Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices like those offered by Synology and QNAP are basically specialized computers that are designed to let you do things like back up your data or set up a home server. But for the most part they run proprietary software.
But Kobo’s upcoming Helios64 is designed to be a more open alternative. It’s an open hardware project that runs open source software.
Kobol says the Helios64 NAS goes up for pre-order next week and it should begin shipping in March.
A full-fledged Helios64 NAS with support for 5 hard drives or SSDs will set you back $295 in March, or $285 if you place a pre-order.
Want to build your own case? You can pick up just the motherboard for $189.
The board measures 4.7″ x 4.7″ and features a Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and 16GB of eMMC 5.1 storage for the operating system and apps. Basically the board has everything you need to build your own NAS, including:
- 5 x SATA 3.0 connectors
- M.2 SATA slot
- 1 x 2.5 Gbe Ethernet jack
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet jack
- 1 x USB Type-C port
- 3 x USB 3.0 ports
- microSD card reader
- Built-in UPS (uninterruptible power supply)
- Dual DC input
- IO interfaces including GPIO, I2C, SPI, and UART
- 2 x PWM fan connectors
The Helios64 case measures 9.8″ x 8.7″ x 5.3″ and supports up to 5 3.5 inch hard drives and features hot-plug tray support for changing out hard drive son the fly. It also has a front-facing USB 3.0 port, two 80mm PWM fans, and all the wiring you need to get started.
You can buy the case on its own for $95, but you’ll need to pay an extra $14 if you want a 12V/10A power adapter and another $12 for a battery pack for the UPS — so the total price of all the parts comes to $310 if you buy them piecemeal rather than buying the bundle.
The Helio64 NAS will be the second device from the Kobol Team — the company previously produced a $197 Helios4 kit with a single-board computer featuring a Marvell Armada 388 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a case capable of holding 4 hard drives or SSDs.
While there are no details on what software the new Helios64 will support at launch, we can turn to the download page for the Helios4 for clues: Kobol currently offers builds of Ubuntu and Debian Linux with support for the OpenMediaVualt Linux-based NAS application.