RAID5 File Server

Hi guys,

I would like to build an inexpensive RAID file server (RAID 5 seems like the best from what I've read) to hold movies, music, and software for home use. I currently have about 1 TB of storage already used in various external drives, and I would like this new file server to have 4-5 TB minimum (or more, depending on how much more expensive it would be. I won't have this stuff backed up anywhere else, so I need redundancy, but I also want to maximize space. Speed is not as important as long as my movies and TV shows aren't skipping.

One other option I would like to have (if it does not raise the price significantly) is to connect this file server vis HDMI to my 32" TV and watch thse movies, tv shows, etc. I'd like a recommendation for software to use that would have a nice interface for this.


BUDGET RANGE: Cheapest that will get the job done. I want good quality drives (I was thinking 3.5" 7200 RPM 1TB drives, but let me know if there is a more efficient option).

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: serving movies, tv shows, and music to other computers in my house. playing movies, tv shows, etc on my tv.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I only require the parts for the actual machine, and a recommended OS.


PARTS PREFERENCES: no preference


MONITOR RESOLUTION: whatever works for a widescreen tv
5 answers Last reply
More about raid5 file server
  1. What's your budget?
  2. Any number I could give would be arbitrary, because I don't know how much this could cost. I just want something that meets my needs (maximum storage space, speed not very important) at a minimal cost. I'd like to keep it around 1K if possible.
  3. Let's assume I bought six of these for this project:

    Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

    I just need to know what case/power supply, RAID controller, mobo, RAM, videocard, processor, and OS to get.
  4. Since you won't have a backup, you definitely need to stay away from Raid 5 because it only allows one drive to fail, and many people have lost all their data while rebuilding due to another drive failing. You want either Raid 10 or Raid 6. A 4 drive Raid 10 with 1.5TB drives will give you 3TB to use and a 6 drive Raid 6 will give you 4TB. For Raid 10, you can easily use Intel's onboard Raid which the ASUS P5Q SE for $95 can provide or get one with built in graphics for about the same price. You want to look for ICH10R. For Raid 6, you would need a hardware controller which the Highpoint 4320 8port works very nicely. Raid 5 and 6 really require a hardware controller to work properly so try not to listen to anyone suggesting using the onboard Raid for Raid 5. There are a couple of long threads discussing all the problems people are having with Raid 5 and onboard Raid.

    This is my area of expertise. I have 11 drives in my main PC(was 13 at one point) and I like Lian-Li cases but they are expensive. PC Power & Cooling psu 500w should be fine. Another thing to consider is if you use a hardware Raid controller, it will use "Staggered Spin up" for the drives so the power draw isn't high when booting up. For OS, why not try Windows 7 x64 for free for a year. Whichever case you get, you will need at least 2 120mm fans for the drives. Or use low heat/power drives and a single 120mm fan should work. A cheap Intel dual-core and 2GB of ram will be fine.
  5. just remember to get a small boot drive for windows, so if you have to reinstall, you can without having to back up much, if anything
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