This is a Step-By-Step guide on how to build a Nas for Gaming. It is updated on a regular basis to keep the information up to date.
A gaming NAS has many advantages, and some disadvantages. Before you build a gaming NAS make sure to read our article, “Should you use a Gaming NAS?”.
I will be describing how I build my gaming NAS, as well as some variations that some may want to make.
My First Gaming Nas
I built my first gaming NAS as an experiment just to see if the uses were applicable to me. It was rather slow, and not great, but it did tell me a better solution would work.
My first gaming NAS was a Raspberry Pi 4 NAS. If you have a Raspberry Pi 4 and a USB 3.0 hard drive, you can try this experiment yourself.
Linked above is great directions for how to make a Pi NAS. In my opinion, they don’t make good long- term solutions, but it may allow you to test and see if a NAS is for you.
Steps to Build a Gaming NAS
The cheapest way to build a gaming NAS is with an old computer you are no longer using. All you have to do is through your hard drives in and install software.
If you are going that route, you only need to read step one and then you can skip to “Installing NAS Software”. If building from scratch, everything you need is and all of your steps are below.
1. Determine How Big of a Gaming NAS You Need
Before you start building, you need to figure out how big of a NAS you will need. This will depend on several factors:
- How much space are you currently using for game storage?
- Do you like to keep all your games installed, or rotate what you have installed?
- How much do you have to spend?
Answering these questions will give you a good idea of how much space you need. I would recommend no less than 2x of the current game storage you currently use.
Games are continuously getting bigger are requiring more storage. Most likely you will be adding games to your library so you, so you want to leave space for growth. I had around 6gb in use and built a 12gb NAS.
2. It’s Time To Purchase Parts
Here are the parts we will need. While there can be some variation, I want to make sure I give you the basics.
With your Motherboard, I would recommend one with at least 4 Sata Ports and Raid Support.
I am using a Super Micro Motherboard with a XEON CPU. I bought this all on Ebay in one purchase, which is what I recommend to do.
Click this bullet and it will link to what I am currently using.
My theory on Hard Drives to build a Gaming NAS with are probably different than most. Since games can easily be redownloaded, and most often are cloud saved, I will use used enterprise drives in my nas. You will want at least two identical hard drives so you can run them in raid. If you click this bullet it will show you what I am using.
You can get Sata Cables from Amazon or Ebay relatively cheap.
You will want a power supply with plenty of Sata connectors. Also don’t go with the cheapest power supply you can find. Make sure it is at least bronze rated. I used an E-VGA Bronze 450w power supply. Click the bullet for the exact one I am using.
A Base for all your parts
Next you need a base to place all of your parts. Most people are probably going to use a case. I used a wall hanging motherboard base, a hard drive caddy that I could attach to the wall, and some brackets. I will put links to these parts below. If you do choose to use a case, make sure there are enough drive bays for all of your hard drives.
If you take the parts I used, and wanted to build a 12gb NAS it would cost:
$44 for Motherboard, Memory, CPU, and Cooler
$140 for Hard Drives
$30 For Power Supply
$40 For Frame
$14 For Hard Drive Cage
$10 Misc Parts
Of course, if you are building a smaller gaming NAS, it will cut off quite a bit of cost, as your hard drives won’t cost as much.
3. Assemble Equipment
If you are using a case, you will have to assemble your equipment in your case. I am going to go over how to do the wall mount design. Let’s build a gaming NAS!
Before I attached the motherboard to the mount, I drilled two holes in the back of the motherboard mount. I used two small bolts and nuts to attach two flat brackets to the mount that I could use to hang it.
There is a space between where the motherboard mounts and the back of the mount that will prevent any shorts in the motherboard.
After you attach your brackets, you can use the provided equipment to attach your motherboard to the mount.
Hard Drive Mounting
The hard drive mounts have little plastic tabs that stick sideways on the bottom and top. Break or cut these off.
Attach your first three hard drives to both sides of the mount. We will not attach the last hard drive until the end.
Power Supply Mounting
To mount the power supply we will be using more straight brackets. Attach 2 l brackets (around 3 inches long is good). Attach the L brackets to two holes on your power supply with the bracket still having access to the screw holes on the other side of the L.
This is not the prettiest way to mount, but it is the cheapest. The good news is that it is place this in the back of a closet where it can function, and no one will ever see it.
Cut two 2′ 1×2 boards. Attach these to the wall one on top of the other with a 6″ gap between the two.
Attach your motherboard in the middle of the boards using the brackets you attached earlier.
Attach your power supply using the brackets to the right of the motherboard.
Attach your hard drive brackets to the left. Use the holes on the top mount that you did not put a hard drive in to attach. Then mount your final hard drive using only two screws. *If you’re only using two hard drives, this is a bit easier*
Connect all your cables
Before you start, make sure the power switch on your power supply is turned off. Some bios is set to automatically turn on when power is connected. You don’t want to fry anything.
Attach power supply to your motherboard with both the 20 pin and the 4 pin connector.
Attach Sata Cables from the motherboard to the Hard Drive.
Attach power cables to hard drive.
4. Turn On the Power
Now that we have managed to build the gaming NAS we need to turn it on. Plug in the power supply and flip the power supply switch on. If you are luck, your motherboard bios is set to resume power automatically.
If not, you will either need to jump the motherboard, or purchase a power switch and connect it to the power pins. You can easily find the power pins by looking up the motherboard manual online.
Installing Nas Software
Now we will either need to install another small hard drive for a boot drive or use a USB 3.0 Flash Drive. To make it simple, I recommend the flash drive.
To do this it will require 2 USB flash drives. Instructions on how to install OMV on a flash drive can.
First, on another computer, we need to download files.
Next click on the Raspberry Pi imager file that downloaded. Follow the directions to install Pi Imager.
After Pi Imager is installed, insert a blank USB 3.0 flash drive (8gb or more) one of your USB slots on your computer. Load Pi Imager from your start menu.
Once in Pi Imager select choose os – choose custom (very bottom option) – and then direct it to the open media vault iso file you downloaded.
Next hit Select Storage. Be careful and make sure you choose the USB storage stick you inserted in the computer. If you choose the wrong drive, you could accidently wipe your system.
Click Write. It should take 2-5 minutes depending on the speed of your computer, but you will then have an Open Media Vault install USB.
Set Bios to boot from Flash Drive
Next go to your computer that you are going to use as your NAS server. If you are installing the operating system on a USB drive insert the OMV install you created, and the blank USB drive into the computer.
If you are installing to a hard drive, make sure you know the size of the hard drive you are installing to.
Turn on the computer.
When your computer comes on it should list what key to hit to enter bios. Enter Bios and set the USB 3.0 OMV install drive you set up as your boot drive.
After it boots up make sure to select the proper drive to install OMV to. This is going to be your permanent boot device for your NAS. The installer will format your new boot drive (erasing everything on it) and at the end it will reboot. Remove the OMV install drive that you burned in your other computer.
Go into bios again and set the drive that you select the proper drive to boot to to load your OMV system.
When the drive boots it will show what the ip address is to get into OMV Config. Use another computer and enter that IP address.
From another computer, type that ip address into your internet browser.
If this is confusing feel free to contact us with any questions and we will see if we will help. We will soon be updating this to include video and pictures to simplify this guide some.
Build A Gaming NAS Summary
Building a gaming NAS can be a fun experience. While we went over the basic outline in this post, I know you may still have questions or need direction.
If you attempt this process and have a question, please leave it in the comments below or send us a message via contact us. We will do the best we can to help get you get your gaming NAS up and running. We congratulate you for having the courage to build your own gaming NAS.
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