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Trying to build a home NAS and need some help


Hi all, Been a long time watcher of Level1 but not a big forum poster. I am in need of some help. For the past 2 weeks I am trying to figure out what to get for a home NAS.

The Primary Functions of it would be:

  • Backup local computers to it (in case cloud backup shits the bed)
  • Plex hosting
  • Have my media on here (TV, Movies, Music, etc.)
  • Record OTA broadcasts to the device (yes I know there are other ways to do this but since I am not alone in the house this has to be included.)

I have went down a giantic rabbit hole in this process and am just super confused as to what to get to make sure I can future proof the box. From my research I was able to figure out the following:

  • OS is looking like unRaid. Nothing wrong with FreeNAS but it appears that UnRaid for a home use looks better to me (unless I am horribly wrong please correct me if this is the case)
  • HD Homerun Quatro and Antenna will take care of the OTA live channels and Plex Pass will do the DVR duties
  • There is no good tower case that can hold between 8-10 Hard Drives that I am able to find
  • The setup will effectively be 8-10 NAS Drives (not all at once my wallet can handle so much) SSD for the OS, SSD for Plex Indexing, SSD for RAID indexing if need be, and a motherboard that I can upgrade with PCI cards for when I get crazier ideas down the road

I am open to your suggestions for I am completely lost and can not find a single good spec sheet out there for a NAS that I can upgrade down the line.



For OS, you can always take a look at OpenMediaVault. Its native Debian 9 (stable) and can be installed as a package. This means its pretty easy to do anything to your native install and it is very extensible.

If you are still looking for hardware, old enterprise grade Supermicro and Dell (R710 & such) are pretty good, but LGA1366 is getting pretty old at this point. If you are looking for standard ATX or whatever for newer hardware (Ryzen is solid at this, being cheap with ECC support), then buying Rosewill cases isn’t bad. Just buy stuff with 5.25 bays and buy extra cages for drives. This quickly adds up to more than old enterprise, so shop for what you need.

All SSDs sounds pretty good, I just upgraded my ZFS NAS with some cache drives this week.



unraid is a pretty good choice, i build one a few month ago and started testing with freenas and them moved to unraid.

i feel like unraid makes everything easier, and i could setup everything i wanted faster.

case i found that the only case choice i could find for that many disk is the cooler master cosmos ii (what im using right now)

im running 8 disk + parity + 2 NVME for cache mostly for docker and a few VM’s

i decided that i could run plex server in windows using PCI passtrought for a GPU (i had a 1080ti not being used and just put it in there for 4k transcoding)

i have about 12 containers running and 3 vm’s everything runs pretty well



Personally I’d look at a smaller form factor.

Something like the iStar USA S-35 coupled with two IcyBox 5.25" bays for six 2.5" harddrives per bay (e.g. 12 harddrives total, not counting system drives). Just make sure you have a motherboard that can support all that.



Something like an HBA card (H200 is tried and true) can use PCIe to add more drives.



I have seen that come up in my searches but really haven’t heard anything about it outside of “Guy who made FreeNas went over to this project so that it can run on Linux.” Do you happen to know of any good resources on it I can look at?



Here’s the wiki

The web interface is pretty intuitive, more so than FreeNAS and the plugins actually work. Their forums are pretty good too. I never found a feature of FreeNAS that OMV could not do, never touched UnRaid. I just love the raw Debian underneath.

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The point of FreeNAS is ZFS. If you’re not interested in that, go with whatever you like. :wink:



I encountered something I had not considered, if I wanted to do some Hardware Trans-codes (let’s say 3 max) would it be better to run it in a VM and have it point to a video card or does it not matter for a small scale operation?



I know the ZFS on linux implementation isn’t supposed to be good, but I haven’t had issues with it. There is a plugin installer for OMV ZFS, which gives it webpage management. That’s why I can consider it a drop in upgrade over FreeNAS.



I’m not saying “OMV can’t…”, I just wanted say that ZFS is the one thing FreeNAS is based around. I’d love to see ZOL overtake the FreeBSD implementation and they are going strong. Not long ago they finally put in TRIM support as far as I know.

But I’m derailing… Just wanted to clear that up. :wink:



If you’re still looking for cases, grab a used super micro super tower. Full height with eight 3.5" SAS trays and two full size 5.25" bays for an icy dock 6 or 8x 2.5" cage for SSDs.

No rgb or frills but plenty of room for whatever.



I’ve been using a SUPERMICRO full tower case for several years now. I forget the model but it is similar to what @gordonthree mentioned, 8 3.5" hot swap bays and 2 5.25" bays. It works great and it can also be fitted with rails and mounted in a rack which I have done. My only issue with it is that the modular fans are very loud. It’s not really meant to be sitting next to you or even in the same room. I have the fans set to 25% and I can still hear them faintly from another room. The four that where included in my case work very well at keeping the system cool under full load. They just aren’t designed to be quiet since it’s basically a server case.



Unraid is meh. It’s cool tech, but I really don’t trust it in terms of performance or reliability. I’ve been bit by the parity before.

I’ll second the recommendation for openmediavault.

That’s not true at all. The implementation of zfs on Linux is now the reference model for all the other ports. Linux is now the “upstream” kernel for zfs.



Huh, interesting. Probably should keep an eye on that. :+1:

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They switched over to Linux as of 0.8.

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Agreed. They’re purpose built for servers, in a commercial or industrial setting.

To the OP. Any kind of high density drive setup is going to need agressive cooling, I don’t see a way around that. Most big PC/gaming towers I’ve worked with are big to show off and hide radiators. Last few I’ve tried filling with drives overheated pretty easily.



An update: The further I go down this rabbit the hole the more I am ending up seeing this as a mixed bag. On the one hand having a single device to plex and NAS would make sense, but working with the hardware for them is causing me to bend over backwards to get it to work. So in thinking about how would I isolate the plex aspect from the NAS I found this:

I would increase the ram and throw a few extra hard drives in but this is looking like a solid device to stick in the corner of a room, thoughts?



Are you set on a tower server? The deals aren’t typically very good since nobody buys tower servers anymore. A used poweredge rack or proliant rack server will offer a lot more value.



I just picks it for its price, I am not dead set on a tower but since I lack a networking rack to Mount a rack server I thought the footprint would work better.