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Wanako Works 07S - Granite

by wanako


For the very longest time I've been wanting to make a NAS server for home. I've been running on a 2x2TB eSATA external forever, and let's just say that I'm running out of space. So I decided to go all out and build the smallest NAS server I can that can fit into a 14x14x10 inch area. I live in a very small apartment so SFF systems are pretty much a requirement for me and I love the idea of stuffing as much as possible into as small a space as I can. I did a lot of research into FreeNAS. This is not a system that can be simply built using whatever used parts you have lying around. Server-grade equipment is recommended for FreeNAS, so since I mostly had none of that lying around, I bought from scratch.

This is my 7th build: Granite.

Most importantly was the case. It needed to be space-efficient and hold at least 4x 3.5 inch, hot-swappable HDD's. More was certainly welcome. After looking around and reading a bunch of forums and posts, I came to this little beauty:

Case: U-NAS NSC-800

Mini ITX, 8 Hot-swappable, 3.5 inch HDD bays, 12.5x10x7 inch dimensions, built like a tank. This thing is beautiful. It has a steel frame with an aluminum cover and a kind of soft-touch coated front panel. All 8 storage drives are accessible from the front and has space for at least 2 more 2.5" drives internally. It wasn't the most user-friendly case to build in, but then I don't think that was the point. Overall, I was very impressed with the build quality of this case and the amount of components you can put into it. There is also space for an expansion card if you happen to need a Host Bus Adapter or a RAID card, depending on your build.

Motherboard: ASRock C2550D4i

This board was very interesting to me. It is very low power and comes with the CPU already on the motherboard. It comes with a Intel Avaton C2550 Quad-core CPU (Atom-based), 2.4Ghz processor. This is a very low power CPU taking in a whopping 14W of electricity. Excellent for a built like this. It also has four 240-pin DDR3 DIMM slots, for a maximum of 64GB of RAM, two 1 Gigabit LAN ports and one for management, 2x USB 2.0 ports and a VGA and serial port. External connectivity is nothing impressive. This is server-grade equipment so you're not going to get much as far as bells and whistles. The impressive part about it is the internal connectivity. It comes with TWELVE SATA ports. Perfect. One thing i absolutely love about this board is that it has IPMI remote management. You can control your entire PC via web GUI, including going into the BIOS and changing settings. Just enter the IP address and you're in. No need to have a monitor or keyboard attached to it manage it. For those who know and work with servers, it's just like Cisco IMC or Dell iDRAC.

RAM: Crucial 32GB DDR3-1600 ECC Unbuffered

One thing I've learned about FreeNAS is that it is a RAM hungry monster. As I don't want any trouble with my important data later, I decided to get as much as I possibly can, so I got two 16GB RAM kits (2x8GB). I would have loved to max the motherboard at 64GB, but 16GB ECC Unbuffered DIMMs are hard to come by and are expensive as hell. I also decided to go with ECC RAM as it was unanimously recommended by members of the FreeNAS forums. Apparently FreeNAS lives or dies on ECC RAM. I'd rather it live, so I'm not going to take any chances. It wasn't all that much extra anyway.

OS Drive: A-DATA SP900 64GB SSD

I found this at a good price, so I'd rather install the OS on an internal drive, instead of a USB drive that can be more easily damaged or accidentally removed.

Storage Drives: 5x Hitachi Desktar NAS 4TB HDD

I got 5 of these babies. I love Hitachi, and have used dozens of them for many years and not one has ever let me down. I expect these to be as reliable and trustworthy, but I still ran tests just to make sure. You can never be too careful.

Storage Drives: 3x Hitachi Ultrastar 7K400 4TB HDD Western Digital Red 5400 4TB

One of these drives I had in my gaming PC for a while and the other two I salvaged from a decommissioned server. These are enterprise-grade SATA drives and excellent quality drives, if a bit loud. Sound is not a major issue in a datacenter, but they were free so I won't complain. :D

Replaced the Hitachi drives with some WD Red 5400 RPM drives. Those Hitachis in a small case like that were all having heat issues. I've been running the Reds for months now and they've been great with performance and temp.

PSU: FSP Group FSP400-701US 400W

I needed a good quality PSU that can go 24/7 and not be too loud. Unfortunately the U-NAS case only takes 1U PSU's so choices are rather limited. There were other choices from the likes of Athena Power, which I wouldn't trust a damn thing to, so I chose this one instead, which I've known to be a respectable brand. I think I overdid it quite a lot with the wattage, but eh, que sera, sera.

