Building an in home streaming gaming/media pc (updated with photos)

I want to share with you my recent project that I did and hear your constuctive opinions. The project started as a simple NAS build for media sharing to get rid of my old ghetto NAS solution that had no redundancy whatsoever. My first idea was to build a FreeNas machine using basic, consumer grade hardware so with that in mind I started searching all European Amazon sites to find it. At this point I would like to say that prices in the EU are not even close compared to the US but I think I did an OK job for my budget.
I started by chosing a platform for my build and the new 1151 socket was the one I end up using for two reasons. First it was newer thus more futureproof/upgradeable and second I could choose something with a low TDP because the machine was intended for 24 hour use and was planned to operate in a poorly ventilated cabinet. The h170 was the motherboard chipset of choice because it had on board raid support (just in case) and the i3 6100 was the processor along with 16 gb of DDR4 memory. All housed in the Corsair air 540 which has two 3,5 inch HDD hot swap bays that i could use. It is also a beautiful case IMO.
So I installed the hardware, setup my FreeNas box with ease based on the tutorial I found on the TEK youtube channel and all was well. But the gamer inside me could not rest. So I found a used MSI GTX 960 2 gb on something called Amazon warehouse deals for only 110 euros! I bought a cheap 240 gig Kingstone SSD V300 for 70 Euro I installed the windows 10 and was ready to stream some games.

This is the final list of the hardware that I chose

For storage I used three 1 tb 3,5 inch HDD's I had laying around in RAID5. My case only suports two of those but I ghetto mounted the thind one in the PSU compartment and worked just fine (I plan to upgrade my strorage to two 6 tb WD reds in the futurel).

Here are some pictures of the finished build (probably the most low-end hardware that was ever mounted in this pc case).

You can't even see the GPU sagging am I right? ;)

And here is the pc in its nest.

The most recent additions to the project is a Chinese android TV box that has built in H264, H265 decoding and gigabit! ethernet (It only runs couch potato, utorrent, KODI and moonlight), an old wireless xbox controller and a wireless mouse and keyboard combo and 10 meters of cat 6 cable that all costed 120 more Euros so that I can game from my 42 inch FHD TV.

GTA 5 benchmark running of the TV

And a gameplay screenshot from my laptop running steam in home streaming in Ubuntu

Conclusion time and let me tell you that, all and all, the project was surprisingly successful. The total cost of the parts was 830 Euros about 900 dollars US. That includes both hardware and the peripherals and for the money, the experience is pretty good. First of all the file server part is OK I ended up using W10 software raid5 and I achieve pretty decent write speeds close to 60 Mb/sec on gigabit ethernet. I also have some protection from drive failure and I can stream all my content all over the house to all my devices using KODI. The gaming experience is pretty good also. I use Steam in home streaming to stream games to my laptop both over wifi and ethernet and I can safelly say that for 1080p 60 fps, which is the highest resolution I can saturate through my network, the pc hardware copes just fine. GTA 5 for instance @1080p with all the settings at High / Very High plays at around 50-60 fps and the latency is not bad either. I only notice some stutters on wifi every now and then but nothing too bad. On the TV the experience is equally good. The android TV box copes just fine decoding the signal and the gigabit ethernet connection helps with stability. I have a minor issue with the XBOX controller because moonlight (Nvidia's gamestream for Android) isn't fully compatible with it and I had to remap some buttons.
Fiinally thermals and energy consumption. The system is on hybernate mode most of the time consuming very little energy, on file server mode it consumes only 50 to 60 watt hours and while gaming the energy consumption does not exceed 200 watt hours.

Thermals are a little high cause of the bad ventilation of the cabinet the system is in. I drilled two intake holes on the bottom and on the back of the cabinet and switced the rear 140mm fan to intake fresh air directly on the Arctic Alpine 11 cooler and also into the case. the bottom hole feeds a second 140mm fan that blows air directly on the graphics card. As a result after playing GTA 5 for 4 hours the CPU was running at 57 C and the GPU at 74 C (a little hotter than I want but I will adress that in the future).

So that was my project guys sorry for the long post excuse my bad English and thank you for barring with me.

so build log? also nice. you may want to look at
as they are very good for $/GB. about 2.2 US cents per gig. you might have trouble storing them in the case if you get a lot but with the money you save you can get a bigger cheap case and still save quiet a bit.

Glad to see you ventilated the closet. I was going to recommend something be done.

Also, a little formatting goes a long way, ways you could improve:

  • split your article into paragraphs
  • list your parts in a list like this one

Aside from that, looks like a good system. I'm surprised that you decided to put a GPU in it. Usually, I like to run Linux on my file servers and keep them only serving files. Different strokes, I guess.

If you like Kodi, you may be interested in PLEX and EMBY.

Thanks for the recommendations. I will try to implement them in my future posts.
I thought on building a dual system pc (a m-ITX Freenas box and a gaming rig) in the Air 540 powering off one power supply using a power splitter ( but the budget was not sufficient. Who knows maybe in the future...

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