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Ideas for possible NAS/Server build needed

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So I abandoned my original idea after finding a cheap HTPC case and figured out I could build something with spare parts. Though, I still don't understand how UnRAID works really. I've been trying to read up on the different options for NAS servers, but I can't say I fully understand them.

I have 3 HDDs 2x Red drives (4tb and 8tb) and a 5 tb 2.5" drive (external USB that can be shucked). Ideally I'd like to pool the 4tb and 8tb drive to make 12 gb with the option to add another 8tb next year. Redundancy would be nice, but I'm going to use the 5tb 2.5" drive for essential backups (drive images and such).

I also have a few SSDs and 500tb HDDs that I'm going to put in, but not add to the pool as these will be for things like FTP, my Door camera and such.

I'll be running a lot of different services on the server, but generally ones with little overhead, apart from Plex.

I've been using Ubuntu server to do these things on a netbook for a few years now, I'm not a pro at it by any means, but I can follow a guide and troubleshoot.

I'm looking for the best option to get all this up and running on a single computer and am looking for advice on how to proceed. I've read that ZFS is possible on ubuntu server to pool the HDDs, but it seems that you cannot expand the storage at a later date without detroying the array. Does anyone have any better ideas than just Ubuntu server +ZFS?

For the core of my server, I haven't yet decided what to use. I have an old Z77 mainboard and 2nd Gen i3, but I'm not sure if it is functional so I'll likely pick up an old 3rd gen i5 or something else that can use up the spare DDR3 I have lying around.

So. I've really been wanting to build a NAS for a long time. The problem is, I just don't have the cash for a dedicated build. However, I recently saw a Lenevo M93p on sale for around $100 and I thought i might be able to leverage this little PC as a dedicated NAS and Server, but I'm not quite sure how to do it and I'm looking for ideas.



So I currently have 3 HDDs that I can dedicate to a NAS. Unfortunately they aren't all the same model/size (part of the reason that building a NAS would be a little outta my budget right now)

I have a 4Tb WD red (shucked from an Easystore/My Book) a 5 tb external 2.5" HDD (shuckable) and an 8tb WD elements (hopefully with a red variant inside) on the way.

The server I'd like to build would primarily be for media storage and backup so having redundancy isn't essential, though it would be nice. I'd also like to migrate some services I have running on an ald Celeron netbook over to the mini-PC and the extra performance that the Lenevo would provide would be nice. This is why I was thinking Ubuntu Server, rather than a dedicated NAS OS like FreeNAS

I was thinking that I could install Ubuntu Server on the mini-PC, run those 3 HDDs over USB and install ZFS on Ubuntu to pool either 2 or all 3 of the disks. MY main question about this setup is speed, how fast would doing this be compared to running them over SATA 3? I'm also a little wary of those usb interfaces that come with external drives, in my experience, they have a tenancy to die well before the actual HDDs give up and installing them this way means that if one of the controllers die, then I would lose all of my data.

Now the Lenevo has 3 internal SATA ports and an eSATA port (which i'm assuming is just a regular SATA port labelled as eSATA as I don't see any mention of eSATAp). If this were a regular HTPC type build, i could just run the cables from the PSU and mainboard to the outside of the case and run the HDDs at full SATA 3 speeds, however the Lenevo only comes with an 85 W PSU which I really don't think would be enough to power 3 drives.Does anyone have any ideas how I could externally power the drives in order to use them in this manner or does anyone have experience doing anything similar?
 
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I have a small form factor HP ProDesk 600 G2 set up as a NAS/Plex Server. I have an 8TB WD EasyStore connected to it.



I could expand the storage by getting more of the external drives. I want to set up a RAID 5 array once I have enough drives, but I'll only get more drives as my storage needs increase.

I currently have Windows 10 Pro running on it (though I'd like to switch it over to Linux eventually). I get transfer rates of around 85MB/s over gigabit Ethernet.
 
