Description

So since I told myself that I wasn't going to spend any more money on my main desktop, I ended up deciding that I was going to upgrade my NAS. I may have gone just a tad overboard.... but that makes it all the more fun. I have always loved the idea of a small form factor NAS, and my previous NAS already had the ITX motherboard, so when I found the Silverstone DS380B, I decided to build a NAS around that.

So I went with a bunch of HGST 4TB Deskstar NAS drives, since they have better performance than WD Reds and still have a great price/performance for NAS drives. The 3TB WD Red is in here too since I already owned the drive.

I decided that I wanted to go with a RAID card to run RAID 5. I'm not storing any critical information on this NAS, but it does store backups and media and whatnot, so the parity is nice to have, and I decided to go with a hardware solution for RAID rather than software with something cheaper like a simple HBA because I wanted the increased performance, and lower CPU load than a software solution (even though yes, I know, my CPU would be able to handle the software parity raid no problem).

This computer will be used as my personal media server, which is why I went with such a powerful cpu. With that CPU, I will be able to run 2 high bitrate 1080p streams plus a lower bitrate video stream all at the same time with no CPU problems, which is good because I do give a few people access to my server.

I love the motherboard, it has 3 NICs (one Intel wireless AC and 2 gigabit ethernet, one intel and one realtek), although with my current configuration, I can't really take advantage of all of them simoultaneously since I'm running consumer Windows 8.1 Pro as my OS, which doesn't support anything like teaming, which is unfortunate. Maybe in the future I will upgrade to something like windows server that has that sort of functionality which would be great for lots of users hitting it on the local network at the same time.

Overall everything works great, it's a bit more than I need for right now, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Feel free to leave comments!

Part Reviews

Motherboard

Great ITX board! The dual NICs + Wireless are great if you use an OS that can take advantage of teaming, making it great for something like a small form factor NAS. Very quality motherboard, would highly recommend.

Memory

Great, cheap, low CAS timing, and reliable, couldn't ask for more from DDR3!

Storage

Not a bad NAS drive. Probably about the best Price/GB NAS drive. Only 5400RPM, so the speeds aren't amazing, but still totally great for most applications. These are popular for a reason, because they're good and they work.

Storage

Great NAS drive, haven't had a problem with these, they are nice and fast, especially compared to other NAS drives, and these stay very competitive in price/GB compared to those other slower NAS drives as well. They do run a bit hotter (and slightly louder) than some other NAS drives, but it's well worth the compromise, they work great and are definitely reliable.

Case

Had such great potential, but it definitely missed the mark in a few areas. Overall it's built with very high quality materials that feel very sturdy, build quality is immaculate. Unfortunately there are a few big flaws. For one, I can't believe that they didn't make the case 1/2 of an inch thicker in order to accommodate for low profile RAID cards. I can't use the 3rd drive slot in this case because my raid card BARELY goes into that 3rd drive bay which makes it unusable. I'm using a standard low profile RAID card, and if the case was literally 1/2 of an inch wider, there would be enough room for the low profile card and the 3rd drive slot. There's basically 0 room for cable management, although this is kind of forgiven since I realize how they tried to make this case as absolutely tiny as possible while still fitting 8 drives. It just makes for an interesting experience, especially when you have 8+ sata cables plus all your power and fan and front panel and etc running through this absolutely tiny chassis. When loading this thing up with all 8 (or 7) 3.5" HDDs, even with the 2 fans blowing directly on them, the drives get hot. Like really hot. A couple of the HDDs in mine reach over 60 C. Had they spaced out the drives just a bit more by adding a bit more height to the case allowing for more airflow between the drives, I think it would have been a lot better.

Overall, this is an amazing case if you want the absolute smallest thing you can get that will hold 8 (or 7+PCIe Card) 3.5" HDDs plus 4 SSDs. I would have given this a higher rating if it weren't for the $150 price tag, although I understand that it's more of a niche product, I would really expect a lot of those little quirks to be worked out on such a high price SFF case. Regardless, it's still a great case, and if it's what you're looking for, you won't find anything else on the market like it, so yeah.

Comments

  • 41 months ago
  • 3 points

That is a lot of p0rn!

  • 41 months ago
  • 0 points

lol

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice to see a NAS build. Really appreciate the honest review of the case too, shame about case, it looks so good...

