DIY NAS Box build questions/Suggestions/Advice


Mar 29, 2016
I currently have a total of 6 drives connected to my router (3 are NAS and 3 are USB) currently (I had a total of 9 drives - 5 NAS - these were bought used and 4 USB that some I'm trying to recover data from). This is/was my NAS setup.

I'm currently looking at a Black Fractal Design Node 304 w/MSI Dual Channel DDR3 & Thermaltake TR2-430 that someone has for sale. This has the ability to have a total of 6 drives in it.

I'm also looking at buying parts (when I can and building my own). The parts I'm looking at are:

1.) a Silverstone DS380 ( or Fractal design node 804 case (

I like the Fractal design for the part that it has separate areas for the drives and a separate area for the motherboard, and the filter mesh on the fans, etc. But, I like the drive bays on the Silverstone case as they are in the front (hot swapable) and easier to replace a failed drive as drives are more likely to go than hardware (most of the time).

2.) ASRock Rack C2750 ( as it has 12 onboard SATA ports and a gigabit ethernet port

3.) Corsair CX600 80 Plus Bronze Power Supply (

4.) Crucial 16 GB (8 GB x 2) DDR3/DDR3L-1600 MT/s PC3-12800 ECC UDIMM Server Memory (

5.) WD Red drives (thinking 6 or 8 TB Red Drives).

I'm thinking of using something like a RAID 5 for the Fractal 304 case, so I can have 5 drives of space and be able to lose one drive and be able to recover data/RAID (a.k.a.: rebuilding) if I use 6 TB red drives this will give me roughly 27.9 TB of space or with the 8 TB red drives roughly 36.4 TB of usable space with the ability to lose a drive and replace it without losing data (or much data). And using a RAID 6 in the Fractal 804 or Silverstone DS380 set up (to have up to 10 drives space wise, but can lose 2 drives and still have the data).

I'm looking to mostly use it to clone all my (1,500 +) DVD's/Movie collection and clone my (1,500 +) CD collection as the main part, but would also like to have a central file storage location, as well as backups.

Now my questions are:

1.) Which of the cases listed would you pick, and why? Or is there a small form case that kind of has both of the listed likes on each case as one?

2.) What type of NAS program/OS (FreeNAS, etc) would you use? And would this allow setup of a RAID 5 or a RAID 6 to allow for a replacement of a failed drive (allowing 11 drives of usable space in a 12 drive case for a RAID 5 or 10 drives of usable space in a 12 drive case for a RAID 6)?

3.) Is there a way of adding drives to a RAID 5 or RAID 6 to increase the size without having to recreate the whole set by erasing all the data and then adding it? (I'm looking to stagger the implimintation of drives for a couple reasons, one of course is cost factor and two to keep from having all the drives the same age, which should be better, correct? So is it possible to have like 3 drives in the unit, with like 2 drives full of data, be able to add a 4 drive to add to the available space without losing the data or moving the data to another drive and building a new RAID array set, or would this not even be possible?)

4.) Is it possible to save/clone/backup my current OS's and programs (and activated programs - i.e.: activated Microsoft Office 2010, etc.) to this new NAS device? (i.e.: Clone the OS and programs to be able to populate a new drive or drive set - I don't know where my Office 2010 key code is, so reactivation would be something I'd rather not deal with, but rather have a back up that I can put on a new drive (or drive set) and have it work just like the originals and all programs copied to a new drive in their activated status (same machine, just new drives) - currently my desktop running Windows XP 32 bit is set up in a RAID 0 with 2 drives in that array, but looking to change/merge to a single (possibly an SSD drive - of course turning off things like indexing, defrag, etc. and using it only to boot the OS). I like the desktop and mostly only use it for the entertainment creation programs (DVD creator and CD creator programs). But would like to have a backup of all the (activated) programs and OS where I can recreate a new drive(s) in case of a failure in those drives).

5.) What setup - NAS program/OS should I use to ensure I can recover the data in case of a hardware failure? (i.e.: if the motherboard dies, one where I can replace the motherboard with one of the same kind or different kind and be able to get data back - or a set up where I can connect the drives to another computer to copy over the data)? I believe that FreeNAS uses ZFS format, is this something that Windows can read (I currently have a Windows XP 32 bit desktop and a Windows 7 notebook)?

6.) Is there a setup where files I put on the NAS can be cloned/synched to a cloud drive automatically? And is there a service that'll allow a large storage back up (of up to 40 + TB's if I decide to upload all this to a cloud storage) without costing an arm and a leg? I know Pogoplug offers unlimited storage for $50 a year, but I don't know how (or if it's possible) to set up a folder to where all the contents are copied/synched to the Pogoplug account. One thought was to have 2 folders as the main tree where one wouldn't automatically copy/synch/upload to a cloud service and the other one would. Something like the One Drive app/program for Windows 7, anything that's added to that folder on my notebook or changed in it or deleted gets synched automatically to One Drive, is there a similiar service like One Drive I can set up to automatically do this to a reasonable flat rate cloud storage as an off site backup?

