NAS/Server CPU [Late 2020 Edition]

I’ve had a spare Fractal Node 605 case, 650-watt power supply, and some spare 120MM fans stored in the closet for like 5 years now. Recently added some spare DDR4 (2x4gb) to the pile. Looking to put it to use and build a cheap NAS/Server. I’m just not sure what CPU would be the best bet for a NAS/Server on a smaller budget… Ryzen, Xeon, Atom, Core…

My planned usage is…

  • NAS [case can hold 4 3.5" drives… thinking RAID 10, and an SSD or NVME for OS/cache*]
  • Minecraft Servers (3-4 servers running at once, but only ever on 1 at a time… just me and my two kids playing on them)
  • Plex Server (Realistically only streaming to the family room TV, but over time my kids may use it. Only plan on streaming in house, not when away from home. Is transcoding necessary in this scenario? I only just tried Plex for the first time today, not sure of the ins and outs at this point…)
  • TBD security cams down the road? Not likely though.

*Not sure what OS to go with… so might not need to install an OS on the SSD.

I currently have an old SFF Optiplex (Intel i5-2400) running the Minecraft servers, with a single 4TB external HDD attached acting as the NAS. I store all my photos on it, music (which I also stream to other pc’s), and other misc files. When I get a proper setup I want to also start backing up my PC’s/laptops to the NAS, maybe.

The Ryzen 3 3100 looks like a good choice at first glance… 4-core/8-thread with low power draw for ~$120USD, but maybe for the use case there are better options. I’m OK buying used from eBay. Even thought about buying another used Optiplex or PowerEdge… but that still leaves me with all the spare parts listed above. :slight_smile:

Thoughts? :thinking:

My home server got built a bit heavy handed because I intend to keep it a while.

6x2TB HDDs(don’t ask why)
2x480GB SSDs

The HDDs and one SSD are on a HBA passed through to a freenas VM.

And the other SSD holds VM boot disks. Basically everything is mounted over samba or iscsi for inside the VMs.

So far I run Freenas, plex, Minecraft, UniFi video and UniFi network controller. I’m planning to add a few databases, home assistant, and some other stuff.

If you are expecting to grow the home server (especially with plex, got that running finally. And showed wife how to sort of access it over safari on her iPad, she was up until 2am watching movies that night) then 4c/8t might be to small. Not saying you need 12c/24t but I would probably opt for 6c/12t.

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Yeah, fair enough on going beefier. I may reconsider at this point. My plan was to just reuse spare parts, and just buy a few necessary pieces keeping the budget low realizing HD’s are going to be the bulk of the cost.

It might make more sense for me to buy a dedicated NAS like a Synology or QNap to handle NAS duty and maybe Plex since I don’t need the transcode/won’t need a powerful CPU to handle those tasks, and then just keep a cheap build on hand for server duties that way I can replace those more easily without worrying about interfering with the NAS aspect of my setup.

I re encode my movies to H.264 mkv files and they do help keep from having to do OTF transcoding. And when I do for like cellular connections, it takes minimal CPU to do it.

It’s your call. Having the server itself is nice for experimenting. But like you said if you do something wrong it can effect your NAS portion.

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