Yet another "first time everything" post

Greetings from Poland.

First time poster, first time builder.
I understand this type of build has been posted 100 times here, appreciate your patience.

The initial purpose here is the standard Plex/Sonarr/qBT/Sabnzbd etc. media DL and serving machine.
Mainly direct play/stream, 2-3 mostly local users max.
I understand the specs are major overkill for purpose.

The reasoning is - this is a first step, but I’d like to build on it without having to buy new parts.
I understand there is more this kind of box can do - family data storage, home automation, monitoring, @home apps, seedbox, whatever.

I guess the first question is if this is still overkill even then, or if it’s better to build a for-purpose machine at the point I decide to expand the usage.

Some other noob questions:

  1. The LSI 9211 8i I understand plugs into PCIe slot and allows connecting 8 internal drives without sacrificing speed? Is that the main purpose?

  2. WD ELEMENTS 8tb - I open the enclosures and use the drives inside, which will look like normal store-bought drives, correct? Any other considerations here?

  3. The motherboard 1 - Is this a decent motherboard in general? My main guide was SATA slots and seeing it in a few other builds, but it does not seem widely popular. Does ANY motherboard broadly serve here?

  4. The motherboard 2 - I see the term IPMI often. This mobo does not have that. Do I need it? Anything a NAS mobo absolutely must have?

  5. The CPU has a built in iGPU - I don’t expect to transcode for Plex often, but I understand if required this will do it?

Again, appreciate any help.
If the advice is, build the 4.1 box (or European equivalent), so be it :slight_smile:

CPU: Intel Core i5-10400 2.9 GHz 6-Core Processor ($182.00 @ Walmart)
CPU Cooler: ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports DUO CPU Cooler ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte H470M DS3H Micro ATX LGA1200 Motherboard
Memory: ADATA XPG GAMMIX D10 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3000 CL16 Memory ($60)
Storage: Transcend 110S 256 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive ($44.44 @ MemoryC)
Storage: Crucial MX500 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($50.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Node 804 MicroATX Mid Tower Case ($97.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CV 450 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Case Fan: ARCTIC P12 PST 56.3 CFM 120 mm Fans 5-Pack ($40.95 @ Amazon)
External Storage: Western Digital ELEMENTS 8 TB External Hard Drive x2 ($144.99 @ B&H)
Total: $806.32

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OK, so I will quickly try to summarize what you seem to be asking here. If I misunderstood you, please correct me:

  1. You already have a list of parts worth $806.32 that you like and think will help you achieve a standard Plex/Sonarr/qBT/Sabnzbd etc. media DL and serving machine

  2. You are wondering how a LSI 9211 8i can help expand the drive capacity of your build without sacrificing speed

  3. You have some concerns about the Gigabyte H470M DS3H Motherboard

  4. You have a concern whether the iGPU in i5-10400 will be enough to do some transcodes

Do I understand you correctly?

If so, please respond to the followup questions below.

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Followup questions:

  1. What’s the specific LSI 9211 8i you will be purchasing? I am assuming you will be buying used, but which one(s)?

  2. How many drives would you like to end up using?

  3. Will you scale up your storage vertically (purchase bigger drives and replace older ones) or horizontally (purchase more drives in addition to older ones)

  4. Why exactly do you think you will need to do some transcodes? Can you give specific examples? One input among many others needed here, is the original resolution of your stored content and what final resolution would you end up watching and why?

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Hello. First of all thanks for replying.

Respectfully, your interpretation of my questions seems a bit off, possibly because you are looking from a perspective of more knowledge.

e.g. “1. The LSI 9211 8i I understand plugs into PCIe slot and allows connecting 8 internal drives without sacrificing speed? Is that the main purpose?”

The idea is, I have no clue what the LSI 9211 actually does (just some suspicions). Looking online it’s all shopping websites that assume you know what you’re doing.

Anyhow, I had these questions answered on the r/unraid reddit, which I can happily recommend to anyone here.
To summarise the answers for any other noobs reading - this parts list is major overkill for purpose (downgrade where possible), shuck if you can but only apparently 8tb+ drives, keep it simple (if you don’t know what something does you probably don’t need it).


