Home Server/NAS suggestions?


So I'm planning on building a home server/NAS to do a couple of things:

  • Store media, ie: movies, pictures, music etc..

  • Backup all of the devices in my home

  • Run Plex Media Server

  • Run MythTV (in a FreeNAS Jail) and perform ad detection/deletion

    • I also plan on using schedule direct
  • Run a development jail to build software applications that I'm working on

I know this may seem like a lot to expect from a home server/NAS but I've done my research and know that it is possible to do with FreeNAS and its plugins and Jails.

So my question is, what hardware should I use to build a system that could run for a couple of years doing this?

Here is what I was planning on building:

However, I want a motherboard that can preferrable support 8+ HDDs, but I'm not sure what CPU + MOBO combo to pick

Advice is greatly appreciated!

You won't need that liquid cooler. A simple air cooler will work fine unless you already have the liquid cooler laying around and you don't have to spend any money on it. You don't get added value for the cost of the liquid cooler unless you are overclocking. Also, double check that your RAM is ECC unregistered memory.

Edit: You can check out the specs on my FreeNAS box in my profile.

I think the NAS thing is a little overrated.
You can do the same thing in Windows 10, with storage spaces (except faster) and you lose the network bottleneck
The rest can be done with VMs
Take whatever money you'd spend to max out your system RAM, or build a killer system.
No sense in having 2 systems unless there is some absolute need

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Having a separate NAS allows you to have a system in operation 24/7. I only use my W10 pc for playing games and listening to lossless audio. My NAS runs 24/7 whether I'm home or away so I can stream movies with Plex to any TV or device in the house and I use subsonic to stream all my music when I travel. My music library is to large to fit on any single mobile device. My NAS also uses much less power than my overclocked W10 machine. I would not want it running all day long. Also, OS's like FreeNAS offer much better options for protecting your data and preventing data corruption.

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Why wouldn't you be able to have your Win10 system in operation 24/7? I run my workstation 24/7, and currently it's been up over 21 days.

Sounds like it is way under utilized.

Are you sure? Have you put them on a kill-a-watt or UPS to monitor the power consumption? Most modern systems are pretty thrifty on power use.

But you do want the NAS running all day long

Compared to what? ZFS is a house of cards. Windows storage spaces/ReFS is much better in case the power fails.

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Yes, I do have my NAS and network stack on a UPS and a Kill A Watt monitor for my desktop PC.

My gaming PC has 140W 6 core cpu that's overclocked and overvolted. So, no I don't want it running 24/7. It's main purpose is gaming with little bit extra to handle any heavily multi-threaded applications that I may choose to run. Plus, any overclocker knows that running higher voltages degrades the silicon faster. My NAS has a low power Xeon cpu that's designed for stability and long term use.

Having one multipurpose system is like putting all your eggs in one basket. When that system goes down you lose access to all your data until you get it back up, if you can get it back. NAS operating systems/machines are purpose built and they generally handle those tasks better than a general purpose operating system like windows every could. They are designed for stability, low overhead, and low maintenance. A single multipurpose platform maybe fine for people who aren't enthusiasts or don't tinker with their systems much, but if you have the space and the money I always suggest that people get a separate storage solution than their day to day PC.


My paradigm is different. My workstation is my server. I have a separate game rig that overclocked, liquid cooled, yadda. You could use that Xeon as a workstation and only fire up your game rig for games. And you'd benefit from having directly attached storage.

So, why would I buy another windows license for a second pc that's main purpose is to function as storage/media server when I can use one of the multitude of free NAS OS's that are purposely designed for that use?

LOL! Paying for OS licenses.

Windows is suited just fine as a file server.

Are you running 10GbE?

I'm running a 10GbE fiber card in my NAS but most of my other device are 1GbE. I prefer to have legitimate copies of the software I use so I try to go through the proper channels to obtain it. Windows is a general purpose OS. It can function fine as a file server but it has a lot higher overhead than a Linux or FreeBSD OS that's designed for that task. Again, they are mostly free and easily obtained.


They are both general purpose OS. Full stop.

FreeBSD is the base for FreeNAS and other NAS OS's. The same goes for Linux. They have been customized for that purpose. Windows 10 has not been customized for the purpose of being a file/media server.