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Don't use USB, its a pain with networking. With UnRAID you can use drives that are different sizes and utilize the whole drive, You can also add drives later. UnRAID is supper easy to set up
FreeNAS. ZFS or any other file system will require all drives to be the same size or it will make them the same size. That Lenevo should power three drives. But I still wouldn't use it

Look at used server hardware also, even an i3 with a bunch of ram will do.

I have an i3 running FreeNAS with 6 -6Tb drives and it only uses 65w
 
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Don't use USB, its a pain with networking. With UnRAID you can use drives that are different sizes and utilize the whole drive, You can also add drives later. UnRAID is supper easy to set up
FreeNAS. ZFS or any other file system will require all drives to be the same size or it will make them the same size. That Lenevo should power three drives. But I still wouldn't use it

Look at used server hardware also, even an i3 with a bunch of ram will do.

I have an i3 running FreeNAS with 6 -6Tb drives and it only uses 65w
So I abandoned my original idea after finding a cheap HTPC case and figured out I could build something with spare parts. Though, I still don't understand how UnRAID works really. I've been tryiong to read up on the different options for NAS servers, but I can't say I fully understand them.

With UnRAID, you can add HDDs of different sizes toa single pool? So If I add my 4tb and 8Tb drive, I'll get 12 Tb, but will I have any redundancy?
Is it possible to install on top of Ubuntu Server so that I can run other services too? I'm thinking Plex. Minecraft. DNS. FTP.etc.
I have 20+ services running on an old netbook that I'd like to gradually migrate across (as i relearn how to set each up again)
 
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Check Youtube. There are some helpful videos. With UnRAID you choose how much redundancy, no you cannot run it on top of Linux. It also runs off a USB flash drive so no need for a OS drive, just like FreeNAS. UnRAID is free also. Also I'm pretty sure it has a Plex add on, as well as VM and a bunch of other server programs
 
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Check Youtube. There are some helpful videos. With UnRAID you choose how much redundancy, no you cannot run it on top of Linux. It also runs off a USB flash drive so no need for a OS drive, just like FreeNAS. UnRAID is free also. Also I'm pretty sure it has a Plex add on, as well as VM and a bunch of other server programs
I'm fairly sure that it wouldn't be able to support all the services I'd like to run, apart from Plex and a few others. Most packages I use only have instructions for Linux/Ubuntu installs.

Looks like I'll have to look for an option to do it throughUbuntu server, I just don't know how yet.

I had a bit more of a look into unRAID and it looks ideal. The only problem is, that it only supports 2 hard drives with the free licence and I'll likely be running at least 6 disks in there.

2 larger drives, primarily for media storage.
1 USB backup drive
A second array of 2 low-capacity hard drives for Camera storage.
A small drive for my personal cloud storage.
An SSD for the Ubuntu VM.

That means I'd have to purchase a Plus licence at $89 which is more expensive than the hardware itself. Even if I were to use a single pool for the various other function, I couldn't do that along with a backup drive and an SSD, not to mention I couldn't expand in the future, on the free license.
 
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I also have a few SSDs and 500tb HDDs
I would love some of these, 500Tb SSD's :respect::respect::eek::eek:

With setting up and file server at home anything will do it doesn't need to be massively powerful, I was using a G3258 for ages and it was coping fine with the access I asked for it and needed. I've been using Synology for years and I've had zero issues with it, so I've stuck with it. I've a few other servers that I will be adding into the mix but that's just because they are there and I'd like them to do something.

I've not really got on with Plex so well but is there anything else that you'd use the server for? General storage and such like? :)
 
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I would love some of these, 500Tb SSD's :respect::respect::eek::eek:

With setting up and file server at home anything will do it doesn't need to be massively powerful, I was using a G3258 for ages and it was coping fine with the access I asked for it and needed. I've been using Synology for years and I've had zero issues with it, so I've stuck with it. I've a few other servers that I will be adding into the mix but that's just because they are there and I'd like them to do something.

