NAS Newbie. Please help (first build)

Hey. How’s everybody doing today? I am writing today because I am planning to build a NAS soon and want to ask a few questions before I do. Before I continue, I would like to state a few things. I am planning to buy a prebuilt NAS just to do back-ups. The backups will be going somewhere else so I can have a safe backup. I don’t know what really my budget is for a decent NAS. How about somewhere between $500-600?

What I will be using it for:

HTPC and personal cloud so I can transfer things without having a ton of external HDD setups.

What I have:

1. 1TB HDD (WD Blue) X1
2. 4TB HDD (WD Black) X2

Will be getting (before this build):

1. 6TB HDD (WD Red) X 1 (for an extra NAS build storage. Will have (3) 4TB drives and (1) 2TB drive.
These will be going into the NAS)

2. 2TB HDD X 1 (WD Red) (to replace the 1TB drive)

3. Synology DiskStation DS214 (for monthly backups)

4. (4) 6TB HDD (WD Red) (for the backups)

5. (1) 2TB HDD (WD Red) (for the backups)

6. 16GB USB flash drive for OS


1. What OS should I use? I don’t really know which one is the “best” for I want to do.

2. For the OS above, what are the best plug ins (for cloud and HTPC)

3. How do I set up the NAS and how to make the OS run from the USB? Can you guys recommend a good tutorial for newbies?

4. Can you build me a NAS (specs)?

I don’t know which parts to get (this is my first build). If I can get a link to pcpartpicker. The stores I shop at the most (I will list most to least): Newegg, Tigerdirect, B&H Photo, and Amazon. Also, I already picked out a case I want to use ( just for further expansion.

5. Do you guys recommending leaving the system on 24/7? Or consistent shutting off/on for each use?

6. What advice can you give me for first time NAS user? Is there anything to look out for?

Sorry for the wall of text. I had it properly formatted, but it ends up being a wall of text :(.

use bullet points to keep it from becoming a wall of text

 And recommend against very large drives  ... as they tend to have a very high failure rate and if yo use it all the time then I recommend to leave it on ... I rarely turn my PCs off unless going out of town for extended periods.

 And here is the video for the mobo/CPU combo that Wendell used in his home media server

I would recommend reading these before purchasing hard drives

as far as hard drives go ... there are two ways to go about it  ...

  1. Buy alot of cheap ones that may have a high failure rate and change the ones that die as you go along or
  2. buy more expensive drives that have a lower failure rate 

I am on the fence about this  ... because the cost is about the same IMO

more about DIY nas

and nas enclosures

*Caution Long Post*

itx avoton $400

ecc ram matched pair 8gbx2 $200-$250

psu 400w-600w plus cert $65-$99

cyberpower 600w pure sine backup $140

case $159

= $964 no drives no sata cables

That system might be overkill for what you are trying to do or too expensive i saw $600 budget but was not sure if that was just for a NAS box

if your looking to just share music and videos there are cheaper solutions

you could also use your current PC with a onsite and offsite backup paired with a WD media player if your looking to go cheap and save for a server board later 

wd media player $89 cloud backup $72 = $161

cheap nas created from diy combo pc on Pentium or i3 $200-$350

prebuilt nas boxes generally suck due to processing power and ram something in the $200 range empty like the lenovo ix2 or clones perform poorly in my experience and I have recently grabbed 2 full office server jobs because of them. Some guy in my area keeps converting server environments to cheap NAS probably because server environments scare him or he's afraid to sent out a hefty invoice :D  

Most wireless Routers like netgear are dd-wrt compatible and have usb 2 or 3 so check your router see if it has readyshare or something similar because the cheap nas boxes are not much better than that

I use LiveDrive I have a re-sellers account I repackage it to my clients its cheap and has unlimited storage and the software works in the windows server environment as well as mac for linux its little more complicated :) for like $72 a year the upload is slow but its geo-redundant storage for pennies.

If your main goal was to enter the world of server creation and maintenance with a tight budget do what I did find a cheap or free PC thats a few years old and convert it to WinServer, Linux, FreeNas, Haiku, Mac. You will still learn as much and its kind of gratifying making someones trash into a home server. 

What ever you decide the first thing you should buy is a good pure sine battery backup

IMHO, DIY NAS is hard to build and then be able to compete with a brand made NAS. It can be done but you'll have to hunt for uncommon hardware parts.

NAS is a specialist machine that aim for these:

  • storage spaces
  • low power, low temperature
  • quick, easy and secure network access
  • many different RAID and sharing services
  • compact size
  • easy HDD replacements and expansion

The easiest to beat is storage spaces, what with HDDs are cheap nowaday. The hardest is the low power and temp, this is related with the next point plus other hardwares like maybe GPU. The third one is pheriperals you want to add as access to your storage, like ethernet cards or WIFI or USBs, etc. The fourth depends on your OS, some brand NAS also have hardware special RAID in them. You might be able to use trays and brackets for the last one, but can't beat the overall size.

So, the more you add devices to DIY NAS the more power you need and rising temperature. Unlike specially made PSU and devices in brand NASes, you'll be having difficulty buying the parts to beat them.

All in all, as a hobby and if you have spare time and energy, sure, you can and not impossible to be able to build a good NAS.


Good luck and cheers!