7.) Once this is (bought in the case of the one for sale) or built, what would be the best way to populate data on the drives to stress them out less, i.e.: a little over a longer course of time, or a few large chunks?

Like I said earlier in this post I currently have 6 drives that are connected to my router (either via network or USB) that are getting old, and have dumped files from a small USB portable drive (a 320 GB drive) onto my NAS drives to make room for projects, etc. for work when I didn't have time to sort to folders, etc. ... however now I have music, movie, Office, data files mixed in all over the place on different drives (my OCD likes all the music in a music folder on one drive, movies, in a movie folder, etc.), so I figure I can slowly move (or copy then delete) the files from all the current drives file by file sorting to correct folders, etc. on this new setup and this would be better for the drives, than just copying over the whole drive at once, correct?

My current drive setup on my router is:

Drive letter - Size - Connection

N - 298 GB - connected via USB
S - 278 GB - connected via cat 5 (mostly music)
T - 279 GB - connected via USB
U - 913 GB - connected via cat 5
W - 1.81 TB - connected via USB
Z - 7.15 TB - connected via cat 5 (this is a WD Sharespace 4 drive RAID 0)

Most of what's on these are around 70% video projects, movies, DVD's, around 20 % music files and the rest is data files, images, etc.

What would be the best set up to maximize usable space with some redundancy and be able to set up automatic cloning/syncing to a (reasonable) flat rate cloud storage for an addition backup, be able to keep a copy of my OS's and programs to be able to restore to a new drive (if needed), be able to retrieve the data from the drives in case of a hardware (motherboard) failure all in a small (but well cooled) case?

What would you set up for this? Also one that doesn't have a drive size cap like Windows XP does with anything over 2 TB.

Thanks for reading the long post and any help/suggestions/answers given.


question #2 -- Use a dedicated RAID controller card. That way you can move it and the drives from motherboard to motherboard.
question #6 -- How practical is it to upload TB of data with the upload speed you have on your ISP? Do the math and figure out how many days/weeks/months it could take.


Mar 29, 2016
[quotemsg=18180164,0,1329358]question #2 -- Use a dedicated RAID controller card. That way you can move it and the drives from motherboard to motherboard.
question #6 -- How practical is it to upload TB of data with the upload speed you have on your ISP? Do the math and figure out how many days/weeks/months it could take.[/quotemsg]

For the dedicated RAID controller card, it has to fit within the case (preferably a small form factor) without interferring with oter drives, and devices in it and still allow good air flow for adaquate cooling.

As far as the connection speed from my ISP I have a 40 down, and a 5 up connection, yes it would take awhile to copy over for the first time, but if I can find a setup/service like One Drive, it only has to upload a change, addition or deletion of a file so it's more of a syncing process after all is loaded to said service. And yes, it may take awhile, but I'm looking at slowly populating this setup (i.e.: moving a couple movies at a time, etc, so it might have a couple hundred GB at a time), so it's not gonna have a ton on it all at once to upload. I've uploaded large files to Pogoplug service, yes it was a little slow for an extremely large file, but it didn't take days, weeks, etc to upload.

Plus it'll be on a NAS device that's designed to be on 24/7 so if it takes a few days to upload the content, it'll be done in the background on a system that's set up to run 24/7 anyways. But after it's all loaded to a cloud service, the only time it needs to upload anything is when I delete a file, create/add a new file or make changes to a file, then it would only upload that file and replace the old one (if there is a service outside of One Drive) that allows a set up like this, and can be setup on a NAS box service.

Plus I'm also looking at setting up 2 separate folders where one would upload and synch but the other one doesn't. The one that doesn't (or probably won't) will be for my DVD's and CD's which I have the physical media for it anyways, so that's the actual backup up of those, so these files (which will be the bulk of the storage used) doesn't really have to be backed - up this way.


Mar 29, 2016
[quotemsg=18180256,0,1329358]You didn't do your math....
Here is the math
40TB uploaded at 5Mb/s will take over 2 YEARS!!! -- 776.72 Days according to my calculations ...
It is NOT practical ... I upload 150GB of pictures at 30Mb/s and it takes days.

And as I said the whole 40 TB wouldn't be backed up, hence the reason for 2 folder (or partition, or however it would have to be set up) to where only the files I don't have on elsewhere would be copied over to a cloud service. Like I said in my post most of what's on my NAS devices now are movies from a DVD, which I have the DVD, so these don't need to be backed up and the same for my music collection.

The reason I'm looking at a setup like this to have all my music and movies in one place, and on the network for streaming to devices on my network where RAID (even though it's really not a backup) is good enough since I have the physical media to load onto a new drive if needed.

The things that would be backed up would be things like MS office documents and things like that. And maybe some video files that I have yet to put onto a disc (but these are TV programs, etc, that I may add to the cloud storage at a later date and maybe slowly over time, if I ever do), but the most part is office documents, etc (I.e.: non replaceable files that are needed, but not the whole 40 TB)