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I'm interested in finding a fanless NAS with at least two drives for silence and reliable storage (RAID 1), but I haven't been able to find anything.

Do these exist? Or does having a CPU in the NAS necessitate a fan so the device doesn't fry?

I'd be interested in a DIY solution (maybe something with an ITX board?) if there's no off-the-shelf one. How could I build this myself? What would I need to consider?

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Shopping Recommendations are off topic at SU. Please see the FAQ for some clarification on what kinds of questions we like here, and how to ask them. –  techie007 Oct 3 '11 at 18:06
    
@techie007 I looked at the FAQ, and although I suppose this is a bit of a shopping recommendation question, it is also a question of whether it is possible to find a NAS without a fan. Which is maybe a broader question? –  Jason Sundram Oct 3 '11 at 18:08
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@techie007 We rewrote the question to make it more general and less of a shopping recommendation. In this state I think it's fine to stay. –  slhck Oct 3 '11 at 18:42
    
@slchk - Looks better to me. My only last suggestion would be that this is really two questions. "Are there any?" and "How do I build my own"? But hey. ;) –  techie007 Oct 3 '11 at 18:47
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Certainly there are fanless computers. However, it appears that most either use solid state drives or have at most one drive slot. Passively cooling multiple drives would require substantial heat sink surface. –  Daniel R Hicks Feb 8 '12 at 13:08
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5 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I don't recommend considering a fanless NAS. It can build up enough heat so that either the drives or the actual circuit board will burn out. I have the D-Link DNS-323. It has a fan and it's quite quiet if you're concerned about fan noise.

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Since it's a NAS, why not just put it in a sound-isolated space? I.e. an attic, garage, a cool closet, in a TV cabinet behind a glass door, or even just the far side of the room or somewhere where the noise wouldn't be noticeable, such as the kitchen or behind a speaker box (away from any internal magnets of course). –  Lèse majesté Mar 14 '12 at 2:29
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Qnap HS-210 is a fanless NAS. Pared with SSD or WD Red hard drives it should be quite quiet. Qnap is a good NAS company so I dought they would but something on the market that would not hold up, and damage their reputation. At the moment that is the only fanless NAS I know of. If you get one, it would be nice if you could post your impressions here.

Qnap HS-210 fanless NAS http://www.qnap.com/en/index.php?lang=en&sn=822&c=351&sc=514&t=523&n=20179

Review of Western Digital Red 3TB hard drives http://www.silentpcreview.com/WD_Red

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If you're willing to fork out more money for SSD's your heat issues will go away assuming the controller doesn't heat up, but I doubt it would. If you do need fans, you would be surprised by how quiet large slow fans are.

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There are many articles on the internet which discuss passively and actively cooled computer solutions which often summarise by stating that seeking a completely passively cooled solution is unwise, given fans can be so quiet as to be inaudible, yet necessary in order to create just enough of that airflow to keep operating equipment within safe operation range.

I would basically say no is the answer to your question, but if quiet is what you seek, look for a NAS with silicon anti-vibration supports for the HDDs and as large a fan as you can find (larger means same airflow at fewer RPM, hence less dB).

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The Western Digital My Book World Edition II may not have a fan if memory serves me correctly - you'll want to verify this though.

You may find some other suggestions here: http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/finders/nas/products (filter by "Noise:Very Low")

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You are right -- the Western Digital My Book World Edition II (NAS) is fanless. And there are lots of complaints about slow transfers and failures due to overheating. So maybe @Kien is right. –  Jason Sundram Oct 3 '11 at 19:23
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