Which OS is best for Home server?

Hey all! I don't know If here was the right place to ask due to there being a few OS sections so I'll also post in Linux.

I am thinking of going with this build for my first home file/media server:

MB: GA-MA74GM-S2H
CPU: 4850e
Case: Thermaltake Wing RS100 (with 430W PSU)
RAM: 2 x 1GB Kingston 800mhz
HDD: 3 x 500GB WD Green (RAID5)
OS: ???

What I basically want from the server is:
- Store files
- Stream media to PS3/HTPC
- Remote access

What OS do you think I should go with? Should I go with Windows (server 2k3/2k8, home server) or something like Linux (Ubuntu Server 8.04)? I have built PCs before so building it wont be hard, it's just choosing the OS.

Note: I have never dealt with Linux before.

Any help/suggestions would be great!
6 answers Last reply
More about which home server
  1. I've used server 2K3 and I'm actually using Vista32 on a laptop. Based on my experience I'd you're safe either way but if you have Server 2K3/2K8...why not go that route. Server 2K3 runs fine with only 512MB of RAM so the rig you're proposing would feed it well.
  2. Thanks for the quick reply!

    Is there any huge difference between 2k3 and 2k8? Will they both do everything I need?

    For anyone that's interested in a copy of 2k3 or 2k8 Microsoft is giving out free keys for students.
    https://downloads.channel8.msdn.com/

    Mainly the OS was my problem. I have heard great things about Windows Home Server (WHS), it does everything I want, except it's price is a bit too much. So I am just wondering If 2k3/8 will be sufficient for my needs and provide me with a reliable/stable server?

    Once again, thanks for your help.

    EDIT: Also should I go with the onboard RAID controller, will it be good enough?
  3. TBH, I've not played with 2K8 yet so I don't want to speak to something I'm ignorant about. Based on my experience 2K3 will work will for you, its quite mature. ...and for your uses I'd think onboard RAID would be fine.
  4. i personally use win2k3 R2 on my home server, works great :)

    i would avoid WHS, it's flop :(
  5. i believe win2k8 is based off of vista kernel while 2k3 is basically NT/XP kernel, which means the 2008 server needs better hardware while 2003 server will run well on a machine that has only 512mb ram

    for remote access, i use something called tightvnc
    http://www.tightvnc.com/
    installable as a service

    you can also setup a VPN in 2k3 to do remote access, that works extremely well, for some reason though, you need two NICs in the server to accomplish this properly, which isnt a big deal, 2nd nic is wat like 10 bucks

    then via the vpn, u get some encryption and can secure remote access your server from the internet easily and all of your other network resources as well

    linux is OK but you have to spend time learning it and setting it up whereas win2k3 u just install and off you go with some tutorials on vpn and what not :)

    oh oh and since 2k3 is basically XP at the core, you can usually find drivers for hardware easily as well
  6. I like Free NAS. it's Linux based, super easy to install and it has a web base configuration...

    http://www.freenas.org/
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