NAS Killer 4.0 build guide - fast, quiet, power efficient, and flexible - starting at $125

[NAS KILLER 4.0 BUILD GUIDE]

[JOIN THE DISCORD]


Objective

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.


To-do list

  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)

Table of contents (clickable links)

  1. Objective
  2. Motherboards
  3. CPU Options
  4. RAM Options
  5. SSD Options
  6. HDD Options
  7. Cases/Chassis
  8. Power Supplies
  9. CPU Coolers
  10. Other parts
  11. Prebuilt 1155 Options
  12. Sample Builds

Tabletop build and guide overview

7 Likes

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 serverbuilds.net 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 DTX 2 DVI, 2xDP (via CPU) 2xSATA3, 2xSATA2 1 $26.88
Supermicro X9SCL Link Xeon, Core i3 ECC UDIMM ONLY Micro ATX 3 VGA (onboard) 4xSATA2 2 $45.00
Supermicro X9SCM Link Xeon, Core i3 ECC UDIMM ONLY Micro ATX 4 VGA (onboard) 2xSATA3, 4xSATA2 2 + IPMI $50.00
Inventec B400GA0 N/A Xeon 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
Intel DQ77KB Link Core i3/i5/i7, Some Xeon* Non-ECC UDIMM ONLY, SODIMM Mini-ITX 1 DP, HDMI (via CPU) 2xSATA3, 2xSATA2, 1xmSATA 2 $41.00 OBO
Intel DQ77MK Link All 1155 Non-ECC UDIMM ONLY Micro ATX 3 DP, 2 DVI 2xSATA3, 4xSATA2 2 $55.00
1 Like

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.

Intel 2nd and 3rd Generation Core series

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

Intel Xeon E3-1200 V1 / V2 series

Model (link) Cores Threads TDP iGPU Base Clock (GHz) Turbo Clock (GHz) Passmark Passmark/Dollar Expected Price
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
1 Like

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
3 Likes

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.

For the internal SAS HBAs and Warp Drive / Flash Accelerator cards, you may need a full height bracket. Good thing is that they are really cheap ($1), bad thing is that they may take a week or two to arrive.

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 660p 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
TCSUNBOW MSATA SSD New 240GB MSATA SATA $154/TB $37.00
Zheino MSATA SSD New 480GB MSATA SATA $133/TB $64.00
Dogfish MSATA SSD New 500GB MSATA SATA $140/TB $70.00
Samsung 860 EVO MSATA SSD New 500GB MSATA SATA $180/TB $90.00
Samsung 860 EVO MSATA SSD New 1000GB MSATA SATA $160TB $160.00
1 Like

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.

Examples:

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

Pricing
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.

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

SATA Drives

If for some reason, you must have an internal SATA drive (you’re not willing to shuck), here are some recommendations.

Brand Model (link) Condition Capacaity Spindle RPM Cache Interface Price/TB Expected Price
Seagate IronWolf NAS ST4000VN008 New 4TB 5900 64MB SATA $25.00/TB $100.00
Seagate IronWolf NAS ST8000VN022 New 8TB 5900 256MB SATA $23.75/TB $190.00
Seagate IronWolf NAS ST12000VN007 New 12TB 7200 256MB SATA $29.16/TB $350.00
Toshiba N300 New 4TB 7200 128MB SATA $23.75/TB $95.00
Toshiba N300 New 10TB 7200 256MB SATA $26.80/TB $268.00

Shuckable Drives

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
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

Cases / Chassis


Tower Cases

Brand Case (link) Fits 3.5" (Native + Non-native) Expected Price
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
Fractal Design Node 304 Mini-ITX 6 $90.00
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
Silverstone SST-CS380B <= ATX 8 hotswap + 2 $170.00
Silverstone DS380B DTX, Mini-ITX 8 hotswap $210.00
Silverstone KL04B <= ATX 10 + 3 $108.00

Rackmount Chassis

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

Power Supplies

Below are a list of affordable power supplies readily available on Amazon. I would highly recommend looking at power supplies on EVGA’s B-Stock Wednesday sale first. (starts at midnight PST every Wednesday) For example, you can often pick up a 400 N1 for $20 shipped during the B-Stock sale.

Brand Model (link) Expected Price
be quiet! U9 400W $45.00
be quiet! U9 500W $54.00
be quiet! U9 600W $63.00
Cooler Master MasterWatt 550 semi-fanless $65.00
Cooler Master Elite V3 600W $58.00
EVGA 500 W1 $48.00
EVGA 750 N1 $60.00
Thermaltake TR2 500W $42.00
Thermaltake TR2 600W $50.00
Thermaltake SMART 430W $40.00
Thermaltake SMART 600W $45.00
Thermaltake SMART 700W $55.00

CPU Coolers


You probably won’t need one of these if you’re going for a prebuilt system, but you definitely will need one of these if you’re building it yourself.