OS: FreeNAS 9.10

This one was tricky. I had to do a lot of research to what would be needed to run this OS, and I'm glad I did. It is a very powerful OS and must be handled with care, but if treated right, it can be the best storage OS solution available. It uses the ZFS filesystem which allows you to "heal" your drives, in a way, and use block-level snapshots, which can be used as Shadow Copy restore points in Windows, among many other features.

After finally getting the whole thing built, I loaded the OS and began messing around. I'm still in the process of getting my data on there, but first I want to get as used to FreeNAS as possible so I reduce my chances of screwing something up later. Over all, with all 8 drives in RAIDZ2, which will give me a 2 drive parity, I will have about 21TB worth of space to work with. I'm not too sure about the Gelid fans that it came with, so I'll probably switch them with something else soon.

I plan to use this to store all my data and also my wife's data into a centralized network location. I can also finally start making backups of all our machines and start keeping things safe. I'll be getting bigger external storage though, so I can keep a backup of all our more important stuff.

So far it's been a very fun project and I'm learning quite a lot. This is something that I will eventually want to implement at work as a backup solution.

Comments Sorted by:

Stycks32 1 Build 4 points 35 months ago

It's nice to see things other than ~$1300 gaming PCs. Don't get me wrong, they are nice, but you see enough builds and it's hard to impress. I like this build and it has inspired me. How cool would it be to have a big case with a gaming pc AND a NAS server inside it. 2 PCs in 1 basically. Oh the things you'll think of. Great build. +1

TheSomeoneXD 1 point 35 months ago

Same here! +1

Wolfemane 7 Builds 3 points 35 months ago

Excellent build!! My wife and I used the octo-core model!!! Though no where near the amount of space you have. +1

wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

mmmm, yeah i totally wanted the octo-core version, but it was just too much for what i wanted to do with it. I'm not planning on running Jails or anything overly heavy, so it wasn't worth it. Instead i went for the ridiculous amount of storage because reasons. lol. To be honest, i just wanted to get as much as i possibly can in there from the get-go. Thanks! :D

Wolfemane 7 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

Yeah loved seeing all those drives lined up. Was awesome.

It's funny, we were going to go with he exact same board you have but newegg had a rediculous sale on the octocore... $324.99. Bought it without hesitation.

Great freenas build. Thanks for sharing!

wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago


That's like... only $20-40 from what i bought my current board at. you lucky... lol.

Great find though!

Wolfemane 7 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

YES!!!! It made featured as I had hoped. Build this unique needs to be displayed. Nice job! Wish i could give more +1

Mr_Majestic 3 points 35 months ago

First thought: "why does he need so much ram for a NAS"

Second thought: "oh **** yeah FreeNAS"

wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

lol yeah. I was surprised it was so RAM intensive but when i began researching what it did and how it did all its magic, i understood. So i gave it all the RAM i could afford.

TheSomeoneXD 1 point 35 months ago

Never knew much about NASes and I thought that they wanted to put all the RAM they wanted because they were enthusiasts :P

Rman917 2 Builds 3 points 35 months ago

The Atoms are so adorable. +1

PS do you have any problems with the temps of the HDDs? I've heard of that being a problem in PCs with more than 3 of them.

wanako submitter 2 Builds 2 points 35 months ago

So far I have not experienced issues. I have FreeNAS set up so it will email me if it gets to critical temps, which would be 50C. No emails yet. I also keep it in a nicely ventilated place. Not only that, but the 120mm fans are right behind the HDD SATA backplane, so it's exhausting all the heat out. I think it's been rather cool so far.

Rman917 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

That's good. Have fun with your plenty of storage!

ZygoteConrad 2 Builds 3 points 35 months ago

Wow, it must be a heavy build if it is Granite :P +1 for so much storage.

syntaxerrur 22 Builds 2 points 35 months ago

So sweet! I need one...

wanako submitter 2 Builds 2 points 35 months ago

Everyone needs NAS in their life. <3

Stycks32 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

How do you convince your boss that a NAS is just as safe as a PC in a business. She turns down the idea, and instead has like 50 usb sticks and 2 external hard drives with all her business info... talk about duplicate data. lol

The.Geeked. 1 Build 2 points 35 months ago

this is pretty cool, i cant wait till i build my Nas.

wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

Thank you! It was certainly lots of fun and learned a lot. I've been needing this for a good while now.

Bananabank 2 Builds 2 points 35 months ago

Love this, and your SG10 build is great too! +1

wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago


ewhac 2 Builds 2 points 35 months ago

WIN WIN WIN!! Congrats for not cheaping out on the RAM.

