NAS and computer in one


New Around Here
Howdy all!

I have all the parts ready to go (I hope!), and I'd like to build something like this:

An always-on NAS for my home network that is also a PC.

Most of its duty will be serving media and storing my files (8x4TB drives with Xeon CPU), but I also want to use it as the actual head unit going to my projector/amp, and would like to also be able to use it as a PC on the big-screen if needed.

Does anyone have any suggestions on the best setup for this? I've read that I could install FreeNAS then run a VM that passes through to the GPU and also sees the NAS itself even though it's inside the NAS. That's a little too Inception for me, and I don't wish to go insane quite yet, so again, any suggestions would be appreciated.


New Around Here
That's sorta of the idea, but.. I wish it to be a NAS more than a PC. It needs to have at least the functionality of Xpenology/NAS4free/FreeNAS on the data storage side, and yet still be able to directly output video.
I would not trust Windows to do completely handle NAS functions. Maybe CentOS?
There seems to be a void in this area of tech that I'm noticing. Typically a NAS unit will live in a closet (like my 2 Synology units and my one homebrew NAS4free unit), and use another device attached to a display to render media. I'd like to have a NAS that sits where the head-unit does, and serves both functions. Just wondering if that's a thing.
Thanks for any info! :)


Mr. Easy
Staff member
There are many QNAPs that run VMs and serve media with built in HDMI.


Occasional Visitor
Doesn’t that kind of change it to a system with a lot of storage sharing it and not storage attached for network users?

I see the increase of pi and nas or x and nas but go for the implementation in it being done with you having added nas correctly.

Out of the scope of your plan but nas implies the sharing of storage and a san implies the sharing of hardware.

pi and nas I can see being ok as a lower end corporate grade nas with redundancy in everything and a controller is expensive and the pi acting as the controller (pi and storage for media ehh).

you can get some storage and the redundancy other than the raid level you select and a pi that is only around for the role of controller and have done it correctly - but if I came over to get a beer and it was the way you describe doing it I’d have to say the pc just has a lot and sharing it with the others..

I write this in jest - you should try anything you want to see how it would turn out..


Regular Contributor
Unraid seems pretty popular for this kind of thing. I consolidated a NAS and a rarely used secondary gaming PC into a single machine for a while and it worked pretty well for me anyway. It's a fun little project if you enjoy that kind of thing, but you can end up going down some serious rabbit holes trying to get stuff to work.

Probably the main blocker is that you'll need a dedicated GPU for it, so if you don't have one it's not really worth doing when you can just use a cheap separate device like a Pi/firestick etc instead.

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