My goal of the whole project was to build a NAS for back up and a plex server Htpc all in one to unify all my media and rip all eve/blurays I had that didn't come with a digital copy.
I wanted a nice small form factor case to minimize size on my media shelf. I was also hoping to use a noctua nh-d15 cooler that I have lying around. The node 304 was compatible and had a unusually high slots for hdds for the size. Unfortunately once I started on the build it was obvious I couldn't use the larger CPU cooler with the amount of storage I wanted so I had to get the smaller noctua but slapped on a spare 140 mm fan I also had unused.
I went with i5 skylake for power needed for max transcoding and reduced power usage; got a great price for the 6500. Choice in motherboard was very limited since I needed the LGA 1151 socket and enough raid ready sata ports to max hdds if I wanted to. It's a great mother board and does give the option to overclock if I wanted to but I'm not atm. Also can potentially get a pcie m2 boot drive if I ever want to max out the hdds in the system.
For a boot drive I just took my old ocz from my main rig that is my smallest ssd. I decided upon the hgst drives for most reliability based on the backblaze data. At least the 4tb drives are definitely the best, unfortunately there is less data on the 6 tb but given the limited space I needs bigger drives. I put the 4 that drives in raid 1 for document and photo backup and security while the 6tb drives are in raid 0.
Putting it all together wasn't bad but cable management got tight but manageable. I did borrow from great ideas here in pcpartpicker builds between the front mount of ssd and electrical tape to hold up the fan cables going to the built in controller on the left side. I did ultimately decide to flip the stock fan orientation to max air flow onto the drives. I think it might make it more positive pressure too but not sure about that. I did add a rear dust filter though unfortunately it will be annoying to clean with the need to remove fans completely to get at (it's screwed onto the rear intake). Would love people's opinion if the reverse air flow is better or not
Great cooler that's amazingly quiet. The fractal fans are the noisiest in my build. You can attach a normal noctua 140 mm to it - it does stretch the clip but very secure.
Great motherboard and allows for 6 sata raid. Rough that the m.2 drive is on the back of the case doesn't have a cut out there. i can't comment on the overclocking ability since I haven't tried it yet
Tiny but holds a ton of storage and solidly built. Also lets you tear it down to bare shell to build in
Light yet solidly built. The keys are a bit mushy but not too bad- clearly not for gaming. The touch pad is decent but gesture capability limited. Still haven't found a third party software to expand this. Not a big deal since most times I remote in to control most of the functions of my NAS Htpc I use it on