Help me Better Use My Hardware! (Project Log and Suggestions)

Hello Friends.
I have quite the extravagant home server/network rack at this point. I recently made a post talking about how I've integrated a 10 Gig switch into my network, and since then I have made some changes, (instead of buying a new monitor lol)
My NAS/Media Server was running Windows Server 2012R2 on a G3258 and a Z97 motherboard, both of which I sold on eBay. I basically got an Intel Core i7 2600 (nonK) for free, and bought a brand new Z68 Intel board on Ebay for $60. I originally just migrated everything over to that setup, but I decided to I wanted to start a bigger project.

I like to have spare parts for everything, so I basically had a spare Asrock H97 motherboard and a cheapo Celeron sitting in a drawer in case my main computer went down. The idea was I would have something to tide me over until I could get enough money to do a full rebuild in the case of a massive failure of my gaming rig.

I decided that I have enough computer parts that I could figure out something in such an event so I wanted to build a true backup solution for my NAS. I went out and found that Newegg is selling refurbished 2 TB Hitachi 7k3000 hard drives for $50 bucks each...Which I find to be a fantastic deal. I bought 4 of them, ran DBAN on all four and then an extended SMART test and all of them survived a week of torture.

Now those new Hitachis are sitting in my main NAS, which now is running FreeNAS, in Raid Z2 for a total of 3.4GB of usable storage. I'm waiting on another 8GB of RAM ( will bring to 16, Yeah I know its not ECC) and a different 10Gig nic to finalize this setup.This server is running CIFS, Plex, and BTSync

The Celeron is now in a 2U Rosewill enclosure with 8 Gigs of ram and my 3 WD Red 3TBs in RaidZ1 (5.24TB), and all of the data is being synced between them with BTSync...Otherwise It is not doing much. I will probably use the extra space on this server for stuff I don't care as much about like ISOs and misc downloads.

I also have an Atom Server running Untangle and a Ubiqtuiti ERL, so I don't need pFsense.

Now heres my next question. Prior to the move (back) to FreeNAS, I ran a VM on my Win Sever box that had Linux Mint on it and all it did was connect to PIA and download torrents for me. Now instead, I started using my old "gaming" laptop which is a Dell Inspiron 7520 (Core i7 3210QM, 12Gigs of ram, 256Gig SSD and Radeon 7730m) to do this task, But it has an I7 and I am wayyyyy under utilizing its potential. What else can I use it for??
I have a media server and NAS. I don't need a game or voice server. I don't need a render server.

I'm in a pretty similar situation of having under utilised hardware and nothing I want to use it for. I'm pretty much running a similar set up to you except I also have a mail and Web server (Web server doesn't do much except proxy webuis for various things so I don't need to remember a bunch of ports)

Setting up a mail server will give you something to do for a little while but there's a fair bit to it, especially if you want it to play nice in the real world.

Otherwise I have a couple of dns servers running dnscrypt. Other than that it's just storage, torrents and media server.

Hopefully you get some ideas, especially if I can steal them ;)

Awesome set up by the way.

Thank you for your response!
As for a mail server; I'm actually quite content with Google and its services; unlike like alot of people here I am okay with sacrificing Google knowing all about me for my own personal convenience. LOL. I've had my Gmail account since they started sending beta invites out, and I have something liek 100,000 emails archived and don't really want to migrate all of that...

DNSCrypt sounds interesting. I've been using OpenDNS for years before my server madness and I like it, but I haven't explored much into DNSCrypt. I read this and I'm not really sure I understand what it is doing:

Perhaps you can better explain?

Essentially it encrypts your dns traffic between you and a DNS server in order to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks on your dns requests. I need it because the VPN service I use blocks torrent sites on their non-torrent servers and there are a few false positives which make it annoying. Encrypting dns traffic prevents then from redirecting to a blank site.

It's pretty handy if yo don't trust your ISP or you're on an untrusted network like public WiFi or even if your dns traffic is for some reason routed through some were like China who censor everything.

It doesn't protect against cache poisoning and you have to trust your dns server but it guarantees that your request hasn't been modified between you and the server. DNSSEC is a better sollution as the dns record is signed by the domain so you can always verify that it's correct. But it's not widely adopted.

One handy thing about having a local mail server is that it makes sending email notifications much easier. But it's a lot of work to set up if you're happy with your current mail system. It's a fun project though.