Implying that there is no Windows server?

Come on.

I get your point, but it's wrong. And if you are running SMB/CIFS, Windows is much much better at serving files than Samba, which is reverse engineered. So are you using SMB/CIFS, or NFS, or something else altogether? FreeNAS doesn't even handle NTFS time stamps.

I'm running NFS as well as CIFS because I also have Linux systems on my network.

Windows 10 is not Windows Server, didn't mean to insinuate that there were no Windows based server products. Windows Server is a separate OS with a different purpose than Windows 10 though. Windows 10 is a general purpose desktop OS that has more overhead than most OS's that are designed to be used in a server environment.

Most of the things the OP is planning to accomplishing with this system are the same things I use mine for with the exception of a development jail for software apps and Myth TV so there's no need to run a full desktop OS for those purposes that I know of. I think the cpu @robochives chose maybe a little over kill. I don't know what kind of applications he plans on developing and I'm not a software developer anyway, so I can't speak to what the cpu requirements might be though. My Xeon is overkill for my system as well but that's because I never got around to doing everything that I originally planned for it. Just went for the best combination of low power and performance I could find at the time.

FreeNas is a Nas software with Nas functionality and more, Windows 10 pro or home is a desktop operating system, no getting around it, FreeNas is a better Nas software than windows.


My recommendation. I really enjoy FreeNas, the ZFS file-system is great and it is far superior to the raid solutions you'll find on windows. I opted for a Xeon 1246v3 to provide ample horsepower for VM's, encoding tasks, and whatever more you find need for. The motherboard I selected is one in a small group that supports ECC and has ample sata ports, 10 of them to be exact. 16GB of Unbuffered ECC, pretty standard. The hard drives are fun, 5 of the Hitachi Ultrastar 7K4000's. This will provide good read and write performance in a ZFS Raid Z2. Raid Z2 will provide 12TB of usable space and 2 drives worth of fault tolerance, which is why it is currently the go-to for any storage solution with large capacity disks. Beyond that, I had to opt for a case that provided room for a full size ATX motherboard, so the Fractal Design Define R5 was a logical and relatively quiet choice.

People, please windows 10 pro or home is not nas software. There is a reason a version of Windows exists called, "storage server." The base version of windows still uses crappy file systems that do not provide the same functionality and protection against bit-rot that ZFS does offer.

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at what point did the OP ask for everyone's opinion on software he asked what hardware

keep on topic or keep out of the thread

@robochives, how important is energy efficiency for you?

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@NetBandit I don't plan on using my gaming rig as it is AMD based (team red!) and would cost me a lot of electricity wise to use it as a NAS/Server. Furthermore, I totally agree @Knight26 using a NAS dedicated OS such as FreeNAS (which I plan on using) or FreeBSD etc has better built in feature for data protection and redundancy than a consumer/desktop OS such as Windows.

@thecaveman Thanks for the recommendation, I really like the 1246 I hadn't thought about using it, since its only a $!0~ more than the 1240. Could you recommend a Micro ATX or Mini ITX mobo as I am planning on using a Node 804 case due to space limitations. (the space in my TV Center is 14.5in x 22in x 12in). Beyond that I think I'm going to go with your recommendation

@GigaBusterEXE Thanks! I only did want to talk about hardware!

@noenken Energy efficiency is fairly important but i can live with a NAS/Server that costs $10~ a month to run.

I swapped in the 804 and an AsRock Micro-Atx motherboard: http://pcpartpicker.com/list/Vnhxcc
I would consider going with the original build and finding room for a bigger case, as it would allow you to go with the larger Atx motherboard which had 10 sata on board for your future upgrades way down the road. That would allow you to add 5 more drives without having need to purchase an expensive HBA card to support more drives. Although, if space is too limited, the revised build would definitely not be any slouch :D

OK, so fairly recent parts are preferred. TV center implies quiet but 4 x 7200rpm says ... not really.
Anyway, liquid cooling is not necessary here. A nice Noctua is more than enough and won't ever leak.
Well, here is my idea: http://pcpartpicker.com/list/KsQNPs
No SSD, more RAM, lower TDP chip with still high boost clock, platinum fanless PSU.
Board only has 6 SATA but the case is pretty full with those anyway.