Newb: (Challenge) Need advice on hybrid storage/backup/editing box

Hi from the UK :slight_smile:
(I hope this is in the right place. Please move if not :slight_smile: Sorry it ended up as such a long post…)
I’m a dad wanting to do a nice thing for a son who is graduating from a Film & TV production course. Although I have made myself a couple of HP N40L based NAS boxes running Open Media Vault, I have basically zero knowledge of this stuff and the alphabet soup involved is making my head hurt quite considerably… :slight_smile: I know just enough to be dangerous.
This is what I’m trying to do: Son works with big editing projects. They bloat to 3-4TB on occasion and I’m sure as his work progresses projects will get bigger still.
Actual editing takes place on a Windows PC. That bit is pretty much covered for the moment.
What’s needed is a file server which is large enough and fast enough to handle these file sizes. It’s not practical for it to take an hour to get a project from the server or to back it up at the end of the day.
I’m not confident enough to start a build from scratch but I might be able to upgrade an existing box.
The resulting server needs to be self-contained, not to huge or noisy and budget is very tight, Around £/€500 inc drives. (I know this is a big ask…) I’m happy to buy used parts.
It needs to be hardware agnostic! I’m thinking mergerfs to pool drives and maybe snapraid to keep track of things. Final backup might be to Backblaze if funds allow.
It’s not as important that the result is “all singing, all dancing” immediately but that it’s something he could grow in to as funds allow.
These are my thoughts so far: Used box with no drives but with CPU and everything else in it. 4-8 drive bays. £75 used on ebay?
Even SSDs don’t seem to be fast enough doe to the limitations of the SATA connection. NVMe drives seem to be similar cost and would connect to the PCI slot using an adapter like this: ASUS Hyper M.2 x16 PCI-e Controller Card V2 | OcUK . Correct me if I’m wrong!
I was hoping to fit perhaps three of these drives in it: Crucial P3 2TB M.2 SSD | Would they be compatible?
The HHD bays would be populated over time. To start with a couple of 6TB drives would suffice to back up the NVMe drives. (Not included in my budget) More, larger drives would be fitted over time.
Then data would be passed to the editing PC through a USB4 card in another PCI slot. Network is far too slow.
Q1: Am I crazy to think this can be achieved on such a tight budget?
Q2: Does the box need to have PCI Gen 3? I’m under the impression that Gen 2 will throttle the throughput to 10GB/s whereas Gen 3 will double that…?
Q3: what cheap box can I base this on? The “NAS Killer 4.0” guide suggests a particular Dell box, T110 I think. This seems great but is PCI Gen 2 unless I’m mistaken…?
Q4: I’m confused about PCI x4/8/16 alphabet soup. Do I need two x16 slots? One for the NVMe adapter and one for the USB4 card so as not to create a bottleneck?
Q5: What is the minimum CPU for this? I know a NAS box can run on a hamster wheel but I guess this is different? Would be good to keep power consumption low if poss…
Help me please! It’s for a good cause :wink: