New To Site. DIY NAS

Hi. I’m new to this site. I live Houston Texas. I’ve build PCs before but long ago - late 80s and 90s.
I need a NAS that I can do other things on, like do home automation, maybe plex, etc. I’ll lurk around and post something later.

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There’s really easy and underpowered, easy and good, and difficult and powerful.

Easy and underpowered: Synology/QNAP. You’re paying for the form factor and software.

Easy and good: JDM’s recommendation of 2 systems - NAS and a separate transcode computer.

Difficult and powerful: AIO - using Unraid probably, or Proxmox (with FreeNAS as a vm). Infinitely more glitches that would require your time to debug. This option is the most expensive but lets you do everything you want in one box.

My setup, that I would recommend to others getting started:
-Big NAS box that primarily holds media. Unraid is comparatively expensive vs TrueNas, but is easy to use and allows array expansion without pain. Based on my share-disk allocation, not all 14 drives are spinning at the same time.
-Plex Transcode box (HP290). This is its only purpose. I switched out the Celeron for an i5-9xxx that can transcode 4k.
-MiniPC running Proxmox for all of your other stuff. Unraid is capable of running containers, but I like Proxmox for this. I have a J1900 qotom box that runs ubuntu (docker for calibre, some other low powered “nice to have” network stuff), Home Assistant, and some other things. The N100 cpu is reportedly an amazing value, and if those boxes start to hover around $125 I’m going for one.

Tozmo, your response if very helpful and I appreciate it. I’ve been told on other forums, why build a NAS when you can by Synology and have a separate box for Automation, playing etc. I believe Synology is the best NAS device and ease of use and form factor are nice, but it has limitations due to proprietary natures. I guess think DIY NAS is better?

I’m thinking of running Unraid, the cost is not a big issue for me, ease of use is.

I’m leaning towards the AIO, but two boxes would make sense. I don’t have an issue with debugging, but would rather minimize it. I could go with a cheap DIY NAS and a mini-NUC like box. Any quality vendors of mini’s that you can recommend?

So you’re running three boxes. Is there a way to get the transcoding into the NAS? Buy choosing the CPU or GPU?

The Unraid NAS is just a box of drives (I use a few containers to do stuff that directly involves or impacts that NAS aspect.

Qotom box for HA and other non-NAS containers. In today’s economy, you’d want Topton or Beelink

HP290 with a different CPU - Go with Intel for a standalone transcode box. If you want to combine this with the HA/non-NAS containers, go with the Intel N100 systems. I don’t know enough about proxmox passing through the iGPU any more. That’s the nice thing about the HP290. It’s not cost-effective, but it has one purpose: Run Plex and Transcode shit off the NAS. If the box breaks, I don’t have to reinvent a bunch of cainters, I just buy a new box and put Plex on it.

Hey, saw your post, thought I would add my two cents…

Here is my post that describes what I intend to do and build for my ‘to dos’

I do see the point in going with two machines, one for NAS and one for compute… But, the more I ventured into researching the idea of a home server, the more I saw the opportunity of what more I can do with it… Yes you could just run you storage system and a media system… But if you go the route of building a single system, you have more options to tinker with the concept of a single machine for the entire tech setup of your house… you could do the same thing with two system setup, but that I feel would be a little more expensive a route. If that is comfortable for you, then definitely go with two system setup for it will allow you to experiment without ever risking messing up your main storage… But for me the idea of having a seperate system didn’t fit in… so I decided to go to a route where upgrading is possible over time because I am creating a single setup… and if the power constraints yet come up… I can always go to the two system route… but just not be invested in it before hand, especially not with my first setup… I mean I don’t really know this world… so I might make a wrong purchase, so I felt the safer option was to create one system, where my main storage is backed up and that backup is never touched… so even if I make a mistake, I have my data… rest all my investment is going into my world of wonder… WHAT MORE CAN I DO?

(Just a different perspective where it’s not about solving my current requirement, but wondering what more can I do)

Thank you for your perspective. I’ve mulled things over. Looked at JDM’s NAS killer. Although I like the price, I’m going in a bit different direction. First I’m going to build my NAS hopefully with enough flexibility to do the other things I want to do. Then if I get down the road, I’ll get a separate N100 box or something similar.

My priorities are a NAS to store business files securely, then do some home automation. Move my RASPI stuff to the NAS and then add more to it, including security cameras. If all works out, I’ll start building my PLEX media out. I don’t have much of a library now, so I don’t need much storage yet.

It seems that Unraid is pretty flexible, so I can start with 4 tb drives and expand as I see the need. Using a Fractal Node 804, I have lots of space for more drives.

Any comments from anyone?