Lots of people have a NAS in their home network. I had a QNAP TS-251 which is a great NAS, but once I got experienced I felt that their proprietary OS and platform lacks a lot of things that I wanted (mainly container management). So I decided to build my own low power NAS (obviously it will not be as low and efficient as theirs) also it would give me the opportunity to learn some awesome opensource NAS OS out there.

Parts List

Here I wanted to get the best "bang for buck" so I chose the below parts. They may not be the ideal list for performance enthusiasts but my needs were to run some containers for development, light transcodes and monitoring dashboards.

Type Item
CPU AMD Athlon 3000G 3.5 GHz Dual-Core Processor
CPU Cooler ARCTIC Alpine Passive Fanless CPU Cooler
Motherboard Asus Prime A320I-K Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard
Memory Corsair Vengeance LPX 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR4-2400 CL16 Memory
Storage Crucial MX500 250 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
Storage 2 x Western Digital Red 3 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
Case Fractal Design Node 304 Mini ITX Tower Case
Power Supply Corsair CXM 450 W 80+ Bronze Semi-modular ATX

Notes

Processor: I wanted to try out AMD after 15 years (yes the last time I ever used an AMD processor was around 2004 - AMD Athlon XP 1500, I think) and the new 3000G has a super low TDP of 35W and built in graphics in case I ever need it.

Cpu Cooling: I wanted to go for a silent cooler, since I plan to keep this in my living room, a silent operation is a must have. I'm a huge "fan" of passive coolers since they produce zero noise and don't need any maintenance for fan (cleaning etc.). The cooler I have chosen supports a TDP of 46W so I was well within the range.

Storage: Highly recommend western digital Reds or Seagate Ironwolfs as these drives are designed for NAS so they are built with so many years of continuous wear and tear in mind. These drives were a salvage from my QNAP-TS 251.

Case: This was something I wanted to keep my costs low but I ended up spending much more than I planned. I wanted a case which supports Mini-ITX and 2 3.5 HDDs, but after some research ended up with the above as I thought about future expansion, the Fractal Design Node 304 can support up to 6 3.5 HDDs.

Motherboard: I wanted to get the cheapest Mini-ITX board which supports the new generation of AMD AM-4 socket processors. Unfortunately I only realized that in this case the PSU will block 2 of the 4 SATA III ports in the mobo. So if I need to add more than 2 disks, I need to get myself a SATA III PCI-E expansion card later.

Memory: As I planned to use Openmediavault (more on that later) I limited the memory to 8GB as there was no point buying memory that I will not be using.

M2 SSD: This processor (AMD Athlon 3000G) does not support Nvme SSD so I got a Sata M2 SSD.

NAS OS

I researched both FreeNAS and Openmediavault the two leading opensource NAS operating systems, and ended up with Openmediavault as it is super easy to setup for a Homelab and easily expandable in the future.

Putting everything together

Motherboard before it goes into the case
Assembling the whole thing

Most importantly, have fun and enjoy your new found freedom to install containers and other stuff in your NAS. I will be creating more content related to docker and openmediavault in the future.

If you need any clarifications, leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer.