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Need advice on DIY NAS Raid HTPC Please!

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April 13, 2013 3:25:00 PM

My intent is to build a Raid 5 or 6. I used to build my own desktops but when I was finally able to afford a Mac I fell out of the loop. I have a basic understanding of Raid & how it works, but I have no idea how to choose a Raid Control card.

I know I want a hardware controller not software.

I want the OS on a separate drive.

Going to start with 6 but must be able to scale up to at least 12 (possibly more) Sata drives.

Be able to handle different size drives.

I can't afford nor do I really need the very best, upper mid range would be fine.

Any advice on Raid controller, motherboard, etc.. would be very appreciated.
a b G Storage
April 13, 2013 3:45:35 PM

That is certainly going to be expensive, probably $500 for the controller. You need a full tower case or a rackmount case. Something that has decent airflow to keep 12 drives cool.
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April 13, 2013 4:13:11 PM

affroman112 said:
That is certainly going to be expensive, probably $500 for the controller. You need a full tower case or a rackmount case. Something that has decent airflow to keep 12 drives cool.


Yeah, I was looking at some that were around $700, so 500 really isn't to bad. I'm definitely not looking for a budget or micro build. I'm going to want to hook this up to my receiver with HDMi so I'm leaning towards a Silverstone Tek GD08B.
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a b G Storage
April 13, 2013 4:50:06 PM

Dedicated RAID card is an overkill of HTPC. RAID cards primarily excels at random r/w and large IOs. You will never need that unless you are broadcasting your own movie station.

Get a simple low power NAS and build a HTPC with a small SSD (or no storage and use network boot). Your NAS and HTPC build should not cost you $500. Choose a NAS that will allow you to add disk and increase your storage as needed.
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May 29, 2013 12:18:32 PM

Seraphin6669 said:
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I want the OS on a separate drive.
Going to start with 6 but must be able to scale up to at least 12 (possibly more) Sata drives.
Be able to handle different size drives.
I can't afford nor do I really need the very best, upper mid range would be fine.

Some of your requirements will be difficult in a traditional hardware RAID server.

I've built a server using unRAID (version 5 RC 12a currently), using an inexpensive NZXT case, ASUS motherboard and AMD Trinity APU. It's not perfect, but it's proven to be the best server solution for me (YMMV). I recommend you give the free version a try on some old hardware.

Here are some of the highlights:

Works well with different sized drives. You can upgrade a drive with a larger one easily. If one drive fails, everything runs normally. Power down and replace the failed drive, and the array rebuilds itself automatically. If you lose two drives, you only lose the files stored on those drives. You create one or more shares that span all of the disk space.

It always boots from a flash drive, so no data space is consumed by the OS. You can move the flash drive and data drives to another compatible machine, boot up, and everything is available. It runs a distribution of Linux with custom drivers to provide the RAID-like fault-tolerance and spanning drive shares. It provides a web interface that covers 99% of what you need to do... no need to learn Linux. It works with old hardware as well as new hardware - mix and match IDE and SATA drives on a Pentium 4, if you like.

I have my server in my home office, and I use XBMC on an AppleTV v.2 (720p resolution) as my front-end to browse and watch content.

It's free for up to 3 drives (one parity, two data), enough for a small install, or just to check it out. It's available in a 7-drive version (up to one parity, five data, one cache) for $69 and an unlimited version (one parity, 22 data, one cache) for $129. Either of the paid versions is available in a two-pack for $30 more, so you can build a backup server or split the cost with a friend.
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a c 920 G Storage
May 29, 2013 4:04:52 PM

I need some clarification, are your NAS and HTPC going to be one pc/device or two ?
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June 4, 2013 2:07:59 PM

popatim said:
I need some clarification, are your NAS and HTPC going to be one pc/device or two ?


I would like to combine the 2 unless there is a really good reason not to.

I had my iMac running plex front & backends with 4 external drives ( 1 of them a drobo ) connected to the tv with hdmi. That setup was pretty good but we rearranged things and now my iMac can't be near the tv, and it wasn't really ideal using it as the front end.
I've also had it with drobo so I want to build a better alternative, big enough to be able to do away with multiple externals, and would like to connect it to the tv so it frees up my iMac.

Thanks for the help.
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