Do you have an old gaming PC sitting around that you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of? You can give it new life by turning it into a network-attached storage (NAS) device. In this article, we’ll briefly cover some thoughts and tips for getting it done.
If you have multiple computers in your home that use the same network, you may want to consider utilizing an NAS system in your home. If you happen to have an old PC that you no longer use as your primary computer, it is possible to leverage it into usable network storage. So, let’s see if this might be an option for you to help expand your digital storage.
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Can I Turn My Old Gaming PC Into an NAS?
Before you can turn your old PC into a NAS, you’ll need to know if your hardware can handle the required operating system.
Older PCs can possibly work just fine, but if your computer is ancient, it may not work. However, if your old computer was considered a “gaming” PC, it will most likely work.
The ideal specs for the NAS software are as follows: (1) a 64-bit CPU is optimal, although 34-bit can work, and (2) at least 8 GB of RAM. You might get by with as little as 2 GB, but you’ll need to install a different file system.
Also, keep in mind that installing the software onto an external drive will free up more storage space on your NAS.
If you don’t know the exact components in your old gaming PC, you can briefly take the panels off and look for any identifying tags on the inside.
Converting a Gaming PC Into a NAS
To convert your old gaming PC into a home file server, you’ll need to install TrueNAS CORE. We won’t go into too much detail with the step-by-step process, as you’ll be able to find that and more here. However, there are a few things for you to know about the process.
- As mentioned above, you’ll most likely need to start by burning the installer onto a physical device like a USB or CD-ROM.
- Once you have your installer, you’ll be rebooting your system in UEFI mode or legacy CSM/BIOS mode.
- Once the system has rebooted, you can begin installing. At this point, you can choose which drive or drives you want the software to be on, decide how much space you want to allocate for it, and choose your system password.
If you follow all the steps but don’t seem to be having any success, there are a few things you can try.
- See if you can change your USB emulation option from CD to hard drive. Also make sure your unit is UDMA compliant.
- If the system throws an error when trying to boot, try looking for a 1394 controller and disable it.
- If using Windows and the image fails to boot, use a wipe utility to wipe the USB stick before attempting another burn.
Things to Be Aware of When Converting a Gaming PC Into an NAS
We’ve seen that it’s possible to convert your old gaming PC into an NAS, but why do it in the first place? Why not just attach a new hard drive to your computer?
Well, in some cases, this may be the better option. It’s the difference between storage with network access (NAS) or direct access storage (DAS). How do you know which type of storage is right for you?
A DAS device like a hard drive (internal or external) can definitely offer more storage when you need it. They are uncomplicated to set up and can transfer files very quickly.
They also work well with whatever your native OS might be. But it doesn’t share data, and it can’t be accessed by more than one user.
An NAS system also offers more storage, but it functions more like a cloud storage system than a local hard drive. If you have multiple users or devices on the same network, it makes sense that they should be able to access and share within the same storage device.
If you’re currently subscribed to a cloud service such as iCloud or Google Drive, you probably already know the benefits of easy data recovery, but the recurring cost can be problematic, especially since it can be hard to entrust your data to a third party. NAS storage is infinitely more cost effective than subscription, and you can have far more peace of mind knowing your files are not accessible over the public internet.
Granted, using old hardware to build your NAS rather than buying one new may cost you some peace of mind, but it is cheaper than buying one new, and it reuses old hardware. It’s also possible, after you install and configure the NAS, to remove the graphics card from your old gaming PC and either sell it or use it for a new computer. It’s a great way to reduce waste.
Digital storage runs out quickly these days. Attaching old hard drives to an NAS system allows for online storage at home by using old PC components, but you do have to know a bit about network and software configuration to set it up and operate it.
We hope you benefited from this information about converting an old gaming PC into an NAS and that you’re inspired to transform your old PC into something useful instead of letting it go to waste.
Have you repurposed an old computer into an NAS? Do you have tips or questions? Let us know in the comments!