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Putting It All Together: Cost and Other Considerations
So, what does it actually cost to build your own NAS? Is it worth spending time to assemble one versus buying a well-made solution from Synology or QNAP? The Silverstone DS380 will set you back a fairly reasonable $135, a quality SFX power supply will be around $80, and a motherboard/processor could land you anywhere between $100 and $400 if you were to go with the platforms tested in this review.
Assuming you go with the cheaper quad-core version of the Asrock C2750D4I, the C2550D4I, then that adds $280 instead of $410 for the eight-core model in this write-up. From there, you need about $100 for memory and then whatever you're going to spend on hard drives. That brings us to a best case of $600 before installing storage, while the configuration we tested would cost you a little over $700.
In the land of Synology, that would net you a four-bay DiskStation DS414 for $480 or an eight-bay DS1813+ for almost a grand. With those prices, it's easy to see why many enthusiasts are building their own NAS, and the DS380 provides the perfect outlet. Having said that, I'm not sure how much of a market there is for products like the DS380 because I know I would use an old spare ATX case instead.
Granted, you would lose the hot-swap ability, which can certainly be seen as a big deal. However, the added flexibility of being able to use such a wider range of hardware would probably be worth it for most users, especially since the folks we're talking about -- and the ones Silverstone is targeting -- are the same users who probably happen to have a bunch of retired computer hardware lying around.
Still, if you're hell-bent on building your own NAS and don't have a suitable chassis, the DS380 probably presents the best option, even if it isn't without a few kinks. From here, it would really be something if Silverstone moved to include larger 10 and 12-bay models with mATX and ATX support, though we're also looking forward to seeing what becomes of the DS380 and whether or not competitors respond.
Pros: As one of the few DIY NAS enclosures around, there's a lot to appreciate about the DS380: it's cleaner than using an old desktop, more flexible than buying a prebuilt NAS and it's priced at a fair $135.
Cons: Needless to say, the DS380 isn't perfect. Our biggest gripe is probably the awkward plastic bridge that blocks PCIe functionality, though we didn't enjoy picking the front I/O audio cable free of glue either.