Any idea what your idle power consumption is?

wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

lol yeah, i read many times that ECC is necessary for FreeNAS and I'd rather not deal with the consequences of corrupted data.

I wouldn't know what the power consumption is sadly. I don't have instrumentation to measure it. I don't think it's all that much, to be honest.

RhettRO55 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

How do you like the PSU? I have this exact same case (8 bay for movies/tv shows and a 2 bay for PXE, file & music server) running my home server 2011 and the loudest thing is the PSU with its tiny fans. Granted its been running 24x7 for about 3 years now.

wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

I must admit that this PSU is a bit loud for a PSU, though nothing serious. I'd say it's about as loud, if not a bit more, than the two 120mm Gelid fans in the back of the case. Like I mentioned in the post, I think I overdid it with the PSU and could've gone lower wattage. There should be a 300W version of this PSU that I've heard is significantly quieter. It's not something that's been bothering me though.

RhettRO55 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

I keep both of mine and a Media Center DVR Box in a shelf in my office. It makes things a little bit warmer than I would like and all of that combined fan noise is insanely annoying. But im rebuilding it soon and im going with everything Noctua so hopefully that will drop the noise significantly.

NeonThought 4 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

You could download the whole internet! All of it I tell you; ALL OF IT!

muckyduck_ 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

That's awesome! I love that board, it has everything

f16poom 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

I was looking for a decent NAS case, AND that exact board to work with. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!


wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

I absolutely love this case. I'm a massive Silverstone ***** and wanted to get their DS380, but i heard that one had a lot of cooling issues. That and it wasn't quite small enough for my needs. The only downside to this case is that it is quite pricey, but well worth it imo.

vagabond139 5 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

Congrats on the featured build, you said it wasn't going to happen but it did!

LeakyPotato 1 point 35 months ago

Nice build! Jealous of your storage options, How did you find the setup process for FreeNAS? As I'm looking at setting something up (albeit nothing with this much storage, maybe 8-10TB for me)

wanako submitter 2 Builds 2 points 35 months ago

FreeNAS is a powerful animal. It's certainly not plug and play. There is research and maintenance to be done during and after setup. Once you see what it is capable of, oh man, it is amazing.

LeakyPotato 1 point 35 months ago

Thanks! definitely using your build as a template

ewhac 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

BTW, ix Systems just released a video preview of what's coming in FreeNAS 10: https://youtu.be/8TS6vvpP1yQ

wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago


Holy hell the UI looks amazing! Since mine is not in production yet, I'll install the alpha just to try it out, then revert back to the stable version when I'm ready to deploy. Thanks for the link!

gorkti200 3 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

Beautiful absolutely beautiful. Bravo! Well worth the feature with the great write up, excellent build quality, and sexy photos.

SlyKies 1 point 35 months ago

What are these builds for, it looks nice and all but I don't get what NAS systems are for

Bexy 5 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

Hey, a NAS (Network Attached Storage) is used to store data over a network and share it with other network devices, whether it's movies or documents, another use is backups :) most NAS systems are used headless (without a monitor) but generally can do many other tasks that you want also i.e. Downloads, DLNA or DHCP serving. Etc the list goes on :)

To the submitter great build I moved away from retail type nases a few years ago to a Microserver as I got sick of the limitation NAS units like Netgear's readynas had :) +1

RBambrook 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

Super sexy home server! This has caused me to seriously consider building a decent home NAS again :-)

sgterie076 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

Very nice job. You got me thinking.........

W3b_C0d3r 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

Awesome build. I have been wanting to upgrade my aging D-Link NAS for awhile now and this build has got me to thinking... +1

Devest4t0r 1 point 35 months ago

That moment when you get featured with a server build...


jcbhammond 1 point 35 months ago

I like that case.

Asus_nipeR619 1 point 35 months ago

Wanko station? Is that what i suppose it is?

SuperTailsHD 1 point 35 months ago

This is really well made build! +1

0_0 1 point 35 months ago

Looks better than most "Gaming" builds. +1

Hanime 4 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

Awesome NAS build and congrats on the featured build!

The U-NAS NSC-800 was the other contender for my HTPC/NAS build. I went with the Silverstone DS380B and ASRock C236 WSI because the case was cheaper and the C236 uses newer tech and provides HDMI. Check out my build if you want. :]

How is the noise level on the NAS? I know tucking wires can be insane with these small form factor...I've been there. Is it easy to put your hand inside there and work within the U-NAS?

wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

Nice build! I like that board. I heard there were cooling issues with the DS380, so i skipped on it. That and it didn't fit the area i wanted to put my server. I was kinda bummed too since i'm a major Silverstone fanboi. lol.

