SFF (Mini-ITX) NAS Build using Intel Avoton

While searching for parts and ideas for my FreeNAS build, I came across Intel Avoton. Per Intel’s page on Avoton:

Intel® Atom™ Processor C2000 product Family (codenamed Avoton and Rangeley) is the next generation System-On-Chip (SoC) built on Intel’s 22-nanometer process technology. This highly-integrated SoC contains up to 8 64-bit Intel® Atom™ processor cores …

Okay, so far so good.

These SoCs were created to address the needs of the Microserver, Entry Communication Infrastructure and Cloud Storage markets

Perfect! This sounds like it fits the bill perfectly for a low-powered NAS build.

I was drawn by just how little power the Intel Avoton family of chips needs. To give you an example, the most powerful chip of the Avoton family, the C2750, is rated for a max TDP of a paltry 20W. I’ve reproduced the table from the Intel Avoton page below:

Product Name Launch Date # of Cores Max TDP Recommended Customer Price
Intel® Atom™ Processor C2750
(4M Cache, 2.40 GHz)
Q3’13 8 20 W TRAY: $171.00
Intel® Atom™ Processor C2730
(4M Cache, 1.70 GHz)
Q3’13 8 12 W TRAY: $150.00
Intel® Atom™ Processor C2550
(2M Cache, 2.40 GHz)
Q3’13 4 14 W TRAY: $86.00
Intel® Atom™ Processor C2530
(2M Cache, 1.70 GHz)
Q3’13 4 9 W TRAY: $70.00
Intel® Atom™ Processor C2350
(1M Cache, 1.70 GHz)
Q3’13 2 6 W TRAY: $43.00

Motherboard + CPU: The Intel Avoton family of processors are available as SoC. One should make a selection of processor based on the NAS’s anticipated workload. At the time of writing, the C2750 is available with boards from Supermicro starting at $377 USD.

These products would pair nicely with Silverstone’s DS380B and that company’s fully modular 450W SFX PSU.

Case: Silverstone Tek DS380B Mini-ITX Small Form Factor NAS Computer Case, Black (Amazon)

The Silverstone DS380B is pretty unique – it provides users building on the Mini-ITX platform with a SFF box that features support for up to 12 drives: 8 hot-swappable 3.5″ or 2.5″ SAS/SATA and 4 fixed 2.5″ drives. It has earned strong reviews from a litany of hardware review sites.

PSU: Silverstone Tek 450-Watt SFX Full Modular Power Supply, 80 Plus Gold ST45SF-G (Amazon)

I like that Silverstone put out a fully modular PSU because space is at a premium in any SFF build. The ST45SF-G’s 80 Plus Gold certification doesn’t hurt, either.

I am confident that these parts will result in a very compact, quiet, and energy-efficient NAS that will cover basic needs. The cost of a SFF NAS will exceed that of a comparable, larger machine, but the smaller footprint does lead to interesting possibilities.