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NAS Server

by TjPhysicist

Description

4 Drive NAS and General Server using FreeBSD in a cute little case. Usual temp is about 24-30C (I haven't seen it hit 30 yet).

Note: The two WD Red's are currently not installed yet, as they are not needed as of yet.

Note2: The entire build was done from amazon.ca cuz I had a gift card. Which is why I didn't buy used for some of the stuff (I may have been able to get a used CPU and even case)

Part Reviews

CPU

Do note: I haven't been using this more than a few days, so I cannot speak for long term efficiency, or usage peaks etc.

AMAZING for servers. Actually FreeNAS forums have this CPU listed as one of the recommended ones for 'light usage' servers. It's pretty much the cheapest thing you can get without compromising on things you'd generally need. It has AES-NI for encryption if you need it, it has dual cores and it's a relatively recent architecture - meaning you can expect a certain amount of efficiency and technology in this CPU. The TDP is pretty low to begin with. I CAN'T speak for what the actual watt usage IS in reality for me, but it's usually running at about 23°C - 25°C -- that at least says SOMETHING about efficiency and power consumption (it's likely not using too much power if it's managing to stay that cool with the included cooler).

Motherboard

I bought this for a small home server. Pretty good for what it is. No REAL complaint. One thing that DID catch me by surprise though: the RAM slot, only ONE side's tab snaps in/out. (i think you call it a tab, that thing on the side). Usually you push BOTH sides out and push the RAM in and the sides snap back, this time only ONE side does this. Which is a bit weird...not really a complaint, just struck me as odd.

I like the number of drives I can plug in though 4 SATA's AND an M2.

Note: i'm not quite sure how common this is with mini-itx but this board only has header for 1 non CPU-fan. i.e. it has one cpu_fan and one sys_fan, that's all. so any extra fans need to use a splitter or PSU molex.

Case

First off: this IS a small form factor case. I've never dealt with small form factor stuff before, all the stuff I've ever owned/seen inside were mid size or full size TOWERS.

I bought this for a small NAS/Server I'm building for my house. It was perfect, and I wanted smthg that was visually distinct from every other desktop. Few points of note: - This is small case. mini-itx to be exact. The obvious part is that it's only built for one size MoBo. the NOT so obvious result of this, is that it was SURPRISINGLY cramped, especially since i'm used to micro ATX and mid sized boards in massive full sized cases. - There's not TOO much in terms of cable mgmt. Unlike full sized towers that have a "back panel" type area. There is a bit of that in the "front" that I used and enough notches all over to zip tie cables down. There's other related issues too, you have to be REALLY careful about what you put in before what and plan out your wiring etc, especially if you want to put in a gfx card and 3 or 4 drives etc. They've packed a LOT in here, which means you don't have a lot of wiggle room.

  • Given the size though, some pretty amazing achievements. There's space for a good number of 2.5" drives and a decent number of 3.5" drives. But you'll have to be REALLY good with cables once you start filling it up.

  • I LOVE how it looks, it's PERFECT for a server, i wanted smthg that looked distinct from all the 'pc towers' i have.

  • The cover or panel is a ***** to put back. the top and two sides come off together, slide off. The mechanism, while pretty cool and sensible is REALLY hard to put back, especially once you start stuffing things in there. I always need ALL FOUR of my limbs and at least 5 minutes to slide the damned thing back properly. And i haven't even put in all the drives.

  • Dust filters EVERYWHERE, which is AWESOME! This only has one fan, which is fine since AFAIK a lot of mini-ITX's only have 1 fan header on the motherboard (1 fan and 1 CPU fan is what i've seen). However, due to the number of dust filters everywhere my guess is this case is meant to be one with negative air pressure. I.e. it sucks OUT Hot air, and any incoming air is just whatever air flow in naturally due to the pressure differential created. This sort of setup is AMAZING for cooling but very bad for dust, which is fine, cuz there's a tonne of dust filters. My CPU and Motherboard is running at 24-28C.

  • The setup they have with the PSU is a bit weird and different. My one REAL gripe is that the wire going into the PSU is too long needing to be awkwardly bent around. The entire PSU is deep inside, meaning you cannot access the PSU switch from outside.

ALL in all, amazing case, they make good use of the space, but that also means It COULD get cramped, but you already knew that, this is a SMALL case. Includes one fan likely designed to be 'negative air preassure' inside the case creating extra cooling but susciptible to more dust, but the dust filters negate that last worry.

MOST importantly: A few TIPS if you're buying this:

  1. Don't bother if you want to put a graphics card or something. they SAY it's possible, they even say you can have water cooling, but yea that's not gonna happen.

  2. MODULAR PSU. Given the size of the case, you don't have a lot of space to waste with extra unused PSU wires hanging around.

  3. If you're planning to have more than 2 drives plan out what goes before what. THis case is AMAZING for the number of drives you can mount, but none of those slots are "snap in" and they usually either end up blocking your way to screwing something or BEING blocked by another piece of something you'll install at some point.

Comments Sorted by:

FinnHeywood 1 point 17 months ago

Why the G4400 could you net just get a used xeon?

TjPhysicist submitter 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

Yea I thought of that, but this build was done using an amazon gift card, so had to buy from amazon.

That AND i wanted a mini-itx since i wanted the small cube case. Which severely limits my options for a xeon mobo.

FinnHeywood 1 point 16 months ago

Okay that's understandable, although you could have gotten a Pentium G4560 instead as I'm sure the hyperthreading and high clock rate would help and at the same price.

bloodroses75 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

Have you tried Plex on it? I am kind of curious what kind of loads it can handle with transcoding video.

Very nice small size server build. :)

TjPhysicist submitter 1 Build 1 point 15 months ago

i did for a bit and it worked fine, i didnt know plex decodes videos locally on the server but it works fine enough. at least for the short time i had it. (I couldnt get it to work the way i wanted it to, so i gave up, that was an issue with plex and not with the server)

Jessiahsmallwood 5 Builds 1 point 2 months ago

Are you able to acess it from a wireless computer

TjPhysicist submitter 1 Build 1 point 8 days ago

of course. why not? wifi is, for all intents and purposes the same as wired in terms of connection. In fact, I watch my videos, play my music etc on my chromebook ALL THE TIME, and i do it directly from the Fileshare.

Jessiahsmallwood 5 Builds 1 point 7 days ago

Mine was having problems. It is reasolved now

[comment deleted by staff]
TjPhysicist submitter 1 Build 1 point 13 months ago

btw, this is already built. I did find a way to mount all those 3.5" drives. the case has a big 5.4" slot and i got a bracket so i could use that to mount 3.5" drives as well.

I'm still considering more SSDs btw, but so far this seems to be ok, no ssd's currently mounted though. And yea the problem with such a small case is the loose wires. Some of the ones i'll never need i cut them some other i pulled to the front and tied it.

Good to know i didn't go wrong with the g4400 though.