Any thoughts on a smaller homelab server

With rackspace and power at a premium for some, wonder if there will be a future homelab server that is geared towards a smaller footprint say 8 drives max?

Nothing has been said officially but I think it was in their first podcast they were talking about different form factors like that. This is their first breakout from the enterprise and high academic space so getting this community feedback of what people want going forward will be super helpful.

There were some smaller prototypes shown on video tours of the 45drives facilities. No announcement on whether these will be turned into a product though.

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I wouldn’t bet too hard on the “Storinator JR” being a main offering. It was kind of a pet project between Jeff and one of the guys at 45Drives. It’s either a Raspberry Pi 4 or just a Rasp Compute board, I don’t remember which one, and SSD only.

Again, a very NEAT concept and one I’d happily have live at my desk. There were definitely some challenges as until the Raspberry Pi 5, there was no user accessible PCIE.

The power concerns can be mitigated some by just populating the drives you need. But the Rackspace footprint would still be similar even in the Storinator Junior due to using 120MM fans. I don’t believe they have any offering that is under 4U space.

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I think it was really smart to come out of the gate with a product that was desperately needed to fill the gap between Enterprise vs. Homelab, since myself and everyone I know that gets into self hosting mainly does it for media collection/plex.

There was just nothing out there that was custom built for guys like me that simply started this venture using a regular ATX case and manually adding direct connected HDDs, slapping some Type 1 Hypervisor for VMs to host Plex Media Server. It was either overpriced garbage Rosewill cases or knockoffs that were a pain to build in and didn’t come with any guarantees or support. OR used Enterprise overkill that wasn’t “source your own old PC desktop parts”, extremely loud and consumed much more power from the wall than needed. Also the wife approval factor? Forget about it!


I would love a “Satellite” server that is maybe Mini ITX and sfx power supply, with only 4-6 drives.
It would be great for a mini plex/jellyfin server or as a backup nas you can hide at your parents or other relatives house


If you run across a used HPE Proliant MicroServer Gen10 (or Gen 8), it’ll work fine. they have 4 hot swap front drives and with an easy mod you can add a small hba and an SSD for the OS. Check out AnChan Tech (

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I was looking at the microserver but am holding back for an 8 drive solution.

If they did offer the JR as just a standalone case, you could toss a Zima Board in there that does have PCIe capability and do some really cool projects at a super tiny power impact.

I don’t even have a good use for one and I really want it to just mess around with.

I don’t know if I would recommend anyone seek out hardware that old. They are really cute servers. Don’t get me wrong. But the Gen 8’s are rocking LGA2011 sockets and for what it would cost power wise vs something modern would be way better. Not to mention you would get way better performance. I would not go back any further than Gen 10 if that was the option someone wanted to go with.

Yeah, they’re old, but as a backup server with an intel i3-3220T or even a Xeon E3-1220LV2 it is more than adequate (both are 2 core / 4 thread). The I3 with 4 SATA drives and 1 ssd draws @ 55 watts. The xeon would be @ 35w. That is not a lot of power. Don’t need much performance for a backup server. I’m still rocking a Socket 775 from 2007 as my backup server (although with only 8Gb max memory it is soon to be retired).

I agree I wouldn’t go this route for a plex server, especially if you wanted transcoding.

But, yeah, maybe not buy one. I’ve come across giveaways of these.

When you say rackspace is at a premium, do you mean Us or depth?

There are plenty of decent chassis options in the 2U range if rack depth is not a concern. I personally like used supermicros. also has decent low-cost options if you don’t want to transplant your own hardware into an old enterprise chassis.

The standard there seems to be 12 HDD bays in 2U, which really makes the HL15 look kinda bad when you consider only 3 more bays in double the height. But where it shines for me at least is in the depth, it’s really hard to find a rack mount chassis that is 20" or less in depth but with a decent number of HDD bays. And (I presume) the 45drives build quality will be phenomenal.

Sure, if you are getting them for free then it might be worth. If you have to buy it I would steer clear. If you wanted to build out a low powered, super cheap backup server an i3-13100 has a TDP of 60W and will run circles around anything LGA2011. The i3-13100 can be picked up for $110 brand new. All the rest of the supporting hardware could be acquired for dirt cheap also and have modern PCIe support and more. I’m just saying the “good old” stuff is just not that worth it anymore and will be out grown by anyone pretty quick.

I’ve seen the Zima Boards before. Not quite sure what to make of them, as there is also a Zima Blade. The two are entirely different boards. There’s also a forthcoming Zima Cube, which seems to be x86 based, meaning yet another board.

Rasp pi 5 does have a user accessible PCIE slot/lane now. Jeff Geerling did a video or two testing out various devices. Though, I don’t remember if an HBA was one of them.

I’ve used the Fractal Node 304 and Norco ITX-S8 for this before, but I don’t think either of those are currently available. I think people use the Jonsbro case(s) now like the N1. Assuming you didn’t want a prebuilt solution like a QNAP, Synology or TrueNAS Mini.

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My old NAS from back in the day, back in 2014/15 built 2 and they still work i3 5x 3TB drives forgot how much memory I had. I built 2 of them, I need to dust it off and get it running again. The is i3 35W. I keep them is other rooms that dont have cable, but they do have movies to watch of it

This pic isn’t mine but same case, they have a few more HDD that I did.