The alternative NAS
Here's the deal, I have my CoolerMaster HAF X casing full to the brim with drives (I've reached a 0.02 PB limit) so I took a look around at NAS solutions and my thoughts can be encapsulated in three letters - WTF?
I originally posted this on a US website but just divide the dollar amount by 1.5 and you will get the pound amount.
For a good NAS you are looking at paying $750 for a four SATA disk solution with a little Intel Atom processor. To my mind this is just taking the mickey.
So I decided to go with build my own.
I wanted something where I could put in a shed-load of drives and have it run quietly.
So here we go and you can slag off my choice of hardware - however remember it was not necessarily what I wanted that dictated what I bought but rather what was offered that was good enough for a price I wanted to pay.
Also you have to remember that I live in the UK where one has to pay somewhat more than folks in the US, so don't go telling me you could have gotten it cheaper over the pond. I have converted the prices I paid in UK pounds to US dollars and all prices include delivery.
Let's start off with the casing. I went for the CoolerMaster HAF XM. It has room for twelve - count them TWELVE - drives. I have the HAF X but if the HAF XM had existed back in the day then I would have bought that. I got the case for $134
For the innards of the machine I cast about to see what I could get that was reasonable and could be used as a working PC if I ever needed to repair my main box.
I ended up going for a bundle deal that was offered consisting of:
ASUS F2A55-M LK Motherboard - the motherboard has six SATA II ports
AMD A8 5600K Processor (my first ever AMD processor)
8GB Corsair XMS memory.
I got this lot for $213
The processor came with a stock CPU cooler but I saw an offer for the Corsair H60 that I couldn't refuse so I bought that. Price $86. I also bought two Noctua NF-P14 FLX Vortex Control 120/140mm fans (the round fans are 140 mm but the mountings are 120 mm) for $45
For the PSU I was torn, however considering the amount of drives I will be putting in the machine and that I will probably upgrade the system at some point I went for a modular Corsair TX750. Price $131
For the boot drive I was lucky enough to find a Corsair Neutron 120 for $110.
I also bought an addon card which has two sata III ports and two eSATA III ports for $34.
I also bought a "dashboard" which has two USB 3 ports, a regulator for fans, multi card reader and I can hook up a SATA drive to it externally and fits into one of the three 5.25 drive bays. Price for that was $31
So compared to the price of buying an empty NAS that has a piddly little Atom processor, which I cannot use for anything else, and can only hold four SATA drives for at least $750 I got the whole lot above for $784.
Since the NAS comes without a drive I should take the $110 for the SSD off the price so for a straight comparison I paid $674. And believe me, with the Noctua fans the thing will be nigh on silent. Oh yes and as opposed to the NAS solution I can use 4 TB Harddrives whereas the NAS was confined to 2 TB drives - an even more expensive one (over $1,000) was only rated for 3 TB drives.
On the other hand I just bought a new wooden keyboard from Datamancer for over $500.
Last edited by Phil@Dabs; 12-04-13 at 12:01.
One thing doesn't get mentioned a lot, and that is the ability under Windows to mount drives in subdirectories instead of assigning them drive letters.
In my case I will have one boot drive - the SSD - and then I will add a 4 TB drive which will be shared as "D". Now that will fill up over time, however when I feel the need to increase the number of drives I can create and empty folder called "Music", load the new drive into that folder and then just copy over the music files I have accumulated onto that and when I look at my NAS over the network I will see the D-drive and a subdirectory called "Music" and when I click on that I will see my music files which are stored on a second drive.