Noob needs NAS/PLEX help

Hi all,

I am a first-time poster and I need some help with the project I am working on. Recently, I suffered from data loss and thus have decided to pursue buying an out of the box NAS solution, Synology or Qnap, but after looking at the cost, watching a GamersNexus video about troubles they had with their Synology, I figured I would leverage my pc building skills to build one on my own. But there is a lot more to this that building a PC. So, I am hoping you guys can help me out. I have started to look at the build guides, but I figured best to ask and not make costly $$$ mistakes.

FOCUS: My focus is to build a NAS for backups of all the computers in our house, but primarily, my wife and I’s rigs. I would also like to use this to stream from PLEX (streaming to Amazon Fire Sticks)—Ideally two 4k streams, but I can settle for 1080P. I am aiming for a RAID 5 or RAID 6 setup, generally speaking.

PARTS I have: I have two 16gb DDR4 Corsair 3000mhz memory kits, 4 Corsair M120 White Fans, 3 ML 120 (non light); 4 WD RED 4TB HDD

PARTS I am looking at: Fractal Node 804, either I5 9400 or a RYZEN 3000 series APU, motherboards for either cpu, SSD (for cache?), a PSU (500 watt should suffice, right?), Noctua NH L9i.


  1. UnRaid or Freenas?
  2. Do I need a GPU? I really do not think I do if the processor is strong enough and has an onboard graphics solution.
  3. Am I overlooking something?
1 Like

I am also currently reading over the NAS Killer 4.0 thread, it is quite long, but I am essentially trying to get a hold of what I need. Still, guidance of any sort, is greatly appreciated.

For your questions:

  1. That will always be up for debate depending on who you ask. I feel like the flexibility of unRAID has more value, but it also comes at a price.
  2. GPU isn’t really required on the NAS end, unless you have plans on passing that GPU to a potential VM for a specific purpose.
  3. Really they are two separate tasks - hardware and software. Once you have the hardware sorted, you can move to software. There are a lot of good resources here on the forums, but also look into pricing out newer components using the hardware you already have.
1 Like

Thanks for the reply. Is there a benefit with going with intel (I am leaning that way) over Amd other than quicksync? i.e., does unRaid or Plex favor one over the other?

For pure NAS work, not so much

  1. UnRaid hands down. Not only is it friendlier to the NAS beginner, it’s far more modular than freenas. You can add and subtract any aspect to the system and software as needed.

  2. You don’t need a gpu in general for unRaid. Intel integrated GPUs can utilize quicksync for plexus transcodes. It’s generally recommended to run a 2nd, smaller, low power, less costly box. Check out the hardware transcode tutorial, Otis, and HP 290 threads for more info.

  3. What @dwell said.

Last year I started with minimal PC building experience, and with the help of the 4.0 guide I was able to (somewhat) painlessly complete my build. My biggest suggestion is to check, and double check specs to make sure your RAM works with your board at the factory BIOS version. Once you are built and running, watch Spaceinvader One’s YouTube series on anything you have questions about Unraid. I don’t even look elsewhere at this point. Overall, the hardest part was wading through guides and building the courage to commit to parts.

1 Like

Thank you for the comments. I am really perplexed thought on the parts. I prefer to buy new so that way I have some sort of warranty in place.

Right now I am torn between an AMD build:


Intel one:

CPU | Intel Core i5-8600K 3.6 GHz 6-Core Processor | $169.99 @ B&H

CPU Cooler | be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 50.5 CFM CPU Cooler | $89.90 @ Amazon

Motherboard | Asus TUF Z390-PRO GAMING ATX LGA1151 Motherboard | $169.99 @ Newegg

Memory | Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 CL15 Memory | Purchased For $0.00

Memory | Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 CL15 Memory | Purchased For $0.00

Storage | Sabrent Rocket Q 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive | $119.98 @ Amazon

Storage | Western Digital Red 4 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive | Purchased For $0.00

Storage | Western Digital Red 4 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive | Purchased For $0.00

Storage | Western Digital Red 4 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive | Purchased For $0.00

Storage | Western Digital Red 4 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive | Purchased For $0.00

Case | Fractal Design Define R5 ATX Mid Tower Case | $119.99 @ Amazon

Power Supply | SeaSonic FOCUS 550 W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply | $119.00

| Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts |

| Total | $788.85

If you add the 1660 Super, it adds about 230 more to the price (non tax)

Also, I likely would nix the Dark Rock Pro 4. Even though it is an excellent cooler that could keep things quiet.

I love unRaid for the last 8 years. It gets better all the time and never had data loss. This guy just listed his old unraid box minus the drives. It is very low power but a great NAS for the price.

Sounds Like you pretty well got a good idea of what ya want & where ya want it to go ! I Just Upgraded One of my Dual Xeon Servers & I went to UnRaid for the gpu pass through But It Is Slow as hel* even with 10gb nic & cashe drive But I Love The plugins Realy easy to get plex going and set up dockers and vm’s ! Freenas/TrueNas is awsome With 10Gb & if ya can get the new permissions figured out (i had lots of trouble with them) freenas/Truenas Really Wants/Likes Ecc Ram but i have heard quit a fuw say it was fine with regular Ram & a Gpu can do the plex trans coding Most Will say a quadro P2000 but i have had decent luck with a quadro k2200 4gb & a quadro K2200D they seam to do ok but they are like 50-75$ instead of 400$+ but thair are many that will work good ! ya can try the Unraid Forms & the FreeNas/Truenas Forms they will help ya quit a bit !check out bytemybits on youtube he has several videos on building a home server & he loves unraid & craft computing has some server videos as well as Lawrence Systems These are jut to name a cuple but they are thair to help ya figure out what will work best for u ! o and ya can look at and look around they have some good deals on older enterprise grade hardware with decently good prices for like a dual xeon E5-2620 24bay supermicro rack mount or some 2u rack mounts & there redy to work out of the box ya could get a dual xeon 6 core 24 bay server 16-32gb of ecc ram all for probaly 600 redy to go & they will be plenty of upgrade room when ya get the data hording bug…lol.

Have you looked at the OTiS guide? I think you would find some more guidance there.