NAS or a home server?

Associate
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Having just dropped my external HDD today I'm looking for a new media storage solution.
I need to centralize my music, films, photos, other files to a hard disk which can be accessed by mac osx and windows. Will also want it to be accessible by my xbox 360 and also in the future a NMT like popcorn hour.
Criteria is that it should be small, quite and sexy if possible :p

Having looking through a few threads and browsing the net it seems like people recommend a NAS such as Netgear Ready Nas Duo or to just run a home server. The home server might be a little OTT but I imagine it will be faster for file transfer compared to NAS? Also I have many movie files which are over 4gigs so having FAT32 file system would not work too well.

What do you think I should do? Which option would work better?

Any help or input would be gratefully appreciated.

Michael
 
Associate
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I have an HP Media Vault, which is quite hackable. You can install Debian on it and use it as a torrent box, web server, file server, uPnP machine. You name it. Quite a few of the more advanced NAS boxes allow you to do this if you want something beyond just a disk. The Media Vault also looks quite nice.
 
Associate
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I ended up going WHS after having a Buffalo TeraStation Pro in RAID5. I like the way it backs up my PC/Laptop as well as still providing more flexible file replication. I read about hacking the TeraStation but got worried all I'll do is kill it.

With my couple of hundred albums I've found the iTunes on my laptop unusable if you use the carousel view as each update takes an order of seconds. The tabular views are ok although far from snappy.
 
Soldato
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Home servers are awesome.
Mine's up to 8 1TB drives in hardware RAID5 now, super fast unRAR and PAR2 check action, and I get 100MB/s transfers to and from it over gigabit.
It's also got plenty of juice (Athlon x2 3800, 2GB ram) to run my Teamspeak server, utorrent, Alt-Binz, [email protected], and some VMWare virtual machines I use.
 
Associate
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Was in a similar situation recently and decided on the WHS (4TB + Intel E8400 + 2GB RAM).

Great for storage and backup - plus more.
 
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Associate
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Home server is relatively inexpensive

i use a 2.13Ghz Quad Core
Windows Server 2003 x64
8GB RAM
5 x 500GB HDDs in RAID5 using LSI Logic Raid controller
Gigabit

Plenty of space, quick and fairly cheap (apart from the raid card!)

Also run Microsoft Exchange 2007
 
Caporegime
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The real benefit of NAS is the low power usage, a Netgear RND2000 takes 2 drives, supports torrents, newgroups, media streaming, but only uses 20W max iirc. Pretty cheap too. A C2D or C2Q setup is going to be using loads more juice than that.
 
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Associate
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Yeah I'm leaning more towards home server due to expandability. Did you guys build your own?

Yes I built my own.

WHS does require some time setting up but once configured the way you want it - it's great.
 
Caporegime
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I assume that home servers uses full power psus? Like at least 200w?

You can use micro-ATX PSUs for smaller systems, but most HTPC use standard PC PSUs.

The amount of energy they use depends on load however, a 800W PSU doesn't use 800Ws the whole time. (sorry if thats really obvious).
 
Soldato
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Overground, underground..
A drobo is expensive but easy to use. It is also slow.

NAS devices for the SOHO market are faster but they're unlikely to max out a gigabit network. I wouldn't even expect them to get near half a gigabit. I had a WD thing which was slooooow. As said before their main advantage is low power.

I now run a home built WHS system. I did try Linux, but I was too lazy to configure it. It's limited in speed by the harddrives - I typically get 60-70MB/sec. Sometimes it'll peak at >105MB/s especially if the data is cached somewhere. My 10 drive system typically draws ~140W at idle.
 
Soldato
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built a home server that sits in my garage.

Old coolmaster case (free)
old tagan 400w psu (free)
E2140 - £25
Gigabyte P31 board (£20)
2gb of ram - £10
1.5tb hard drive - £65

So cost me just over £120 for it all. Also took XP off my main pc (running win7 beta) and installed xp on my server. Works fine. easy to configure and pretty easy to expand in the future and no noise as it's in the garage.

All transfer via cat5e to main pc/laptop/htpc in lounge via gigabit router.

Loads of bit and bobs around the member market for cheap server builds. No need for anything fancy - old cpu/boards will do just fine
 
Don
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built a home server that sits in my garage.

Old coolmaster case (free)
old tagan 400w psu (free)
E2140 - £25
Gigabyte P31 board (£20)
2gb of ram - £10
1.5tb hard drive - £65

So cost me just over £120 for it all. Also took XP off my main pc (running win7 beta) and installed xp on my server. Works fine. easy to configure and pretty easy to expand in the future and no noise as it's in the garage.

All transfer via cat5e to main pc/laptop/htpc in lounge via gigabit router.

Loads of bit and bobs around the member market for cheap server builds. No need for anything fancy - old cpu/boards will do just fine

this is how to do it

even a celeron cpu is great for the job
 
Associate
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After having a linux server running for years I have just decided to try the NAS route. I've bought a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo and popped in a couple of Samsung 1.5T disks. This is really just a small, quiet, low powered linux box with a customised interface.

Main reason was to reduce the noise and power consumption. My linux box, an old AMD Duron from circa 2000 running a couple of 300G IDE drives was making a racket and drawing around 200W of power. The NAS box is, almost, silent and consumes around 20W.

As a rough guide, every watt of power you use 24/7 costs around £1 a year. So the savings in power alone will pay for the NAS enclosure in the first year.

Transfer rates are around 15MB/s read and 25MB/s write to the NAS. Disks are configured in X-Raid which is like Raid-1 but allows volume expansion by swapping out the disks one at a time for bigger ones when they become available.

It's horses for courses, but for me this seemed to be the way to go for now.

Hope this helps.

Richard
 
Associate
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Home Server. Just for the better transfer speeds over gigabit alone.

If you want something sexy (might not be in your opinion) look out for the Acer Easystore H430. It looks pretty nice IMO and from US$ prices, a great price. Only thing is they haven't/hadn't been released in the UK about 2 weeks ago when I was looking to buy one as a present for someone - so I built my own instead.
 
Soldato
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Main reason was to reduce the noise and power consumption. My linux box, an old AMD Duron from circa 2000 running a couple of 300G IDE drives was making a racket and drawing around 200W of power. The NAS box is, almost, silent and consumes around 20W.

As a rough guide, every watt of power you use 24/7 costs around £1 a year. So the savings in power alone will pay for the NAS enclosure in the first year.

I'll be very surprised if a duron box with onboard/minimal graphics card drew more than ~50W most of the time whilst it sits relatively idle.
 
Soldato
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Sorry for a slight hijack, but to obtain gigabit transfer speeds I just need a Gigabit connection to and from the homeserver right? (sorry if its a silly Q) lol... I been reading that Intels got the best Gigabit controller too?
 
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