To cope with my ever-growing media library I built an unRAID server. If you aren’t familiar with unRAID do some reading. It is a stripped down version of Slackware which can handle disks of any size and even allows for a parity drive. With the plugin support for software like sabnzbd, sickbeard and couchpotato you can almost eliminate your cable package if it weren’t for sports!. For the average Joe the software won’t cost you a penny but if you have A LOT of media (>4TB) or want to increase performance you can pay for 1 of 2 enhanced versions.

CPU – AMD Sempron 145 Sargas 2.8GHz

ASRock 880GM-LE

Case – AZZA Helios 910

PSU – CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2

Memory – Kingston ValueRAM 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

Hard Disks – HITACHI Deskstar 5K3000 2TB (x3)

Flash Drive – Lexar JumpDrive FireFly 8GB USB 2.0

Hard Disk Cage – COOLER MASTER STB-3T4-E3-GP 4-in-3 Device Module Hardisk Cage

I documented my build with some photos.
The parts
Drives mounted up The cage lets you mount 4 3.5″ drives in 3 5.25″ bays. It even has a fan to keep the drives cool. Plus it looks cool with the blue LED.
Starting to put the puzzle together
Puzzle complete Except for some cable management.
memtest running It was a success!
Pre-clearing the drives It took ~30 hours but it stress tests them and clears them.
unRAID running You control 95% through the web interface. I have been into the terminal several times and also installed unMenu – an enhanced menu package.
Copying my data I was using an external USB hard drive with an Addonics NAS adapter but you were limited to 1 drive, FAT32 file system, slow spin-up time and atrocious write speeds. I’m glad I made the upgrade.
Pretty much a light bulb Based on the hardware I bought and the way the software runs (spin-up/down) the system uses 73W when fully loaded (all disks spun-up, writing data and doing a parity check).

I will post again in the next couple of days to comment on some of my experiences with the system.


  1. Dan wrote:

    Nice write up. What “upgrade” did you use for coping the data? Was the Addonics NAS adapter the upgrade?

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