Looking for some home server advice

So I don’t really know a lot about server hardware, but I have been considering getting a home server for some backup, and media storage. I have been looking at some youtube videos (mainly L1) about the software side of things, and I think I like the idea of using FreeNAS with ZFS. The problem is I really can’t find a lot info about the purchasing the hardware. I would only need about a 1TB for the backup space and another 2 TB for the media. Also the electricity is included in my rent, so power isn’t a huge concern, but at the same time I don’t want to be a total asshole to my land lord, so I don’t want use 1,[email protected] or anything.

So I have a few ideas and wanted to know what would be the best route.

  1. Build with new parts, something like an AMD r3. I know I will have to find one of the motherboards that support ECC (I know Wendell has talked about this).

  2. Build with older hardware. I was thinking something like an AMD 83**.

  3. Buying a used server. This where I would kinda be at a lost because I don’t really know the server skews and such as well as I know consumer stuff. So I am really now even sure how much this would cost, or where to start looking for the best deals or anything.

Thanks for any advice you guys give.

If it’s only about storage I think a NAS (new or used) would make the most sense. They’re quiet, require less space and draw less power than most servers. I’m reading between the lines here but since you said the power is included in the rent I’m assuming you don’t have an excess of space where you can keep noisy hardware.

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I would have to agree with that…

You can easily get dual 3TB NAS solutions with redundancy and everything. Some of them even have options for external backups, so there’s that as well…
Other than that - soon there will be Ryzen APUs, mini ITX system with a billion hard drives and you are set…

Given that you’re not looking at a ton of storage, it’s definitely going to be an easy solution.

Are you hoping to get something educational out of this project? (aside from actually doing the project, I mean) For example, I use my NAS to host VMs so I can study for certs and whatnot.

You also haven’t stated a budget, so it’s hard to recommend hardware. If you have a $500 budget, we’re obviously going to recommend something different from a $2500 budget.

I think the Ryzen APUs are an extremely tempting option. They support ECC, so if you’re concerned about that, you’ll be set, they’re not meltdown vulnerable so you don’t get a performance hit and they’re likely to be inexpensive compared to intel’s offerings (when you take into consideration overclocking and ECC support)


I also want to run a plex server, and maybe run a game server from with a vm every once in while.

Maybe in the future, but not really in my plans for right not. I usually run the VMs on my desktop.

Really looking for something dairly cheap. $200 or so would mean I could do it pretty soon, but I could save up more than that if I need to.

I think there is a Plex server package for Synology NAS units and some higher end models will run VM but those aren’t close to the $200 price you’re aiming for. I’d probably go with a used server or workstation tower that you can find on eBay for close to that price.

For $200USD… might start looking around at used stuff.


One could always use Xpenology in a DIY rig to save money compared to Synology NAS units, am musing on this and other NAS variants at mo

I think you could get a used brand name PC and new HDD’s for 200$, or if you have disks already then it’s even cheaper, depending of how many VM’s you will be running maybe upgrade CPU and RAM depending of what you get at first, it can be pretty simple and budget friendly if you do it like that…