The Thermaltake Gravity i2 will probably be the go-to recommendation considering it can adequately cool most 1155 processors (and it’s really cheap).

If you decide to go for another option, make sure it’ll fit (height). Otherwise you’re going to be really sad.

Brand Model (link) Fan Size Rated TDP Other info Expected Price
Thermaltake Gravity i2 92mm 95W Best value low profile cooler. $9.00
Cooler Master i71C 120mm 95W Low profile cooler. RGB LEDs. $20.00
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition 120mm 150W Normal price $35, goes on sale a lot $25.00
Cooler Master MasterAir G100M 92mm 130W Low profile cooler. RGB LEDs. $40.00
Arctic Freezer 12 92mm 130W Best value tower cooler. $20.00
Arctic Freezer 12 CO 92mm 130W Same as above, but fan doesn’t shut off. $22.00
Arctic Freezer 34 120mm 150W $33.00
Arctic Freezer 34 CO 120mm 150W Same as above, but fan doesn’t shut off. $32.00
Arctic Freezer 34 eSports 120mm 200W Sometimes cheaper than Freezer 34. Multiple colors. $35.00
Arctic Freezer 34 eSports DUO 120mm 200W Same as above but dual fan. Multiple colors. $38.00
Noctua NH-L9i 92mm ??? Extremely low profile. Brown. $40.00

Other parts to consider


For the internal SAS HBAs and Warp Drive / Flash Accelerator cards, you may need a full height bracket. Good thing is that they are really cheap ($1), bad thing is that they may take a week or two to arrive.


Prebuilt 1155 options


Why prebuilt?

Prebuilt options are a good way to get into “the game” with a tight budget. If you’re looking to build a standalone NAS Killer and you have little experience, a prebuilt can save you a lot of hassle. I’d still recommend thoroughly reading over the spec sheets of the prebuilt you’re looking at before purchasing.

Prebuilt systems are very cost effective and proven, with fantastic documentation. They have their limitations though, so make sure to have a solid plan of attack.

Towers

These typically have more HDD and PCI-E slots than the other, smaller form factors. It’s really easy to add a DAS to these towers with the full-height PCI-E. Depending on the config, you could end up with a single tower-size prebuilt and up to 32 drives in 1-3 DAS boxes… The options are pretty limitless. Towers, for the most part will use standard M-ATX, ATX, and BTX motherboard configurations, allowing for standard GPUs and other devices to be installed.

The best tower of the bunch is easily the Dell Poweredge T110 II. It has the most drive bays, it’s readily available, and supports a wide range of hardware. Plus it looks like a batmobile :bat:. It’s certified badass.

The Lenovo E30/E31 can also be found for extremely cheap, and look funky with a gigantic carrying handle on them. They are a really good value for what they are.

Smaller form factors

The Flat Towers, SFF, and uSFF boxes are good for adding cheap compute power to an existing setup. I personally prefer to have certain services segregated off physically from the main server / NAS, so these are are pretty cheap way of doing that.

Example: You already have a 8-bay NAS setup, and want to move Plex Media Server off of it to free up your NAS for file processing. You could buy a M92p Tiny, throw in a SSD for Plex metadata, and mount your NAS shares as a network drive - and you’d have a tiny dedicated box for serving up Plex.


Consumer Prebuilts

Brand (specs) Model (link) CPU Max RAM Form Factor 5.25" bays 3.5" bays 2.5" bays [using 3.5" bay] PCI-E NIC
Acer Veriton L4610G 2nd-gen Core 8GB SODIMM USFF 0 1 [1] 1 (mini), 1 MSATA 1
Acer Veriton L4620G 3rd-gen Core 8GB SODIMM USFF 0 1 [1] 1 (mini), 1 MSATA 1
Dell Optiplex 7010 MT 3rd-gen Core 16GB UDIMM Tower 2 2 [2] 3 1
Dell Optiplex 7010 DT 3rd-gen Core 16GB UDIMM Flat Tower 1 1 1 [1] 3 1
Dell Optiplex 7010 SFF 3rd-gen Core 16GB UDIMM SFF 0 1 1 [1] 2 1
Dell Optiplex 7010 USFF 3rd-gen Core 16GB UDIMM uSFF 0 0 1 1 (mini) 1
HP Compaq Elite 8300 CMT 2nd/3rd-gen Core 32GB UDIMM Tower 3 3 [3] 3 1
HP Compaq Elite 8300 MT 2nd/3rd-gen Core 32GB UDIMM Flat Tower 2 2 [2] 3 1
HP Compaq Elite 8300 SFF 2nd/3rd-gen Core 32GB UDIMM SFF 1 2 [2] 3 1
HP Compaq Elite 8300 USFF 2nd/3rd-gen Core 16GB UDIMM uSFF 0 0 1 1 (mini) 1
Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p Tower 3rd-gen Core 32GB UDIMM Tower 2 2 1 [2] 2 1
Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p SFF 3rd-gen Core 32GB UDIMM SFF 1 2 1 [2] 2 1
Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p Tiny 3rd-gen Core 16GB SODIMM uSFF 0 0 1 1 (mini) 1

