Last Febuary I built a NAS and I learned two things:
- Get a good case.
When I chose the Supermicro A1SRi-2558F, I wanted it because it was a robust board, low wattage, and an all Intel SATA chipset. It only has 6 SATA ports but I figured that would be plenty. Also the runner-up was a commonly used ASRock motherboard with 12 SATA ports but some of those SATA ports used a Marvell controller and at the time there were several forum posts about Marvell controllers losing the drives that were attached. So I figured I’d go the safe route and chose all Intel.
Six-months later, iX Systems announced their new FreeNAS Mini appliance and it looks like it uses that same ASRock motherboard. Maybe the bugs were worked out?
It’s too early to tell, but in a year or so I may be kicking myself for limiting the SATA ports. If I want to expand storage I’ll need to buy a SATA pci-e card and that will burn up the only slot the A1SRi has, and I’d like to do 10G networking too.
2. Get a Good Case
Initially, I reused an old case I had lying around. It was a Lian-Li PC60 and it has served me well over the past 10+ years. However the airflow wasn’t as good as some of the more modern products and the fans were just tiny. At a friends recommendation I purchased a Fractal Design – Define R5 and it’s the best case I have ever seen. This case is amazing, and it will definitely be worth every penny. Especially if I ever have to replace a drive.
Don’t reuse a case that’s 10+ years old. The modern cases have much better designed cable management, expansion, and airflow.