OK I'll start this by saying, excluding HDD's, this can be done for under AUD$650, and with comparatively "lower end" bits, even less. The idea behind this build was to get into ECC RAM territory without forking out a fortune to start up, so I went second hand. LGA1155 xeon related stuff is pretty prominent on the ebay market right now. I used the following websites as my guides: Server build guide: serverbuilds.net More specifically: https://forums.serverbuilds.net/t/nas-killer-4-0-build-guide-125-400/667 Software Setup: linuxserver.io Perfect Media Server NAS 2016: https://blog.linuxserver.io/2016/02/02/the-perfect-media-server-2016/ 2017: https://blog.linuxserver.io/2017/06/24/the-perfect-media-server-2017/ 2019: https://blog.linuxserver.io/2019/07/16/perfect-media-server-2019/ My current, ~8yr old QNAP 439 has 4x2tb hdd's, giving me about 5.5tb in usable space, it's an atom with about 400 passmarks. A very-affordable $250 HDD these days is 6tb. Second hand E3 Xeons are cheap as hell right now - between $60-100 shipped. So, I can get about 6-8000 passmarks for pretty cheap and the power management on these CPUs for idle time is pretty good to my knowledge. The hardware is so cheap that buying extra parts for redundancy is feasible. I bought 32gb ECC RAM just so I had redundant modules. Desired Capability: I wanted the following capability list that begins to depart from low end off-the-shelf NAS's as the list goes down: ECC RAM - More or less just to keep writes clean. Quiet - Raid5 is noisier than I'd like. I will spin disks down when they are not in use. This NAS will be used for storage, plex, rutorrent. Cheap to start out with - I don't want to have to fork out for $1000+ for 4x HDD's just to get started and be forced into RAID1+0. This isn't a business, I'm not loaded, and I'm married. I'm more concerned with a PC that shuts up. And I don't want a 4 bay limit, I want to be able to expand every few months/year with a new HDD. Easily replaced, cheap parts - If something happens/happened to my qnap hardware, I don't think I'd be able to easily repair it. The solution was in the mergerfs/snapraid combo noted in the linuxserver.io links above: MergerFS more or less merges disks to look like one big volume - so disk1, disk2, disk3 can look like mergeddisk. Snapraid more or less manages parity for the underlying disks, so disk1, disk2, disk3 can have a parity disk on pairity1 (and parity2, ... etc). Cost: As it has gone, I've spent about $1000 give or take, before HDDs. This is because I've decided to get a bunch of slightly more expensive stuff to make it quieter, also some cheap UPS from gumtree. If I were more patient, I could have cut costs down more, but I'm not, so I didn't. Also, people here will be able to source better deals than I as they know what they're doing I'm way out of the loop on all this stuff these days (first full build in 15years or so) so I have spent a fair amount of time getting back on the research bandwagon. I hadn't even seen a PCIe slot in the flesh until the other day when the motherboard arrived. I've managed to get by on laptops or OPS - Other Peoples Stuff - for about that time. The above config is good to go for about 14x disks, with a SAS Expansion card down the line it should be good for another lot. I cut down costs by signing up to a free trial of eBay plus, and already being a member of amazon prime, which both allow for free postage a lot of the time. Also, I made use of make-an-offer on ebay, which is surprisingly effective. The one thing this is missing is USB 3.x, I'll fix that with a card and a 5.25" bay slot at some point in the future. My other 5.25" drive bays will be used to mount SSDs. I could have got the motherboard for about $50 or an alternative model for less but this one was in brand new condition and has 4 PCIe ports, and 5x PWM fan controllers, takes ECC RAM, and is micro ATX. I spent a little extra money where I thought it would be more useful long term like keeping fan noise to a minimum, and with 5 year warranties on those fans, I expect them to be good for a while. The Noctua fans are replacing stock case fans, so there's savings to be made there if desired. The PSU is a tad more expensive than I'd have bought if sound wasn't a concern. Also, the 32gb RAM allows me to run VMs if required. I'm undecided right now whether or esxi server will run on the bare metal. The 2x UPS for $40 were also hard to ignore. A key point with this build that I need to stress is that I can build it over time, so the up-front costs are not so hurty to the wallet. I sourced these parts over 2-3 months as a bit of a side project. I will eventually put this into a 12u Open Rack that will become an ikea desk leg @ 710mm high on castors. The Initial Disks: 2x 256mb SSDs in ZFS RAID1 will be for ubuntu (already own) 1x 1tb QVO SSD will be for swap activity, like download location (quiet) 1x 6tb WD Purple HDD as storage (backup of existing nas) tba: 1x 10tb shucked disk as snapraid parity disk $303 delivered tba: 1x additional shucked disk Next Disks: tba: 1x 10tb shucked disk for snapraid parity disk #2 as required. The HDD array will be managed by mergerFS. Snapraid will control the parity stuff. See the linuxserver.io stuff above for more detail. Really this combination is just an economical way of getting HDDs to look like one array (mergerfs) and to provide parity of the underlying disks (snapraid). There is no striping of bits in mergerfs - it's more or less a mask that sits above your array of hdd's and full files get written to one hdd or another. Disks can be added or removed as required, with or without data present. Interesting stuff. To keep noise down The OS will run on SSDs, and Temporary downloads etc will run on the 2tb SSD. Media will be copied to HDD with the most free space (managed by mergerFS) Spindle HDDs will spool up every monday for a parity check, and When nobody is home HDDs will spin up for a Plex library update. HDDs will spin down after ~90mins of inactivity. Spin up delay is acceptable. Any constant read/write, small file requirements etc will be done with SSDs. Keep in mind that this is the plan, not necessarily what will eventuate. I'm trying to figure out a way of using symlinks for plex (symlinks to sit on the SSDs) but I'm not sure this is possible. To do: Case purchase is coming next week. Build will begin shortly after. Updates and pics to follow. I put my decent phone in for repair last night, it won't be back for a week.