Noise levels on mine were acceptable. It's not built for silence, so it has no noise dampening material or anything of the sort. The PSU is the loudest i've ever heard in a home environment since it was made for server applications, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Again, this was acceptable. I'll likely be changing the Gelid fans out for Noctuas to drive down the sound. I'll also look into getting some kind of sound dampening material or rubber between the HDD drives and the case so the vibration doesn't transfer.

Working on the U-NAS is not easy. They sacrificed maintenance space for space efficiency. Trying to get in there is tough. Cable management is nearly non-existent, so I'm placing wires where the expansion card would be. Due to the orientation of the motherboard, unplugging cables or replacing RAM required you to take out the motherboard, unless you have VERY dexterous and tiny hands. lol.

Hanime 4 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

You are totally on point about the cooling issue with the DS380B. My HDDs range from 96-127° F (or 36-53° C). I'm guessing it could be due to the way the drives are stacked on top of each other vertically. Also my setting in the BIOS is quiet mode for both CPU and chassis fan (I might have to switch it to standard or performance mode to get the heat out).

The noise level on mine were not acceptable. Kind of a bummer the C236 board only has one PWM for CPU fan and one PWM chassis fan. The case has three 120mm fans, so two of them (the noisy side ones) are hooked to the HDD case board, which go full power. Having the Noctua Redux fans didn't help at all. So what I did to quiet them down was I bought and added the Noctua low-noise adapters to each, which reduced the fan speed by a little, while keeping the airflow manageable. so far so good, it had reduced the noise level I would say by 75%. If your motherboard has PWM, then you won't have to do this.

alfredmctoaster 1 point 35 months ago

Amazing, are there tutorials for this anywhere?

wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

For this particular build? Not that i'm aware of. For tutorials on FreeNAS? there was many around. I started with TekSyndicate's tutorials on FreeNAS and continued research from there.

Jackson_Tyler96 3 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

"I love the idea of stuffing as much as possible into as small a space as I can." +1 ;)

wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

;) I love the idea of high-performance computing and gaming in a small case. After I built my first SFF gaming machine for my wife in a Sugo SG01, I was hooked.

darkchief1 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

Wow were these images taken with your Canon??

wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

Yup my old Canon 30D. I got that old thing back in... '06 i think...?? Still serves well! Love it.

Subzeros14 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

I like the sata labeling. Probably something I'll do to my multiple sata cables to know which each one is without having to take off both side panels.

Rajenator 1 point 35 months ago

+1 Very well done...congrats on being "featured". :)

GarlicDude 1 point 35 months ago

This might be a stupid question, can you connect a SATA connection to it and store games and such?

Zenjiro 1 point 35 months ago

I love this build!

I created a guild for mine, but yours put's mine to shame. Awesome job. Especially the case. And I love the fact that the processor does support AES and ECC. Can't upvote the build enough.


Enforcer84 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

Nice build. Good Pictures too. Like this a lot.

someta 4 Builds 1 point 33 months ago

I saw this when it went up, but I never said how great it is. Now I really appreciate it, looking into building my own FreeNAS build...

This is well thought out and well done! Congrats on the feature (several months late)...

vDreaMs 1 point 33 months ago

very inspirational, amazing build!!

JPCRacing24 2 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

How would that CPU / Mobo Combination work for a Plex Server? Is it beefy enough to handle multiple 1080p streams? Great looking build btw!

wanako submitter 2 Builds 2 points 31 months ago

This model i don't think it's enough to do that, from what i've found. I think the octo-core version is a better bet.

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manirelli staff 8 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

Comments like this will not be tolerated on our site.

bradmonk 1 point 35 months ago

my apologies

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wanako submitter 2 Builds 4 points 35 months ago

lol. yeah. While I admit i did go way overboard, in the end, why not?

Data is growing at an alarming rate, so I've taken future-proofing into consideration, as well. TV shows, movies, are many times in 1080p now and can take a good amount of space. Soon, 4K will be the standard. If I were to someday begin a gaming channel or a tech channel, I'd likely be shooting at 1080p minimum and maybe even 4K and at 60 frames per second minimum. That will be a lot of data as well.

Photography-wise, I shoot RAW only, and while I only have and old 8MP Canon 30D now, what's to stop me from possibly buying a newer camera body in the future that can be like 25-30 MP or more? I'm also planning on making a home server lab and will need space for full and incremental backups. This storage can also be used for all of our regular data plus snapshots.

