NAS Killer Prebuilt Planning Questions

Hello all. I"m a NAS nubie and new to this forum. I’ve built PCs in the past but not a NAS. I’ve been wanting to build a NAS for a while and found this site. I want to build a NAS for multiple uses, 1 - PC Backup, 2 - iphone photo/backup, 3 - document/music/photo/video storage, 4 - PLEX server. I also would like to use VLC to play music/video connected to my TV via HDMI.

I’ve been using Google Drive and iCloud for the past couple of years and want to move off these platforms.

After reading the NAS Killer 4.0 build I’ve decided to pursue the prebuilt option route. Here’s what I’m looking at purchasing

  • HP Elite 8300 CMT w/ i7-3770 CPU. It comes w/ 16GB RAM and a 2TB HDD.
  • 16GB RAM to increase to 32GB total
  • Nvidia Geforce GT 630 graphics card (for HDMI output)
  • 3 - WD Red 10TB (setup for RAID 5)
  • TrueNAS or Unraid

I’m estimating this complete setup will run about $500-600. buying used off ebay. I have several questions.

  1. HP claims I can use Intel Rapid Storage Technology to setup RAID 1. Can I do RAID 5? It doesn’t say. Will I need a RAID controller? Should I be looking at just 2 HDD in RAID 1?
  2. Does TrueNAS or Unraid support RAID 5?
  3. Will adding 16GB more RAM and the Nvidia card allow for HW transcoding for VLC and/or PLEX?
  4. Is this build overkill? Can I do this build cheaper? As a newbie what am I missing? What else should I consider?

I plan to hardwire the NAS to my wifi router so my PCs and phones can connect to it for backups. I also plan to hardwire the NAS (via HDMI) to the TV so I can use PLEX and VLC to play music and videos. Right now I’m using my laptop (Lenovo Legion 5) as my PLEX server and want to free up HDD space as well as be able to do backups w/o having to attach an external HDD.

Any input and help is appreciated. Thanks


You should really build your own. It’s very cost effective and you’ll get a better result, especially long term as you start to expand.

Pick up some HDDs here instead, and save yourself a ton of money.

Have you considered Unraid or TrueNAS? Neither utilize a hardware RAID controller, and instead will require direct drive passthrough for use of their drive pools.

That Nvidia GPU is not capable of hardware transcoding. Have you read the QuickSync guide?

Thanks for the feedback. I pulled the trigger on a HP 8300 CMT. It came with 12GB RAM and a 1TB WD Blue HDD. Got it for $65. Since the Nvidia card won’t work the PC has a Radeon 1 GB 7450 card and the i7-3770 CPU has Intel® HD Graphics 4000 built in. I used your suggestion and just bought 2 - Seagate 10TB drives using the discount for $60/each. So far I have $185 invested in this build. I looked at your QuickSync post. I don’t know what a Headless Ghost Display Emulator is or how to use it. Will the CPU or Radeon card support hardware transcoding? Since the PC doesn’t have HDMI I need a card to wire to the TV. ALSO, I just thought about also using this rig for a VM (VirtualBox Mint Linux) is that possible? Thanks for all the input and help. This is a really great site. I found it by accident. I’m glad I did.

I just found this The Intel Core i7-3770 Processor has Intel HD Graphics 4000 Technology integrated into it . It also comes with Intel Clear Video HD Technology to handle high definition playback with ease.

playback is not transcoding. as stated read that transcoding guide and it points out which Intel chips have the right internal bits for actual transcoding for plex/jellyfin service. It’s specific. I know I was looking at a 6000 series or higher processor for transcoding.

on the other bit - that intel controler won’t matter if you use Unraid or Truenas - also as stated and you should find either of those software work well controlling the drives. I recommend a minimum of 3 in general and I found a happy medium using 4. Since you already have the box now I assume you want to work with what you have. How many drives can that box take?

you need 3 or more drives to get the most benefit out of either unraid or truenas IMO. and I’d recommend 4 really. and I would setup a SSD for the OS - and apps drive.

Thanks for the feedback. The case has 6 bays (3 external and 3 internal). I was thinking of using the WD Blue for the OS. I have a Samsung 500GB SSD I could use for the OS. I was also thinking of buying a 3rd Seagate so I can setup a RAID with parity for data protection.

I read the QuickSync guide several times (I’m a visual learner) and now understand the graphics cards only work for playback. The CPU does the transcoding. The i7-3770 is an ivy bridge processor and probably won’t work to transcode or will with poor quality. If I understand the rest of the article correctly the ghost dummy plug is used to enable the GPU . It would need to be plugged into the display port on the motherboard to get QuickSync to do the transcoding.

