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Thread: Home built NAS/media PC?

  1. #1
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    Home built NAS/media PC?

    As above, my media collection has gorwn to the size where I'm thinking about data safety, especially since I've started taking photos etc, which I wouldn't be able to get back say something were to go wrong.
    I've been told that a backup pc would be the best bet.

    Since I'm planning on building a media pc of some sort for the family, and wondered if I could solve both problems with a single pc.

    Not sure what kinda specs I'd need for a media pc which is capable of playing and recording 1080p content.

    I like the idea of a Microserver if I were to just use it as a NAS/backup, but I'm not sure if it wouuld have the grunt for a media pc?

    I've currently got 4 x2tb drives, with around 5.7tb of that actually used (1.5 free), and would ideally want something with enough room for 4 drives
    Any recommendations?

  2. #2
    Banned M.Beier's Avatar
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    I'd say, go a bit "all in", instead of cheaping out on it.

    Wait a month and a few weeks, and go for:
    i3-3225 (HD4000 2c/4t Ivy)
    2x 4GB
    60GB SSD
    ITX or mATX
    Not even need for RAID controller, I did buy one myself though...
    PICO PSU @ 120W

    That way you'll have a ~50W mediacenter, with plenty of power to do lots of entertainment, you can even put in some games on the telly

  3. #3
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    I'd advise you to look at Flexraid if you're looking for more data safety. As for the actual machine, you can skimp on pretty much all components besides hard drives. Also, you probably want a small UPS battery to prevent unfortunate incidents (i.e. power outage during parity check).

    I mean, for actual streaming, I doubt you'd see a difference from a dual core / 2gb ram >250$ system vs a 2500$ war machine. Something inexpensive like an A4-3400 would do just as good for streaming content than M.Beier's i3-3225 for half the price Do you have any old hardware laying around? Time to re-use!

  4. #4
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    Having looked into it more, I think I'm just going to go for a backup pc/NAS for the moment, then worry about a media pc later, since it won't be used till July at the soonest.

    The HP microserver is currently the front runner, since it looks better than most of the NAS alternatives, unless I wanted to spend A LOT more.

  5. #5
    I am Xtreme zanzabar's Avatar
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    if you go raid 10 on the intel chipset you should be fine. if you want to go nas, get a box that supports ISCSI and get a couple of the cheaper intel gigabit controllers that support it in hardware for the client boxes. if you go amd for the HTPC try to go a6 the 4 is is about the same gpu as an intel IGP and there is a nice jump to the 6 and you also get 3 cores with the $76 a6.
    Last edited by zanzabar; 04-28-2012 at 02:24 PM.
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  6. #6
    Xtreme Addict SexyMF's Avatar
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    I've been trying things across the years. In my house I have 3 small media machines, a gaming rig and workstation. The best thing I did was invest in a NAS. They go from cheap to crazy in terms of function and price - so there is one to suit your needs.

    The things I've found:

    - NAS works to serve multiple media boxes for the least power usage
    - NAS supports RAID, so your data has redundancy
    - Almost all NAS have internet access media library features (if you internet connection handles it - or you care!)
    - DVB-S2 can achieved via PCI/PCIe/USB dongle (TBS5922)
    - ITX builds work with 1080p content. I currently run AT5ION Deluxe builds with a 60GB SSD, 4GB, Win7 x64, Mediaportal setup. It handles Avatar 10GB rip over onboard wireless. So it works for me.
    There is a sucessor to the AT5ION rig, but it's not ITX formfactor.


    You do not need much power to run video content. It is more about correct configuration of codecs.

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    I'm not overly bothered about RAID at the moment having talked to people about it, I reckon a backup should be my first port of call, then adding RAID later for redundancy if needed.
    The only advantages of a prebuild NAS compared to the microserver is the online features I think? Which I'm not really bothered about if I'm honest.

    For the media PC, I'll need to be able to record HD content, which I don't think an atom would cope with :P And some of my media is fairly high bitrate, which I reckon it could struggle with aswell (highest is 35gb Star Wars rips), people have said even core2duos won't be enough to record HD :/

  8. #8
    Xtreme Addict SexyMF's Avatar
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    RAID gives you immediate protection. Backups, unless very frequent will result in loss of data.