Server / Workstation Prebuilts

Brand (specs) Model (link) CPU Max RAM Form Factor 5.25" bays 3.5" bays 2.5" bays [using 3.5" bay] PCI-E NIC
Dell Precision T1600 2nd-gen Core, Xeon E3 v1 16GB ECC UDIMM Tower 2 2 [4] 3 1
Dell Precision T1650 3rd-gen Core, Xeon E3 v2 32GB ECC UDIMM Tower 2 2 [4] 3 1
Dell Poweredge T110 II Xeon E3 v1, Xeon E3 v2 32GB ECC UDIMM Tower 2 5 [5] 4 1
HP Z210 CMT 2nd-gen Core, Xeon E3 v1 32GB ECC UDIMM Tower 3 3 [2] 5 1
HP Z210 SFF 2nd-gen Core, Xeon E3 v1 16GB ECC UDIMM Flat Tower 1 2 [2] 3 1
HP Z220 CMT 3rd-gen Core, Xeon E3 v2 32GB ECC UDIMM Tower 3 3 [3] 5 1
HP Z220 SFF 3rd-gen Core, Xeon E3 v2 32GB ECC UDIMM Flat Tower 1 2 [2] 3 1
HP Proliant ML110 G7 2nd-gen Core, Xeon E3 v1 16GB ECC UDIMM Tower 2 4 [4] 4 2
Lenovo Thinkstation E30 2nd-gen Core, Xeon E3 v1 16GB ECC UDIMM Tower 2 3 [3] 2 1
Lenovo Thinkstation E31 3rd-gen Core, Xeon E3 v2 32GB ECC UDIMM Tower 2 3 [3] 2 1

Sample builds


Featured build

This is the core NAS Killer 4.0 build. It’s almost as cheap as you can go in every category, with some considerations for efficiency (i.e. case with included PSU + 6 bays is a good value, but not the cheapest option). This build will absolutely steamroll any off the shelf NAS.

Type Part (link) Expected Price
Case Cooler Master Elite 350 $85.00
Motherboard ACER/ECS Q77H2-AM $24.38
CPU Intel Core i5-3570S $32.00
RAM 8GB DDR3 Non-ECC UDIMM $15.00
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
  • 10GbE via Mellanox or Intel X520/X540

Ultra-quiet “Plus” build

The “Plus” build includes logical upgrades to the base NAS Killer 4.0. It supports up to 13 drives in one enclosure, has double the RAM, and is quite a bit faster with almost 50% more passmark. The SAS controller and cables are needed to connect all 13 HDD bays. I’ve also included a 5 pack of Arctic 120mm P12 fans, aCooler Master Hyper 212 Black, and a semi-fanless PSU to keep things cool and silent.

Type Part (link) Expected Price
Case Silverstone KL04B $85.00
Motherboard Supermicro X9SCM $50.00
CPU Intel Xeon E3-1270 $32.00
RAM 16GB DDR3 ECC UDIMM $49.00
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black $25.00
Power Supply MasterWatt 550 semi-fanless $65.00
SAS HBA LSI 9201-8i $30.00
SAS Cable 2 Pack SAS breakout $12.00
SATA Cable 6 Pack SATA cable $8.00
Fans Arctic P12 120mm 5 Pack $28.00
Total ----- $384.00

Hardware specs:

  • 4C / 8T, 3.80GHz Turbo, 8238 passmark
    • Upgradable up to 4C / 8T, 9476 passmark with E3-1270V2
  • 16GB DDR3 ECC RAM
    • Expandable up to 32GB RAM
  • 10 3.5" bays native
    • Add 3 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
  • 10GbE via Mellanox or Intel X520/X540

6-bay Mini-ITX NAS

I never thought I would be recommending a Mini-ITX Xeon NAS, yet here we are. I’m in the process of building one of these myself as something I can travel with. Overall, it’s going to be quite powerful, quiet, power efficient, and most importantly: storage dense.

