File Storage and Accesing for Small Network? Working in 3D and RENDERI

Hi, how do you guys feel is a good way to configure a work Environment for around 5 computers which need to Store and have access to Files stored in Only ONE PLACE ? (That place could be one computer, or a Server, or an External Harddrive, or a NAS).

We are a very small office of 2 people, and in the future perhaps 3

All our work is Architectural 3D rendering, and hopefully we will like to do 3D Animation too in the future

I use 3ds MAX, AutoCad, and Photoshop.

The way we work is that all our Project folders are saved in one location, now we save them and access them from an EXTERNAL HARDDRIVE connected to my Personal computer. We use that External hardrive to store all the MAX, CAD, phothoshop Files, all the Textures, all my 3D library, etc. And when we work on a project we access the files from that External HD on a small home network, Or sometimes we copye the project files we need on the computer that we are going to use to work or render that project. But either way i think this solutions are not good ones, that is why i am thinking in upgrading and buying either a NAS (Network Attached Storage), or a Small Server. I dont want to spend much money, unless is definetely worth it. I think NAS is cheaper than a Server, but i will like to now your opinions because i dont know too much about them.

So please, resuming my toughts, my question is, What Hardware-Equipment-solution, do you recommend to set up my work environment regarding STORING AND ACCESSING FILES over my small network ( 5 computers approximately)?

And a parallel question: When i RENDER a project in 3DsMax, should i copy all the project folders and files to the computer i will render from? or is it ok to just access those files through the network in the centralized location?

Best Regards
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More about file storage accesing small network working renderi
  1. I have setup some clients for CAD in a scenario just like you mention.

    These guys have very large files and while they used to copy the file locally to work on it and then copy it back BEFORE they had a gigabit network, once they upgraded they no longer copied it locally to work on it.

    We set them up with a ReadyNAS and they were very happy.

    Naturally, the more you spend, the happier you will be. Cannot say for sure that you will find performance good enough straight off the NAS, it's one of those "Your Mileage May Vary" things.

    A ReadyNAS Pro Business will offer great performance, 6 total drive bays available.

    I have a review here:

    The Pro has a high power core duo CPU and, since it's a business class unit, 5 year warranty.

  2. Hi NetworkStorageTips, pretty useful Review, and thanks a lot for your comments and suggestion. Please excuse me it took me a while to respond.

    I also do what your CAD clients did, i sometimes copy files locally, and is a waste of time.
    I have been also reccommended to upgrade to GIGABIT network in other forum, so seeing you also recommend me this that is the way i will go as soon as i can.

    In the other forum, most of the experts recommended me the QNAP Pro series, they tought it fits my needs and budget. What do you think of this QNAP Brand? Specifically QNAP Pro TS-459 Pro Turbo Nas or TS-259 Pro... also the 439, etc. Also they mentioned the SYNOLOGY Models.

    Do you think this READYNAS are better than the QNAP models?
  3. Hi "NetworkstorageTIPS", or anyone else who can give me a hand..., i hope you can have sometime to check out my last comment.

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