My Maybe NAS - Home Server - re-purposed old PC

  • https://flic.kr/p/JJsXMuDSC_6446 by fortkentdad, on Flickr[/img]


    My 'maybe new nas from old PC'.
    Not sure if I'm going ahead with this.
    From the few youtubes I've viewed I'm leaning towards re-purposing this old PC into a Home Server or nas or not.


    Specs on this 2010 build:
    ASUS M4A78L-M motherboard.
    From the website:
    Chipset
    _1 xUltraDMA 133/100
    _6 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports
    _Support RAID 0,1,0+1,JBOD


    CPU - Athlon II x4 635 at 2.9 Ghz
    4 GB of DDR2 RAM (1200 I think)


    It also has the ASUS 6670 2GB video card
    and a Wifi card.


    The case is large and I have six sata ports to work with.


    Suitable for a Openmediavault nas or home server?


    I have thousands of DSLR large file photographs and my new DSLR can shoot 4K video (Nikon D500), and recently picked up a drone so will start storing more videos.
    It will serve as a backup and server for my photo archive, and back up two PC's and a laptop.
    Have not yet ventured into home media (movies or shows) but we do have a PVR and my wife records her shows to the PVR then deletes them once watched. Not sure if she will want to keep them, nor how one goes about that. I am so not into TV.


    Did the image come through - I see a link but not the image

    Edited 2 times, last by FKD: cause I typo baderly and was not sure about image insert ().

  • Look at this way, PC components have a finite life span and starting a NAS using eight year old hardware, might not be a good idea. Why? Because when something goes wrong, you might lose your data.


    Computers today are made to a price point, not like the stuff from the 70's and 80's that's still working today.


    I'm not saying that the hardware wouldn't be sufficient, just that things like the motherboard and power supply are most likely on their last legs.
    Power supplies from around then weren't built as well as old or new ones. That said, you could easily replace it with a new one, as they haven't changed in terms of connectors. If anything, you'd get more SATA power connectors now.


    On the other hand, if the motherboard fails, then you're out of luck, unless you can find a second hand replacement on eBay.


    No need for a graphics card once the setup is done, so remove it to save power once OMV is working. Wi-Fi on that would be way too slow to be useful in a NAS, so recycle that.


    Also, don't expect amazing performance, as the hard drive interfaces are a bit of a limiting factor in this system. Should still be good enough though.

    OMV 5.x, Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi, i7-6700K@3GHz, 16GB DDR4-3000, 4x 4TB Toshiba N300, 1x 60GB Corsair GT SSD (OS drive), 10Gbps Aquantia Ethernet

  • Also, a NAS or home server is typically going to be running 24/7. Old desktop PCs usually require a lot of power to run, so over a year or two of use, you will probably have paid the same amount in electricity bills as a modern setup.

  • I disagree.. My hobby is re purposing old PC's into something usable that works (not some useless sculpture or coffee table). Very viable PC setup there that can easily be re purposed in to a NAS. Ditch the WIFI and the video card as the WiFi is not necessary unless (ill go into that later).. and the board has onboard video - you don't need a video card after initial setup as you access it through a web GUI (web page). It may draw a bit more power than an off the shelf NAS, but that can be circumvented with power saving options on the CPU and hard drives. Your limitation 'may' be on the SATA ports with the hard drive size, which I guess you require lots of space for HD or 4K video clips - older boards tend to have BIOS limitations on the hard drive size, usually 4Tb is the maximum. As for speed, you won't notice it with the hard drives as the network is ALWAYS the bottleneck when transferring data 1-10Mbps is slow, 50+Mbps is fast and anywhere in between is adequate for home use (data centres use SAS drives on a RAID setup and usually with a fibre connection and still get a bottleneck at the point of entering the telephone infrastructure but that's another story).
    Now onto the WIFI - certain WIFI cards can be used as an access point (ie they have 'master' built into their firmware). This means that you can use WIFI as an access point, so if you have a WiFi dead spot in the house you can use the NAS as an access point for the home network. Unfortunately OMV cannot do this yet, but Ubuntu Server can.
    With the OMV NAS in my signatures I can stream HD video to my TV (full HD) and 3D video too.

    HP N54L Microserver, 20Gb Intel SSD, 4Gb RAM runing OMV 4.X
    HP N54L Microserver 20Gb Intel SSD, 8Gb RAM running OMV 4.X
    and loads of other PC's and NAS... OMV by far the best....
    (P.S. I hate Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7 Vista, XP, 2K, ME, 98se, 98 and 95 - I have lost hours of my life to this windows virus)

  • I disagree.. My hobby is re purposing old PC's into something usable that works (not some useless sculpture or coffee table). Very viable PC setup there that can easily be re purposed in to a NAS. Ditch the WIFI and the video card as the WiFi is not necessary unless (ill go into that later).. and the board has onboard video - you don't need a video card after initial setup as you access it through a web GUI (web page). It may draw a bit more power than an off the shelf NAS, but that can be circumvented with power saving options on the CPU and hard drives. Your limitation 'may' be on the SATA ports with the hard drive size, which I guess you require lots of space for HD or 4K video clips - older boards tend to have BIOS limitations on the hard drive size, usually 4Tb is the maximum. As for speed, you won't notice it with the hard drives as the network is ALWAYS the bottleneck when transferring data 1-10Mbps is slow, 50+Mbps is fast and anywhere in between is adequate for home use (data centres use SAS drives on a RAID setup and usually with a fibre connection and still get a bottleneck at the point of entering the telephone infrastructure but that's another story).
    Now onto the WIFI - certain WIFI cards can be used as an access point (ie they have 'master' built into their firmware). This means that you can use WIFI as an access point, so if you have a WiFi dead spot in the house you can use the NAS as an access point for the home network. Unfortunately OMV cannot do this yet, but Ubuntu Server can.
    With the OMV NAS in my signatures I can stream HD video to my TV (full HD) and 3D video too.

