One of the smallest DIY 6-disk NAS build with moded cooling and case

    • One of the smallest DIY 6-disk NAS build with moded cooling and case

      At first i want to send big thanks to Chieftec company. No, they didnt sponsor me with case but they helped me a lot at dealing with incompetence of some internet sellers.
      Also im aware that some things could be made better but i dont have workshop or even garage where i could work and all components i made in my 35m2 flat which i share with my wife and 3yr son.

      Some time ago i made a very small and powersavvy NAS based on AMD e-350 CPU embedded in Asus-E35m1-l mainboard.
      My 120$ ultrapowersaving 6-disk Asus E35m1-l build ...

      I was happy with it on ordinary tasks but sometimes it was a little too much when all services were working on full. So i decided to make another build. At first i wanted to buy another mobo with embeded CPU (i had Biostar A68N-5600 on my mind). But most of the time NASes are working in idle in which, as ive read, common modern CPUs are nearly as powersavy as those powerefficient ones. So i decided to buy a common CPU (models with lower TDP) and ITX mainboard.

      - 4-6 disks capacity
      - smallest it can be
      - most quiet it can be
      - cheapest it can be
      - powerefficient it can be but yet sufficient for my needs
      Offcourse i couldnt have everything so i have to compromise some of them.

      Openmediavault with ZFS, Torrents, Samba, NFS, Docker, Nextcloud, Gitea

      I chose 1155 socket as nowadays its CPUs are very cheap but still perform well and are energy efficient. This time instead of TFX i chose SFX (mostly because it came with case :) ) Still cheaper than Pico PSU solution. Also i chose Icy Dock instead of chieftec disks bay from previous build. Mostly because it has 2 fans and they are replaceable

      CPU: Pentium G2020T (35W TDP)
      MOBO: ASUS P8H61-I
      COOLER: 0K6YMY 0FGW90 for Dell Optiplex 790 990 7010 9010 USFF (not SFF which is bigger)
      RAM: 8GB (up to 16GB)
      PSU: Chieftec 250W SFX
      CASE: Chieftec BT-02B-U3-250VS
      DISK HOLDER: Icy Dock MB326SP-B
      OTHER: 4 x 60mm fans, 4 fan protectors for them, 5 fan controllers from Aliexpress, 50GB SSD for OS, some cables

      CASE MOD
      In plastic front i cut off window for full 5.25" bay and 2 holes for 60mm fans. I had to throw away USB/AUDIO front module. In the steel part i cut off some grills to make a place for cables and other to improve airflow for fans in the back (and to make them quieter). I also had to cut off some steel from front side (under the 5,25 bay) to make better air flow for one of two front panel fans, and also cut off some small part on the 5.25 bay slides to make a place for CPU cooler. Finally I drilled holes for new screws in two plastic mounting slides for 5,25 bay devices - the old mounting caused that 5.25 disk chamber was too deep in front panel.

      At first i wanted to use Rajintek Zelos which i had somwhere. But i found that its fan will be too close to Icy Dock so it wont have much place to suck fresh air. Using any cooler with horizontal fan just didnt make sense here. So i looked for 1155/1156 socket coolers with turbine fans. The only (fairly cheap) ones i could found, were those from SFF/USFF business pcs. So i chose one from Dell Optiplex USFF pc. Offcource it didnt fit because back I/O ports in standard motherboards are twice as higher than those in Dell Optiplex. So i had to cut the coolers steel platform and bend heatsinks to rise aluminium grill higher. Because i couldnt find proper place for turbine fan i just decided to not use it at all. Its mounting place was empty so i came to idea to improve cooling system even more. I grind fan place down to obtain flat and shiny surface and glued there with thermoglue some aluminium radiator i had laying arround. Finally i changed the way coller was mounted by replacing original screws with bolts mounted from the other side of mainboard and some cheap aluminium disk-shape nuts for them.

      DIY fans controller panel
      I wanted to have good airflow for all my components but without having a hairdryer-level noises under my desk. Well, they wasnt loud that much but it was obvoius that to achieve silence goal i have to speed down all these fans. It would be much easier if i would just buy fan controller and for example Noctua fans. But Noctua fans are reaaaaally expensive and good fan controller with separate power for each fan is not cheap either. So I bought 4 fan controllers from aliexpress (about 3,5$ each). I also had some old cheap Pentagram 7302-S Freezone Fan Controller with annoying squeak alarm when fan wasnt turning or when 3rd pin wasnt connected. I dissasembled it, soldered out annoying speaker, drilled 4 additional holes, soldered out each potentiometer from controllers and attached them to Pentagram panel. Next i made a platform from plexi for controllers. But first i soldered wires in places where potentiometers were, screwed the controllers to the platform and soldered wires to the potentiometer pins. The rest is so obvious i think i dont have to explain it.

      PSU mod
      The easiest part. I just dissasembled PSU, cut off the grill, replaced it with fan protector, disconected the fan from his socket and connected extensions both for fan and socked which i pull out to outside. This way i could easily connect fan controller.

      Finally i assembled everything, cable management was really PITA. As you noticed there is only 4 SATA ports on motherboard and one is reserved for OS disk (50GB SSD with openmediavault). But for now i have only 2 mirrored 500GB disks. When i will want to buy more, then i will buy some decent used HBA (probably PERC6 as is quite cheap) with SATA cables. Maybe i even replace those two 40mm fans with some Noctua ones.

      Heres some pics from diferent stages ...

      The post was edited 3 times, last by doman18 ().