How to Build a Low Power NAS With Raspberry PI – 3 Different Alternatives

There are a number of articles on the internet that can help you transform your Raspberry PI 2/3 into a NAS to backup your files on your home network. The variety of the articles are focusing on only one way in which you can do that. In this article, I would present you the different ways that can be used to have a NAS build with Raspberry PI.

Limitations/Strengths of using Raspberry PI as a NAS

Professional NAS hardware platforms like QNAP and Synology have high speeds of transfer and easy to use software that can enable various functions with just a click.

Below are some of the limitations that a RaspBarry PI can have:

  • Low transfer speeds – the PI has a 100 Mb ethernet adapter so the maximum speed would be higher than 10 MB/second.
  • USB 2.0: Even if the ethernet speed would have been higher you would still get only 10 MB/sec as USB 2.0 is used
  • You need external drive: Usually, the professional NAS alternatives have also the option to include an HDD directly into them, here you have the external HDD option.
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Strengths of using RaspBerry PI as a NAS:

  • HDMI/Media Player use– you have the option to use it also as a media player not only as a NAS
  • OS – the NAS can be installed on top of the OS and you have the flexibility to install additional components in function of needs.
  • Price – The price is low and you can have a NAS ready with a relative small budget.

Different ways to transform your Raspberry PI into a NAS:

1#Installing a dedicated NAS software like openmediavault

If you want a dedicated NAS without a media playing option with an easy GUI, then having the OpenMediaVault installed on Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 is the right way.  OpenMediaVault it has ISO images for both models that can be used to for installation on Raspberry Pi. Within the GUI you have the option to add disks, create shares and have SAMBA/FTP/NFS sharing options. OpenMediaVault has also additional plugins developed that would help using it like a Torrent download server, Plex server, etc. OpenMediaVault it is running on Debian so additional packages configurations are supported.

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I am using it in my own home with a 3 TB external disk and is great. Below are some additional video that would help you find more:


2. NAS functionality with Media Playing option

If you don’t want to keep it as a NAS only and want to use it as a media player to play movies and TV shows it can be done. With the help of OSMC  you can have the playback functionality and the NAS in same box. The OSMC it is using Kodi to play media and you can make the configurations you like in Kodi including installing Plex for Kodi. Raspberry PI can be transformed into a NAS by installing SAMBA as OSMC allow ssh access being build on Linux. The steps to have everything set are more complex than with OpenMediaVault but it can be done. You need to install some packages, the below video can help:


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3. NAS functionality with Desktop

If you want to use the RaspBerry PI as a desktop to edit documents or browse the net with a NAS you can. The Desktop is not that fast but in case you would want still to use it with Raspbian or Ubuntu Mate. As for OSMC you would need to install the needed packages and make the SAMBA configurations, basically the same process on a different OS. You can see more about this:


There are multiple ways to build a NAS with raspberry PI and in function of what you need you can choose one of it. Just keep in mind the limitations.