Category Archives: DIY

Build your own NAS/HTPC from scratch – part 1

A NAS/HTPC ?

In this article I’ll walk you through building your own NAS/HTPC, from hardware to software. Since it should be quite long, it should be broken down in several parts.

Let’s see first what I want as a NAS/HTPC, how much would it cost, what was chosen !

Wish list

Here goes my wish list:

  • Store a lot of data (movies, series, musics, ebooks, backups, …)
  • Store some data safely (at least RAID 1) such as family data (pictures, videos)
  • Export that data to different devices (Android tablet, other computers, …), for example ebooks
  • Watch all of the movies, series easily in HD on the NAS/HTPC but also on others devices within my LAN
  • Control most of it from WEB GUI and/or Android applications
  • Be cheap, in comparison to turnkey solutions
  • Low consumption / Low noise

Choices made

I’ve tried out several solutions, if I had been brighter, perhaps I would have listed the solutions and their drawbacks, but well I didn’t think about publishing an article. Let’s go through both hardware and software solutions, these are my choices, don’t follow blindly do your researches according to your wish list.

Hardware

On the hardware side, choices were clearly ruled by the price, I’ve tried to reduce the cost as much as possible without having to give up on quality.

  • Motherboard: ASUSTeK Computer INC. P5K-E I got it for free from a friend. It’s enough for my needs.
  • CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E8400 @ 3.00GHz, free too it really costs nothing nowdays.
  • CPU FAN: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 (~50€)
  • RAM: 4GB DDR2 800MHZ, also free, it’s consuming right now 1.3GB
  • DISKS: 4TB SATA3 WG40EZRZ (~ 80€ on special sales) // 500GB HITACHI // 500GB TOSHIBA, both I had bought years before
  • CASE: Cooler Master N300 (KKN1) (~50€)
  • FANS: 2 x 120mm front Noctua NF-S12B redux (~30€)+ 1 x 120mm side + Rheobus Lian Li PT-FN01 (10€)
  • GPU: GeForce GT 630, I got it back from an old computer, you’ll see in the hardware part how I fixed its well known noise problem, bit hackish. It doesn’t cost much and can do 1080p HD.
  • POWER SUPPLY: LDLC QS-460 FLP Quality Select 80PLUS Platinum (~50€ on special sales)
  • EXTRAS: anti noise screws for hard drive (~10€), HDMI cables, ethernet cables …

The overall cost is ~300€. So yes most of the hardware is old but my main goal is only to do a decent NAS/HTPC without putting much money on it. Conclusion is that it’s cheaper than turnkey solutions and is more flexible. I can go up to seven hard drives with my current case (6 only with my motherboard but well PCI SATA exists), 8GB RAM (or more), the GPU is decent enough for my needs. I strongly recommand to reuse components from older computers as I did, not only to save the bill but also the environment.

Software

As the base OS, openmediavault is my choice, it’s the perfect “NAS software” solution to me, it’s easy to use/install and quite light. You can manage your disks, RAID arrays, shares without effort (WEB GUI but also SSH hopefully). There are also plugins like Let’s Encrypt or Domoticz that come handy. It has no x server but we will see how to configure one with nodm.

For the HTPC part, kodi is clearly the right choice. An entire article is dedicated to kodi so I won’t say much about it now, but you’ll be able to start a video on your HTPC and continue it on your tablet at the timestamp you stopped, theming, control from your Android devices with Yatse.

Everyone downloads; so after many tests with several torrent clients, rtorrent is my choice ! What weight in the balance is the fact that you can use a WEB GUI, Deluge too, but that last one caused me many problems.

No cost at all except a long amount of time, but these articles should save you some time.

What’s next ?

In the next articles I’ll show you how the hardware takes place, it won’t be a step by step tutorial but it will show you the final product.