Consider this: a mere 10 years ago, 1-2GB USB drives where absolute best money can buy. Here we are now in 2016 and 32-64GB usb drives are normal and affordable. 128GB+ drives even for those who want them. I use a 64GB Mushkin Ultra for work, and let me tell you, I use every bit (byte? lol) of it. Around the same time, Hitachi came out with the first 1TB hard drive and soon after I heard of people having a few of these and here I was in your shoes at the time thinking to myself, "who the hell needs that many TB worth of space?? jfc!!". Damn was I wrong. Now again in 2016 and we now have 10TB drives in the enterprise market and will likely be making their way into the regular consumer market. Why is that? Because data is growing and there is a market. More and more people are becoming data dependent with almost every aspect of their lives becoming digital.

It's best to not just think of the now but also the future. Will I be using all 21TB now? Hell no! But I'd rather not make a 4-bay, 8TB NAS now that will last me a year or two at most, at my current rate anyway :P and have to spend time and money again to make another one or add to it.

TL;DR - I did it because reasons.

TheSomeoneXD 1 point 35 months ago

Bit or Byte... Which one do you prefer? XD

XxD34THxX 1 point 35 months ago

eight bits go into a byte.

metakortex 1 point 35 months ago

You see, this is what I love about this build. Every single aspect of it is perfectly justifiable. Great work wanako ! Congrats on the feature :)

We don't get server grade parts cheap out here in India ... I hope the situation improves though, I can totally relate to having increasing data needs.

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wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

no apologies needed, i'm just rambling. lol.

Drives can potentially last for ages. When the drives do start going out, I can replace them with newer versions of 4TB, which could be very cheap at that point, OR if i'm already reaching the storage limit that quickly, FreeNAS allows you to slowly install bigger drives and will expand your pool once all the drives are the same, newer size.

oldfan13672 1 point 35 months ago

I'm already doing 2k video (2560x1280) in 360 degrees, and I'm using an SSD instead of a MicroSD card, and wow does it take up a great deal of space as raw, uncompressed data!

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wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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wanako submitter 2 Builds 4 points 35 months ago

unlikely. it's not colorful or gamey, Or custom enough for that. It'd be cool if it did though! :D

manirelli staff 8 Builds 18 points 35 months ago

You never know...

wanako submitter 2 Builds 5 points 35 months ago


i don't even... b-but how... i didn't think too many people would care about my tiny storage box.


manirelli staff 8 Builds 3 points 35 months ago

Great pictures, community engagement and a solid writeup are the most important parts of the build to me.

dalesbred 1 point 35 months ago

I think it looks great - I might be in the market for something like this within the next 6 months and this looks like a great option! Can you tell me if it runs really quietly??

wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago


It's actually very quiet, for a server. This particular case has no sound dampening, the 120mm Gelid fans aren't the quietest, though they're not loud either. I plan to replace these later with something else. Maybe Noctuas or something. The hard drive sleds are metal to metal, so any vibrations made by the hard drives will transfer to the case itself. My choice in parts is what impacts sound the most. The PSU is a server-grade 1U PSU, so they're not built for silence, though it is quieter than I expected. The 300W version of the one that I have, I've heard is quieter. The HGST Desktop NAS drives are rather quiet, but my HGST Ultrastars actually make a bit of noise when in use. Those are enterprise drives, so sound is not a concern in a datacenter. They're all 7200 rpm drives so probably getting slower drives like 5900 or 5400 rpm drives may make a difference. To be perfectly honest, my home AC and water cooler are louder than this thing, so I can barely hear it. That and I wear headphones all the time so it's not a major concern for me.

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HyperYveltal16 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

Lol me too!

wimpSquad 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago


TheSomeoneXD 2 points 35 months ago

lol, I just came here to see it on the featured.

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wanako submitter 2 Builds 3 points 35 months ago


MasterShock 1 point 35 months ago

just happend

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Coop2860 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

It's on the homepage. As of now, at least.

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wanako submitter 2 Builds 6 points 35 months ago

h-hey! t-that's none of your business! >:|

(gotta keep my collections safe lol.)

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wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

i've already given a detailed reply about this question.

TL;DR: because I can.

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wanako submitter 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

That would generally not be any of your business, but if you are just DYING to know, I will use it for my useless-4K-upscales, photos, videos, movies, possibly a plex media server, backup image server for all my machines, testing it as an iSCSI target for my virtual machines, snapshots, and many other useless things.