    That CPU on the other hand doesn't have integrated graphics, so the display outputs on the motherboard is going to do squat...
    Just because a motherboard has a certain type of connector, doesn't mean the CPU supports it.


    This is a very old and not power friendly CPU at all, as it's a 95W part, so far from ideal to use for a 24/7 system.
    There's no way to make up for that with power saving settings.


    50Mbps is slow imho, if your NAS does less than native Gigabit speed, i.e. around 100-110Mbps, you're wasting a lot of time shuffling data around. Maybe I'm just a speed freak, but I also don't like wasting time.


    I guess we all have different expectations, but imho, this system is not a great place to start. Admittedly if you just wanted to test out OMV and see if it meets your requirements, then it's perfectly fine, but as a machine to trust your irreplaceable data with, not so much.


    It would make more sense to get something new, small and power efficient, although sadly there aren't too many options like that available to consumers for reasonable coin.

    OMV 5.x, Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi, i7-6700K@3GHz, 16GB DDR4-3000, 4x 4TB Toshiba N300, 1x 60GB Corsair GT SSD (OS drive), 10Gbps Aquantia Ethernet

  • Its definitely a tradeoff when you are using old parts. I would suggest that if these are important files and this is going to be your backup for them and your PC(s), this isn't the approach you should take. Making your oldest hardware the backup target for your newer systems, may not be the best idea.


    If you have good backup somewhere else, and you want the NAS so you can access files from a central point quickly...in other words...its strictly for convenience, then its probably fine. You just need to know that its going to be less efficient than newer hardware. On the other hand, its paid for and you can get a lot of electricity for the cost of a new system.


    Because everything breaks eventually, this is probably going to break sooner than a new system, as its already 8 years old. But, if its for convenience, then nothing is really lost but your time.


    A couple other thoughts:


    That CPU on the other hand doesn't have integrated graphics, so the display outputs on the motherboard is going to do squat...
    Just because a motherboard has a certain type of connector, doesn't mean the CPU supports it.

    Yes, the CPU has no integrated graphics, but the motherboard DOES have integrated graphics in the chipset (Radeon HD3000). All the AMD K10 family, that this CPU is a part of, relied on the chipset for any integrated graphics. So, @MrT10001 is correct that the PC will display without the separate GPU installed. That being said, you can't turn the integrated graphics off so it will be drawing power all the time. The 760G chipset in that PC was pretty darn power efficient for its time (it was a laptop part originally). But in its time, nothing was super energy efficient compared to now.


    This is a very old and not power friendly CPU at all, as it's a 95W part, so far from ideal to use for a 24/7 system.
    There's no way to make up for that with power saving settings.

    For any CPU in that series (K10) the watt rating really only comes into play when the CPU is under load. Generally, all the K10 Quad Core CPUs had similar power draw at idle and low load (which the NAS should be as a media backup server). My 95 watt CPU systems back then were about the same as the 45 watt "energy effiicient" ones when the CPU wasn't under load. But again, none of them were energy superstars. Also, @TheLostSwede is right that you can't make much of it up in power settings...that motherboard/CPU don't support a lot of the power settings we take for granted today.

  • It is starting to sound like I dump the old system for whatever I can get for it (have someone offering $150) and buy a 2 or 4 bay enclosure and a pair of NAS Drives. I'm thinking two 4T to start and then later add two more when I need more than four. I had my doubts about this system.


    That and it is a big box, new smarter off the shelf NAS are much smaller


    Already have an antique NAS (Lenovo iOmega StorCentre iX2) with two 1T drives.
    BUT Lenovo has ended support for this device.
    Maybe it can be re-used or not?


    Old Review of iomega StorCentre ix2
    That was from 2009.
    So this old unit is the same vintage as my old PC.


    Anyone with insight into getting the most from this small unit.
    It was surplus from the office and rescued from the trash.




    New versions - without any drives come in at $230-$350 (Canadian) for two bay.
    Four bay run $300+ to $600.


    But then I get new software and the work is all done in a nice small box.

  • Anyone with insight into getting the most from this small unit.

    I had one of these, still do somewhere in fact. I stopped using mine because it was very slow, and because it had very limited power management tools, so it essentially ran "full out" all the time. It drew more power than a small PC when both were at idle. That said, the main issue with using one of these today is that it won't have any recent security updates. That's a common problem with pre-configured NAS, media players and etc. Once the manufacturer stops supporting, they eventually become a potential security issue.


    If you feel up to a challenge, it is possible to load Debian on these, to use as either a Debian based server or as a base for OMV to be installed on top of Debian. Its not simple, and its not going to perform any better. But, you will be able to have up-to-date security patches & updates.

  • A couple other thoughts:



    Yes, the CPU has no integrated graphics, but the motherboard DOES have integrated graphics in the chipset (Radeon HD3000). All the AMD K10 family, that this CPU is a part of, relied on the chipset for any integrated graphics. So, @MrT10001 is correct that the PC will display without the separate GPU installed. That being said, you can't turn the integrated graphics off so it will be drawing power all the time. The 760G chipset in that PC was pretty darn power efficient for its time (it was a laptop part originally). But in its time, nothing was super energy efficient compared to now.

    And this is what happens when you forget how things used to be, ha! You're of course right, my mistake, I just didn't realise that this was so old that AMD still had the graphics part built into the chipset.

    OMV 5.x, Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi, i7-6700K@3GHz, 16GB DDR4-3000, 4x 4TB Toshiba N300, 1x 60GB Corsair GT SSD (OS drive), 10Gbps Aquantia Ethernet

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