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What are the advantages/disadvantages of using an 'all in one mini pc' as a NAS machine rather than a small dedicated NAS box

Example

For example, these two cateogries:

"Zotac Intel Atom D525 1.8 GHz Dual CoreAll-in-One Mini-PC with NVIDIA ION GPU and NM10 Express Chipset ZBOXHD-ID40-U"

vs.

"QNAP TS-110 1-Bay Portable Network Attached Storage" *

My intended purpose

  • two separate "NAS boxes" one at home, one at parents using cron and rsync to keep the two in sync

Comparison points

  • Power. I imagine the Atom D525 consumes more power, but can handle rsync better (bigger cpu, more ram)
  • Functionality. You can run "do more" on the mini-pc
  • Set up cost. Mini-pc require RAM, as well as hardware
  • Software configuration. Mini-pc could probably run a full linux distro as well as FreeNAS. NAS-box has dedicated software.

thoughts and opinions?

thanks,

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You can run a full distro on some NAS boxes as well. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 22 '11 at 21:07

2 Answers 2

The other factor to consider is that a dedicated NAS will be significantly more compact than most DIY SFF systems. Although if your data needs are small enough you could use a nettop and install your favorite OS on it.

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As you've said, a mini-PC is more powerful and has wider software choices, but the expandability is usually limited. These PCs normally have a small (<4) number of drive bays and/or SATA ports.

Software is also a problem, especially ethernet and disk controller drivers. The ones available for Linux/BSD sometimes deliver very poor performance. QNAP ans Synology's are normally much faster on similar hardware specs.

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Just to add... I run an AMD-based E351M, with a PCIe RAID card with 5 hard drives. I use onboard RAID for the Windows 7 installation, then use the RAID card in a virtual machine for the RAID setup (FreeNAS). I use the rest of the first hard drive as a scratch disk and storing the random thing I don't want in an array (i.e. Installs or my Dropbox) –  Canadian Luke Oct 22 '11 at 22:41
    
Very few consumer NASes have more than 4 ports though, and the OP is looking at a 1bay QNAP. –  Dan Neely Oct 22 '11 at 23:59

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