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I just stumbled onto this forum while I was researching into building a file server.  I've got PCs with terabytes of data - much of it redundant - scattered all over my house and decided that I needed a file server.  Being fairly adept at PC building I figured I'd take a crack at building a home server.  I could probably even use some much of my left over hardware.


I want the case to be as small as I can get it, and still house 4 3.5" hard drives, and probably a 2.5" or SSD for the OS.  I started looking first at mini-itx cases, but they aren't made for multiple HDs.  So, then I moved to Matx - and then I realized that I have a Micro-ATX case that may do the trick (coolermaster HAF-XB), though I'd prefer all 4 of my drives to be hot-swappable instead of just 2. (Anyone know if I can use the 2 other 5-1/4" bays for hot-swappable drives - an adapter or such?)


Most of my PC builds are "muscle machines," and serious overkill in performance and power consumption, so I'm leaning toward a fairly efficient core i3/mobo, or should I look at a new Celeron (something I never gave consideration to before)? 


How much RAM do I need?  It's going to have at least 1 GB LAN, probably usb WiFi.  I have a 80+ 550w PS which I'll probably use. It's sole function is to provide data throughout my house.  No graphics, or video conversion - it will be streaming audio & video up to 1080p, but not serve as a media player.


I have a QNAP 2 bay NAS which I hate, because I can never just send files back and forth to it due to ongoing permissions issues.  My computers are all on a common workgroup, since some of them don't use "Pro" versions of Windows, and I want the home server to work within that workgroup.


OS - I would still like to use Windows, and I see that Amazon still sells WHS.  I don't want to spend $400 on Windows Server Essentials if this project doesn't do what I expect.  I'll move to Linux otherwise.  


What am I forgetting? I've got the hard drives, or are server HDs recommended instead?

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Welcome.  WHS 2011 for the price cannot be beat.  I'm sure you will hit the "Microserver" threads and there are some very good deals on the Gen7 (N54L).  The stock process or with an upgrade up to 8 GB RAM will suit your stated needs just nicely, in my opinion.


I would strongly urge you to keep it on a hard wired connection.  There is a modded BIOS for this server that unlocks some of the SATA ports that will aloow you to use the ODD bay as a placeholder for an SSD for the OS and you could use some WD Reds (4 x 3TB) in the bottom bays.

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I think the Coolermaster HAF-XB is a full ATX chassis. It is a nice chassis, but it is big. Also keep in mind, removable and hot-swappable are not the same thing with drives. For microATX chassis I think of Fractal, Lian-Li and Bitfenix.

WHS 2011 is a very good OS. It can only use 8GB of memory. If you use the bare metal restore functions with Windows 8 clients, you need to install a hot fix. How much total storage capacity do you think you will need? Are you planning on RAID for the drives or some form of storage pool?

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