What is the best budget external NAS that will do RAID 5 with 4 HDs?

My current desktop had 3x500GB SATA drives in a RAID 5 configuration. I plan to replace it with a laptop very soon, and would like to move those drives to a NAS that will simply be hooked up to my router, and/or the eSATA port of the new computer. I may add a 4th drive to bring up my total space to 1.5TB.

What is the simplest way for me to do that?

The NAS will be used as a media server to serve music and video (1080p video). Also, I want to store my photos on the NAS and process them though adobe lightroom, so speed is somewhat of a concern.
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  1. it really depends on how much you want to spend and how much manual work you want to do. Personally I would get a motherboard from here:

    Make sure it has 4 SATA ports and GigE. Get a case, power supply and ram and you're good to go.

    Then I would install linux on it and leave it next to my router. There are many distributions which specialize in NAS (FreeNAS appears to be the most popular).

    An underclocked dual core CPU will take very little power and they are quite cheap.

    If you are not into building your own systems, the more expensive approach is to buy a pre built nas. They start at about $100 more than this build will cost.
  2. I would much rather go with an off the shelf system.
  3. My Thecus N4100PRO should be arriving any day now. 4-Bay with 4*2TB drives in it for under $900(WD20EADS). I'll be doing a RAID 5. Having 6TB of usable space for under $900 is pretty darn good. The unit has gotten good reviews, especially for what I'll be doing (streaming hi-def).

    I should add that the NAS can be bought diskless for under $400.
  4. That looks pretty good.

    How much speed difference would there be between grabbing the data over a network, vs eSata?
  5. You do do two things.
    Turn your desktop to a NAS
    Backup your data
    Stick a USB with FreeNAS or Openfiler, both of OS(s) are free
    Can get another HDD creata a RAID5 from it

    Now you have a NAS.
    If your system does not have GbE, then get a Intel GbE card add to it.

    Intel Gb Ethernet out perform RLT and Marvel NIC. If you have Gb network and correct setup you can transfer in the range 40MB~65MB

    As far as a NAS with Gb, it always slower than eSATA, but for streaming 1080p GbE is more than adequate.

    Becuase BD non-compress needs 60Mb/s or 6MB/s.
  6. Sorry folks did not see the YEAR :-)
  7. Oh you're in trouble now! LoL
    At least your advice was spot on
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