$950 DIY 20 Bay NAS build : 2018 Edition

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In this tutorial I will discuss about how to build 20 bay DIY NAS

Because this is a budget build I will use some of the retired server grade hardwares.

Case : Norco RPC-4020

This case is perfect for building 20 bay DIY NAS. This case have 20 3.5″ hot swap bays in front and 2 2.5″ bays internally. You can use external hot swap bays for HDD and use 2.5″ bays for caching.

Support standard ATX Power supply which is perfect for DIY 20 bay NAS builders, because server PSU is hard to work with and you might need to do some modification.

Motherboard : Supermicro X8DTH-iF

This is a retired server hardware however this is perfect for building DIY NAS. This monster supports 2 CPUs and has 12 RAM Sockets with 7 PCI-e 2.0 x8 (x16 physical) lanes. Which is perfect for expandability and if you need some computing power, then you can put some monster CPUs in there. The board is about $200 on eBay and good thing is some board comes with CPUs so you can save some money on there.

RAM : ECC DDR3 1333

You can get a retired server grade ECC Ram for about $40. If you want to put more Ram then spend few more dollars but I think 16GB Ram for NAS is enough.

Raid Card : 2 * LSI 9211-8i

You can get one of them from eBay about $40 for used one and about $70 for brand new ones. Each card can handle 8 drives. In order to connect all 20 HDDs + 2 SSDs you need two of this Raid card. However, if you are starting less than 6 total disks then you don’t have to buy the Raid card. The board itself have 6 SATA Connections, so you can start utilizing those connector first. When you want to add more disks and if the total number exceed 6 then purchase one to expand.

Note that, you have to flash the firmware to IT Mode. It is not too hard and if you are afraid of flashing the firmwares in the hardwares then you should not try to DIY your NAS.

Power : 80+ gold 700W

Add up all the hardware components power consumption you are looking at about 500w ~ 600w in the maximum load. if you decide to use low power CPUs and actually most of the times the CPUs are in idle so power consumption will be about 150w ~ 200W, however you want to give about 100w room above the maximum power load. Therefore, I recommend 700w PSU.

If you search slickdeal.com then you can find some decent power supply is selling at about $50 ~ $80. So, this is the price that you are looking for.

Software : unRaid Pro 

You can choose your own Software. If you are familiar with FreeNas or Ubuntu go with whatever you are familiar with. However, unRaid is my best choice. Even you have to pay for the Software but I think it worth every penny. The Pro version is at $129 but it has really good tech support and community.

Most importantly ultimately it is a virtual machine software. Therefore, if you need some GPU computing power with the ubuntu you can throw in the GPU that you want and install ubuntu on top of unRaid. If you want to game on your DIY NAS, then you can install Windows 10 on top of unRaid and play games. Everything you think is possible on the unRaid.

Disks: Your own choice

I personally think 4 HDDs and 2 SSDs are the sweet spot to start with if you using my configuration. 2 SSDs are for caching with redundancy configuration and 4 HDDs are for storage and make sure configure 1 or 2 HDDs for failover.

Final List


Component Name Count Cost
Case Norco RPC-4020 1 $328.23
Motherboard Supermicro X8DTH-iF (with CPU) 1 $200
RAM ECC DDR3 1333 4GB 4 $40
Raid Card LSI 9211-8i 2 $80
Power 80+ gold 700W 1 $70
Software unRaid Pro 1 $129
HDD 8TB 4 $560
SSD 500GB 2 $280
Cables & ETC SATA & SAS Cable N/A $100

Total Price with 4 HDDs, 2 SSDs :  $1,787.23 (You can save $80 if you decide to buy raid card when you needed)

Total Price without Disk : $947.23

You can start DIY 20 Bay NAS with $947.23 if you have some of the disks laying around your house. Consider the server grade parts with the easy software configuration I think this is a really great value for the 20 bay NAS.

If you want to buy pre-build NAS then it is hard to find the one with 20 bays. I found a 12 bay Synology NAS DS3617xs it cost about $2500 without disks and compare to my configuration it has way less computing power and expandability.

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