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DIY NAS: Build a Backup Solution for Under $700

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A network attached storage (NAS) system provides your networked computers access to centralized file storage that you can manage locally. What they boil down to however, are purpose-built computers with hardware and software that allow them to manage data storage drives. NAS enclosures are merely low-power embedded systems with drive bays for HDDs and SSDs. Building your own NAS can be more cost effective and it will provide better performance.

For a custom-built NAS server, you do not need top-of-the-line components such as Xeon and Opteron components. To demonstrate this, we customized a DIY NAS system with budget components while aiming for a sub $700 price tag including storage drives.

What We Used

Case

Cooler Master Elite 350 Price: $45
Features

  • Steel and plastic construction
  • 500 watt power supply
  • 6 × internal 3.5” drive bays
This Cooler Master mid tower case comes in under $50 and includes a 500 watt power supply. A great value that can be upgraded later with a more robust PSU.

 

Processor

AMD A6-5400K Trinity APU Price: $45
Features

  • 32nm Trinity 65W
  • Dual-Core 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo)
  • Radeon HD 7540D graphics
The built-in video capability won’t be pushing very many polygons, but for a NAS, that’s alright. Compared to SoC chips, this dual-core processor is leaps and bounds ahead of the curve.

 

Motherboard

ASRock FM2A58M-VG3+ R2.0 Price: $43
Features

  • AMD A58
  • Support for DDR3 2133 memory
  • 4 × USB 2.0 ports
The built-in video capability won’t be pushing very many polygons, but for a NAS, that’s alright. Compared to SoC chips, this dual-core processor is leaps and bounds ahead of the curve.

 

Memory

Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) Price: $50
Features

  • DDR3 2133
  • Timings: 11-13-13-31
  • CAS Latency 11
So far, this has been the most expensive component in this DIY NAS build. The Mushkin Blackline memory features heat spreaders and decent enough timings for its purpose.

 

RAID Controller Card

SYBA SD-PEX40054 PCIe 2.0 4-port RAID Controller Price: $35
Features

  • RAID 0/1/10 JBOD
  • 4 x SATA 6.0Gb/s
  • Marvell 88SE9230 Chipset
A basic RAID controller card that has fairly limited RAID capabilities. It supports RAID 0/1/10 arrays, but unfortunately not 5/10/50. If RAID 5 or 10 is a must, consider this SYBA PCI SATA II card as an alternative for only $5 more.

 

Network Interface Card

Intel EXPI9402PTBLK 2 Gb PCIe Network Card Price: $141
Features

  • 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps
  • 2 x RJ45
  • PCIe 1.0 ×4
The most expensive part of this DIY NAS, but also essential for speed—especially for networks with many clients. Don’t even think about a Wi-Fi card for a NAS system.

 

Storage Drives

Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200 RPM Hard Drive Price: $77 × 4 ($308)
Features

  • SATA 6 Gb/s
  • 64 MB cache
  • 3.5-inch form factor
Not everyone will need so much storage space, but we wanted to future-proof. If you set them up as a JBOD array you have 8 TB of storage space. RAID 10 is also an option as it offers both performance and backup.

 

Total: $667 with hard drives, $359 without

Related content: Which RAID Configuration Works Best for Your Business?

Conclusion

This DIY NAS build offers more than enough performance and can be customized to fit your needs. However, keep in mind that you want a capable RAID card and Ethernet network adapter for performance. The processor, case, motherboard and memory on the other hand, can be made more budget-friendly. Let us know in the comments what you think about our DIY NAS solution.

Photo by Kenny Louie, taken from Flickr Creative Commons
Summary
DIY NAS: Build a Backup Solution for Under $700 - HardBoiled
Article Name
DIY NAS: Build a Backup Solution for Under $700 - HardBoiled
Description
If you need a network attached storage solution for your home or small office, consider a DIY NAS project for better performance and more customization.
Author
Wallace Chu

Wallace Chu

A self-professed tech hipster that loves computers and music. Uses an iPhone ironically.

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