I intend to build a small 4 to 6 drives NAS server. The only part chosen is the case, a Fractal Design Node 304 which can hold up to 6 drives. This case is compatible with mini ITX motherboard.

I have never build a PC before, thus I don't have the experience to pick parts and/or to determine if a part is suitable for this build.

At first, I was looking for an old reconditioned computer on ebay to get a cheap build (< 150€) with:

  • dual or quad-core processor (i3 or i5 of 2nd or 3rd gen)
  • 8 Gb RAM
  • Motherboard
  • Powersupply

The asset of this method is to get a build where each part are compatible one with another. However, I can not determine if the motherboard and power-suply are standard mini-ITX and ATX, and thus if they can fit into the chosen case properly.

Example: a Dell Optiplex

Moreover, I intend to use probably FreeNAS on this server. If I understood correctly, FreeNAS requires a separate boot drive which is not used for storage. Thus, I guess the options are:

  1. Motherboard with 4 sata port for the storage drives (configuration with 4 drives) and 1 M2 slot for an SSD.
  2. Motherboard with at least 1 sata port for the boot drive and a RAID PCI card with 6 sata port for the storage drives (configuration with 6 drives)
  3. Motherboard with M2 slot + PCI Raid card to plug the storage drives.

Taking all this into account, could you propose old PC model I could find on ebay with the correct motherboard/power supply AND/OR could you propose a build for 230€ to 280€?

Thanks for all the help!


  • You are going to have to dig deep for details on OEM PC motherboards. OEMs build custom cases all the time, so their motherboards are usually an irregular size that falls under Micro-ATX even if they're just barely larger than Mini-ITX board. If a board has more than one PCIe slot it is definitely not Mini-ITX. – Romen Nov 13 '19 at 14:14
  • @Romen When I tried to look at Dell Optiplex motherboard specs, indeed, I didn't found anything that confirms it was a mini-ITX, and I suspects it is not and thus does not suit my needs. That's why at the end of the post, I've asked if some peoples knows about "old" prebuild models using mini-ITX that I could find on ebay. As I doubt this is an easy task, I also asked for a proposed cheap build (230€ to 280€) that I could use, i.e. which relatively old but common components could I found and would suit my needs. – Mathieu Nov 13 '19 at 14:39
  • "Old but common components" probably won't have an M.2 slot, if you wanted to build the PC from separate parts. Also, I can't recommend an OEM/prebuilt PC that has Mini ITX but I can help you quickly identify whether a board is Mini-ITX. Mini-ITX can only fit one PCIe slot, which makes it very quick and easy to know if a board is not Mini-ITX. After that, there must be four standoff/mounting locations in the exact same place as an ATX or Micro-ATX board. Some OEM motherboards aren't even ATX at all and only fit in the case they came in. Lastly, the size can't be larger than 170mm x 170mm – Romen Nov 13 '19 at 14:48
  • @Romen That's a lot of very valuable information. So if I want to use a cheap motherboard, and thus old, I will not have enough sata port on the board to plug both the storage drives and the boot drive.. Thus I will need to add the cost of a RAID card. Thanks for all the explanation on how to figure out if it's mini-ITX or not, now it's very clear :) – Mathieu Nov 13 '19 at 15:22

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