Sunday, June 5, 2016

Monday, December 21, 2015

NAS Box - other stuff

 I've decided to go with 2x8GB of RAM. In my case, the most important is the amount, not the speed of the sticks. Yeah, real men are not afraid of CL11. Second hand cost ~ 70$, quite a bargain.

As for the boot drive, I went with: SanDisk Cruzer Fit 16GB USB 2.0. It is reliable, small, and cheap. You can't go wrong with it. Price ~5$

NAS Box - the drives

Originally I've planned to get 2x2TB, but in the end I've ended up with 3x2TB in RaidZ
I've picked: Western Digital Green 2TB EARS for 50$ each.

- low power consumption
- available from the second hand

- hard to get 3 drives at the same time.

WD20EURS - are dedicated for AV recording, they do not have error correction
WD20EARS - are often used in external HDD enclosures.

It is not possible to turn on them Advanced Power Managment, this won't work:

To reduce power consumption, I've added additional 160GB laptop drive for plugins and non-encrypted stuff. I'd wicked idea to put inside the case external USB 2.0 drive. It worked but to minimize power consumption I've connected it to the SATA port.

If you change from USB to SATA Freenas will import the Volume without problems.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

NAS Box - the PSU

The short version is:
I was able to grab used Enermax Pro82+ for 25$!

The long version is:
Good PSU for this build is a key. Most so called, "expert bloggers" who only write about things not build them.. recommend 80Plus Gold - their are WRONG.

80Plus certifies products that have more than 80% energy efficiency at 20%, 50% and 100% of rated load. If your Nas box will require only 10%-15% of the base Wattage - then guess what 80% or more efficiency standard does not cover it. My build aims for 30-50W which is less than 20%, 80Plus Gold certificate does not cover it.

80 Plus test type[4] 115V internal non-redundant 230V internal redundant
Percentage of rated load 10% 20% 50% 100% 10% 20% 50% 100%
80 Plus
80% 80% 80%

80 Plus Bronze
82% 85% 82%
81% 85% 81%
80 Plus Silver
85% 88% 85%
85% 89% 85%
80 Plus Gold
87% 90% 87%
88% 92% 88%
80 Plus Platinum
90% 92% 89%
90% 94% 91%
80 Plus Titanium 90% 92% 94% 90% 90% 94% 96% 91%

Perfect example is be quiet! Straight Power 10 CM 800 W- 100$+, at 50W I will get75% efficiency even though it is 80Plus Gold.

After going over serie of reviews and tests. I went for Enermax 385 Pro82+, because it's efficiency is similar at 30-50W, and second hand costs 25$!

During my research, I found another solution, which is often recommended by "so called experts". There is a solution  which is called PicoPSU dedicated for small ITX boards. People say it has 96% efficiency or more. And that is correct, but the disadvantage is you have to feed it with external 12V PSU  (like AC DC 12V 8A 96W) which will have 85% efficiency at full load. Overall You will get 80%+ efficiency at 90W+ and additional adapters for SATA power. It is not worth it if you have enough space for the Full ATX build.

If you can't get Enermax for cheap, check out one of the FSP power supplies, they are worth consideration.

I've reached Enermax to ask if it's relevant for power efficiency to connect everything to one 12V line. They've replied next day. The short answer is - it does not matter how you connect it.

Pro tip from Enermax, how to determine which cables are from which power line?
Whole yellow cable - current line nr 1,
Yellow cable with black stripe - line nr 2.

Thanks, Enermax!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

NAS Box - the motherboard

After serious thinking, I went for BIOSTAR NM70I-1037U motherboard. 

- 4 SATA port
- PCI-E slot (possible upgrade to USB 3.0 or additional SATA drives)

- weak CPU cooler
- poor BIOS

I've found copper heatsink for northbridge somewhere in the basement. Screw layout fitted in. It was a bit too large mount. I had to modify it to make it worked. You can buy similar from all express. It is perfect heatsink replacement for NM70I-1037U.

Copper can be bent with just pliers, and after 5 minutes I was done.

The stock fan fits perfectly. I've read on the internet, that people are using Zalman northbridge cooler but it has no fan mount.

Here is the finall result, NM70I-1037U with copper heatsink. I'm really glad about the result.

I've tried to reach Biostar to get better bios, unfortunately they weren't willing to help me out.

Dear Customer

Interesting setup, unfortunately this motherboard/SOC design is not for overclocking.  There are no plans to add those type of changes, however if you are looking for a mini ITX motherboard with overclocking functions, we can recommend our Hi-Fi B85N 3D.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

NAS Box - the case

 I've found old Antec case online for just 12$. It's made from quality metal and looks pretty darn good. Unfortunately, it does not have special drive bay's and is not 100% black.
I've decided to spray paint it black, and that 's 6$.
I've found 5.25 LCD display for 4$!
I've ordered dust filters from china 4$. 2x 120mm and 1x140mm. The case had no mounts so I had to improvise.
It worked really well.
Total ~26$ spent.


  • dust filters everywhere
  • 6x 3.5 drive bays
  • LCD display with temps
  • cost
  • satisfaction


  • no special drive enclosers
  • Full-size ATX

Monday, October 12, 2015

DIY Project NAS box

Time to start the new home project, NAS box! It will be: Reliable, Expandable, Under 400$. This is the plan, which I came up with.

Build in Intel® Celeron® Processor 1037U - has more power, than any Atom out there. It has  TDP at 17W, but, unfortunately, there are no AES-NI instructions. You will get 4 SATA ports, support up to 16GB of ram, and one PCI or PCIE for further upgrades.
Price: not more than 80$.

It will be cheaper in a long run to buy 16GB.
Price: used 75$

WD green serie will be perfect, as a starter. After that, I can add additional 2 drives, or 4 drives with expansion PCI/PCI-E card if needed.
Price: used 120$

Power Supply:
350W+ BeQuiet, Enermax, Chieftec, Fortran, etc
The most important part is certification Bronze 80+ or more.

Price: Refibrushed 30$

Old Antec, Zalman, Fractal, etc case.
Including LCD Panel and Dust filters.
Price: used 30$

16GB Sandisk
It must be small as possible. FreeNAS does not require it, I am.
Price: 7$

Total: ~340$