Building a DIY NAS is a simple and inexpensive way to store all your data without the need for a ton of external storage drives. You can even run a NAS and Plex server combo and offload your entire media library to a remote location where you can access it from every device you own. If you have an old board and a CPU that is suitable for this purpose, that’s great!
But what if you need a board for your NAS build? Something (relatively) affordable that you can pair with an older or a cheap CPU? We’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find a selection of motherboards that are perfect for any NAS build. We have cheap options but also a couple of beefier picks. We also have both Intel and AMD boards, with and without ECC support. Now, before we start let’s talk a bit about Intel, AMD, and ECC memory support.
Best NAS Motherboards - Our Picks
|Best NAS Motherboard For Ryzen CPUs||ASRock B450M-HDV|
|Best Server Motherboard For AMD Ryzen||ASRock Rack X470D4U|
|Best Budget NAS Board For Intel CPUs||ASRock H410M-HDV|
|Best Budget Board For Intel ECC NAS||SuperMicro MBD-X9SCM|
|Best High-End NAS Board||SuperMicro A2SDi-TP8F|
Intel, AMD, and ECC Memory Support
If you want to build just a simple NAS for storing your files and you don’t care about the possibility that some of the files may get corrupted, ECC memory is not needed. It’s nice to have it, but for a simple NAS setup, it’s overkill. While the possibility for memory errors is relatively high in an environment such as a Google server farm, home usage is far less taxing on both storage and memory.
But, in some instances using ECC memory is highly recommended. One of those cases is if you’re using the ZFS file system (used by FreeNAS). While ZFS doesn’t require ECC memory, it’s recommended to use it, if possible. Next, if you want zero data corruption, use ECC. Combining a storage NAS and a Plex server also doesn’t require you to use ECC memory.
But if you need ECC, don’t forget that many Intel CPUs, and some AMD Ryzen ones, don’t work with ECC memory. If you want a newer Intel CPU with ECC support, you’re limited to Xeon and Atom series. Older i3s and Pentium CPUs (like the good old G4560) work with ECC. Luckily, you can find some of those models for cheap on the used market. And here’s a list of all Intel CPUs with ECC support.
Now that we got that out of the way, a word or two about boards featured below. While there are high-end options, we’ve also included several affordable boards that you can pair with cheap Ryzen or Intel CPUs. Next, every board aside from our Intel H410 pick has support for ECC memory. Finally, if you’re on a tight budget and these boards are too expensive for you, you can get a cheap used one and pair it with an old Intel CPU and get yourself a NAS on a tight budget. For instance, one of our picks, the SuperMicro MBD-X9SCM, can also be found in this great budget NAS guide. Okay, let’s begin.
Best NAS Motherboard For Ryzen CPUs
|Memory||2× DIMM, DDR4, max. 64 GB|
|Storage||1× M.2, 4× SATA|
|Expansion Slots||1× PCIe 3.0 x16|
Let’s start with a cheap board for Ryzen-based NAS setups. Ryzen CPUs have been quite popular ever since they come out making them a pretty solid choice for NAS builds. If you have an old Ryzen lying around or if you manage to snag a used second-gen Ryzen for cheap, the B450 chipset looks like the best option. And the ASRock B450M-HDV is a great board to pair an older Ryzen CPU with. It has ECC support, it’s very cheap, it can run 2nd and 3rd gen Ryzen CPUs, and it has a single M.2 slot.
You get two PCIe slots (one x16, one x1) and if you don’t need ECC, you can use an APU and upgrade the board with more SATA ports, or a 10Gb LAN. Four SATA ports in combination with the single M.2 slot should be enough for a basic NAS setup, and the board also comes with a single 1Gb LAN port on the back. Overall, a bit basic but more than enough for a budget NAS. Do note that Raven Ridge AMD CPUs, supported by this board, do not support ECC.
If you want a cheap solution for 3rd gen Ryzen CPUs, a solid alternative is the A520M-HDV, also from ASRock. It has pretty similar specs, but a newer chipset. The ASRock B550 Pro4 is a step up from the previous model. This one comes with two PCIe x16 and two PCIe x1 slots meaning much wider possibilities for expansion.
If you want to build a single-tower system with a NAS and a gaming/work VM, get something like the Asus Pro WS X570-Ace or the Gigabyte B550 Vision D. These two are expensive but have ECC memory support, lots of expansion options, and are very rich in features. Finally, if you need an ITX board for a Ryzen CPU, check out the ASRock B450 Gaming-ITX.
Best Server Motherboard For AMD Ryzen
ASRock Rack X470D4U
|Memory||4× DIMM, DDR4, max. 128 GB|
|Storage||2× M.2, 6× SATA|
|Expansion Slots||1× PCIe 3.0 x16, 1× PCIe 3.0 x8, 1× PCIe 3.0 x4|
If you want a more powerful, server-grade motherboard with lots of expansion options and some extra features, like a dedicated IPMI RJ-45 port, then the ASRock Rack X470D4U is the board for you. Yes, it’s a bit expensive but for the price, you get top-of-the-line components made to work 24/7. The board also supports lots of different Ryzen CPUs, works with ECC memory, has two PCIe x16 and one PCIe x8 slot, and features eight SATA and two M.2 slots.
