Building a small nas + docker server that is power efficient

My uses will mostly be network storage and a myriad of things running on docker for media streaming, game hosting, and file sharing. All while having low idle power and not costing a ton.
The build plan is

AMD Ryzen 7 R7 PRO 4750GE/4650GE (going with the pro APU because it has an iGPU for VMs plus plenty of cores and low TDP of 35 watts)
Asus rog strix B550-F or Gigabyte B550
5 x 8TB drives that I already have
old case I already have with a ton of drive slots
gtx 1070 from old pc for transcoding
gold+ PSU from old PC

For ram, I was looking at ECC ram, as both the CPU and the mobos support it unofficially. ddr4 ECC ram seems cheap enough on eBay, but I don’t have a clue what to get, tbh i’m not even sure if I really need ECC.

For OS I’ll probably go with Unraid as I don’t have enough time in the day to deal with TrueNAS Scale, I have tried and I either ran into bugs or screwed something else up on my own. Unraid has so many guides and resources for casuals, and it even has zfs now.

First lets create well defined goals.

What is your target watt usage?
Are you looking to make this for play or something mission critical?
How much are you willing/need to spend?
Do you want this machine to accommodate future expansion/work?

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I don’t really have a specific power target in mind, but as long as it’s better than an old 4th gen i7 I’ve been using, it’s fine. If the option is 16 threads @ 65 watts vs 12 @ 35 I’d pick the 35watt 12 or even 8 thread CPU @ 35 watts.

Budget is not supper important, I’m more looking to see what options I have for my use case. I can get what I listed for about $400, but If there’s a considerable improvement, going to $1000 is okay.

I totally forgot to add in the post that this is just a home server and not mission-critical. That said, stability saves me time so if I have options for extra stability I’ll take them, but the server does not revolve around having 99.99% uptime.

Any future expansion will be HDDs and I have plenty of room in my case for more.

Most of the always-on docker containers I run are things like jellyfin/plex, audiobookshelf, navidrome, syncthing, and a few others.

First thing to note is that TDP doesn’t actually explain what you can expect for power consumption.

Rather it describes what your cooling solution of choice must be at a minimum.

In that case ECC is not necessary. This is an opinion I adopted from my own thread on this same topic. ECC is a nice to have but in your case not worth it. Remember ECC takes up more logical space because of the error correction so you end up with less usable RAM.

Note that your HDD’s are the thing that are going to take considerably more power then an SSD. Even at idle.

Check out this thread on a German forum that was mentioned in this video by Wolfgangschannel. It goes into great detail about how to build a power efficient build. It goes into C-states and how they function as well as what you should consider when choosing hardware.


I agree on HDDs ruining all the nice power consumption numbers. SSDs are the way to go for power-efficiency.
My Toshiba MG08s are great, but they pull >10W each when active. Idle is still a couple of W, while SSDs go into deep slumber with ~30-300 mW between txgs. And you can’t and shouldn’t spin down HDDs with ZFS

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Optionally if you DO want to use HDD’s for the storage capacity but want each of them to be idle most of the time you should look into SnapRaid (misnomer). This would require you to drop ZFS however.

It spins up the HDD’s in order from “hibernation” so the more drives the longer you will have to wait in order to get the pool online.

i have very bad experiences with the AMD IGPUs and passtrough. If the IGPU is not just for gaming you should consider 10th gen or 12/13th gen Intel you can use gv-t and sriov to split up that IGPU into more than one VM and/or Docker

DONT GO 11th gen!!!

my2cents on that

DDR5 is getting payable crucial has some 80€ 32GB kits (semi ECC)
You have E/P Cores on Intel and so on… its very usable. All my docker run on the E Cores and VMs or Highpower Docker run on the P Cores.

i do have an 13700k server running atm with Unraid and its a blast since i own it.

the splits from the IGPU

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Thanks for the suggestions! Looking at some intel stuff and ddr5 is tempting. That server looks great!

This guy did a vid on a super efficient nas


If I had the monetary means to do it I’d love to buy one of those RK3588 boards with an NVME slot, put in a SATA adapter, a bunch of SSDs and see how much a NAS like that would pull.