What would be my best and most reliable option for a home storage and backup server?
I already have an old Pentium 4 3.0ghz with 2gb ram running Vista that I will stop using as soon as I have my new computer. It has a 200gb and a 500gb hard drive in it
I need to backup my own documents (around 250mb), my photos (55gb), programs (12gb) and my music (50gb). I also have the intention of putting a bunch of movies on it and maybe use the computer as a media server as well.
Sminial is right, from a disater recovery standpoint, it doesn't matter if you have a 10 disks raid NAS in your basement if your house burns down or if you get robbed. But, if you're trying to protect yourself from hardware failure (which I assume you are) then a NAS is what I'd suggest.
I prefer a NAS over an old PC simply because, from my experience, they tend to be more stable and more reliable.
I personally own a D-Link 323, it's a great product to store your stuff, you do get that peace of mind knowing that your files are protected because of the mirrored drives (that you need to buy separately btw). The integrated FTP server function and Bit torrent client are pretty neat too.
Although, I must say it's not that good when it comes to stream videos. I never was able to get HD (720p or 1080p) videos to stream without jerking once in a while (and I'm on a gigabit connection).
If money isn't a problem you should look at the Synology NAS (the DS211 is the equivalent of the D-Link 323). Two of my friends have them and their performance is "much" better than my D-Link. But, like I said, they're more expensive.
And if a big matheor falls on Earth and wipes out the human civilisation, evan a remote storage will probably not help you. But in this case you'll not need your precious music collection anyway
From a more practical point of view you may just buy two identical HDDs like these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and use them in your old computer in RAID 1 configuration as a storage server. Ofcourse if your P4 computer supports RAID 1 on SATA disks.
Even if it do not support hardware RAID you can still use a software to create a RAID like configuration.
And at last there are some cheap two drive external enclosures/NAS for less as $150 without the disks.