Needed a dedicated NAS to do home labs for VMware vCloud shared storage, on it's lab down-time it's a PlexMedia Server (jailed) for web/dlna streams, Apple AFP for TimeMachines (2 macs) and various AFP Shares (public, secure and media dropping point for Plex). Wanted to keep it sub $500 (all new), low power, quiet system with some type of disk redundancy at about 2TB.
Assembly and installation was problem free, performed a 8 hour stress test downloading MP3s and indexing/cataloging from internet databases. Temp only raised 5 degrees at most, with an non air conditioned closet door closed.
Estimated power costs is 9 cents/day
Headless FreeBSD (FreeNAS 9.1.1) x64 image on a 8GB USB Flash, used on boot only.
Administration performed from Web GUI, SSH and SFTP
8GB dedicated to FreeBSD System and ZFS storage cache, on load it utilizes all 8GB. (FreeNAS auto-tune off, since it has less than 16GB of memory)
zRAID3 with 3x 6Gb SATA 1TB Seagates (1.8TB usable and expandable).
Wired to a 1Gb switch port and 11n 600Mbps Wifi Router.
Display if needed is via hdmi to a 50" living room LCD.
Keyboard is in the closet with it, left unplugged
Memory was set at 1.5v
Video RAM was reduced to 32MB
All fans at automatic and minimum target level 1, spin up set to 48 degrees C
All disks using SMART with spin-down and minimal acoustic set in FreeBSD
Room to upgrade to RAID 5/10 later on
Spare memory banks, at moderate load no swapping seen yet
Power to spare
ESXi vCloud lab will be hosted by Fusion on a iMac and use iSCSI with CHAP