Most of us have “cloud storage” accounts to keep our important files backed up in a central location and yet be accessible across devices. But these accounts have limits unless you are willing to shell out more money. Also the network traffic for big files will eat up into your monthly broadband quota (especially in India). Therefore it is still common to have a “backup” store at home. Most people are probably using USB hard disk drives for this. I have found an increasing need for “network storage” to solve this problem. But again the challenge is good quality network storage devices at reasonable price.
This hunt for the right device led me to think, what if I can but a second-hand low cost computer and stuff it with a large drive. In addition to storage, I can use it for streaming content and other purposes also. Then I found Intel NUC or Next Unit of Computing. NUC is a small form factor PC that is being targetted as a Home Theater PC (HTPC). But unlike media servers, NUC can run any operating system. And with a wide variety of NUC systems, you can potentially do a lot more with NUC.
I have created an NUC Unboxing video on YouTube which should give you a very basic idea. I will also post a video on the installation of HDD and RAM.
Here are the details of the NUC I am currently using as a NAS:
- Model: DN2820FYKH
- Processor: Celeron Dual Core 2.13GHz
- RAM: None (you need to install a 1.35V RAM)
- HDD: None (you need to install 2.5in HDD)
- Wireless N supported (some other models do not have built-in Wireless)
- Gigabit Ethernet Port
- 1 USB 3.0 and 2 USB 2.0 Ports
- HDMI Port (some other NUC models have mini-HDMI)
- More details here
Pricing for NUC
I bought NUC on EBay India for INR 10500. I had spare USB external drive, so I pulled out the HDD from that. The RAM to be used in NUC is a low-voltage RAM. The 8GB RAM costs around INR 5500. So for INR 16000, I have fairly well speced out mini PC.
Operating System for NUC
I recommend upgrading the BIOS software first. This is needed to install Ubuntu. The OS installation itself was a breeze and you will have a nice little value-for-money computer at home.