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I need a home server for running couple of services, since my current hardware is aging. For example:

  • DHCP/DNS-Server
  • Mail-Server
  • File-Server (SMB, AFP, FTP)
  • CalDAV / CardDAV
  • ownCloud, maybe WordPress

USB 3.0 is a requirement, since I want high I/O-Rates beyond 25MB/s, also access times should be fast (e.g. Hosting the library of a photo manager on the network share with lots of small file reads). The CPU/RAM should be juicy enough to carry out those requirements on the various file protocols, and to run the ownCloud PHP stuff smoothly.

I want to focus on low power consumption because of the 24/7 runtime. The number of hard drive bays doesn't really matter, I'm using USB-Drives so far and don't necessarily need to change this. Operating system will be some Linux, I don't want any custom/proprietary flavour e.g. Synology DSM, just plain Linux with full control. Display output won't be needed at all. No redundancy is needed as well, so one PSU and one gigabit Ethernet port should be enough.

What kind of hardware should I choose to get the most performance with least power consumption and lowest cost? I thought on ~400€ (~430$) max, don't know if that's possible. Of course it'd be nice if the requirements were possible at even less than 400€.

I'd prefer to buy the individual components and assemble the system myself, but I don't know if it gets cheaper with pre-built systems. Are there pre-built systems that meet my requirements? What hardware would you choose if you had to assemble a similar system?

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Your requirements sound similar to my home server, except that I went with an internal RAID-6 array -- so that's $400 in hot-swap bays, cases, and controller cards you won't need to spend.

At the cheaper end of the price range, buying pre-made usually costs less than building your own. The mostly-preassembled option I'd recommend would be an Intel 2550L2D-MxPC for about $130. It's got an Atom D2550 CPU (four years newer and considerably more powerful than my Atom 230), dual gigabit ethernet, two USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports. You'll need to add RAM ($45 for 8 GB) and a boot drive ($40 for either a 500GB hard drive or a 120GB SSD). Like almost all of Intel's products, it's Linux-compatible.

  • Hi, thanks for your answer, the Intel system looks interesting. You'd guess that the atom 2x 1.8 GHz would be powerful enough to run ownCloud for me? And, out of curiosity, what raid hardware do you use? – LukeLR Nov 29 '16 at 22:27
  • I'm running an Areca ARC-1120 controller. Secondhand PCI-X cards on Ebay are cheap, though considerably less common than they were seven years ago, and it's one of the few cards that 1) supports SATA, 2) supports >2TB drives, and 3) works in an ordinary PCI slot. – Mark Nov 30 '16 at 3:45

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