    The NAS option means you can access your media from laptops, other desktops etc, while the other rig is in sleep mode. Also RAID 0+1 gives you speed and backups.

    As for HD content (from DVB-S2), it's nothing much to do with your GPU/CPU. It is hardware decoding for viewing - but otherwise it's just saving a large file to HDD. This is entirely up to what HDD arrangement you are sporting.

    NAS systems are built to serve media. They do it better than a PC.

    I used ITX to get super small footprint (VESA mounted behind monitor). AMD have their offering [compare]

  9. #9
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    Ok.
    At the moment I just have my main PC (my old media pc with a couple of upgrades after I decided to get rid of my i7 rig since I wanted monies)
    Which is a llano based setup, GTX260, 4 x 2tb, 128gb C300 etc.
    I use that for everything, and is on almost 24/7. My housemates will often stream stuff from it to watch on their own PCs.

    So, say I was willing to spend up to £400, what would you recommend?
    Just to make it clear, I don't have a TV, the media PC would be for the family, so don't worry about that.

  10. #10
    Banned M.Beier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antiacid View Post
    I'd advise you to look at Flexraid if you're looking for more data safety. As for the actual machine, you can skimp on pretty much all components besides hard drives. Also, you probably want a small UPS battery to prevent unfortunate incidents (i.e. power outage during parity check).

    I mean, for actual streaming, I doubt you'd see a difference from a dual core / 2gb ram >250$ system vs a 2500$ war machine. Something inexpensive like an A4-3400 would do just as good for streaming content than M.Beier's i3-3225 for half the price Do you have any old hardware laying around? Time to re-use!
    Not needed with UPS, and A4-3400 will cost you more in a year, on electricity.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeStorm View Post
    Having looked into it more, I think I'm just going to go for a backup pc/NAS for the moment, then worry about a media pc later, since it won't be used till July at the soonest.

    The HP microserver is currently the front runner, since it looks better than most of the NAS alternatives, unless I wanted to spend A LOT more.
    For those needs, go for ATOM or Brazos (AMD-E), both are low powerconsumption..

    Qualities are power consumption, and noise level, less heat, less need for cooling, less noise.

  11. #11
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    That would be far more expensive wouldn't it?

    Just for the board and cpu alone I'd be looking at £100+ :/

    Noise level doesn't bother me, and surely a turion chip isn't that hot? From what I've read, the microserver doesn't consume a lot of power either?

  12. #12
    Xtreme Addict SexyMF's Avatar
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    You will have to decide for youself. Both ATOM and AMD-E are capable of what you want. You only need a case and cheap memory. Cases can range from cheap to obscene.

    Yes you can just buy any PC within the last 5 years and it will likely handle anything you are trying to do in terms of media. Keep your media sync'd and you solve your backup issues.

  13. #13
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    So, what are the advantages of an AMD-E/ATOM setup over the microserver?

  14. #14
    I am Xtreme Lestat's Avatar
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    i did an A6-3500, AsRock ITX, 8GB Gskill, slim dvd drive, 80GB Vertex 2 (left over from my main rig) and external 120w Pico PSU (about $56 at mini-box )
    I stream everything from my Synology NAS.
    if you are looking at a NAS, i would URGE you to go after a synology 4-Bay nas.
    there is no other nas out there in the SOHO market that can beat Synology.
    like it or not, users, and review sites all have agreed for a long time about synology.

    the HTPC runs:
    .5 watts when asleep and only about 35watts when playing high bitrate 1080p and in the mid 20's when surfing. - i measure this with a Kill-a-watt.
    cpu never gets above 25c when watching video because the on die GPU handles everything and thus lets the CPU stay super cool.
    surfing and other things it never gets about 30c. even running prime it never gets above maybe 45c
    but my ITX case has a cpu fan intake grill directly above the CPU so it is constantly sucking in cool air.

    set the cpu fan in the bios to never go above level 4 and you will never hear anything in that system, it is 100% silent and cool.
    playing DVD's is a nightmare though its loud like an xbox360 drive. so as you can imagine i dont whach dvd's much.
    i can rip them to my nas in 10 minutes so no need to even play in the computer.
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