the penguin

A (not so) poor man's DIY USB NAS part II (DD-WRT edition)

As mentioned in my previous post, during the summer of 2017 I decided that it was time to replace my first DIY USB NAS.

I had already bought a Netgear R7000 to use it with DD-WRT that supported USB 3 disk sharing via samba, I had a lot of embedded boards running at home for various tasks and I wanted to get rid some of them and the most important, I needed more space as I wanted to use the NAS for other tasks apart from serving my music files.

So I bought a Western Digital Red 3T and I put it in a USB 3 passive aluminum case (unfortunately, I don’t remember the brand, but it didn’t cost more than 40 euro). The new NAS would be at the same small room where the hi-fi is, so I wanted to avoid any additional fan…

I formatted it using ext4 file system and plugged it on the USB 3 (that actually runs at a much lower speed) port of the R7000.

The DD-WRT configuration was pretty easy and straight forward.

DD-WRT overview

I created 9 samba shares to better organize music, images, PC backup stuff etc.., I created samba users, set passwords and my new NAS was ready to use!

The first I wanted to see was how it performed:


dd if=/mnt/ddwrt/music/testfile of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1024 iflag=direct
1024+0 records in
1024+0 records out
1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB, 1.0 GiB) copied, 30.0215 s, 35.8 MB/s


dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/ddwrt/music/testfile bs=1M count=1024 oflag=direct
1024+0 records in
1024+0 records out
1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB, 1.0 GiB) copied, 27.7596 s, 38.7 MB/s

Ok, for a Gigabit network active equipment and a USB 3 disk, I admit I expected more, but I got almost 4 times the performance of my old NAS. Not bad at all!

The only drawback comparing to my old implementation is that the kong DD-WRT build I am using doesn’t have the hd-idle tool pre-installed (I need to find the time and fix this) in order to spin down the disk when not in use (in theory WD Reds don’t need that), but:


I am really satisfied with this new USB NAS. It does the job well and using it for months now, I never had any issues with that.

I always believed that not everyone needs a “real”, NAS. If you don’t have any “special” needs, and especially If you are looking for a NAS to serve your music, you should really consider a solution like that.

If you can afford the money to buy a decent router that can be flashed with DD-WRT, I highly recommend you to do so. Apart from the NAS, you will get increased and stable network performance, advanced wireless configuration options, QoS, Privoxy proxy/ad-blocker, Dnsmasq server (that offers DNS caching), Minidlna, FTP, but we will discuss about them on another post!

#nas #usb disk #samba #ddwrt #Netgear R7000