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 :-).
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).
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: