Building a new home FreeNAS server

My home server is now 9 years old, so I’m thinking it probably about time that I build a new one. I’ve been very lucky so far, probably best not to chance my luck any more,  as consumer hard drives usually only have a 3-5 year guarantee.

After a bit of thought and research, I’ve decided to change from Linux to FreeNAS, this blog post will track my progress and choices as I build my Server over the next couple of months.


I’m going to start with 16Gb and upgrade if needed (Type dependent on motherboard)

Needs to support 4 SATA drives without an additional PCI card, with the possibility of expansion to 6 drives if needed. I intend to run a few VM’s and a few jails, so I need to buy a motherboard that, if needed, I can put a more powerful CPU in.


The server is going to be in my loft, so I don’t feel the need to keep it small or unobtrusive, that and the airflow should be reasonably good in a larger case. If I decide later to move the server somewhere else in the house, I may repurpose the case.

microATX form factor
MicroATX motherboards are the most popular size for FreeNAS servers, mostly because entry- level server motherboards based on LGA 115x platforms tend to use this form factor.

After a bit of thought about the specifications, I’ve decided to go with the Skyline motherboard and processor, socket LGA 1151, this should be a good starting point, as the motherboard supports 6 SATA port and a whopping 64Gb of memory it should be good for all my needs in the future.

Power Supply

There’s a really good article here about calculation the required power supply wattage. I’m initially going to use 4 drive but might over time upgrade to 6.

  • Each drive will need approximately 35 Watts each.         6 X 35 = 210W
  • Approximately 25W for the motherboard.                                         25W
  • The motherboard supports a maximum CPU wattage of                  80W
  • 4 slots available on the motherboard for memory                4 X 6 = 24W
  • 2 built in fans on the Fractal Design Case + CPU Fan       3 X 30 = 90W

By my calculations that approximately 429W. Multiply the wattage by 1.25 to give a reasonable margin of error gives us about 536.25W

So, I’m looking for a 550 Watt power supply and since it seems to be recommended on the Freenas Forum, I’m going to buy the Seasonic G550 550W 80+ Gold Certified PSU after reading some good reviews about it here and here.

Cost so far

  1. Fractal Design – Define Mini                                     £78
  2. Supermicro X11SSL-F-O                                         £176
  3. Intel Core i3-6300                                                    £105
  4. Memory Mr Memory                                                 £172
  5. Seasonic G550 550W 80+ Gold Certified PSU        £87
  6. 4 x Western Digital Red 3TB                                    £400
  7. 2 x SanDisk Ultra Fit 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive     £22

The Finished Product



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