Network Attached Storage On The Cheap?
Nov 26, 2008 at 12:53 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


500+ Head-Fier
Jan 28, 2002
I have 3.5" IDE drive(s) . What enclosure and software would you recommend? I can do RAID since I have several drives, but I am mostly interested in backup for three Windows XP machines. The files do not necessarily need RAID. I want to do this as cheaply as possible. I read that the NETGEAR SC 101 is not a good choice and ebay is filled with them.
Nov 26, 2008 at 1:33 AM Post #2 of 2


100+ Head-Fier
Nov 11, 2006
I used an old PC and bought UNRAID from Lime Technology, LLC. There is also a free version which supports 3 drives.

After some further research I decided to get newer/faster SATA drives and a new motherboard. The IDE drives I was using were pretty slow and the motherboard only had a 100 megabit network card. At the end it cost me less than $450 for 1.3 terabytes of disk (1 parity disk, 2x 650GB), a gigabit switch, and a battery backup. I stuck with the 650 GB hard disks because they appear to be more reliable. I can write 800 MB movies to the server in about a minute over the network.

The cool things about UNRAID:
- your data is protected with a parity drive (similar to the way PAR2 files protect your data)
- you can keep adding drives as you go along - up to the product limit and only need a single parity drive (free version - 3 drives, Plus version - 6, Pro - 16)
- the drives spin down when you don't use them
- the storage is pooled so it all looks like a giant drive to your PC

Things to consider:
- if you're finicky, you probably want to buy the Pro version so you can use the swap drive function (better writing speed)
- you want at least 2 GB of RAM
- go to and read hard disk customer ratings before you commit. I bought the 650 GB drives because they were reviewed as mostly bulletproof (and had a decent amount of storage)
- you want to wire it and use a gigabit network card and switch to get the best speed
- check their wiki and forums for "known good" hardware configurations, to make sure all of your controllers are supported by the software.

Users who are viewing this thread