Upping my home network game

Good afternoon, hope all you US people had a good Thanksgiving!

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a NAS for a while, and after seeing the NAS Killer guides I’m close to pulling the trigger as they make a lot more sense economically than the commercial NAS solutions.

Primary purpose would be to host media for Plex and for backup of important files. Currently I’m using my Windows gaming PC as my Plex server and storage, with cloud backup via BackBlaze. My idea would be to do a NAS Killer 4.1 build, have that be the media storage, maybe get the HP290 for the Plex Server, but maintain copies of media on my gaming PC giving me the full 3-2-1 backup setup. Before I start buying parts I do have a few questions:

1). How much CPU will I realistically need? Again, Plex server will NOT be the NAS so I won’t need any transcoding horsepower. Would the Xeon E3-1220 or whatever comes with the 4.1 combos be enough? What would I get by upgrading the CPU, if anything?

2). What kind of lifespan should I expect from the core hardware? Obviously all the components have been used for several years already, still have 5+ years of life for home use?

3). I currently have about 7TB of data for this NAS. Plan on using unRAID based on the recommendations of this forum and others. Should I just bite the bullet and get a pair of 12TB drives initially? Then theoretically I shouldn’t need to worry about upgrading the parity drive in the future.


Welcome to the Forum!

If your just doing NAS Stuff then the E3-1220 will be fine. As for lifespan all the hardware your getting used should last at least 10 years with the exception of the HDD’s if you get them used. HDD Lifespan is really unpredictable but with good server grade drives 5 years seems realistic.

How many drives do you plan to have in your array? What Raid type are you looking to use? Will you be using SAS or SATA drives?

I was planning to use unRAID for ease of use and expansion. Probably stick with SATA drives, as they are less expensive and more available, particularly if shucked from external enclosures.

As for the number of drives, that is still an open question. I know the parity drive for unRAID needs to be at least as large as the largest data drive, so it makes sense to me to go big early for that. The question then becomes whether it makes sense to start with one big data drive, or 2+ smaller drives. Right now I have about 7TB of data, but that amount is growing over time.

Maybe start with a pair of 8TB drives, knowing I’ll need another drive in the near future?