The motivation from this project came from three places. 1) My need for a place to backup my stuff on all of my devices 2) my families need for a place to back up the stuff on their devices 3) an opportunity to build a new computer and play around with network attached storage (NAS).

Parts List:

  • AsRock Q1900M Motherboard/CPU combo
  • 2GB Kingston Value RAM
  • 2x 1TB WD Green
  • 2x 3TB WD Green
  • 120GB WD misc drive from Microcenter
  • 2x 2 Port SATA II PCI-E card
  • 200w PSU from old prebuilt computer
  • Misc Fans, SATA, & Molex cables


I decided to go for a very low power, low cost solution. Just enough to run the server, transfer some files, do regular backups for redundancy, and not much else. The main drives are two three terabyte WD drives that were removed from their enclosures and re-formatted for linux. One is shared on the network and the other is a copy of the first with manual backups. The backups are manual because the server is not meant to be operational 24/7 (not even close) so scheduling backups would mean scheduling powering on and off the system, which is a hassle. The other two drives are 1tb WD drives, one from an enclosure and one new one. They are accessed and backed up in the same way as the main two. These are for my TV show/movie collection and my families large audio library.  The drives do get warm when accessed, so there is a small old fan in charge of cooling. You can check out my network setup here but the general gist of it is that any Ethernet devices that would want to access the server are on a gigabit switch, which gives me more then enough throughput.

Refining the Setup:

My initial plan was to build or buy a case for the computer, but laziness and an open shelf on the bookshelf in the back of my room made me decide to do a more open build. The somewhat final design is on the right, with the motherboard on one side of the PSU and the drives on the other. Cable management is a ongoing issue, but I am working on a solution that should make it look nice and easy to modify.  

The Power Button:

To make the server accessible to my family it needed to be a) easy to access and b) easy to activate. I achieved the first in software on their individual devices, but the second part was a little harder. I decided to use a large red button I had lying around as a power button, since I did not want to leave it running all the time, and wired it directly into the power button headers on the motherboard as shown below.



Here you can see a quick CrystyalDiskMark test I did on the main storage drive for the server. Not bad.