Help with first build


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Hi, I'm trying to put together a new NAS for my personal and family files and while I'm not a newcomer working with servers I'm new to unraid. My long term objective (5-10 years) is to mount a personal cloud with my own VPN server and services that I host with a dedicated machine for VPN, compute and storage in a rack. But for now I need to put together something quick as I no longer trust having my personal computer with with them.


I rushed and I bought a recycled PC (Dell Inspiron 3847):



For hard drives I was going to use a WD20EZRZ for parity (which is where my data is currently stored), a Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB for caching and a couple more of spares I had lying around but one started failing so I decided to grab two Western Digital 1TB WD Red Plus and SanDisk Cruzer 16GB for the OS.


I expect to replace the recycled PC with better hardware in the future, the hard drives may stay but everything else probably will get a new home.


I also want to buy a very high quality PSU to ensure I won't lose my data due a the PSU that comes with a recycled PC (I don't know if the included PSU is good or not) and that's when I started investigating and realized that it may be worth to ask for guidance for the whole system. I'm looking for:

  • General feedback, is there a red flag with this setup that I'm not aware of?
  • Is the single SSD good enough for caching? I've read that is better to also have multiple caching disks but I don't have the SATA ports to add more.
  • Should I update the PSU?
  • What is a good and cheap expansion card to add more SATA ports? I've read conflicting posts on what I should use.


As for the guidelines for a "new build" thread:

  • What is your budget?
    • Hopefully 0, but I'm willing to spend couple of hundred USD for a high quality PSU I can keep using in the future. I'm also willing to pay (less than 50-30 USD, hopefully) for an expansion card I can keep using in the future. An additional word here: When I upgrade to the final version of this I hope to use a machine in a server form factor so I don't think the PSU can be reused in that case, but maybe the expansion card would.
  • How many drives? How much capacity?
    • Right now I need to hold around 600 GB of data. As I mentioned I have 2x1TB HDD a 1x2TB HDD and a 1x1TB SSD.
  • Is expandability important to you?  If so, what's your long term goal?

    • Yes, but not that much. I expect this in the long term to grow maybe to around 6 TB. I'm more interested of the swapability. If I get a new proper server, I should be able to just get my USB and drives into the new machine and get it working, right?

  • Are you interested in running additional apps?  If so, which ones?  Be specific.

    • In the short term, no. In the long term I'd like to have an additional server for apps (like Plex) that reads from my NAS.

  • What do you plan to run for hard drives?

    • See above.

  • Do you have any spare parts laying around that you would like to apply towards your build?  This includes drives.

    • I have an additional 2x4GB DDR3 sticks for RAM but the MoBo doesn't have the slots for them. I also have a couple of Kingston 250 SSD I could use if I had more SATA ports.


Thanks in advance.

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