Proposed NAS build with a Dell Optiplex 9020

  • Hello all,

    I hope this is the right area to post this sort of thing. If not, please let me know and I will relocate accordingly! I will try to be brief but I may add more things in time.

    For some background on how I got here, about one and a half years ago I made the crazy decision to part out my gaming computer at the time to fund the purchase of an ageing 2009 MacPro 4,1. Why? Largely due to a newfound interest in Unix and Unix-like operating systems. Previously, I had installed Xubuntu on a hand me down 2008 Acer laptop in 2017 which introduced me to this strange new world. After acquiring some funds I went on to buy a 2015 MacBook Air which later resulted to selling it to my father to get a 2015 MacBook Pro before selling the gaming desktop for the aforementioned MacPro.

    An interest in Photography, internet archiving and audio remastering saw the need for mass storage to keep up with these hobbies, however I didn't really have the foresight of a robust backup plan in mind. Currently, the MacPro has 4 hard drives and 2 SSDs which contain the following data:

    SSD_0~1 yearCrucial MX500500 GBmacOS Boot
    SSD_1~ 0.5 yearsCrucial MX500500 GBWindows 10 Boot
    HDD_0~ 5 yearsSeagate Barracuda1 TBPhotography, Music, Projects, Documents
    HDD_1~ 7 yearsWD Black2 TBSteam Games
    HDD_2~ 6 yearsWD Green2 TBTime Machine Backup of SSD_0 and HDD_0
    HDD_3~ 6 yearsWD Green2 TBWindows Backup for SSD_1 only

    Needless to say, having the backup drives within the desktop does present several risks, notably if a hardware fault occurs it could take out all the drives in the process, as well as with risks associated with theft and damage. Furthermore, I am beginning to get concerned with the age of the hard drives, particularly with the WD Greens which serve as the primary backup drives. I am not all too concerned about the WD Black as its just Steam games, but it is also a tangible risk.

    Another project I am involved in is running pihole on a Raspberry Pi 3B+ for the last 2 years or so. Recently, it has also been acting as a basic SMB share, allowing me to stream movies to my AppleTV using VLC The release of the Raspberry Pi 4 sparked a new interest in looking into services other than adblocking to benefit from. Which is how I came to discover OMV.

    My original intention was to get the Raspberry Pi 4 and install OMV along with a pihole docker image and use the Pi 3B+ as a redundant pihole. However after thinking with both OMV 4 and OMV 5 I came to the realisation that if I was going to take this seriously I should consider an amd64 platform. The Pi 4 is a pocket rocket and I have future plans for it, but in the meantime I sought to find a more powerful alternative.

    What I am looking for is a home server that will do the following (for now!):

    • A second backup for the back up drives in my desktop
    • A network share to access my Music, Photos and Documents
    • A share to stream Movies to my AppleTV
    • Docker container for pihole

    I also have future plans to fulfil the 321 backup rule by building an identical server that will be located at my parents house for offsite backups.

    After some further research, there appears to be a general consensus of single / few high capacity hard drives not in RAID over multiple smaller ones in RAID. Now admittedly I did initially approach this with the mindset that RAID will solve my problems but after some consideration I think I have a better understanding of my needs for a home server NAS. My original predicted budget for this build was about AUD $1500 with the Pi 4 which would have involved purchasing a multi bay USB 3 enclosure along with some 8 TB drives to create an initial 16 TB volume. Unfortunately, it is prohibitively expensive in Australia to build a computer with new off the shelf parts, so I opted to look at the second hand market, particularly at ex-business / ex-government OEMs. I do intend to buy the hard drives new though.

    After reevaluating my options I made a challenge to see if I could produce a build that was less than $1200 AUD which fulfilled the following requirements:

    • A core i5 or i7 quad core processor
    • 8 GB RAM
    • Capacity to house at least 1 3.5 inch hard drive (extra storage is a bonus)
    • A high capacity drive of either 14TB or 16TB to allow for headroom, I have about 9 TB of combined data.

    After some enquires over the weekends, I am going to inspect a Dell Optiplex 9020 listed for AUD $280 with the following:

    • Intel Core i7 4790
    • 1 x 8 GB 1600Mhz DDR3 non-ECC (maximum 32 GB)
    • Either 1 3.5 or 2 2.5 internal bay (though some research suggests I can squeeze in a 2.5 drive along with a 3.5 drive as there are 3 SATA ports on the motherboard)
    • Intel Gigabit Ethernet

    Factoring the costs for a 14 TB hard drive, boot SSD and some cables and adapters, the total cost is about AUD $1106.

    StorageSeagateSeagate Ironwolf Pro 14TB NAS Hard Drive ST14000NE0008Link1$789.00$789.00
    ComputerDellDell OptiPlex 9020 SFF i7-4790 3.6GHz 8 GB DDR3Link1$280.00$280.00
    StorageCrucialCrucial BX500 120GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5-inch SSDLink1$30.00$30.00
    AdapterStarTechSATA power splitterLink1$7.69$7.69

    I am planning on looking at this computer tomorrow, and hoping it is suitable for my needs!

    I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions on this choice!

    Kind Regards,


  • Hi,

    I think the i5 4570 is well enough.
    I've a i5 4670k and the maximum peak usage is at 40%.
    I've some dockers and a plex media server with 4 x 12To Western Digital in raid 6.


    Thank you for the advice Slaser! I actually ended up getting the i7 4790, pictures to follow! I figure when I get around to setting it up and doing some power consumption tests and benchmarks I am free to either keep it or sell it to recuperate the cost of the computer and get a lower spec processor that would be more appropriate for my use case.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • WD greens are not known for their reliability. I would make sure you have that data backed up!

    Hey jollyrogr!
    Thank you for the information! This is an excellent example of using something in a way it was not designed for. I originally got them for monthly offsite backups of my then gaming computer while I was at University. Only reason why I went for greens was that they were affordable and I didn’t have much money then (a bit of a paradox as I had a gaming computer, now that I think about it). I’m using them currently as they were available. Even though they are about 6 years old they really haven’t been powered on or used for that long.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • Although regardless of drive model, you should have important data backed up. Drives can fail anytime. Years ago I had some IBM Deskstar (deathstar) drives that were notorious for failure, and mine lasted many years beyond their expected lifetime.

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