John's Musings

Yeah, Me Neither

A Tale Of Two Servers

Well, I built my first file server which you can read about here. So in true Obsessive Compulsive fashion I decided to build another one. I waffled between building the baddest server in the land or an even more budget build than what I have now. I really wanted to build the best but I decided that this server was going to be a back up server for work. Nothing fancy. Just work files. So I opted for the budget build.

While I kind of built my last server around the needs of the FreeNAS Operating System. FreeNAS needs a little more CPU, a little more memory, a specific kind of memory, and it all generally costs a bit more. If you just want to serve up your work files you don't need nearly as much OOOMPPH or even in my case nearly as much hard drive space.

After much research I opted on building a system around OpenMediaVault. OMV benchmarks really well, doesn't have all the enterprise extras that FreeNAS does but I just don't need them. I decided finally one of the best budget build platforms to build off of is an Asrock AM1H-ITX.

This takes an inexpensive but very good quad core AMD chip. The chip I chose was the Athlon 5350, 2.05Ghz, Quad core chip.

Add 16GB of inexpensive DDR3 12800 RAM and a couple of hard drives and you have a server.

Even better you can save money on the build by buying a case with no power supply as the motherboard operates on 19VDC input power. That's basically an old laptop brick. Wow. That's a good savings if you decide to go that way. I went with a Will Jaya 2 bay case. Again you can get a case with no power supply. And I've limited my upgrade options here with just a 2 bay appliance but, hey, this is a budget build remember?

Total cost here is just under $400 and my actual cost was $340 because I already had some memory laying around. I went with 2 inexpensive 2TB disks. This may also have been a mistake however this is about budget and filling my need at work which is way less than 1TB in size. I'm building specifically to my needs. Your mileage may vary.

This rig probably won't run FreeNAS but it probably will run NAS4Free and again in my case it will run OpenMediaVault nicely.

Here's the build. The WillJaya case is just too small however it does fit but it does take some great care and wire management. It would be easy to jam the fans up. Also the stock fan on the CPU is too tall for installation in this case. I had to buy a low profile Gelid Solutions AM1 fan so it would all fit.

Also you need to make sure you add the clear plastic insulator on the back of the motherboard.

And finally here's what the whole thing looks like completed. Very attractive case. I still have the plastic film on it. I'll remove it when I get it to my office.

Total Crying Bill








Athlon 5350



8GB Patriot DDR3

$34.99 ea. (2)


Gelid Solutions Fan


Hard Drives

Hitachi Refurbished 2TB



WillJaya 2 Bay NAS Case


Finally here is the OpenMediaVault Interface. I have it configured as a 2TB mirror with two 2TB disks. Also using it for a Plex Media Server.