Question about a storage solution

My new build will be completed about Christmas time. Since then I will push heavily on certain YouTube stuff (gaming mainly). So I will need an extra storage.
Here’s the deal. I want to build a system, that will be purely storage “server”.
My question is simple:
Is there really a reason for me to look into more serious solutions? What will be the largest drawback from just building a simple cheap system with a few billion hard drives, install win7 on it and simply transfer files through lan?
I don’t really need any extra features and stuff. I just want the easiest to use solution in which I don’t have to use extra HDDs in my system and kill my airflow.

The reason you might want to do it differently is to protect yourself from data loss, either from a disk failure or corruption.

Using something like zfs is a good and reasonably easy way to do that.

If you want to stick to Windows and not lock yourself in to any specific file system then I’d recommend having a look at snapraid, it adds redundancy to existing disks without touching your data.


I will tell you immediately why I am asking about that kind of thing.
The last drive I got is a WD blue drive, 1TB. When it is spinning, there are vibrations throughout the entire case. The case have rubber dampeners, that does F all to kill the vibrations. Now, if I can move that drive in a different systems, that will be away from me and will not vibrate my entire case - that will be amazing.
But now we are talking separate storage solution.
OK, say I am complete noob (really, say it, cause I am), what basically is ZFS? I truly honestly have no idea.
Pff, I will never need that, why should I care, though I, back in the day. Well, now I care… Show interest in stuff, people. You never know when you may actually need something.

That’s either a bad case or a bad drive.

This gives you a good explanation of next-gen raid solutions (like ZFS):

TL;DW: ZFS is a software raid that has copy on write features (it writes new chunks to a different location on disk then updates the pointer (this allows consistent state on power failure) and also does instant snapshotting, along with a whole host of other things like thin “partitions” (ZFS calls them datasets) and SSD caching of HDD storage. (I wrote an article called ZFS - SSD speeds at HDD capacities)

It’s wonderful, but not available on Windows. The good thing is that FreeNAS is basically a plug and play solution for a headless fileserver.

This video should give you enough of an overview of freenas, for the current version:


So basically we are talking safety in case a drive fail or something…
I don’t really care. It’s going to be re-obtainable easily.
Music, video, stuff, I already have here and there or can re-download… I just want to remove the hard drives from this system and set then away somewhere, where I wouldn’t care about the noise…

Well, I have tested it with HDTune (the only software I have for that) multiple times, and it always says it’s fine. And the case didn’t show any vibration issues with my other drive, that is WD Black and it’s suppose to work harder a bit. Nope, I think it’s just a noisy vibrating drive.

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Up until a few weeks ago, I would have said Win 10 with Storage Spaces and ReFS. Stupid simple to setup, manage, and use the computer for other things as well if you wanted. However Microsoft, in it’s never ending quest to screw power users out of really cool features unless they cough up for a server license, has removed ReFS as an option for storage spaces. NTFS only for Home and Pro users. So yea, I’d go FreeNAS and ZFS at this point. A little more work to get setup, but very powerful and flexible depending on what you want to do.

If you’re only concerned about the noise, consider getting an SSD (or several) instead. There’s no moving parts, like rotational drives have, so they are literally silent. The only noise from my current build are the fans, which are greatly quieted by my be quiet case (see what I did there? >.>).
As an example, here’s my case, but there are many of the same style if your fans are too loud.

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My case: Fractal Arc Midi R2…

I will make some pretty basic modifications to it. Anyways, my system runs at 19dBa. 19… It is still the best case fractal have ever done IMHO.
The noisiest part is that hard drive when it spins. it’s not really noisy, it’s just noticeable, considering the rest of the system runs under 20dBa. I can hear my hair grow. That’s how quiet I have made my system.

SSDs are fine and all, I had my boot drive SSD for a few years now, but still, for storage, and all I want is storage, nothing beats HDDs… 3TBN drives for less than 100$ locally… 256GB SSD is 100$…

If all you want to do is put your disks in another computer and access them over the network then you can do this with pretty much any hardware or operating system. But if you’re going to do it I’d atleast have a think about redundancy and integrity protection. It’s the sort of thing that you don’t think is important until you need it.


This is fair. I just recommended it because if you’re going to build a NAS, you might as well go big or go home. You also don’t have to build redundancy into it. It’s just an option.

