My home NAS build 2016


I will be using FreeNAS, a customized FreeBSD-based distribution to turn hardware into a specialized "network storage filer" appliance.
It uses ZFS for filesystem and volume management.

Alternately, I could go with straight Debian, Samba, NFS, and ZFS-on-Linux, but this is a project I want to just "install and go" instead of spending days tinkering to get it perfect.


For SATA 3.5" hard drives, I have a number of WD Black and WD Red 1TB disks sitting around that will go into this until I can get enough 2TB drives to fill all eight slots.

When multiples of an item were purchased, the listed price is the total, not per-item.
Prices are rounded to the nearest dollar.
Some of these parts I had already; if so, price listed is current retail.

Part Item Cost
CPU Intel Celeron G1840 $45
Better CPU Fan Noctua Low-Profile Quiet CPU Cooler for Intel 115x NH-L9I $40
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-H81M-H $52
Dual-port Intel NIC eBay - HP NC360T $9
RAM Crucial 8GB Single DDR3 1600 $30.00
Power Supply Antec EarthWatts EA-380D Green 380 Watt 80 PLUS BRONZE $50
Disk Controller Card (x2) IO Crest 4 Port SATA III PCI-e 2.0 x1 Controller Card Marvell Non-Raid SI-PEX40064 $56
SATA cables Aleratec SATA Data Cable, 20in - 12 Pack $12
4-drive SATA hot swap bay (x2) ICY DOCK MB154SP-B 4 in 3 SATA 6Gbps Hot-Swap Hard Drive Backplane Raid Cage Module $150
Better Hot Swap Bay Fans (x2) Noctua SSO Bearing Fan Retail Cooling NF-S12B redux-700 $28
Case ZALMAN MS800 $60
Better Case Fans (x2) Noctua SSO Bearing Fan Retail Cooling NF-S12B redux-1200 $28
SATA Power Splitter Cables Cable Matters (2 Pack) 15 Pin SATA to 4 SATA Power Splitter Cable $10
Small SSD for NAS OS KINGSPEC KSD-SA25.7 2.5" SATA-III SSD Solid State Disk (16GB) $24
TOTAL $594



The original build used this older Dell PERC controller card, flashed with LSI "individual target" firmware - but having to jump through hoops and do work-arounds made me get fed up with it. I've switched to two 4-port SATA controller cards and will use the Dell cards and cables elsewhere.

Disk Controller Card eBay - Dell PERC SAS 6i YK838 $10
Bracket for Dell YK838 Keystone 9203 PCI Bracket $4
SATA fanout cable for YK838 (x2) Molex 1m long 4x SATA SAS drive cable to SFF-8484 $12


Extra Parts

Stuff I needed to buy after-the-fact. Originally intended for the YK838 disk controller, this provides overkill cooling for the drive controller cards.

PCI Slot Fan Holder Bracket 80-90mm Dual Fan Rack Mount PCI Slot Cover Bracket $9.00
80mm Fan (x2) Noctua NF-A8 ULN Premium 80mm Fan $30.00
Dual Fan Power Splitter Zalman ZM-MC1 Multi-connector PS to Add Fan $7.00



  • The NC360T dual-port Intel NIC will need to be modified to work in a PCI-E x1 slot, or you can buy a single port x1 version off eBay.

  • The Dell YK838 SAS 6i PCI-E controller card is flashed with regular LSI firmware to enable IT (individual target) mode, turning the RAID card into a regular JBOD disk controller. Hardware RAID is not wanted since NAS4FREE will be using ZFS. This specific card is limited to drives of 2TB or smaller.

  • You may have to use a system that does not have a UEFI-based BIOS to flash the YK838 card using the DOS-based LSI tools and firmware files.

  • If your system refuses to POST or boot with the YK838 controller card installed (usually on Intel chipsets), it may require this slight modification.

    Pictures of the build in progress can be found here

    For questions or comments contact Bill Bradford