This is going to be a long and detailed run down so I'll try and organize it so you can skip to key parts. I’ll be working on the playlist of videos you can catch here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLg3z6hcUw1goxyZg1uX1ygGF--2QKdf1w
This build was very important to me for many reasons. The first being that this was a Christmas gift for my parents... who have never owned a PC. They are however quite tech savvy. My dad has been a Mac guy since our first LC3 we got in 1992 (don't hate, he’s OG). As a professional cinematographer, he needs a Mac at this point since that is standard in the film business. Between work and a lifetime of personal photos and video, he has accumulated about 4 or 5 external storage devices. They are old and they aren't redundant in any way. You can see where I'm going with this.
Time for a NAS!
We talked about getting him a Drobo or something like that... but let's face it, that would be (almost) just as expensive (once you buy all the drives) and the "build your own" option is way more fun.
My mom is a music geek and has an extensive cd and digital collection. The idea is to make it so she can also start uploading to the NAS and over time convert all her hard copies. With an app she can play them anywhere she can connect to the web or local wifi.
I also will be "renting" space for video archive. So I'm aiming to start with 16tb and move to 24tb soon with room for 4 more drives after that. I live next door to my parents house so the wifi reaches me for a good local signal : P
The CASE (restoration and frustration)
This cooler master stacker case was found in the trash by my friend (pictured above holding this monster) I fell in love with aspects of the design and with lots of drive space it would make the perfect NAS. Also the idea of restoring a retro case seemed cool. The main issue was dust. These old-school designs get great temps but leave your parts victim to this issue. Newer cases have sound and dust management in mind. The system I’m using is very low power and puts out little heat so I just covered all those ugly dusty vents. After striping down all the parts I did some drilling to have intake fans hidden in the bottom of the case (also pure mesh) The single 120mm exhaust at the back keeps positive pressure. Aside from the need to clean the aluminum vigorously and the lack of cable management the case was great to build in.
The THEME (performance and luxury)
This PC has to fit in with the decor of my parent's home... so no tempered glass and RGB. I decided to use leather as my material to cover the panels. I had a lot of ideas for this case that sounded crazy at the time but made sense in my head. I was not inspired by current PC design but rather by automotive interiors and high end furniture. I wanted something that would accentuate the highly stylized bare aluminum of the case and make it a modern art piece. I think of modding a PC like modding a car. Both form and function are at play and I want my mods to both be highly functional as well as stand out from the crowd visually.
Yes, that is real leather. Red Italian hide. About $70 worth so not that bad all things considered. The process of shaping, cutting and gluing took most of my time in this build. I was super satisfied with this part. The feel of it as you run your hands across the sides it just so nice. You can see in the pictures and upcoming video how I did all that in detail. It also quiets down the case quite a bit by both softening vibrations as well as sealing off the once open mesh.
You can see some of the crazy methods I used to keep the shape in the pictures. Super fun challenge.
The wheels needed to be changed. I think these new ones are just so slick. It rolls like a dream and is higher up for better intake. I had to reinforce the underside with extra aluminum to compensate for the bigger mounting plate on these new wheels. Worth it. Thing is solid.
Once it was all coming together I was looking for some cool car badges and the M series by BMW seemed to fit the look of the build. The M badge commands a lot of respect as far as performance, quality and luxury goes.
Quick parts and software run down: (it’s a NAS so no big deal as far as hardware here)
I am running unraid as my OS loaded on an internally mounted usb drive (64gb)
The cpu was in my stock thus free… cool.
GPU: IRRELEVANT this is a headless system. GPU was just for sepup and has been removed as it is no longer needed. CPU has no graphics ether so this is a true HEADLESS server.
Mobo was the cheapest on sale with 8 sata ports. Great quality for the $ if you can get it on sale.
16gb ram (with room for 32) as multiple users could be using it at once with multiple aps and I just want to be cozy and future proof(ish)
PSU was in the case and is far newer than the system it came with. Good quality so why not run it. Modularity helps too.
THE DRIVES As the parody drive we now have a seagate ironwolf (non pro) 8tb (not pictured) There are also 2x 4tb WD reds to start out. This allows for 16tb total or 8tb of redundant storage. 5 drives can be added up to 8tb each in this current state.
This is getting too long so I’m going to just end here. Long story short my parents got the rig Christmas day and loved it <3
Any questions on things I missed just ask or check out my videos where I go into more detail.