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

It's your money, but isn't it recommended to have 1gb of RAM per terabyte of storage (16gb RAM vs 24tb Storage)

  • 41 months ago
  • 3 points

That's only for running a ZFS file system which is essentially a type of software RAID (although not technically called RAID, but it's the same basic idea). I'm running my RAID through hardware, and I'm not using ZFS (I'm not even using Linux as the OS for this machine, so I couldn't run ZFS if I wanted to) If I wanted to go that route I would need a bigger motherboard since almost all mini ITX motherboards only support up to 16GB of RAM. That 1GB of RAM per 1 TB of storage thing is so that the ZFS file system can do lots of caching as well as error checking, but with a solution like mine with hardware RAID, that's all handled through the RAID controller itself, so no need for extra RAM.

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 Nice to see a non gaming build. I love NAS systems and seeing other peoples creative solutions to the endless search for storage perfection!! EXCELLENT!

and btw

You wouldn't be running consumer grade hardware. FreeNAS recommends server grade equipment for ZFS. ZFS also has excellent multi-core (multi-thread) use, which makes utilizing Xeons a bonus.

You also wouldn't' need to get a bigger motherboard. Just one example of many mITX boards and one I'm personally using to operate a FreeNAS with a Plex jail.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157475 Octo-Core Avoton SoC @ 2.6ghz supports up to 64gigs of DDR3-1600 ECC 12 Sata IPMI support $350 I've seen a total of 12 users on at one time streaming 1080p content without much of an issue. Only complaint was the memory was more expensive than the board...

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, I'm actually well aware of that board, as it's by far the most popular board to put inside the DS380B. I probably would have gone with that solution, but for my personal uses, I require much more computational performance. I have a few programs that I run that are quite CPU intensive beyond just plex media encoding. That's why I have such an expensive CPU in my NAS as well.

Just as a side note, when you're streaming 1080p content to 12 users at a time, you're probably using direct play rather than live encoding 12 1080p streams (or if you are, they are very low bitrate streams). With my CPU, I can actually live encode about 3 Blu-Ray quality (~30mb/s 1080p) videos at a time. If I was using direct play, I could stream practically as many as I wanted to since it's basically just serving files, requiring basically no CPU usage at all.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

I've actually got it setup for direct stream. Streaming a file uses very little processing power without any loss in video quality which allowed me to have multiple streams going without worry. My collection is not all 1080. Most are from my collection of DVDs. The bluray a take a bit more time to add to the media collection.

I actually never thought of live encoding as you are explaining it. Since most of my media is streamed from outside the network I figured the best way would be the direct stream through plex. What are the benefits of going the route you are doing now? I'm assuming your doing a straight bluray rip to your media collection? And with the CPU power required would there be any benefit going with a similar Xeon with 4c/8t?

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I am serving video to multiple people both in and out of my local network. Even within my local network, a lot of my content cannot be direct streamed because they use unsupported formats (FLAC Audio, h.265 video, or subtitle burn in to name a few). So with those, I have to live encode even for local network play. And yes, a similar xeon probably would have been a better solution IF I didn't need decent onboard graphics since I can't throw In a cheap gpu with the RAID card in my PCIe slot, which was also a requirement for my personal uses. Also using things such as a chromecast doesn't let me simply play the video files locally via basic network sharing, plus the live encoding on my plex server can help eliminate just a bit of the strain of replaying the high bitrate video on a few of the lower power devices that I (or others) use to watch my plex content on, even at max quality, although there always is that option to lower the quality as well, which is used by everyone accessing my server off my local network.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes it is. I believe that it is for caching reasons. TekSyndicate has alot on this topic if you need more

[comment deleted]
  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Nor have I, but I am not expert in this area.

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm just itching to build myself a new NAS. +1 for your efforts sir.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build!

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

What are the read/write speeds like?

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Well over sata SSD speeds for sequential reads. Gotta love striping. And that's all in RAID 5, so any of my drives could completely fail and I wouldn't lose any data. The 4k read and writes are pretty typical hard drive values, but since I'm not booting off my RAID array (I have an SSD for my OS drive), and this is NAS storage, I will literally never be using lots of small files at a time, so that number is basically irrelevant. Write speeds could be faster, but I don't have a working battery for my RAID card right now so my RAID array is in write through, not write back with that 512MB of on board RAM on the RAID controller. Also it's RAID 5, so with parity calculations whenever you write, it will inherently be relatively slow, but still enough to nearly saturate a 1Gb network connection regardless.

http://imgur.com/Zs2CxT4

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Good god that's amazing

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

good to see a nas build on here. dont see much. only like gaming and workstation rigs

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

most red sata cables I've seen in my whole life

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, they're actually SFF 8087 breakout cables with sata ends, and I just boughtt the cheapest ones I could find. I kind of wish I went back and bought the shortest ones I could find instead because stuffing all 8 of those ridiculously long sata breakouts into this tiny case was a challenge to say the least. I ended up stuffing most of the extra length into the empty space in the SSD cage since there was literally no other place to put it lol.