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To Buy a NAS or To Build a NAS

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Vagike, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. Vagike New Member

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    Hi All,

    For about the past year, I have been looking at adding a NAS to my wired gigabit home network. I am looking at a 2 or 4 bay NAS. A unit that I can expand the capacity as needed. (ie. 3x500GB ->3x1TB without having to offload the data) I have been inclined to buy a NAS off the shelf, but most either do not have the ability to expand/migrate the RAID, or get really BAD reviews from consumers that decide to post reviews.

    On the other hand...

    I have an old X-Qpack case that I can stuff an ICY Dock in, with a mini-ITX/mATX, and a RAID Card, such as Adaptec or 3Ware. I have looked at bit into this option, seeing that most RAID cards have the ability to expand the RAID. However, when I try to read through a PDF on the card to understand their procedure for expanding the RAID, I seem to turn up with nothing.

    I consider myself a prosumer of electronics, with the willing to learn. I build my own machines. My home network currently consists of my gaming rig (an AM3), a 4 TV Tuner PVR build out of some old Intel 775 parts, and an Xbox 360. I have played/built RAID setups in rigs, but have only ever used an onboard RAID controller; and from what I have read, onboard RAID controllers don't exactly expand RAID-arrays, but please correct me if i am wrong.


    I am putting a feeler out to the TPU Community, for experiences or reviews that can help me out. If there is a forum topic that you know of, please post a link for me.


    Thank you in advance.
  2. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Building your own NAS is always a good option if you don't need some of the software features that today's NAS servers come with. Free NAS software isn't keeping up with many of the features the likes of QNAP or Thecus offer. You probably won't need them in a home environment.
  3. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderatorâ„¢ Staff Member

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    Build it, learnt that the hard way when a year ago my own NAS quit just a couple of weeks after the 1 year warranty expired :ohwell: If you build it you can make sure you get the best drive, and the best enclosure - for the best price. If you buy ready made you might find a good price but the drive brand quality used or that of the enclosure might leave a bit to be desired...
  4. yogurt_21

    yogurt_21

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    build it, you'll never regret it and will wonder how you lived without it. I have no idea what'd I'd do without mine.
  5. Cold Storm

    Cold Storm Battosai

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    I've thought about this over the past 6m. To where I built my own Matx system. Made it into a HTPC and I know that I will all ways be able to get my stuff off it..
  6. mlee49

    mlee49

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    I went prebuilt NAS over a self built setup. I had the same debate until I noticed that building my own network storage just isn't as cost efficient as a smaller 2 bay NAS.

    I bought a Synology Diskstation 210j. It's a dual bay enclosure(does not come with drives) that runs a web interface for everything I need. It's very small(just larger than the HDD's) and has tons of options.

    I know I checked out this site pretty regularly when I was making my decision:

    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/
  7. cdawall where the hell are my stars

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    no its not as cost effective however if you want to add a shit ton of drives it is. NAS boxes are no were near as expandable as a PC is.
  8. yogurt_21

    yogurt_21

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    that statement is very dependant upon you not having literally any hardware laying about and only needing 1-2 tb of storage. If you do have any spare hardware laying about and/or need more than 2tb storage than no building your own is much much much cheaper.
  9. Completely Bonkers New Member

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    It depends on how ambitious you want to be. If you just want a "silent" networked HDD, then get a prebuilt. It will be cheaper and use less electricity than a hope built x86 system.

    However, if you want to experiment with a few things and have some fun, then built your own x86 system using an Atom or AMD350.

    1./ Install something like www.synaman.com onto the device, and remote access any files you need wherever you are in the world
    2./ Add a webserver, and run a basic website or bulletin-board-for-the-family. I do that. A private board so that the grandparents can log in and see some stuff the kids put up for them
    3./ Add a folderwatch service, so you can dump CD's or DVD rips, and it will quietly convert them to MP3/AVI etc.
    4./ I also run a OCR folderwatch, so that when I scan documents (I have a network scanner) the PDFs that are created are text searchable

    etc. etc. you'll have a lot of fun.

    But again, if your needs are ONLY networked HDD, then get a prebuilt. It will save you a lot of time, and money.
  10. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    Bulding will allow you to get a custom solution that fits your exact needs. If you choose Windows Home Server, there is an option to allow you to migrate the data off one drive and onto another, which makes upgrading from one size disk to a larger one very easy. Just make sure you have hardware that supports hot-swap and you should be good.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  11. Vagike New Member

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    Thanks for the quick response.

    To clarify some things.

    The Intel 775 machine is my HTPC + Dual Dual PCIe TV + Torrent + Media server. The unit is hooked up to my LED TV via HDMI and Bose 5.1. Currently, it is running Windows 7 Ultimate x64 with an E6850 Core 2 Duo coupled with 4gb of DDR2-800, and running 2 different generations of 1tb drives, but not in RAID. This machine seems overworked in its current form.

    The AM3 machine replaced my old 775 gamer rig, that ran a RAID5 of 4x500gb, with a Q9650 Core 2 Quad with 4gb of DDR2 1066, on an Asus Maximus Formula SE with a 'RaMpAgEd' bios. I am incline to donate the q9650 and 1066mhz ram to the HTPC.

    In aspects of building a NAS. My thoughts were to build a NAS similar to an off-the-shelf NAS, like a ReadyNAS. Power consumption is key to the build, so my thoughts were to build it on a mini-ITX platform, possibly an Atom, but using a mATX with a low watt chip is good too. I was using NCIX.ca as a base for hardware shopping, since I live in canada. I have been looking at Zotac and their DDR2/3 either in SDRAM or SODIMM mini-ITX variants. The X-QPack case has a 2x5.25 drive, so i would use a MB973SP-B from Icy Dock.

    Using an onboard raid vs a raid card is where I am stuck. If an onboard raid can allow me to expand hdd capacity or migrate raid levels without off-loading the data, then that would save me the extra $200 - $400 dollars on a raid card.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011

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