NAS Killer v3.0

 Stuff the turkey with
8TB easystores


Update the NAS Killer v2.0 in preparation for the inevitable upcoming holiday sales

Build properties:

  • Dual socket CPU

  • Storage-focused design

  • Ready to accept 8TB+ HDD’s (that will probably go on sale during the holidays)

  • ATX form factor, not E-ATX/SSI-EEB

  • Keep things simple and affordable so the build will be built & ready for Black Friday



Intel S5500BC dual socket 1366 mainboard

I’m going to be straight with you - this board is just OK.

It’s not as good of a deal as the GA-7TESM from the NAS Killer 2.0, I doubt anything will touch that. However, this board is cheap, it’s much smaller with its ATX form factor, and has the features we need. Unfortunately, due to the location of the CPU sockets, you will not be able to fit a GPU, but it is possible to fit SAS controllers, SATA cards, network cards, and other smaller AOC’s. It also only has support for dual-channel memory in comparison to the GA-7TESM’s triple-channel, and is missing the onboard SAS-2008 controller as well. However: it only requires one EPS connector for dual CPU, meaning you can use any power supply, even without an EPS splitter.



Quick Recommendations

These recommendations are largely the same as the NAS Killer v2.0, with some minor exceptions.

  • [Barebones] The S5500BC comes included with some ancient E5506 processors, perfect to get your system up and running. If you’re absolutely strapped for cash, just run these until you can afford something else. They are also handy for flashing to the latest BIOS update in order to support 5600 series processors.

  • [NAS] I'd pick dual L5630, as they are just about the best for the money. NAS' typically do not need a lot of processing power, so this would be more than plenty. They are extremely low power, low thermal output, and cost effective. Dual E5640 are also a decent option, but trade power efficiency and heat output for quite a bit more performance.

  • [Virtualization] I'd pick dual L5638, which are the cheapest 6 core / 12 thread processors on the chart. You also might consider getting more RAM if you're going to be doing a lot of virtualization.

This motherboard has limitations as to how much power can be delivered to both CPUs due to its single EPS connector. I wouldn’t attempt using anything higher than dual L5640 with this motherboard due to these constraints.

In this chart linked below, you can find core/thread count, base frequency, turbo frequency, passmark, price, and passmark per dollar. The lowest prices were determined by eBay searches, buy it now only, US only, and sorted by lowest price. Prices will vary, so use this chart as a reference only. Clicking on the processors in the chart will take you directly to a properly formatted eBay search.



8GB is the minimum any build should have.

As a NAS, it should be plenty, and as a regular server, it's a good starting point. According to the S5500BC’s specifications, official support is only up to 32GB, but with the latest bios and 5600 series CPUs my bet is that it can support 64GB. I will do my best to test this if I have the resources to do so.



Antec Three Hundred Two (6+3+2 bays)

The Cooler Master N400 does not fit this motherboard, even though both are ATX.
This is the most affordable chassis that fits this motherboard, with a decent amount of bays. It has 6 dedicated 3.5” bays, 2 2.5” SSD bays, and 3 flexible 5.25” bays. It also has plenty of cooling options with support of up to 4x120mm and 1x140mm fans. (one of those 120mm fans even cools the rear of the motherboard!) Overall the case is well constructed and should last a long time.

Rosewill 4U server chassis (15 bays)

I recently made a short video overview of this case (not specifically for this guide, so it's a little off-topic). It's a good case, has room for plenty of hard drives and fans, too many for my liking actually. I'd personally recommend reversing the fan wall and using Arctic 120mm PWM fans there only, and removing the front fans. I'd also recommend replacing the rear fans with Arctic 80mm PWM fans. This will allow for plenty of airflow but keep the noise levels at a minimum. The chassis takes a standard ATX power supply, and supports SSI-EEB / E-ATX motherboards, but does not support larger SSI-EEB+ / EE-ATX motherboards. Rails are extra, and are not included with the chassis.



