Need advice building my first home server/Nas

Hey folks, I need some advice and recommendation for my home server.

I couldn’t find a single good build that is cheap or off the shelve.

My base requirements:

  • Bulk disk storage with good redundancy.

  • Ability to run Plex with 4k transcoding.

  • Be able to run docker. I use influxdb, grafana, openhab, unifi etc…

  • Power usage at idle.

  • Surveillance station.

  • Noise level. I cannot have a big vacuum running at all times inside the house.

  • Spend maximum of 600$ excluding the disks.

Nice to have:

  • 10Gbs NIC with M.2 caching

  • Being able to have my pfsense running on the same box.

Now I would like to run separate hardware for all the requirements but at home setting I’m more worried about electricity and heat generated by all of the hardware. This is why I like one box does all approach.


Off the shelve hardware. Mainly I like Synology and I have been running xpenology for two years using an optiplex 777(10 year old dual core) with a single drive. This thing consuming 100W at idle and going to fail any day. However this allowed me to run docker, plex and surveillance station for some time.

I was eyeing on Synology ds918+


  • Simple

  • Satisfies most of my requirements.


  • No room for expansion.

  • No 10gbs

  • No point of using m.2 ports. (ie without a 10gbs nics)

  • Expensive for what you get out of it.

Second solution is to have a freeNas build. I never used freeNas before but I heard lot of good things about it.

I came up with this after some research:

  • Supermicro-X10SDV-4C-TLN4F 400$

  • IN WIN IW-MS04-01-S265 case 140$

  • Corsair - Vengeance LPX 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-2133 Memory 130$

Total 668$


  • Higher performance

  • Good storage redundancy and reliability.

  • Customizability

  • 10Gbs Nic and 4 network ports.

  • Possibility of virtualizing pfsense

  • m.2 ports


  • Older generation CPU.

  • No 4k transcoding, unless I install a cheap quadro/gforce card. This will throw my power usage budget.

  • No surveillance station. Unless there are any good open source projects out there that I dont know of. I would pay to get the functionality of synology surveillance station.

  • Pushing my budget.

I’m wondering whether is there any other solutions and builds that would easily satisfy my needs. I’m not too worried about buying used parts as long as I can get a good deal.


This is a cross post from

The main thing that is holding you back is your want for transcoding 4k.

Don’t transcode 4k.

It takes a rediculous amount of power, strips HDR, and unless you have the beefiest CPU you would be relying on hardware transcoding, which is a pain to do, lower quality and is an additional cost. Plus if you use Plex it requires Plex Pass.

The simple answer is to just direct play all your 4k content, even if that means buying a device capable of that playback. If you have other users who require 1080p you just keep a second library of 1080p for them.

If you do this then really most of the build guides around here should do, and save you a lot of money.

Thanks for the advice.

Well said dear.

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