- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-J1900N-D3V - €86.03
- Power Supply: 450W Corsair CX450 80+Bronze - €49.60
- Case: Cooler Master | Elite 110 Mini-ITX - €41.68
- RAM: 8GB (2 x 4GB) Samsung DDR3L SO-DIMM 1600Mhz 1,35V - free
- Storage: 2 x 2TB Seagate Barracuda 2,5, 1 x 1TB Seagate Momentus 2,5 (5TB total) - €160
- OS drive: Samsung Ultra Fit USB - €14.99
- Additions: Mini-PCIE SATA card - €11.99 (Amazon)
The motherboard was a gamble because I had read lots of very poor reviews, mostly in regards to issues with the older BIOS revisions (F1, F2 & F3). On the other hand, the board uses little power, is fan-less, the specs are good and it also uses laptop SODIMM memory, of which I already had 8gb. I also considered the ASRock J3455 and the Asus MB SOC N3150I-C but these require RAM, that I did not already own. For my use, I feel that either of those board would also have also been fine. The GA-J1900N-D3V that I chose has dual Ethernet ports, which might be useful in the future.
I took a risk and bought the board, intending to update the BIOS to the F4 version myself. Luckily, I got a board with the F4 BIOS revision pre—installed, which seems to have fixed all of the issues that had been reported before. The board runs headless and I haven’t had any network issues - in fact, I haven’t had any issues of any kind. I have been very impressed so far. The install was problem-free and I did not have any issues in getting the Realtek Ethernet ports working.
The board has 2 SATA ports, so I added an 'XCSOURCE 'AC696 mini-PCIE card from Amazon. This gave a total of 4 SATA ports. The Mini-PCIE card worked out-of-the-box and I have had no issues with running it on Open Media Vault. So far this is fine however I may also have the option of using a PCI SATA card in the future.
The power supply is massively over-specced but it was very cheap and is quiet. To be honest, I had no idea that Pico PSU’s existed prior to finishing the build. It works well enough but a modular PSU would be better for this case. I hid the cables behind the front grill and the case looks tidy inside. The PSU fan is inaudible unless you place your ear against the case and it doesn't seem to cause an issue that I am using it as the sole source of exhausting warm air from the case.
I wanted a cube case and this aesthetic goal was the main vision for the NAS. I found the Coolermaster Elite 110 to be perfect, as it is both small and unobtrusive. It only holds 3 x 3,5 HDD’s but since I plan to just use 2,5 HDD’s, it’s not a huge issue as 4 can be installed easily. I didn’t connect
I already had the RAM, which saved me some money. You need the low-voltage 1.35v sticks for this board. 8GB is absolutely overkill but I don't have any other systems that require this type of memory so I may as well use it with my NAS. The motherboard runs the memory in dual-channel mode.
I initially had 2 x 3,5 drives installed but they made the system much louder. Both drives were removed and 2,5” drives were installed to replace them. 2,5" drives are more expensive and come with some drawbacks but they are quieter. The NAS has to be in the same room that I sleep and work in, so I don’t mind paying more and dealing with some of the drawbacks of using 2.5 drives. I find it hard to concentrate with humming and whirling sounds in the background, so a quieter NAS works well for me.
The 2TB Seagate Barracuda drives sell for €80 per piece at the moment, which was the cheapest that I could find. I added a Seagate Momentus 1TB drive that I already owned, this brought the storage total to 5TB. I still have the option to add another 2TB drive but so far it has been fine. In RAID0, the drives hit 113MB/s Samba transfer speed, which is more than adequate. The very important data gets backed up to another 2 places, while the media gets backed up to just one. An addition: these drives are slightly louder than the quieter 2,5 drives but they're also a lot cheaper to purchase. Despite this, the 2,5 Barracuda drives are still noticeably quieter than the 3,5 drives.
The motherboard only provides 2 SATA slots, so I used a Mini PCI express card to add an additional 2 SATA slots. This works fine - does’t seem to have affected my transfer speeds. There’s the option to add even more SATA ports with a PCI card but 4 should serve nicely for the moment. I’m considering moving the OS drive to a spare SSD that I have - the USB 3 Sandisk works fairly well though and keeps a SATA port free.
This is my first build and I think I worked things out ok. The system isn’t hugely powerful and I will have to see whether the quad-core Atom CPU proves to be a big limitation in the future. For the time being it’s very adequate and serves its purposes nicely. A modular PSU would have allowed more space in the case
Plans for the future:
Set up the system as a VPN server, to connect remotely. I haven’t ever opened up devices to the internet before, so this will be an interesting project. The ability to access files remotely would be perfect. I have an issue that I use a VPN service to access the internet, so I imagine that using a second VPN just to access files on my home network might be an issue. Networking is new to me, so I would gladly appreciate any input. Essentially, I'd like a secure way to connect to files remotely and the web GUI interface without much work required (Lots of work required to set-up is fine) - if my fiancee (Not so tech savvy) can use it too, then it would be perfect.
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The post was edited 7 times, last by Bennni: I wired the case fans to run on 5v from the Molex connector. The fan noise is now pretty much the same as the PSU noise and the case itself feels cooler inside. The CPU temps have dropped, as have the HDD temps. Right now it doesn't make a huge difference but come summer, extra airflow will be useful. No change in noise and a bit more cooling - a good result all round. You have to place your ear to the case to hear anything with the disks spun down, which is how it was before. ().