You also get a dual gigabit LAN (1Gb) on top of the IPMI port, and lots of server features such as a dedicated server management processor and BMC controller, fan fail LEDs, and more. Overall, a brilliant NAS board for advanced users who want to build a Ryzen-based NAS. The only potential nitpick is only 1Gb LAN but that can be solved by using a 10Gb LAN PCIe card. Or by getting the advanced version of the board, the X470D4U2-2T. This one comes with a dual 10Gb LAN but it’s also noticeably pricier.
Best Budget NAS Board For Intel CPUs
|Memory||2× DIMM, DDR4, max. 64 GB|
|Expansion Slots||1× PCIe 3.0 x16, 1× PCIe 3.0 x4|
For a budget Intel NAS that doesn’t need ECC memory you can get a cheap H410 board. The cheapest H410 board you can buy new is the ASRock H410M-HDV. It has only four SATA III ports and comes without an M.2 slot, but there’s the X16 PCIe slot that can host SSDs, even the boot one. You also get one PCIe x1 slot for extra expansion. The board comes with a 1Gb LAN port but if you don’t need an SSD, you can install a 10G LAN card.
If your needs include both SSD and 10G LAN, get the Asus Pro H410M-C/CSM. It’s pricier but comes with high-end components, an M.2 slot, four SATA III ports, and a 1Gb LAN. There’s one PCIe x16, one PCIe x1, and two PCI ports for expansion, which should be enough for the needs of a basic NAS. Finally, the board comes with extra features that allow easier troubleshooting, and it supports ASUS Control Center Express for easier remote management.
Best Budget Board For Intel ECC NAS
|Memory||4× DIMM, DDR3, max. 32 GB|
|Expansion Slots||2× PCIe 3.0 x8, 2× PCIe 3.0 x4|
Those who require ECC memory can get an older Intel board and a cheap Xeon CPU. Or maybe an i3 or a Pentium CPU from the time when these processors supported ECC. Our recommendation is the SuperMicro MBD-X9SCM, based on the LGA 1155 socket. Do note that this is an E3 server motherboard so make sure you have a chassis that can house it.
While its storage support isn’t fantastic (4xSATA II; 2xSATA III), the board features two PCIe gen3 x8 and two PCIe gen2 x4 slots. That’s more than enough for any kind of expansion. Storage or LAN-wise. There are also other server-grade features, such as the iGPU present on the board, IPMI support, etc. Overall, lots of bang for the buck.
If you want something newer and are ready to pay for it, check out the C246-WU4 from Gigabyte. Not only does this board come with 10 SATA III ports, but it also features a ton of PCIe expansion ports (Four PCIe x16, one PCI), two M.2 connectors, and stuff like USB-C and USB 3.1.
If ITX is your thing, there’s the SuperMicro MBD-X11SCL-IF, which you can fit with an older (8th and 9th gen) Pentium, Celeron, or Xeon CPU. It features four SATA III ports, an M.2 slot, IPMI and BMC support, one PCIe x16, and a dual gigabit LAN. An alternative to the SuperMicro ITX solution is the ASRock Rack E3C236D2I. This one can work with 6th and 7th gen Intel CPUs.
Best High-End NAS Board
|Memory||4× DIMM, DDR4, max. 64 GB|
|Storage||1× M.2, 4× SATA|
|Expansion Slots||1× PCIe 3.0 x4|
Last but not least, we have a couple of boards for users who want a ton of storage in their NAS, and fast-lane access to the NAS for multiple PCs. The SuperMicro A2SDi-TP8F is a server board that comes with the 12-core Intel Atom C3858 CPU. It features four 10Gb LAN ports, four 1Gb ports, four SATA III ports, an M.2 slot, PCIe gen3 x4 slot, and an additional mPCIe gen3 x1 slot. All that packed on an mITX PCB.
The board supports full remote management and comes with the ASPEED AST2400 BMC. It’s quite pricey but the quad 10Gb LAN feature indeed is impressive. Luckily, the A2SDi includes more affordable versions. The A2SDi-H-TF features the Intel Atom C3758 8-core CPU, one PCIe x4, four SATA III ports, and support for 12 ports in total via 2 MiniSAS HD ports. You get “only” dual 10Gb LAN and a single M.2 slot but overall, especially considering 2 MiniSAS HD ports, this board might be even better than the flagship model.
Finally, we have the “budget” version of the platform, the A2SDi-4C-HLN4F. This one comes with the four-core Atom C3558, includes four SATA III and one MiniSAS HD ports (8 SATA III ports in total), an M.2 slot, and a PCIe x4 slot. The biggest downside is the lack of 10G LAN. You only get four 1Gb LAN ports.