Building a FreeBSD NAS Part 2: Hardware assembly

published on on FreeBSD, NAS

In Part 1 of this series I already explained my goals building a new NAS. In this post I show how I assembled the hardware in order to ensure reliance and redundancy.

1. Overview

This is the hardware I got (case and fans not included):

  • Intel BX80646G1840 Celeron G1840
  • Asus H81M-K motherboard
  • Cooler Master B500
  • Corsair CMV8GX3M2A1333C9 Value Select 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333 MHz CL9
  • Corsair (CSSD-F60GBLSB) Force Series LS 60GB (6Gb/s) SATA 3 Phison MLC NAND
  • WD 500GB Blue (OS)
  • WD 3TB Red (data)

NAS Hardware before unpacking

2. Assembly

The assembly process is straight forward so I don't describe it here in every nuance. I decided to assemble it without mounting it to the case in order to test the build first and then put it in. Here's a picture of the system after assembly.

NAS hard disks test drive

2.1. Disks

The mainboard offers two 3 Gb/s and two 6 Gb/s ports. I attached the 2.5" system disk to the first 3 Gb/s port and left the second one unused. The cache SSD uses the first 6 Gb/s port and the WD Red for data storage the second one. If I had bought an additional SATA card, I would have attached all mirror disks to that one to eliminate the risk of data corruption in case one controller fails.

3. The case

I chose a server case with a height of 4 units. The case is OK given the price of 75 EUR but when I first started the system I was really disappointed by the integrated 120mm fan that was really noisy. I decided to replace it with a BeQuiet! Silent Wings II fan which is up to it's name: It's so silent that you nearly don't recognize it at all and additionally supports PWM which allows the mainboard to adjust the fan speed on demand. I set the fan level to "Turbo" because it's so silent anyway to keep the disks as cool as possible to enhance their lifetime.

NAS components mounted to the 4u case

NAS BeQuiet! Silent Wings II

4. First boot

Happily I didn't make any mistakes so the system worked directly when I booted it the first time. In the next post I will explain how I set up FreeBSD.