I wanted to play with FreeNAS without spending a lot of money to build the computer to run it. In fact, I would prefer not spending any money at all. This is a lot like how the Luggable PC project started: figuring out the most interesting thing I can do with computer parts I already had on hand.
The brains of the system will be a Mini-ITX board, the MSI AM1I. I got this board a few years ago, along with its AMD Athlon 5350 processor while they were on sale at Fry’s Electronics together as a bundle. This pair has participated in many experiments and projects since. It was visible in some early Luggable PC project pictures, mostly of the January 2016 “Easel Frame” phase. And now, it will play host to the FreeNAS project.
The storage will be provided by two Seagate 2TB hard drives. These drives were part of my Windows Home Server and had been gathering dust ever since the server was decommissioned. They will now re-enlist to serve as storage for the home network.
The power will be provided by an ATX power supply that I’ve relegated to standby/ backup status. In its old age it has started to develop some coil whine. While it has not yet become a functional issue, the noise is unpleasant coming from a computer on my desk. Which makes it the ideal candidate for powering a NAS box stored someplace out of the way, probably out of sight, and best of all, out of hearing range.
I could throw all these pieces into a commercially available case, and call the physical setup done and turning this FreeNAS project into a strictly software learning exercise. But where’s the fun in that?
When I said I wanted to build a FreeNAS box I meant that literally: I want to build the physical box to enclose the above components.