What's new

Build or Buy

  • SNBForums Code of Conduct

    SNBForums is a community for everyone, no matter what their level of experience.

    Please be tolerant and patient of others, especially newcomers. We are all here to share and learn!

    The rules are simple: Be patient, be nice, be helpful or be gone!


New Around Here
Hi All.
I am after advice on whether I should build a NAS or buy a ready system, this will be for personnel use and not business. This would be a stand alone machine, but would need to be on all the time.
Budget is about £150
My use will be -
  • Storage of photos (auto upload of pictures taken from mobile phone)
  • Plex (movies and music)- This will only have to run one user at a time at 1080, not upgrading to 4K anytime soon. May need remote play on mobile.
  • Storage of documents (bills and household info)
And that is it really, I am just after a home cloud NAS.

My thoughts at this time are -
  • TrueNAS Core with either ownCloud or Nextcloud for file sharing and auto photo upload (Nextcloud seems to be easier?) Unless there is an easier way again?
  • Plex integrated with TrueNAS
  • Upgrade to 4Tb HDD storage
  • Spending money on the hard drives instead on a complete enclosure would give me more for my money.
Units I am looking at -

HP EliteDesk 800 G2 Core i5-6500T 2.5Ghz - HDD 500 GB - 8GB - Intel HD Graphics 530​

HP ProDesk 600 G3 SFF Pentium G4400 3.3Ghz - SSD 256 GB - 8GB - Intel Graphic HD 510​

NAS Enclosures -
  • Synology DiskStation DS223j
  • Synology DiskStation DS220
  • Synology Disk Station DS220+ - This would be a push too far on the budget at the moment I feel.
I appreciate you time reading this and any advice would be gratefully received. :)
Last edited:
Assuming this is just for the CPU and not including any storage?

The future planning is what you should focus on. The prebuilt systems offer simplicity of take it out of the box and put some drives inside and configure it. The draw back is you're stuck with basic functionality and limited expansion options.

Going w/ a decent CPU pizza box platform and adding a DAS to it for the drives could be an option as well but, you might have issues later on w/ the USB cable or bottleneck your speeds if you cheap out on the DAS. Some DAS only hit 200MB/s which is sufficient for a single spinner at modern speeds. The other option would be a 4TB SSD for under $200 and an enclosure if there's not a second M2 slot on the board. Then your bottleneck would be the NIC as you would need 10GE to hit 1GB/s on the NVME which the slowest Gen3 hits 3.5GB/s.

It all adds up and goes down a deep rabbit hole of how far you can take things.

For my DIY setup I have the server acting as the router which means any DL's hit the box directly and only limited by the speed of the ISP connection in terms of speed. For the LAN side I have a 5GE NIC which gets me full speeds to the disks. But also I have TB on both the server and laptop which gets even higher speeds when needed. For WIFI though currently I can squeeze out 1.7gbps. Though with WIFI7 I expect to bump that to 5gbps which then makes the NIC more of a backup option as needed. The TB P2P network though yielded 1.5GB/s / 15gbps but, seems to be more of a bottleneck in the laptop since the link comes up at 20gbps. USB4 on a Gen4 slot though should unlock more bandwidth when they actually release the new ASMedia card for sale. The expected bump in speed to 3.8GB/s when using an enclosure. <<this is the rabbit hole>> Always upping the transfer game as new options come to market.
Welcome to the forums @TJnas.

If you want to use it for the next decade or so, buy it. More robust, more secure, more reliable, and dependable than anything you can build/maintain yourself.

I wouldn't recommend any 2-Bay NAS options. You're much better off long term to buy a 4-Bay or larger NAS (depending on prices/sales) and only populate 2 drives today (RAID1).

Buy a NAS with (or at least, upgradable to,) 8GB RAM or more. A more than entry-level CPU. And, as already mentioned (but very important to repeat) 4-Bays or more.

The only two options are QNAP or Synology, with the former giving a much better bang for the buck, hardware-wise.

The above recommendations will satisfy your network-attached storage needs for the next decade. Particularly if you also add a quality UPS to protect this equipment.

I recommend QNAP with WD RED Plus drives. Buy bigger than you need (watch for sales to match the price to the lower capacity drives but potentially double your storage potential. The bigger drives are faster, with lower latency, and are more reliable too.
I use and recommend Synology. Looks like the DS220j may be a good match for you. If you can find one for less money a DS218j would work for what you want. The drives may be costly! Just be careful to get drives made with CMR and not SMR. Western Digital sells both. Seagate Iron Wolf are supposed to be good for NAS but because of past issues I've had with Seagate I use Western Digital Red Plus.
QNAP and Synology are roughly equivalent when comparing features, reliability, and long-term dependability.

Where QNAP is superior is in higher-end/performance hardware for less cost vs. Synology.

the follower is not one to follow for sound advice (ever).

Here's the latest example (try to follow his faulty conversation from the link below).

QNAP and Synology are roughly equivalent when comparing features, reliability, and long-term dependability.

I agree with this statement - taking into account the number of bays, the CPU - they're pretty close...

UI is the key differentiator - how QNAP and Synology do things and present settings are very different.

For Windows/Android centric users - I generally recommend QNAP - the UI/UX is probably more familiar, and getting direct access to features and capabilities is pretty clear up front.

For Mac/iOS centric folks - Synology is going to be a more familiar place - the same functionality is there, but perhaps in a more consistent way with how one manages Mac settings/preferences...

Neither is better or worse - just different in how things are presented...
I am after advice on whether I should build a NAS or buy a ready system, this will be for personnel use and not business. This would be a stand alone machine, but would need to be on all the time.

Getting back on topic...

Building can be a fun project - one can build a capable NAS with the right mix of hardware and software...

Buying a pre-built NAS - someone has already done the hard work there, ensuring that the mix of HW and SW are fit to task, and there's the warranty and customer support.

DIY - that warranty and tech support is basically non-existent for the system level solution - as the one building it, you're the tech support.

Components like motherboards, ram, disks - they may have warranties, but there, you are the one that has to reach out to those suppliers and sort it.
I run a TrueNAS Core 13U5 setup with Plex and Nextcloud running in their respective jails. This runs on a own-built rackserver housing a Supermicro X9SCM-F motherboard with an E3-1230 Xeon CPU and 32Gb RAM with 2 SSD's in zraid0 for the OS and 4 SAS 2Tb drives in zraid1. I am very happy with this setup but there are a couple of things you should know:

1. Nextcloud is not a plug and play platform and requires a fair amount tinkering to get it running properly, especially if you would want external access through an FQDN and https.
2. You need to get quite familiar with FreeBSD - a steep learning curve if no prior experience - experience with Linux will help but still
3. The whole system needs maintenance - not all the time but frequent. Nextcloud can be updated from within the application but updates to php, mysql etc are all manual.

I got familiar with it after several years and i use Nextcloud for business now which is a great platform and i am probably not even using 10% of its capabilities. However, you could do something similar with a Synology with a lot less hassle. Before this, i had a Netgear NAS which was running perfectly fine including Plex and their own cloud-solution which is exactly my weakness, "running fine" is boring...

Now there is also a good part: my NAS is upgradeable. I can upgrade the motherboard, CPU or RAM or network cards to newer/faster hardware at any point in time, reboot and off we go again without any impact to the installation. I already did that once and probably will again next year for a fairly acceptable cost.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Q Hello, I'm new here, I'd like to build my own NAS DIY 61

Similar threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

Get an update of what's new every day delivered to your mailbox. Sign up here!