Of course, everything I suggest is just how I would do it. Your solution can be whatever you want it to be.


That’s exactly why I asked actually… To know my options. And knowing my options I’m thinking of AM1 (20W APUs) ITX system in something like Node 304 (6 HDD bays)…
I don’t think I really need extra redundancy or something. There are going to be just storage drives. Stuff, people usually buy a 3TB drive and are done with it. I buy 1TB for 20€…
I may play with some extra options, but new OS and stuff sounds too intimidating, so I may not…

You could build a second PC and set it up to be a server, or you could look at simple NAS boxes.
I just mention this because they would be straight forward, but more than 4 bays would obviously cost too much.
I personally went with a cheap AM3 cpu/mobo, pc case with 8 drive bays, and a fairly expensive power supply (80+platinum.)
The power supply cost more than the rest of the setup, but it’s the one thing that I’m hoping will persist after I replace all other bits.
Also if you go Freenas as @SgtAwesomesauce suggested, you can live with just 8gigs of ram (CEC better if supported by mobo)
As you aren’t storing a database or loads of small files, you won’t need loads of ram, as you won’t need deduplication, but more ram can always be used by freenas to speed up a system, and an optional ssd for caching, if you win big at the races…

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Oh, and if I were to start again from scratch, I’d go with a second hand server motherboard, as they usually have plenty of sata/ SAS headers, and all the pcie slots

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It’s going to be just a remote hard drive space.

My main system have 8gigs of ram and I am yet to be bottlenecked by the ram quantity.
I don’t want a huge server thing. May be a NAS box pre-made is the thing for me, but my guess is they have set redundancy and stuff I can do without…

Yeah, something like that… Just less power consuming, since I would like it to be on 24/7…

From what I’ve read, you are really not interested in what most of us here would call a “Storage Solution”. For example SERVER THREAD - Post Your Server Specs

To be honest from what you have said it would be easiest to get a WD Cloud drive or something similar and just bolt it to your network. From a setup point, it would be the simplest. From a power consumption standpoint, it would be the lowest. Finally, from a space standpoint, it would have the smallest footprint.

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Hello there answer to my question…
Yes, I agree with that statement:

No, I am not. I just want something, that I can throw in the closet with power and lan cables coming out of it and simply storing stuff.
Also, I’m kinda WD fanboy at that point of having used 3 of their drives, all alive and well, (one of them after more than a decade), so basically yes. I want the easiest to setup thing that will not kill me with power bills.

Does the Cloud require Internet connection or it can be used as local storage without the Internet? I’m a bit iffy about that. Is there something similar, that won’t require access to Internet?

Fair question, as far as I am aware and what I could find the WD Clouds do not require a web connection. The web connection function allows you to sign in to the NAS remotely (outside of your house) and manage/pull files from it.

Synology make some nice NAS equipment, however they are a bit pricier and the larger units require you to buy hard drives additionally. (this does mean you can run any drive of your choosing and you can mix and match sizes (or at least you used to be able to)).

I only really suggested the WD devices as I know that they are pretty painless to setup and get going.

The only one I would tell you to stay away from are Buffalo. They start off okay, but usually after a week or two they randomly slow down and eventually stop till you restart them.

I would however recommend a dual drive model where it mirrors the drives, just to save you from having to re-acquire any media you have in the event of a disk failure.

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Fair enough. If it’s just additional functionality I’m all fine with that, as long as it doesn’t pull SimCity on me and ask for constant connection.
I found some second hand ones 2TB for about 100€…
As soon as I go home (from work) I’ll research the topic a bit.

Maybe I’m a bit late to the party, but have you tried the hdd outside of the case?
If its still too noisy you could try RMA, if the noise level is ok outside the case something could be resonating. Maybe another slot in the case will solve the problem.

How many terabytes do you want to store?

It’s resonance. It’s vibration, cause as soon as I press the panels a bit and it gets quiet.
The case is fine. The drive is fine. I’m using the hard drive cage out of spec. I’ve mounted it where it’s “not supported officially”.
Anyways, my ultimate goal is to clear the entire front of the case, having unrestricted airflow…
And have storage at the same time.
Currently I have 1,5TB of storage space and I have about half of it empty. And most of what it’s not empty are install files, video, music, etc.
2TB I will fill up after about a decade so there’s that…