Description

This build is serving as my home NAS. It is running FreeNAS 9.3.1 now, with Plex Media Server, CouchPotato, Sonarr, Headphones as the main function. It is also storing my family photos and lightroom catalog. The Xeon E3-1231 is plenty powerful for all those and more. The price (without drives) is a bit cheaper than a pre-built NAS that is less powerful, say QNAP TVS-471.

This is my first server build, and I quite enjoyed it. The motherboard is very bare-bone, with no on-board graphics, no sound, no overclock, etc. On the other hand, it comes with IPMI remote management, and I am really hooked on being able to switch it on from completely off using that. Really cool. It also allows complete management of the system without ever hooking up a monitor, keyboard, mouse to it. (Not even once in 2 months I have been using it.

Jamming everything into the Node 304 does not leave a lot of room inside, so cable management had to be done quite carefully. I am happy with the outcome, but now I'm doubting whether I should have gone with a larger case with better ventilation. It is sitting in a closet anyway, and a taller tower will not make much difference, space-wise.

Edit: The power supply Corsair 750W bronze) seem to have crapped out on me. After some burnt smell, the system shut itself down and now will on turn on. I am going to replace this with something more durable, and perhaps add an Intel 750 SSD in the still-free PCIe slot.

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Comments

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Interesting. I've never seen someone make a NAS or server in this kind of form factor before. What kind of difficulties were there building this?

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Forgot about that one. Thanks for reminding me

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

You should probably replace that power supply. That model overheat and shuts down.

  • 48 months ago
  • -1 points

If you read the description it says that it did at the end

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

That might've just been added. I didn't see it in either case.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

it was edited probably after the person commented

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build! I really enjoy seeing NAS builds. Only suggestion would be to change the PSU because Corsair CX series are not very good! Btw Emby is better than plex!

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

I've used Plex for years, but yes also dabbled into Emby recently. The apps doesn't look as polished (yet), what is its plus points for you?

(I paid for lifetime plexpass many years ago.)

  • 48 months ago
  • 0 points

Nice!

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

The Corsair CX line is very ill suited for servers, but I guess you discovered that for yourself. Try a SeaSonic instead.

I assume this is a headless server?

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

PSU replaced an hour ago :P

It is headless. Everything I need can be done via IPMI and web interface.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Neat.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

It's an interesting build. You don't see many like this on PCPartPicker. It's always gaming boxes with LED lights. It looks like a nice build for you.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, peoples, for the PSU tips! I didn't know much about it when this was built, so I just went with the PPP ratings (The Corsair CX750 got 4.6 stars).

After 2 months of 24/7 use, it is officially dead. (burnt) In Thailand, the PSU available are quite limited. I have looked for Seasonic but no shops had it so I went with the closest they have, a Cooler Master G750M. I'm going to have to order good parts from Overseas and replace again, but can't have the NAS offline for weeks waiting for that.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

How hard was it trying to get Sonarr and Headphones set up? I was looking at building similar myself to get Plex off my gaming machine, and those 2 apps looked interesting as well.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

They are both available as plugins in FreeNAS, so installation was very easy.

However, to have good experience with Headphones one has to either 1) pay for the annual musicbrainz mirror from Headphones or 2) set up own musicbrainz server and keep it sync'd (quite tricky)

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Forgive me if someone else has already pointed this out but in your build the cpu fan looks like it would be fighting against the case fans. Different directional flow.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow way cheaper compared to mine 10/10

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm looking at buying my friend's node 304 with very similar specs inside. How has this been for Plex transcoding and how have you found it to work as a NAS?

I dont understand how you have set this up without ever hooking a monitor or mouse up, could you elaborate?

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

In case you haven't found out yet, most server-class motherboards have IPMI (over a ethernet connection), which allows remote access via a management webpage, akin to how you manage a router (after you figure out what IP address it got assigned, assuming DHCP).

Among other things, that webpage will let you launch a java application that displays what would be the monitor output, and lets you mount virtual disks/drives/etc.

This is on even if the rest of the computer is off, so you can also remote boot/etc.

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build. Do you need 8gb of ram just for Freenas plus 1GB of ram for every 1TB of storage? or would 16GB of ram be enough to run Freenas and for 16TB storage?