I've not really got on with Plex so well but is there anything else that you'd use the server for? General storage and such like? :)
Lol. 500 gb :)

Yeah. Plex transcodes media and audio from 1 format to another. A passmark of 2000 is able to transcode 1 stream at 720p, roughly. I'm looking at putting in a CPU with at least 6000, then I don't have to run Plex on my main rig and can shut it off at night.
 
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Lol. 500 gb :)

Yeah. Plex transcodes media and audio from 1 format to another. A passmark of 2000 is able to transcode 1 stream at 720p, roughly. I'm looking at putting in a CPU with at least 6000, then I don't have to run Plex on my main rig and can shut it off at night.
You should have said over 9000 :laugh:

Moving on from my bad jokes :)
I didn't get on with Plex so well, but I'm a complete Noob with that software... Never used it very much as when I did as I wasn't paying for it, I'd only be allowed 1 minute of video and that was it.. I'm not paying for it to find out it sucked lol

When you use Plex on other devices, do you use the Plex software to then access the videos you wish you use?
 
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I used Plex free for a couple of months, then I downloaded the Android app for $5 and paid the $5 month fee. I paid for life time Plex Pass after I saw how good it worked.
As far as transcoding a Plex pass does allow for hardware decoding. But still I started with a G3258 and it did fine with multiple streams
EDIT* I just read that they added
"Until the mobile app is unlocked (through an in-app purchase or a Plex Pass subscription), video and music streamed from a Plex Media Server has a 1 minute limit, and photos will be watermarked."
It didn't use to be like this, but I think its just the mobile app?? Before I got the Plex Pass I could stream all my movies in my house to all my TVs for free
 
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You should have said over 9000 :laugh:

Moving on from my bad jokes :)
I didn't get on with Plex so well, but I'm a complete Noob with that software... Never used it very much as when I did as I wasn't paying for it, I'd only be allowed 1 minute of video and that was it.. I'm not paying for it to find out it sucked lol

When you use Plex on other devices, do you use the Plex software to then access the videos you wish you use?
Plex is pretty much free. You have to buy the android/ios app, but that is only a couple of dollars (or was when I bought it). It is an invaluable piece of software and can be made more powerful by incorporating it with DVR software like PlayON.

As far as my server goes. I've decided to just do a Win10 build for my NAS and use a spanned volume. I'll run an Ubuntu Server VM in the background for those services that windows can't run.
The reason behind this is that I currently have a HTPC that is only ever occasionally used, but still pretty powerful (i7 970 + GTX 1060)
I'll be giving my youngest daughter the HTPC for her own personal use, then building a low power machine for NAS/Plex/HTPC and other duties.

I am getting a Gigabyte AX370 board (the cheapest available @$50, but the x370 chipset seems plenty good enough). There was a B450 board for the same price, but its out of stock :(
I'll be putting an Athlon Pro 200GE, 256 NVMe and 16gb of 2666 ram in with it. I know that the Athlon is a pretty weak CPU, even when compared to the i7 970, but with a passmark of over 5,000 it should be able to handle a little transcoding, be overclocked, and use little power. More importantly, it gives me an upgrade path in the future to a Ryzen CPU when I have more money or find a nice deal on one.

The Athlon can also handle a 4k display (albeit at 24 Hz) so when I eventually get a 4k TV, I know that the computer will work with it.
 
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I used Plex free for a couple of months, then I downloaded the Android app for $5 and paid the $5 month fee. I paid for life time Plex Pass after I saw how good it worked.
As far as transcoding a Plex pass does allow for hardware decoding. But still I started with a G3258 and it did fine with multiple streams
EDIT* I just read that they added
"Until the mobile app is unlocked (through an in-app purchase or a Plex Pass subscription), video and music streamed from a Plex Media Server has a 1 minute limit, and photos will be watermarked."
It didn't use to be like this, but I think its just the mobile app?? Before I got the Plex Pass I could stream all my movies in my house to all my TVs for free
Plex is pretty much free. You have to buy the android/ios app, but that is only a couple of dollars (or was when I bought it). It is an invaluable piece of software and can be made more powerful by incorporating it with DVR software like PlayON.

