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Building a 12-bay hot swap NAS for $850

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Oct 13, 2012
I've just completed my FreeNAS box for $850. The parts list if anybody is interested is...

The case I chose is a SuperMicro CSE-743T-500B which includes 8x3.5" hot swap SATA drive bays, a 500 watt PSU and pluggable four case fans mounted in a midplane behind the drive bays. In addition to the 8x3.5 bays the case also has 3x5.25" bays which we'll need later. The price on Amazon is $299.99 (see The case comes configured as a deskside tower, but the skins can be reomoved to turn it into a 4U rack mount enclosure.

The motherboard is a Intel Desktop Motherboard LGA1155 DDR3 1600 MicroATX - BOXDH77EB, which can take Core I3/I5/I7 processors and has four DDR3 DIMM slots along with a PCIe 3.0 16x slot and several PCIe x1 slots. The price on AMazon is $99.99 (see

Memory is a pair of 4GB DDR3 Memory DIMM, for a total of $39.98 (see

The 8x3.5" bays are connected to a HighPoint-RocketRAID-2720SGL interface. The price on Amazon is RAID $159.99 (see

The CPU is a Intel Core i3-3220 Dual-Core Processor 3.3 Ghz/3MB cache. The price on Amazon is $127.89 (see

The RocketRAID card doesn't have individual SATA ports, instead two sets of 4 ports are accessed by a pair of 4-way mini SAS/SATA copnnectors, so these cables are required to connect the RAID card to the back plane. The pair of cables costs $34.20 on AMazon (see

The four fans in the case are are 4-pin PWM fans and there aren't enough fan headers on the motherboard to drive them, so this cable is used to connect the Fans to a 12V MOLEX power connector with fan speed control connected to a 4-pin fan header on the motherboard. This means that the fans will all run at the same speed, but since they are there for the drivebays I don't see this as a problem. I couldn't find a cable like this on Amazon so I searched around and found one for $6.95 (see

As mentioned earlier, the chassis has 3x5.25" bays and I wanted to turn them into another 4x3.5" hot plug bays. There are a number of products out there that can be used for this, I chose a KingWin Multi-Bay Internal Rack with 4 Drives for 3 Bay Space SATA Mobile Rack, KF-4001-BK which is available on Amazon for $79.99 (see The only wrinkle with this is the need to remove it's built-in fan, since the case-fans will be sufficient, but it's just a matter of removing the plastic shroud at the back via a few screws. The four SATA ports in the enclosure are connected to the onboard Intel SATA RAID controller.

The total cost is $848.98 for a NAS with as much as 36TB of raw capacity using 3TB drives. Now, a little "server ****"...


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