DIY: Build a High Capacity NAS for Home or Business Use

Software and Products

With the growing amount of data we all keep, it’s important to have a good, redundant, centrally located repository for our data to live. Whether it’s keeping pictures, videos, music, or backups of your server data, this home built NAS will have the redundancy and capacity to handle all of your needs. This of course is powered by FreeNAS, a free Linux based operating system specifically designed for NAS operation.

This layout will have all of the components necessary to build your own NAS as well as a reasoning behind each component choice. We’ve worked to keep the cost as low as possible while providing the most features for a reliable operation.

Keep in mind that there is some customization that can be done to this list, such as an upgraded processor, additional memory, and varying drive sizes for different total storage amounts.

Case: Lian Li PC-Q25B Mini-Tower

Purchase Link:

Lian Li PC-Q25B Mini-Tower Case (Black)


For the case, we’ve chosen the Lian Li PC-Q25B Mini-Tower case. This small form factor case provides us with all of the room we need to store all of our Hard Disks Drives while not taking up a ton of space. This particular case has the “NAS Look”, which helped our selection as well.

Lian Li PC-Q25B Side Profile

The case features 5 bays for easy access to drives that may fail over time, which is a nice feature. In total, there is room for 7 drives in this case, though in this build we’re going to focus on a four drive configuration.

Motherboard: ASRock E3C226D2I

Purchase Link:

This ASRock board provides all of the features we need to build our NAS, all in a small form factor. The small size isn’t the only reason we picked this board: This motherboard has 3 x 10/100/1000 Network Interfaces, allowing us to increase file transfer speed or support multiple devices accessing the NAS simultaneously without degrading performance.

ASRock E3C226D2I Motherboard

Along with 3 network interfaces, this board also has onboard support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10, allowing you to use Hardware RAID if you are not comfortable using the built in RAID functionality of FreeNAS.

Finally, along with many motherboards, this unit has an internal USB port built into the board that we can use for a USB Flash Drive. This flash drive will host the FreeNAS operating system, allowing us to use all of the hard disk drives as storage.

Processor: Intel Core i3-4130 @ 3.4GHz

Purchase Link:

Because this system isn’t going to require a crazy amount of processing power, the Intel Core i3-4130 is a good fit for this build. The processor will have enough horsepower to handle any compression or encryption that may occur on the NAS while using only 54W of power. By using a Core i3 instead of a Core i5 or Xeon processor, we’re able to save some cash without compromising the reliability or usability of this rig.

Intel Core i3-4130 Processor

RAM/Memory: Kingston Value RAM (4GB PC3-12800)

Purchase Link:

Once again, because of the intended use for this build, a lot of memory is not required. Because of this, I chose to go with the Kingston Value RAM. Kingston is a well known and trusted RAM and Flash Storage provider, and the cost of this memory is so low, it makes sense to include it. Keep in mind, you could opt to purchase two sticks of this memory for a total of 8GB for only another $20.

Kingston Value RAM 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3

Power Supply: Corsair CX Series 600 Watt Power Supply

Purchase Link:

The Corsair CX600M Power Supply is all that we need for this build. It features an 80 PLUS Bronze rating, and enough SATA connectors (6) to supply all of our drives with the power that they need. This will also give you room to add additional drives if you wanted to increase capacity. This particular power supply is also semi-modular, so we can keep un-needed cables out of the case, increasing air flow and aesthetics.

Corsair CX600M Power Supply

Hard Drives and Storage: Western Digital RED NAS Hard Disk Drives

This is where we get a lot of configuration options. I’ll start out with the purchase links:

6 TB –
5 TB –
4 TB –
3 TB –
2 TB –

Depending on your budget and storage needs, this is where you will need to make a decision. We will want to use 4 drives to get the most out of the system, but you could opt to use as little as 2 drives in a mirror, still giving you the redundancy you need. I am going to recommend 4 x 3TB hard drives, purely because of the price point. If you don’t mind spending a little extra, increasing the drive capacity is a good option to give you more storage. Another thing to note, as drives fail over time, you will want to replace them with the same capacity. Because of this, your replacement costs are higher as well. Just something to note.

As far as the make and model is concerned, Western Digital RED Drives are specifically designed for multi-drive arrays and NAS operation. They are rated for 24 x 7 x 365 use, whereas WD Blue, Green or Black drives should not be used this way. Using the proper drives will allow them to last longer, saving you time and money in the future.

Price Breakdown:

Case: $119.99
Motherboard: $199.99
CPU: $113.99
Memory: $20.49
Power Supply: $64.99
4 x 3TB Hard Drives:  $329.97

Total: $849.42 (Plus Tax and Shipping)

That’s a 16TB NAS for under $900. The only items I didn’t include that you will need would be 2 USB Flash drives, one to use for the Operating System (FreeNAS) and one to use to install the operating system.

After you’ve purchased all the equipment necessary to build your NAS, head over to to download the ISO and get started.

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