My current home storage server is a server I put together back in August of 2008. Over the years I have added hard drives, 5-in-3 expansion bays, SAS/SATA Cards, and even upgraded the CPU/RAM, but essentially it’s still a 4 year old system — and parts of it feel that way to.

Since my system is still running WHS v1, I am limited to 512b HDD’s capped at 2TB drives for compatibility. As I look to get away from this, I have been looking at starting a completely new build from the ground up.

To start with, I’ve been looking into a new, smaller enclosure. My full tower case with 9 3.5″ Bay’s is nice, and does allow me 15 hot-swap drives, but it’s a beast. I have been eying a smaller 8-bay case, more in-line with a pre-built drobo or synology (size comparison) system, but without the limiting slow hardware and giving me more freedom for O/S and software:

The above U-NAS case is significantly smaller than my existing setup, and is something that could easily sit on a bookshelf or tucked away on a shelf in my mechanical room. Granted, my tower does this too, but with a completely different look and feel than what I would prefer.

The above case comes with some limitations, primarily the 8-bay maximum. With my existing 2TB drives and RAID6, that’s 12 TB useable. If I upgrade to 3TB or 4TB drives, that’s 18-24TB. At that point, I think I am OK with the sacrifice.

Next up, it’s small size means limiting to Mini-ITX motherboards, which typically are maxed at 2 DIMM slots, or 16GB of RAM. This is another easy sacrifice, as that’s more than enough for a home NAS.

Other than that, the smaller form factor, lower power consumption and the chance to start over with a new build seems like it would be a lot of fun. Now, if only this case was easily available.


6 Responses to “Home NAS Upgrade Planning”

  1. opello on October 8th, 2012 1:46 am

    Might be hard to find a mini-ITX board with 8 SATA ports? Or does the case assume a PCIe controller of sorts?

    It sure is a sharp looking case.

  2. Mike on October 10th, 2012 10:13 pm

    It’s actually designed for 1 PCI/PCIe expansion slot. However, the slot is located above the hot-swap bay and includes a x8/x4 connector ribbon to support it.

    Pretty slick if you ask me.

  3. Tommy on October 24th, 2012 3:11 pm

    Do you have any good links for that case?

  4. Mike on October 25th, 2012 5:34 pm

    The best link I found was at Alibaba:

    I have had little-to-no luck with communication from them. Feel free to let me know if you have better results.

    I would be interested in a group buy to keep costs down if enough people are interested in this case.

  5. varzock on October 27th, 2012 1:02 pm

    Funny thing, just few days ago I started to search for a NAS case just a bit like this. What I found is that at least this retailer here is selling the 4-bay version. They are out of stock now but they told me they’ll have it back in stock in December. Might be good to ask wheter they could also import the 8-bay model.


  6. Mike on October 30th, 2012 1:35 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation. Even though they are a UK dealer, it may be worth at least reaching out to them to see if they can even get it… though I imagine I’ll get dinged pretty bad on shipping to the US.

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