Pi Network Attached Storage (NAS)

I want to set up a Pi on my shelf with two (or more) individually powered external hard drives. What Pi and accessories should I be looking at buying? The 8 GB “Utility Bundle” was one suggestion, but I just want to be sure. Also, should I be considering a passive heat sink? I don’t think a NAS will put much of a load on the CPU and so I’m not sure this is needed. I may try to use the Pi for other projects later, thus the selection of 8GB RAM. Lastly, if I can get PLEX working on the Pi that would be a bonus.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Ian,

Welcome to the forum!!

As you mentioned definitely try to power the drives externally or with their own USB hub. I have had a good experience with passive heatsinks, but depending on how much other stuff you want to do inbetween will dictate how much cooling you need.

The resources I used to get setup with a NAS were the following:


Working through a Pi 3B+ media server at the moment. Pi in case with single external USB SSD drive.

The case in the “Utility Bundle” is not the best case IMHO. Looks nice and easy access but really only suits just the Pi. I would prefer a case with the ability to had a small fan or larger heat sink.
(The Pi 3B+ get warm just sitting there, Pi 4 probably more so)
I have tested a few cases with the Pi 3B+ with and without fans. For its size the small fan is quite noisy.

If you want to add two drives, power could be an issue. The single SSD seems to work ok with standard Pi 3B+ plug pack, unsure how 2 would go. SSD’s don’t use a lot of power anyway. If you had spinning drives you would definitely need an external supply.

The link provided by @Liam120347 took me to the Geekworm products sold on Amazon.
That stuff looks like it might suit your purpose. Search on Amazon for Geekworm.
Some of Pi Nas setups look pretty good and in nice cases with momentarry push button power activation. Couple of links below.

The 32GB NOOBS SD card is not needed. It wont have the latest version of Raspbian and doesn’t add much value over a downloaded version. The only benefit I can see is that you don’t need an internet connection to get the Pi going. If you use the NOOBS SD it will be written to by the OS making it not a NOOBS SD anymore. I bought one in the early days and regretted it. I did copy it so the original was not changed, but it is way out of date now. Just my thoughts.

The other parts of the Utility Bundle you will need.



Hey Ian,

Great idea for using a Pi, I have a NAS/media server set up on my Pi at home, so I can definitely answer questions on this one.

To start with, I followed the guide from MagPi:

It introduced me to mdadm for software RAID, and to Samba. A pointers from my experience:

  • Spinning disks are definitely the lowest practical Price/GB at the moment, but pick ones with external supplies for the motors (3.5" models). I used a couple of these, but whatever is the lowest price/GB in your region should be good enough
  • You likely won’t see the difference between hard disks and SSDs on a Pi, since they can read and write at over 100MB/s for big files (hence maxing out 1GbE), and overheads for small files will eclipse the lost performance from the head seeking between small files.
  • I have a 4GB Pi and it runs Samba, Jellyfin, and a few other services, and I can comfortably run jobs like downloads on top of that without coming close to the RAM limit, so you likely won’t come close to 8GB.
  • If you’re after media management, I use JellyFin to great success, it’s a completely open-source fork of Emby, and avoids Plex’s recent decisions like sponsored media mixed into your local content. I personally use Kodi on an Nvidia Shield for playback (excellent codec support and a slick UI), but you could use a Pi with LibreELEC to the same effect.
  • Any uSD card (even a good quality one), can fail out of the blue after a while, so keep a backup on the big drives (cron and dd are your friend here)

Let me know what you think, or of you have more questions :slight_smile:


Have just set up a Pi 3B+ with 1TB SSD and now 2TB Sata using a Sata to USB case. Running Open Media Vault. Streams videos to TV is the purpose I want to use it for, but it will work as a NAS too.

A few gottchas.
Need to add miniDLNA plugin to get TV to see Pi.
OMV needs to format the drives, Windows format does not work vey well.

Overall setup is pretty straight forward with little need to understand Linux scripts and commands.
Very happy with how this has gone so far.