Refresh existing or New Build (UPDATE: Going with new 5.0 build)

Hello all!

I am still digging into the content here, and I am currently at a crossroads for where to take my home server. I currently have a converted Shuttle PC I purchased locally for pennies on the dollar about 5 years ago. I don’t know the exact model, but it has a i3-2100 CPU so it must be an intel socket LGA1155. The server is running Ubuntu 16.04 and has 8GB RAM, one 1.5 TB drive for the main FS and a couple random drives in a JBOD array at around 4TB.

Currently, the main use cases for the server are:

  • Plex
  • File server - mostly source code and photos/videos for personal projects/hobbies
  • Web server - NGINX + Influx DB + Grafana dashboard for logging home automation sensors, lights etc. Endpoint uses HTTPS (lets encrypt) for remote web access to the dashboards
  • Jenkins - CI/CD for personal projects
  • Docker - spinning up test applications for personal projects
  • Cron - (would like to move to Airflow) for some random scheduled jobs

Some areas I would like to improve:

  • More storage, I don’t download too much these days, but I think I would be happy with maybe 10TB or so
  • Update OS to a modern LTS release, not particular about sticking with Ubuntu
  • Use ZFS (better data integrity I think?)
  • Kubernetes, maybe? Or perhaps support a small cluster of nodes to run applications on
  • Better support for drive storage expansion
  • Better backup system, currently I use Dropbox to only backup the data I really care about like personal photos etc.

I am open to some other use cases for the server as well, no shortage of possibilities for automation and improvement.

So my main question, what are the main reasons for me to upgrade to a new server at this point? Would I be better off with a refresh of what I already have? My budget is probably somewhere in the $500 - $1000 range.

Thanks so much for all the awesome content on here. Cheers!


I am gonna start updating this with my full 5.0 build info here as I collect the pieces.

Type Source Item Cost (pre tax)
Case owned ARK 4U-500-CA $0
PSU Amazon Toughpower G1X 600W 80+ Gold $53
Motherboard / CPU / RAM eBay Supermicro X10SAE - i7-4770S - 16GB nonECC $147
SAS Controller eBay LSI 9211-8i HBA $42
Storage Drives eBay (5) SAS 8TB $250 ($50 ea.)
Cache Drive(s) owned Samsung 1TB 860 QVO SSD $0
$492 (total)


After some research, I think I am going to move forward with a new 5.0 build. I found a deal on eBay for a Supermicro X10SAE mobo with 16GB of RAM and an i7-4770S for $144 after shipping. The board has 8 SATA 3.0 slots which should be plenty for my purposes.

I am pretty much sold on unRAID after reading through some of the overviews. It seems like the exact solution to home server software that I have been looking for. I still need to decide on the quantity and sizes for drives to use for the cache as well as the storage array.

My last bit of planning is what to do for an enclosure and rack. I have a media closet where my existing server is located. Right now, it’s just sitting on a shelving system I installed, but I am thinking of putting a smallish 19" rack there. I would prefer something easy to move around for ease of access.

That’s not a bad deal. Unraid is great, you should defeinitely check it out.

Thanks for the feedback, I am very excited to get this system built and configured in the next week or two.

Also, I was able to sit down and figure out the details of my older machine. I have a VERY old server that was constructed back in '09 and wasn’t even a powerhouse back then. I had a small web development studio for a few years where I used this server for internal development. I found the old newegg purchase order:

I still have all this hardware and will likely be recycling it unless anyone is interested in taking it off my hands. I just booted the board up yesterday and everything worked fine.

The 4U case is the only part I am looking to use in the new build as it’s still in good working order. Do you think I am OK using it, or should I look for an upgrade here as well?

Here are some of the old parts I have that I probably don’t need any more:

The Asus motherboard along with the 2GB of RAM and AMD 1218 cpu

I have (4) 1TB WD Caviar Green drives: