boot/cache SSD, max performance + TRIM support $14 $0.00
Cable 6 Pack SATA cable $8 $0.00
Cable 2 Pack Cable Matters Sata to 4x SATA Power Splitter $12 $0.00

Prebuilt 1155 options

Sample builds

Featured build

Type Part Expected Price
Case Cooler Master Elite 350 $85.00
Motherboard ACER/ECS Q77H2-AM $24.38
CPU Intel Core i5-3570S $32.00
CPU Cooler Thermaltake Gravity i2 $10.00
Power Supply 500W included with case -----
Sata Cable 6 Pack SATA cable $8.00
Total ----- $174.38

Hardware specs:

  • 4C / 4T, 3.80GHz Turbo, 6746 passmark
    • Upgradable up to 4C / 8T, 9280 passmark with i7-3770
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
    • Expandable up to 32GB RAM
  • 6 3.5" bays native
    • Add 4 3.5" later via bay conversion
  • Options to expand via DAS additions (16 bays per LSI 9201-16e)
    • Connect 2 x LSI 9201-16e via 2 x PCI-E

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Reserved 1

Reserved 2

Noob here! would you not run into issues running the super micro boards with beyond i3 proccessors? according to super micros website they only support i3’s.

So, what’s going on with the n400 case… everyone wants 100+ bucks for it now…?

Seems like stock is pretty low… hopefully they aren’t discontinuing it.

Are the Rosewill 4U cases compatible with a Micro ATX motherboard? I want IPMI, so the X9SCM is the only option of the ones on the list.

Also as an EU buyer the prices are going to be higher overall generally, but after soom looking around, I see that the parts (new) are 2-10x the price listed here.

Is buying used off ebay really recommended? (I’m a noob around here) Any ebay buying tips?

Yes they are!

As for buying off ebay, just make sure the seller has a good reputation within the past 3-6 months.

Thanks! The Rosewill spec sheet just said “ATX” for mobo support, wasn’t sure if that included the smaller ones.

A few more questions:

  • For NAS + virt heavy setups, obviously more cores/threads is better. Is there a specific xeon line good of the ones listed?
  • SSDs as write caches: better to use one ssd for the os/appdata and the other for write cache? Or is it ok to comingle?
  • I plan to use freenas rather than unraid (and therefore zfs) any specific advice with that in mind?
  • Since this guide isn’t quite finished, is it still ok to check out v3.0 (modulo mobo specific of course)? Lookin at PSUs, coolers, etc? (edit: coolers are of course socket specific)

Total noob here. Looking to build my first Plex server for myself and ~5 external users. If this post is in the wrong spot, please let me know. Thanks in advance for the help.

Based on the above information I’m considering the build listed below. This is my first attempt so I aplogize if I’ve overlooked something or missed something stupid.

Mobo: Supermicro X9SCM
CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1265L V2 2.5 ghz
Ram: 2x 8 MB sticks (any suggestions?)
SSD: Pioneer 512 GB
HDD: WD 8 TB (existing), WD 10 TB
Case: Rosewill RSV L4500 (I realize this is a big case but once I get it up and running, I’d like to expand and add HDDs to store video footage from home cams)

@JDM_WAAAT Just fyi he cpu cooler you linked to in “Featured build” has the text Thermaltake Gravity i2, but the link itself goes to Arctic Freezer 12.