What storage solution would fit my needs?

I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out which path to take for my storage needs.
I've got 3x 400GB drives, and a 250GB drive and I'm nearly out of space. I'm also ready to build a new comp so I need to save as much as possible on my choice for storage. I estimate 2TB would serve my needs for a while, but HD video has an enormous appetite so it would be nice to upgrade.

Looks like my options are:
Internal Raid with raid card
External raid solution like NAS

As much as I would like to rule out the Drobo for its crap speeds, it would allow me to get 3X 750 drives for now, use an existing 400GB drive, and buy a couple of 1TB drives when their prices go down a bit. Expandability is good, being able to change drives and use varied sized drives is good too.

I don't a problem with internal raid, I imagine it would cost about the same as the drobo option initially and imagine this would have the best speed rating. I am unsure of how easy or even if it's possible to expand with additional drives though. I'm guessing upgrading drives (swapping a 750GB with a 1TB drive) is out of the question as well.

For external, it would need at least 4 slots. Are any of these expandable? External solutions seem really expensive. Maybe I'm wrong?

What I need at least 2TB with redundancy. I would like expandability.

FYI, on my new system, I plan to take my 400GB WD drives and set two at Raid 0 for my OS, games, and programs and use the other 400GB drive to make periodic image backups. (I dont plan on ever filling my raid 0 array. I would imagine I would use the MB raid for the raid0 (planning on the new Asus P5K board) Perhaps if multiple arrays are feasible on a raid card, the internal raid card idea may be most feasible? I dont know.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
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  1. Haha sounds like where i was about hmmm 4 weeks ago.

    I bought a new "server" if you will. It runs Server2003 64Bit, which it used as a file server, WSUS server and Torrent downloader.

    I looked around for a while to find what would suit me best and came up with this.

    Asus P5K-E Wifi
    Patriot 2Gb 1066MHZ
    Adaptec 3805 internal RAID
    5x 500Gb WD harddrives in RAID 5

    Works a dream, formatted space on the RAID 5 is 1.83Tb which i am using about 40% of atm and the raid card still has 3 more connections for future Hard drives to expand the array, this card can also do multiple arrays so you could use RAID 0 for your OS and RAID 5 for storage maybe.

    So far im loving it. Let me know if i can help you further.
  2. Yeah, Thats what I'm going to do too.

    I about have a brain aneurysm every time I rebuild, learning all the new hardware stuff. And then the million products that have about 1% of variation so it's impossible to decide what to get. I liked it better when I had lots of money to blow, just sort the hardware by the price, get all the most expensive hardware, and build.

    I compiled a nice assortment of parts from zipzoomfly but their stupid ordering system is screwed with paypal... man I was really excited too... and its laborgay so they aren't taking my order today... soon enough. Thanks for the advice.
  3. Is this something you built versus buying ?
  4. I built a dedicated file server for my home using old parts I had laying around, and about $750 in drives, 500W PSU, case, and a RAID card. Here's my worklog on it: http://diynas.wetpaint.com/?t=anon
    As I used an old motherboard with an AGP slot and no PCI express slots, My throughput is limited by the PCI bus at 100 MB/s. If you built a similar machine using a motherboard with PCIE and a PCIE RAID card, i'm sure your throughput will be much higher.
    I like the case I selected as it wasnt expensive, and I can mount 4 more drives in it later for another RAID array. With 500Gb drives coming down in price, you may be able to use them or even 750Gb models. Hopefully my experiences can help you in building your NAS.
  5. Quote:
    Drifter666 Is this something you built versus buying ?

    If you are talking to me, yes i built from scratch and so far its working excellently.

    snootch: As I used an old motherboard with an AGP slot and no PCI express slots, My throughput is limited by the PCI bus at 100 MB/s. If you built a similar machine using a motherboard with PCIE and a PCIE RAID card, i'm sure your throughput will be much higher.

    I cant compare to a PCI 100mb/s card , although my Adaptec is PCI-e 4x and it flies much quicker in general than any harddrive system ive had previously.
  6. THANKS Chookman:

    I've never built NAS (or a computer) but did browse thru some of the tutorials on smallnetbuilders.com

    For a novice, is there steep learning curve and about how long would it take a novice to set one up ?
    I realize this question has many variables.

    I know how to install memory, PCI cards and hard drives. I am familiar with RAID 1 and 0.

    Would you take an old computer and replace some cards and add some drives or do you buy everything individually (motherboard, powersupply, fan, drives, cards etc)...

    If one of your drives go bad, how do you know (and or get notified).

    Trying to understand if I have the time and knowledge to build vs buy.

    I need about 2TB or storage (hopefully with future expandablitility) and a way to ensure I can recover my data.

    Currently running 2 dimension 8400 3GB memory with 2 pairs of 500GB Raid 1 hard drives using a D-Link DIR-655 gigabit router.

    Been thinking about buying the READYNAS NV+ which is expensive. It runs RAID 5 and RAID X.
    It got a poor review on smallnetbuilders but good reviews in other places.

    Any input on the above would be appreciated.
  7. The main reason that i started from scratch was because i wanted to get a PCI-e controller and my current server didnt have PCI-e (for the extra thoughput over pci). I also thought about user my day2day machine as it has PCI-e but decided i wanted to keep it simple and use only really for gaming and surfing.

    From there i picked a mainboard that would suit, ie (dual pci-e 16x slots 1 for GPU and other RAID card). Quadcore was cheap at that stage so went with it. I happened to have a 64bit Server2003 install so that was handy. 500Gb drives were then and currently still are the sweet spot for GB/$ so to have a RAID 5 of 2TB 5 of these were needed, so i needed a case to support this...I went with Antec Titan650 for this which is a full case with plenty of room for hdd install and a bita cooling with a decent PSU. From there its easy just a normal PC build with a few extra HDD. Raid setup will vary from card to card but generally its pretty straight forward.

    In your case the Dell comes with a 16x alot and 1x PCI-eslot so you could maybe use a PCI-e raid card at a 1 times speed that will provide more throughput. Although the case will make it hard for 5 or more drives,so you may have to look at another case there.

    Also depends on your budget to do something like this, which is why the prebuild NAS systems have become more popular.
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