file server / remote music player

Trying to work out the details of a new music player / file server to replace my aging headless unit. Current remote PC set up for multi-room audio as follows:

Old PII 366 accessed through remote desktop on laptop
audio output run to multi-room receiver

I would like to upgrade & increase storage space as well as reliability. I am looking to keep the $$ reasonable & do not need to have the absolute fastest out there. I believe I can tackle a hardware raid 5 array with 4 x 500gb SATA without much of a problem, but I am unsure of how to handle my remote music player & am looking for advice. I'm planning on retiring the existing PC because of power draw & old (real old) hardware.

1) Should I expect trouble by running music player on remote file server?
2) should I run OS, remote applications on separate hdd from raid file storage?
3) other recommendations / experience?

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More about file server remote music player
  1. To my mind, wasting a PC on this stuff is a bit wasteful. Netgear has options in two categories:

    Infrant NV+:

    Provides RAID storage with X-RAID a proprietary RAID format that allows hot swapping and auto rebuild capability. Yank a drive out stick in a replacement or even bigger one and system rebuilds itself. Of course usable space is limited to multiple smallest drive size. Well why would you do that ? By the time you add drives, your original size may no longer be available. Cost ya about $999 with twin 500 GB Seagate 7200.11's Ya just missed a newegg special where they threw in a 3rd 500 GB drive for free (expired January 31st).

    To use the 4 x 500 setup you mentioned, would cost ya $1449

    But my math says that's a bit of an odd choice. Ya can buy the 2 x 500 GB rig for $999 above and add the two other 500 GB Seagate drives yaself at $119.99 a pop for a total cost of about $1,239

    If ya so inclined, cost ya another $60 to upgrade the RAM to 1 GB

    The Infrant Forums are well staffed and pretty responsive.

    ReadyNAS Duo:

    Netgear bought Infrant BTW, this past summer and as a result has come up with this beauty. No one else has announced anythiung quite like it in this price range. Be the 1st on your block to get one but be quick, these things gonna be everywhere soon. It's basically a 2 disk version of the NV+.

    X-RAID Hot Swappable drives
    All files accessible through internet
    Supports most network music and video players
    embedded bit torrent client
    Gigabit ethernet
    3 USB ports
    Supports Windows / Mac / Linux / Unix
    * DLNA Compatible UPnP AV
    * Logitech SqueezeCenter
    * Sonos Digital Music Center
    * Network DVD player compatible
    * Windows MCE compatible
    * Sony Playstation 3
    * Microsoft Xbox 360
    Integrated Backup Manager
    Tiny 5.60 x 3.98 x 8.70 in

    Reported MSRP of about $500 w/ one 500 GB figure under $600 with two drives "street price".

    I have the NV+ and the three kids all have their iTunes music stored on it. The youngest is 12 and he set it up on his own, as did the 16 and 17 year olds. All I did was run the initial software to make the network connection to their machines. From my box (via Firefox) I set up the user accounts an permissions.
  2. I've been looking at all the NAS products out there on the market & have been real tempted to go that route, if it weren't for one important factor, I use my pc as my music player. It does not serve music to a standalone media player, but rather is the player. I run it like this so I can access it via remote desktop on the laptop from the kitchen & do not have to run downstairs to the receiver.

    Also, I figure I can put together a system for less than what it would run to buy the readyNAS & have more flexibility as well.

    Do you have any experience with the digital media players out there?
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