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Building a Home Media Server...

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January 21, 2009 12:07:22 AM

Hi all!

Okay...I'm looking to build/buy a home media server, I've been looking at the HP new EX485, but the file compatibility issues have me worried, but i could be wrong... Anyway, I was thinking of just building my own, but I'm not sure where to start....I want:
1. small form-factor (like the ex470/485), cpu, psu, ram, etc...?
2. At least 4 harddrives for a RAID5
3. I have a copy of windows xp, but what media serving software?!
4. gigabit ethernet

What am i going to use it for?

Well I'm starting to digitize my DVD collection (DVD Decryptor/Handbrake), into mp4 and I want my PS3 to see these file and to play them :-).

Thank you in advance!
-rudy
January 21, 2009 9:26:43 PM

anyone?
January 21, 2009 9:31:20 PM

What's your budget? Will you be using this machine for some of the DVD ripping, or just as a media server?
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January 21, 2009 10:52:16 PM

go for a microATX mobo and use something low power like a E7200 (110$ at pricewatch.com), a cheap motherboard like a ASRock 945GCM-S (56$ at smksuperstore.com) and 4gig of ram (some rebates make that actually free if you are patient for the MIR). Then, you can put a pci express raid card (about 150-200$ for a decent one, I don't know them enough to advise) and 2-4-6-8 drives of either 640gig wd or 1000gig wd (I'd prefer blacks but for a budget, I'd take even greens). Use raid 1+0 to have more redundancy and speed than raid 5 and you are good to go. Once it is up and running, you don't even need a monitor or a keyboard/mouse (remote desktop/vnc/ssh/ftp/telnet your way to it instead). It should run virtually silent if you use a passive PSU and a Apex MI-008 miniATX case that is very silent (silentpcreview.com).
January 22, 2009 11:33:41 AM

shortstuff_mt said:
What's your budget? Will you be using this machine for some of the DVD ripping, or just as a media server?


My budget is flexible, and it'll JUST be a media server, no crazy 8-core processor or optical drive needed, trying to keep the cost down :D 

Thank you for the tips antiacid!

Also, is there a good OS/software combo that is recommended?

I'm using the PS3 preset in Handbrake and archiving my movies into mp4...is there one program better than other to server these files out?
January 22, 2009 12:12:05 PM

Wow, it's really hard to find a small case with 4 internal hard drive bays. Here's a build that would work great for your needs:

Foxconn TLM776-CN300C-01 Black/ Silver Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case 300W Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $39.99

AMD Athlon X2 4850e 2.5GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 45W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $53.99

GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2HP AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $39.99

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $319.96 (79.99 x 4)

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99

Total - $633.91

You don't need separate software to accomplish what you want to. Vista has Media Center built in. I use 64-bit Vista in my HTPC and it works great. A 64-bit OS will also allow you to use all 4GB of RAM.

I don't know how much hard drive capacity you need, but it's hard to beat the 640GB drives for speed and value. If you need even more capacity, step up to this drive:

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $119.99
!