DIY NAS, Unraid hardware suggestions/help

Hello All,

I had a couple questions about hardware advice for building an unraid server using some of the components I already have. I currently use a Dell Optiplex 7040MT with Windows 10 running Plex, I have a VM also running Windows 10 that I use strictly for torrenting behind a VPN. The Dell box is an I7-6700 with 8gb of ram, I use a 120GB SSD for an OS drive, a 500GB SSD for VM’s and a 1TB HDD that my torrents save to, I then copy them to one of the three 8TB USB drives I have plugged into the box. I know this isn’t an elegant solution but its worked so far, my problem is I’d like to use unraid but cannot with USB drives and Dell box is very proprietary and does not have enough SATA, power connections or physical space in the chassis. I would kind of like to keep using this box until 11th Gen Intel is out (it plays so well with Plex) or GPU’s drop a bit in price. I’ll list out my questions so its a little easier to respond:

  1. I’ve thought about using one of the serverbuilds builds, it consists of a Rosewill 4U server chassis, a LSI 9201-16e External SAS HBA, a SFF-8088 to 4xSATA breakout cable and a PSU. The guide basically just uses the 4U chassis to house the drives and run the breakout cables through the case and into the LSI card installed in the main box. I like this idea because it leaves room for future upgrades (when hardware becomes available again), I just dont like the idea of cables just hanging out of the back of the case and wondered if they made some sort of union? that would sit in a blank pci slot.

  2. I’ve seen other posts in my reading that go into using older enterprise disks shelves paired with an LSI card but I really don’t know what I am looking for, again quite new to all of this.

Any input/help and your suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Why do you want to keep using unraid? - I’m assuming no Linux experience and you’re looking for something to help you get started and get going.

Ouch, you could run Docker Hub for torrents.

Do you need Plex for transcoding? I’m personally thinking of going back to Kodi on an odroid n2+ . HDR has been getting worse on plex and audio transcoding was never that good to begin with… I end up using minidlna more than kodi these days.

For less than 6 SATA drives dont bother with enterprise.
enterprise with LSI is great with 2 considerations:

  1. Noise
  2. Power

You cannot get near a Z board PC with either.
Benefits are mainly cost and number of bays.

I actually haven’t started using unraid yet, I’ve been using Windows 10 for everything and just remoting into it from my laptop. You are correct, I have little to no experiance with Linux although once I have unraid up and running I’d like to setup a VM to play with it and learn.

I do need Plex to do some transcoding for some of the people I serve unfortunately.

I’d like to have the room to grow, ideally I would like to have the ability to grow up to 15-20 drives. Power and noise doesn’t bother me that much and the unit would be in the basement away from anyone anyways. Would you have any recommendations for used enterprise gear and a LSI card?

What is a Z board PC?


On Intel with Z platform you can balance power and performance to a point that it fits your use-case.

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