Ultra Budget NAS build 2019: 16TB and more speed for 350€

This is an update to last year’s ultra budget NAS build. Since I had mentioned “2018” in the title, I am now obligated to make a “2019” update.

So what has changed since then?
Firstly, the prices for internal HDDs haven’t fallen. The Intenso drives I used last year are still some of the best in terms of price per capacity. Secondly, the Raspberry Pi 4 was released with much faster processing and networking speeds, 2x USB 3.0 and the option for 4GB of memory. All of these upgrades make it perfect for a budget NAS build, in fact, this is so much more powerful that you may want use it as a fully fledged home server for some tasks.

Components

As you can see, I decided to use two external HDDs instead of four internal ones with separate cases. This year, this makes more sense, because they offer much storage for their price, especially taking the included cases into account. Furthermore, these already support USB 3.0; perfect for the upgrade to the Pi 4 which has exactly two USB 3.0 ports. One could consider having only two disks to be an advantage or a disadvantage, though. You won’t be able to use RAID 5, but if you were going to use RAID 1 anyway, then having fewer disks will be more reliable and use less power and space.

The Pi 4 upgrade is a no-brainer. It should be much, much faster for NAS applications. You could use one with less RAM, but having the extra capacity for caching or other home server applications is probably worth it for future proofing. While I didn’t add separate cooling last year, this year it is really necessary. While cheaper options may be possible, this will also give you a nice and sturdy metal case. The official Pi 4 power supply is one of the cheapest that are available and should be very reliable. Finally, microSDs have dropped even further in price: This year we can have 64GB, giving you more headroom in general.

While I wish could have achieved 300€ again this year, that number just didn’t make sense this time around and the added performance and capacity are definitely worth it. This is a worthy Ultra Budget NAS build!

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