Sounds like you got your answers figured out. Based off of what you stated you wanted to achieve…yes you could have followed something like that OTIS build and achieved that same goal probably for less money. But if this is what you got…it will be a fine unit for sometime.

32GB of RAM for instance…that’s fine if you are figuring on running many dockers, virtual machines…maybe a vm with a dedicated GPU. If you are just using it for NAS…then it’s way overkill. In my years of building pc’s I almost always go overkill on ram but since I’ve gotten into virtualization/dockers and nas stuff I find myself needing more of everything.

The CPU cooler…if the Intel processor comes with one it’s probably fine and there probably isn’t a ton of difference in performance between it and the Arctic Freezer. To me unless you need a cpu heatsink/cooler that’s a waste of money. This is coming from someone who hates the Intel stock coolers with a burning passion but I’m still going to use it most of the time unless I want something I can show off.

The mobo…I don’t know much about it…it’s on the new LGA1200 platform so there probably won’t be much conversation about it specifically for some time. I don’t know what you plan to use in terms of an operating system but be careful with the newest stuff on your linux/bsd based systems. People are still having issues with AMD Ryzen on Unraid for example. I haven’t heard anything bad about the 1200 socket on those platforms so I don’t know what to tell you.

Your choice of SSDs leaves me somewhat confused. If for instance if you plan to use the Crucial MX500 for a cache drive in Unraid…don’t. You’ll get a lot of bogus errors. Ask me how I know. I assume your NVME is your boot drive. If running Unraid…you won’t be needing it to boot from atleast.

The 8TB drives…I’ve never shucked so can’t offer much on that other than some of these require some simple modifications you may need to be prepared for.

The question about the LSI raid/hba card. You don’t have to have one. For TrueNas or Unraid…you’ll mainly get people suggesting you get one. If you do get one you’ll need to make sure it’s in IT mode (Initiator) so that it passes smart data properly. For Proxmox…you’ll probably need one with battery backup as that can go kind of screwy. ESXI may be the same way as Proxmox.

All that being said if you are running Windows and you can achieve a lot of the same stuff…there is something called Drive Bender that people use as kind of a network share/nas type setup that pools all the hdds you choose and see’s it as a single hard drive. Basically it’s sounds similar to what TrueNAS does only I’m sure it’s dumbed down a lot.

Appreciate the detailed reply.

Urgh. That’s the one thread I did not check, since I want to watch 4k content and transcoding I understand and know from some personal experience is not the way there.

Your comments on RAM, CPU cooler and mobo are clear, thanks.

This was based off the 4.0 NAS Killer guide, specifically the SSD section:

  • "I’d recommend picking out a decently sized but cheap SSD for caching

  • I don’t typically recommend NVMe drives as cache drives because you’ll be limited by your Ethernet upload speed anyway, which a regular SATA SSD is more than fast enough to keep up with. However, I like to use NVMe drives for unassigned appdata, because they are extremely good at handling many small files, for example: Plex metadata."

Having read that I just bought the cheapest 500Gb SSD (the Crucial was on sale for me) and a VNAND NVMe based on some r/unraid suggestions.

Should I buy a different SSD for caching?

This may be a dum dum question, but I understand the initial boot is off a USB and then Unraid is installed locally? If so, is it better on the cache SSD, the NVMe, a separate device altogether, or does it not matter.


You boot from the USB the entire time for Unraid…it doesn’t install anywhere else if that is what you are asking. Well technically I think it takes up a small amount of RAM once booted. The USB drive will rarely be written to.

The Crucial SSD MX500 as cache will most likely give smart errors on occasion…I’ve ran mine like that for about a year without issues. I wouldn’t freak out about it. Maybe they have that fixed in the newer ssd’s. I’ve got cheap Kingston ssd’s in a different Unraid machine that haven’t thrown any errors. I think it’s called a “Bogus sect error”…something like that. I just clear it out and keep going.