The DQ77KB is a pretty neat little board. It uses a 19V DC power supply that’s commonly found on medium to large size laptops. In this case, I’m recommending a 120W power supply which should be more that enough to cover 6xHDD + the recommended processor. The motherboard also has dual NIC, uses laptop-style SODIMM memory, and has an onboard MSATA port.

The case has room for 6x3.5" HDD as well as 2x2.5" SSD. The motherboard has 4 onboard SATA, so we need to add either a 2 port card (for 6xHDD) or a 4 port card (for 6xHDD + 2xSSD) to take advantage of the rest of the drive bays.

I recommend a MSATA SSD for cache if you’re going to use Unraid. This leaves 6x3.5" for parity and data. I’d only run 1 parity drive in a 6 bay NAS like this. If you go for the 4 port card, you can have 2 more SSDs as unassigned devices. (VM storage, unpack drives, non-parity/non-crucial data, etc.)

The configuration below includes a MSATA SSD, which is good for Unraid or an OS boot drive. If you plan on running a different configuration, you can remove it from the parts list.

Type Part (link) Expected Price
Case Fractal Node 304 $90.00
Motherboard Intel DQ77KB Mini-ITX $41.00 OBO
CPU Xeon E3-1260L $40.00
RAM 1x8GB DDR3 SODIMM $22.00
MSATA SSD TCSUNBOW 240GB SSD $37.00
CPU Cooler Thermaltake Gravity i2 $9.00
Power Supply 19V 120W DC power supply $23.00
SATA Data Cable 6 Pack SATA cable $8.00
SATA Power Cable DQ77KB 4xSATA power $9.00
SATA Power Splitter Startech 4xSATA power $7.00
SATA Card 2 Port SATA3 card $14.00
Total ----- $300.00

Hardware specs:

  • 4C / 8T, 3.30GHz Turbo, 6534 passmark
    • Upgradable up to 4C / 8T, 8892 passmark with i7-3770S
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
    • Expandable up to 16GB RAM
  • 6x3.5" bays, 2x2.5" bays native
  • Dual Intel NIC

“Ultimate” Rackmount build

This has everything but the kitchen sink. 15 drive capacity, 10Gb networking, top of the range processor, and maximum RAM. The Arctic fans are highly recommended because the stock Rosewill fans are loud and ineffective. A single 10Gb Mellanox card is listed, but you will need two if you want to direct connect to another server. If you’re just connecting it to a SFP+ switch, you’ll only need one.

Type Part (link) Expected Price
Case Rosewill RSV-L4500 $135.00
Motherboard Supermicro X9SCM $50.00
CPU Intel Xeon E3-1270 V2 $75.00
RAM 32GB DDR3 ECC UDIMM $140.00
CPU Cooler Arctic Freezer 12 $20.00
Power Supply Cooler Master MWL 500 $50.00
SAS HBA LSI 9201-8i $30.00
SAS Cable 2-Pack SAS breakout $12.00
SATA Cable 6 Pack SATA cable $8.00
10Gb Card Mellanox MNPA19-XTR $29.00
10Gb Cable CISCO SFP+ 3M cable $9.00
Fans Arctic P12 120mm 5 Pack $28.00
Fans Arctic F8 80mm 5 Pack $24.00
Total ----- $610.00

Hardware specs:

  • 4C / 8T, 3.90GHz Turbo, 9476 passmark
  • 32GB DDR3 ECC RAM
  • 15 3.5" bays native
  • Options to expand via DAS additions (16 bays per LSI 9201-16e)
    • Connect 2 x LSI 9201-16e via 2 x PCI-E
  • 10Gb via Mellanox MNPA19-XTR (need 2 cards for direct connect)
3 Likes

Prebuilt Dell Poweredge T210 II

Type Part (link) Expected Price
Case Dell Poweredge T210 II $125 - $250
Motherboard Dell Poweredge T210 II Included
CPU Varies (Core i3, Xeon E3 V1/V2) $0.00 - $50.00
RAM Varies (4GB - 32GB) $0.00 - $50.00
CPU Cooler Dell Poweredge T210 II Included
Power Supply Dell Poweredge T210 II Included
SATA Data Cable 6 Pack SATA cable $8.00
SATA Power Splitter Startech 4xSATA power $14.00
Total ----- $147.00 - $372.00

Hardware info: This “build” I’ve included simply to illustrate how complete some of these prebuilts are. Often times you just have to add a few cables to power up the drives. Often times it’s best to set up an ebay alert for a week or two on the system that you’re interested in, that way you get notified of possible deals. Make sure to take a look at listings that don’t fit your desired specifications as well. Sometimes it’s a better deal to buy the processor and RAM you want on your own and drop them in.


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.