Network storage and media system


I want to build a home system with two main purposes: reliable and centralized data storage, and audio/video reproduction. No TV or radio for now, just CDs, music from hard drive, and DVDs. No need to run latest games on highest settings. Maybe I'd like to use a remote-control, although that's quite low priority. For now I have a regular flat-panel monitor, no fancy TVs or anything. That may change later. I will want to use it as NAS.

I am imagining a system where I will eventually store all my music, lots of personal documents, and maybe movies. I also want considerable extensibility, in case I wish to use it for other purposes in the future.

I am mainly considering a Linux-based system, since I am most comfortable with administration of Linux. Probably Ubuntu is a good choice.

Now, I have never in my life built a system from scratch, so I am kinda baffled by the too many choices and acronyms. From newegg, for $850 I can get:
2GB ram
1 - 1.5 TB disk, depending on the kind of RAID that I use
2.something GHz dual core Athlon CPU

The specifics are below, and I will appreciate any advice. Are some components overkill, is some money wasted? Have you had similar requirements and found something particularly useful or necessary? Did I choose some poor component? Do some components clash? Do some work poorly with Linux? Can you suggest alternatives? Lots of questions :)

Thanks in advance for any help!

- mobo:
$50 ASUS M2N-MX SE Plus AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
$50 ASRock ALiveNF6P-VSTA AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE / nForce 430 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
(don't know how to decide)

- case:
$120 SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum front panel, 0.8 mm SECC body SST-LC17-B ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail
(looks like a stereo component -- it'd stack nicely under my amplifier)

- CPU:
$90 AMD Athlon X2 4850e 2.5GHz Socket AM2 45W Dual-Core Processor Model ADH4850DOBOX

- memory:
$60 Kingston HyperX 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit

- HDDs:
$320 4 x Western Digital Caviar SE WD5000AAJS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
(i'd like to do software RAID, probably 1 or 5)

- power:
$110 PC Power & Cooling S610EPS 610W Continuous @ 40°C EPS12V

- audio:
$100 M-AUDIO Audiophile 2496 PCI Interface 4-In-4-Out Audio Card with MIDI and Digital I-O
(i want good quality output, as this will be my primary audio source)
6 answers Last reply
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  1. hey layne.

    Is there a reason as to why you've selected micro ATX boards with an ATX Media Center case?

    As for compatibilty with Linux, i've never treated myself to a Linux system so i'm not sure, however i'm going to go away and do my homework and come back with an answer for you.
  2. Well thanks for the swift reply!

    Frankly, I chose micro ATX boards because I have no idea what I am doing :) I only know what I want. I didn't even notice they were micro ATX. My criteria for choosing were:
    - < $100
    - integrated NVidia graphics
    - newegg says:
    Storage Devices
    PATA 1 x ATA100 2 Dev. Max
    SATA 3Gb/s 4
    SATA RAID 0/1/0+1/5/JBOD

    (I only care about "4 SATA devices", b/c I want to set up RAID; however, I don't know if fewer "SATA devices" would be enough with port multipliers; would they?)

    Thanks again!

    Comes in at $90 which is a bit more expensive but it is a full sized board and also

    Storage Devices
    PATA 1 x ATA100 2 Dev. Max
    SATA 3Gb/s 6
    SATA RAID 0/1/0+1/5

    Also has onboard nVidia 8200 graphics. Please follow the link and read the review regarding disabling Messaging Signal Interrupts for SATA to work with Linux.

    Anyway i'm off to work but when I come home i'll be all over it for you mate. cheers
  4. I will do my reading, and then it's sleepy time for me. Thanks!
  5. I should mention that the system ought to be quiet. Except for the case, whose specs say that it's supposed to be quiet, I didn't really know how to choose other quiet components.
  6. Just checking -- any further recommendations?
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