Cooler Master MWE 500W 80+ Bronze Certified PSU

It's cheap, powerful enough, and works. Not much more to say. Next best options are usually around $20 on sale (Corsair CX450W, CX430W, CX500W, etc.) Keep an eye on deal sites for PSU's 400W or above. I wouldn't get anything smaller than 400W personally.
Keep an eye out for EVGA B-Stock sales, sometimes you can get 400-500W PSU’s starting at $14.99.


CPU Coolers

Arctic Freezer 12 CPU Cooler

This motherboard comes with 2 passive heatsinks. For tower cases, these are not usable. They are meant for server chassis with lots of airflow (such as the Rosewill chassis). Otherwise, there's not much to say here. It's compatible, it's quiet, and it works. We won't be overclocking, so there's not much to worry about so long as it works.


Other parts

Arctic 120mm PWM PST 5 Pack

You probably won't use all of these fans, but it's cheaper to buy 5 packs than it is to buy singles. It's also nice to have spares on hand just in case. These are PWM fans and have PWM Sharing Technology, which is nice (you can daisy chain the fans together for convenience). They are quiet and move a good amount of air. I use them in all of my builds.

2 Pack 8087 breakout cables for SAS controller

You'll need these to take advantage of the onboard LSI. This will allow you to connect an additional 8 HDDs or SSDs. This motherboard also has 6 SATA ports (SATA2/3Gbps). This speed is fine for HDD's. If you want to add a SSD and have it run full speed, you'll need at least 1 of the 8087 breakouts (SAS2/6Gbps)

HP SAS Expander

This is the easiest way to support 24 drives with this motherboard. Plug in two male-male 8087 cables from the SAS expander to the onboard SAS, the plug all of your SAS breakout cables into the SAS expander. No additional software needed.

SATA power splitter

Most PSU's only have a certain number of SATA power connections. If you need more, use these 4x power splitters. They split a single SATA power connection off of the PSU to 4x. They also help tremendously with cable management when HDD's are stacked on top of each other.

Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme Thermal Paste

This is about the best thermal paste you can get besides liquid metal. Not much more to say.

Summary & builds


So, that's nice and all... but what do I get?

Assuming you're going for the NAS KILLER v2.0 build:

  • Single Xeon E5620, with 4 cores / 8 threads at up to 2.6 GHz

  • Quad Gigabit NIC

  • IPMI for remote server management, with dedicated IPMI NIC

  • 8GB DDR3 ECC RAM (with a ton of expansion)

  • 3 PCI-E expansion, 1 PCI expansion

  • Built in LSI 2008 SAS w/ IT mode

  • 14 SATA (6 onboard, 8 from SAS)

  • 7 Native 3.5" drive bays

This NAS killer completely destroys last year's model! It's hard to imagine that prices have dropped this much, and that we can now get dual Xeon with SAS2 for around the same price.

Sample builds

Core Components - NAS Killer v2.0 (click for link)
AZZA CSAZ-GT Full Tower $59.39
Gigabyte GA-7TESM $45.00
1 x Intel Xeon E5620 $3.19
4GB DDR3 ECC REG 1333 (2x) $8.99 x 2 = $17.98
Arctic Freezer 12 CPU Cooler $19.48
EVGA 450W PSU $19.99
TOTAL $145.55

Rackmount NAS - unRAID build v2.0 (click for link)
Rosewill 4U Chassis $105.00
Gigabyte GA-7TESM $45.00
2 x Passive Heatsinks Included*
2 x Intel Xeon L5640 $36.00
4GB DDR3 ECC REG 1333 (x6) $8.99 x 6 = $53.94
EVGA 450W PSU $19.99
5 x Arctic 120mm PWM fans $25.00
5 x Arctic 80mm PWM fans $20.00
2 x 8087 SAS cable $12.89
TOTAL $317.82

Add-Ons & Extras for the Core Build (click for link)
5 x Arctic 120mm PWM fans $25.00
2 x 8087 SAS cable $12.89
EPS splitter $7.99
SATA power splitter $5.49
Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme Thermal Paste $12.73