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NAS or file server

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November 3, 2007 3:42:23 AM

OK, I'm tearing my hair out. I am trying to decide whether to put together a 1T (to start with) Windows File Server or just buy a small box home NAS. I am basically going to use either one for storage of videos, photos and back-ups for 2 XP computers. I plan on building a PVR and downloading the videos to it to play on my TV. I would also like to use the NAS/File server as a scratch disk for Photoshop. I’ve looked at the reviews on NewEgg for NAS drives and I can not seem to find one that has decent reviews. The qnap ts-209 that is reviewed on smallnetbuilder seems to be pretty good, but I am not sure (anyone using it.) I’m trying to avoid spending a lot of $$. Which item is the best bang for the buck (short term and long term)? Any recommendations would be appreciated?

More about : nas file server

November 4, 2007 9:26:03 PM

"together a 1T (to start with)"

This is a big statement... if you are going to add more space later its much easier done with a PC rather than a NAS... the other thing is performance wise the PC (with a gigabit network) would be far quicker than a NAS... its also more expensive though.

Did someone say cheap fileserver

GIGABYTE GA-G33M-DS2R $135
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128053

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB $110x2 = $220
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136073&Tpk=WD5000AAKS

Patriot 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 $57
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220255

Intel Dual-Core E2140 Allendale 1.6GHz $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116037

Antec LifeStyle SONATA II ATX Mid Tower 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 Power Supply $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129155

Total $597

You can do RAID 1/0/1+0 and 5 with 6 SATA ports... gigabit lan awesome i say... you could make it a bit cheaper... 1gb of ram would be enough even 512mb cheap case PSU from somewhere but that combo is actually really nice
November 5, 2007 3:31:57 PM

Firstly I agree with chookman a server will give you a lot more options.

Now my 5c as to why......

Firstly are you looking just for storage or a media centre?

I put together a cheap Win23K box instead of a NAS for the following reasons:

I want RAID and I had more options with the PC than with a NAS (ended up RAID 10 4X250Gb). I wanted a media centre but didn't know which is the best software to serve up the media (could be another story). With a NAS you tend to be tied into one media centre that is embedded on the NAS, the server let me try multiple uPNP media servers. I could/can also put the TV card in the Windoze box and share it via the media centre software.

Cons: A server is far more complicated than a NAS box. NAS boxes are simpler to add to the network. You will of course need to buy the software if you go Windoze.. This MAY be an option: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/default.mspx

I haven't installed it, read any reviews or heard from anybody, but hey it's an option ;-)
http://www.amazon.com/EX475-MediaSmart-Server-Sempron-Processor/dp/B000UXZUZC/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-5154911-1656822?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1194283630&sr=8-1

You can also use your old PC as the file server and get yourself a new box ;-)

Sorry it's a little disjointed but running out the door - if you want more detail on anything just shout!
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November 6, 2007 1:25:40 AM

Can you put the tv card into the server and stream the video to multiple tv's at the same time? Would I still need a translator box at the tv? I plan on getting a new tv soon. Ultimately trying to put together a decent theater for watching movies and listening to good music.

What I was thinking of was a box to hold the files and two smaller boxes (1 for each major tv) to server the videos to the tv....

BTW.. do you know how to test a mother board to see if it is bad? I have an old one SOYO SY-K7V Dragon Plus! and I have had 2 hard drive failures. which of course could be the PSU. I would like to be sure before I attempt to use the old mb. Of course the problem with the board is 1. it is IDE only and 2. the ethernet port is max 100 Mbps.

So there you are... dilemmas... dilemmas
November 6, 2007 7:29:43 AM

lunanishka said:
Can you put the tv card into the server and stream the video to multiple tv's at the same time? Would I still need a translator box at the tv? I plan on getting a new tv soon. Ultimately trying to put together a decent theater for watching movies and listening to good music.

What I was thinking of was a box to hold the files and two smaller boxes (1 for each major tv) to server the videos to the tv....

BTW.. do you know how to test a mother board to see if it is bad? I have an old one SOYO SY-K7V Dragon Plus! and I have had 2 hard drive failures. which of course could be the PSU. I would like to be sure before I attempt to use the old mb. Of course the problem with the board is 1. it is IDE only and 2. the ethernet port is max 100 Mbps.

So there you are... dilemmas... dilemmas


First point - I haven't gotten around to setting up my TV card yet so I can't do more than saying that TV cards are supported under Nero http://www.nero.com/enu/nero8-features.html. I have also looked at TwonkyVision http://www.twonkyvision.com/. So far it looks like Twonky has the better support. Nero's support is just cr4p. Have a look at this thread http://uncledave.my.nero.com

Yes you will need something between the media and the TV, IMHO - the best device at the moment is the PS3! There are a few devices on the market, Tom's recently reviewed one http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/KISS_1600-AV-Streaming-Client-HDTV,review-29724.html. The the X-Box also makes a good media centre machine.

I recommend that you spend some time on the Nero & Twonky forums (forii? :whistle: ) there are a lot of very knowledgeable people there. The Wikipedia article on uPNP has some good links and high level info on serving media.

WRT your motherboard, I would connect it up bit by bit outside of a case until either all the parts were working or you have found the faulty part. My media server is a AMD Athlon 2000+, 1Gb, 500Gb (4X250 RAID 10) and a 100mb NIC. Does the job so far, I have had two PeeCees watching the same movie at the same time with no problem.

Before you watch movies you will need to get them off the DVD www.dvddecrypter.org.uk, and then (for a simple life) it is better to convert the movie to AVI or MP4. The reason for this is that while the media server will "play" your DVD there is no way to "click" the play button on the menu screen of the DVD. I have converted all my movies to mp4 using Nero and to date have not been unhappy with the resolution - they have all been shrunk down to fit on a 80min CD. The movie ends up at about 700Mb. One of the MVPs on the Nero site, binkie7, has written a good tutorial on converting DVD movies to AVI (and back again).
November 6, 2007 10:50:47 AM

I have spent some time looking at Windows Home Server since I wrote that reply and I must say that ON THE SURFACE it looks pretty interesting. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/default.mspx

http://www.wegotserved.co.uk/windows-home-server-add-ins/

<M$ Propaganda>
Windows Home Server is a unique, integrated solution that provides backup and restore of home computers, centralized expandable storage, and access from anywhere to your digital photos, music, videos, documents and home PCs. It is a lot more than extra storage. Unlike other home storage, backup, or remote access tools currently available, Windows Home Server offers unprecedented simplicity and ease of use. In addition, as a development platform, Windows Home Server offers Microsoft partners great opportunities to create solutions for the digital home, such as home automation, home security features, media sharing, and more.
</M$ Propaganda>
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