As far as my server goes. I've decided to just do a Win10 build for my NAS and use a spanned volume. I'll run an Ubuntu Server VM in the background for those services that windows can't run.
The reason behind this is that I currently have a HTPC that is only ever occasionally used, but still pretty powerful (i7 970 + GTX 1060)
I'll be giving my youngest daughter the HTPC for her own personal use, then building a low power machine for NAS/Plex/HTPC and other duties.

I am getting a Gigabyte AX370 board (the cheapest available @$50, but the x370 chipset seems plenty good enough). There was a B450 board for the same price, but its out of stock :(
I'll be putting an Athlon Pro 200GE, 256 NVMe and 16gb of 2666 ram in with it. I know that the Athlon is a pretty weak CPU, even when compared to the i7 970, but with a passmark of over 5,000 it should be able to handle a little transcoding, be overclocked, and use little power. More importantly, it gives me an upgrade path in the future to a Ryzen CPU when I have more money or find a nice deal on one.

The Athlon can also handle a 4k display (albeit at 24 Hz) so when I eventually get a 4k TV, I know that the computer will work with it.
I'd have to take another look at Plex, it might be a great tool but to try it out I'd rather not have to pay for it to find it's not my cup of tea..

Is it an easy program to setup? If I recall I was having issues with it reading directories as there where a lot of files in the directories I was pointing it to.. I might need to take another look at it I think :)

File sharing doesn't need massive power and I'm unsure how well 4k would be handled if it's sending it across the network, but it's something that I'm looking into myself as I'd like to try it out :)
 
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The cool thing about Plex is it does all the hard work for you. You need 0 experience with networking. Just create an account point it to your folders and that's it. You can now log into it from anywhere. Most smart TVs have Plex, Chrome Cast, Roku, browsers support Plex, the app is a breeze. You can watch part of a movie at home, then pick up where you left off on your phone. To add new movies you have to do a scan but thats about it for maintenance.

i don't use it in the house, I use Kodi because Plex will compress the audio. But outside the house its the way to go.
All my movies are 1080 so not sure how it will handle 4k
 
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Cooling CM Seidon 120 XL / Laptop Cooling / SE-903 / Stock
Memory 16Gb Nighthawk 3000 MHz/ 4GB DDR3 / 16gb DDR3 / 12 GB DDR3
Video Card(s) Colorful 1080Ti / G210m / 7870XT / 2x1060 + 1080
Storage 750G MX300 + 3TB HDDs / 250G Ultra II /250G 850 EVO/ 250gb Mechanical
Display(s) Dell U2515H + Asus VX239H/ 15.6" Laptop Screen / 720p 42" Plasma TV/ None
Case Cooler master HAF 922 / Laptop Case / Corsair Air 240 / Custom
Audio Device(s) On Board Realtek
Power Supply Andyson N700 Titanium / Laptop Power / ACBell 700 W / FSP 850 W
Mouse Logitech G700s
Keyboard CM Quickfire XT (Cherry MX Reds)
Software Windows 10 x64
Benchmark Scores 3DMark Firestrike = Timespy = 9427 Heaven = 3735
The cool thing about Plex is it does all the hard work for you. You need 0 experience with networking. Just create an account point it to your folders and that's it. You can now log into it from anywhere. Most smart TVs have Plex, Chrome Cast, Roku, browsers support Plex, the app is a breeze. You can watch part of a movie at home, then pick up where you left off on your phone. To add new movies you have to do a scan but thats about it for maintenance.

i don't use it in the house, I use Kodi because Plex will compress the audio. But outside the house its the way to go.
All my movies are 1080 so not sure how it will handle 4k
Plex handles 4k fine, it's all about the clients and what they can handle. You'll often find that your clients can't handle 2k natively and so plex will need to transcode it into a compatible format. This takes a bit of a beefy CPU, but not all that much bandwidth, if you have a gigabit network.
 
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