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-   -   Advice on second hand server gear for a home NAS? (https://www.overclock.net/forum/221-servers/1704380-advice-second-hand-server-gear-home-nas.html)

mothergoose729 07-25-2018 11:41 AM

Advice on second hand server gear for a home NAS?
I am toying around with the idea of building a NAS out of retired server gear. In particular, LGA 2011/x79 boards, CPU, and memory are ridiculously cheap. I think I can get a quad core or better CPU, 16gb of memory, and a board for around 150-300 dollars which is bananas.

For example, this HP Z420 Workstation LGA 2011 ATX System Board is 60 bucks:


An Intel Xeon E5-1607 or similar can be found for as little as $14

And 8gb DIMMS of ECC Registered memory can be had for as little as 20$ a piece, while unbuffered generally goes for $60 or more.

I am thinking I can build out an array of 8TB drives over time, up to 8-12 drives. Using ZFS with 2 or 3 drive parity, that would be 42-70 TBs of data and the whole project would cost me maybe 3k?

I am a little worried about some stuff though. Most server boards have four or six SATA III ports on board, but I would need more than that. I could buy PCIE SATA addon cards, but I have read about problems with drivers, stability, and high capacity drives. Trying to do it on the cheap and all, I would be looking to use the 20-50 dollar consumer addon cards, and I would probably be running everything under some version of freeNAS or linux. Does anyone know anything about that? I am also considering using cheap USB 3.0 to SATA adapters and add on cards, but I am not sure how well that would work either. Any advice on how to increase the storage capacity of a board?

I would be looking to run this on gigabit ethernet, and my home internet upload speed is nothing special. Would I still want to invest in some kind of SSD cache? What about CPU requirements. If this is a dedicated NAS only, would an older generation quad core Xeon be enough? Any advice or pointers would be appreciated.

parityboy 07-28-2018 05:49 AM


NAS duty doesn't require much horsepower, so a quad-core Xeon will be plenty. Storage-wise the best route will be something like an LSI 9211-8i, which will support 8 drives. If you need more you could add another one. In fact you could hit eBay and look for a good deal on a Dell PowerEdge 510 (the 12x3.5" version). That's assuming you don't mind going rackmount.

herkalurk 08-03-2018 11:33 AM

Honestly if it's just for basic file sharing a simpler nas prebuilt might be the win. I have an older HP ML 350 G6 server which has as much horsepower as I can (2 X 6 core with hyperthreading == 24 threads). However, it's a 60 LB server. I'm working towards buying a Synology NAS to house my major data and a single powerful computer to run some VMs.

mumford 08-06-2018 02:50 PM

I run a dual core mini-itx Supermicro Atom embedded mobo for the past 8 years. The only limiting factor is ethernet speed, even though it has dual Intel gigabit nics. I never have any problem and still do not. But my ISP upgraded my internet to 1G up and 1G down. The little atom CPU just cannot do 1G sustained transfer. 350m is about all it can handle.

I am pretty sure that supermicro server boards have 8 or 10 SATA onboard. And don't get a "consumer" add-on sata card, get an "enterprise" LSI (or OEM rebranded) card for $30 - $80. $30 gets you a Dell Perc H310 which can be flashed to JBOD mode and is highly recommended by guys runing Freenas.

SSD cache may or may not be needed. It depends. You need to think about your usage patterns. You can use something likes mergerfs that cache writes on ssd and then rsync data to hard drives after a couple days, or you can use bcache, or bcachefs which cache writes on ssd and sync data to hard drives, AND also sync data from hard drive to ssd for recent reads. And you can use both in the same system, with different mount points.

Diffident 08-06-2018 03:53 PM

For a home NAS, an i3 has more than enough power. Even if you can buy old server gear for cheap it's going to cost you more in the long run with electric costs.

rlwgone 08-16-2018 01:55 PM

There's some socket 1366 xeon stuff on eBay for super cheap also, and some good low power chips available. If it's only for a file server then this should still be more than adequate. You could pair it with something like a 4U Rosewill chassis which is about $100, maybe something smaller and cheaper would also suit you. Best of luck.

USNSS 05-24-2019 01:48 PM

If you want to use this purely as a NAS, buy a NAS simply because it will use less electricity. If you want storage and have the ability to do other things, buy a used server. DL370's, R410's, R210's are all getting insanely cheap these days. All can be had with at least 16gb of ram and sometimes RAID controllers for under $100.

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