Did I get all this right?

If you run unRaid (I do) you will not need a drive for the OS as it runs from a USB stick. I gave up on using the server as a HTPC and use a Nvidia Shield TV instead and it has been a great choice. No need to have a server by the projector or TV, no need for high end video card. Plex is run on the server and client on the Shield.

I’ve not built a transcode machine using quicksync but that’s mostly it. The key here is the GPU is part of the CPU there. and yes since you won’t have a monitor on the machine it has to think there is one for the GPU pieces to turn on - and that’s the circuits that do the transcoding.

I like having an SSD for the OS and programs drives - but I use TrueNAS Scale at the moment. I was using Ubuntu Server and manual setup but it’s a minor PITA.

I’m getting ready to build my NAS and have some questions. I’m including pics to help. I plan to put the Seagate drives in the lower internal drive bays and the Samsung SSD in an upper external drive bay. Will the Seagate drives create too much heat? Should I reverse this and put the Seagate’s in the upper bays?

Next, according to the HP manual. I would plug the SSD into 19 (dark blue) the parity HDD into 20 (light blue). Do I use 18 & 21 (white) for both storage HHDs?

I’m planning to use TrueNAS Core as my OS. Is there anything else I need to consider before starting? Thanks for the feedback.

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that looks alot like my box. I’m using a HP Z420 workstation as my device the chassis is similar. board and processor is completely different.

anyway I bought a 2, 5.25 to 3.5 bay converter device. 2 - 5.25 bays turn into 3 , 3.5 bays with a fan in front. 3 of my 4 drives live there. the 4th lives in the top of the stock 3.5 bays.

below that I have 2 SSDs both are sata SSD’s becasue that’s what I had.

Ports I would use SATA0 as your OS/apps drive using a SSD there. Then if needing to use what’s there - then I would put the other drives on the other SATA ports. BUT I would look into using a SAS controller card like the adaptec perhaps. and a breakout cable. Also might look into a eSATA to Sata cable to use since it’s right there. Make sure in the Bios you turn off any raid control options.

I had to do that with mine when I ran it without a SAS controller as it was enabled by default.

Which model controller card did you buy? I didn’t realize the drives I bought were SAS (I told you I was a Noob) I will probably need to remove the PCI graphics card to accommodate the SAS card or swap them out for SATA drives.

what I bought I wouldn’t recommend - it is not noob friendly. but it was one of the LSI cards and I got a great deal on a card that wasn’t well documented. it works but it requires a little extra - also with that machine you don’t necessarily have the UEFI functionality to fully flash an LSI card.

So I highly recommend either an adaptec card as documented on another thread on this site.

or I would recommend trading those drives back and getting SATA drives.

you might could get buy with a SATA controller for the one PCIE 1x slot but I don’t know that would work well either.

I swapped the drives for 3 - 8TB SATA drives. They should arrive in a day or 2. Based on your comments, they may not? I’ll post results.

I got the 3 - 8TB HGST SATA drives and Installed them. One of them was making noise. If I remove a single drive (it doesn’t matter which drive leaving 2) the noise goes away. Would this be a PSU underpowered problem? Also, I changed the drive configuration to ACHI. When I boot into the TrueNAS installer (USB stick), It only sees 2 of the 3 drives. I’m thinking I will need to upgrade the PSU and add a SATA controller card? Am I thinking about this correctly? Thanks

I’d check other ports and maybe other cables first. also make sure the power cables aren’t damaged. Some times the connectors aren’t fully engaged. Maybe try other ports. I would consdier putting the spinning drives on the slower ports and the SSD on the fast port.

Underpowered I don’t know can happen. as I would think the drive would shut off not make noise. Might be a defective drive - can’t rule that out. I assume here refurbed, or are they new in box?

ACHI should work out - does the bios show all 3 drives connected?

I assume here your bios settings were to either use Intel Raid or ACHI. did you have another option?

grasping at straws - sight unseen.

Well it looks like I’m going to have to install a SATA card or swap out the MOBO. I came across a HP tech doc that says I can only use 2 HDDs (see below). The manual said I could run 3 HDDs. I did change the the IDE setting to ACHI in the Bios and it does see one of the two 8TB drives. However, I can’t access it to run a SMART test. This is starting to become frustrating. I guess I’ll look at the adaptec card option.