My journey into building a home lab started with a simple raspberry pi running a couple of services like pi-hole and samba. The next jump came when I build myself a “gaming” PC with enough horses to pull a dozen docker containers without affecting the overall system in any way. It was overkill, of course, with a six-core twelve-thread beast of a processor, 32 GB RAM, and an RTX 3060Ti running full time only to serve my nextcloud and jellyfin applications.

The above, along with a vast number of inspirations from r/homelab and r/selfhosted were the primary reasons to drive me into setting up a proper homelab that I would be proud of building. Combined with what I saw at the workplace with all the sophisticated “enterprise-grade” deployments gave me an idea for how my ideal homelab would shape to be.

So, pushing on that line of thought, I bought an Intel NUC 8i3BEH thinking that a puny tow core four thread i3 should be enough, leading to a tiny regret down the line :). A bit of advice here, maybe go with a 4 core model to have a bit of headroom. I was able to run what I need for now comfortably on the i3, but if I stress it, I may end up with a bad experience. Moving on, I proceeded to pair it with a 8 GB of RAM with the thought that it should be sufficient and quickly realizing I was wrong and getting another stick ending up with 2x8 GB RAM on the NUC.

The tiny and cute but powerful NUC!

For storage, I reused all the research I had done for my PC build and just bought the same 1 TB Gen3x4 NVMe SSD from Crucial for the OS/application storage and a 2.5in Seagate 2 TB HDD for the rest, including a NAS, which I would probably end up extending down the line. But for now, it should be more than enough.

With all the above, the hardware part of the home lab was complete (for now, that is ;)). That’s it! It sits at my desk connected to a UPS drawing just about 40-50W and a maximum of 90W at peak load, includes gigabit networking and Thunderbolt 3.