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HDD price solution

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November 16, 2011 12:43:29 PM

So as everyone is aware hard drive prices are currently unreal. Probably by the end of the year I'm building a HTPC, so obviously that's bad timing. If I were to buy a 60gb ssd, run it as a boot drive, and storage for a while, about how many hours of hd video could I store on it? I have a rain check with best buy for a 2tb caviar green ($80) but obviously it may be a while before I can get that. Could I limp along until the hard drive comes in, then install it. Or will the 60gb provide too little space for video storage? It would be used pretty much solely as a dvr until I get a hard drive.

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a b G Storage
November 16, 2011 1:03:01 PM

8 to 10 Gigs for 1 hour of recording is a pretty reasonable estimate. You will also need about 20 Gigs for a Windows install. That 60gig drive is going to fill up very very fast unless you are constantly deleting things, and only keeping a few shows at a time.
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November 16, 2011 1:03:53 PM

60 Gb SSD would leave approx. 30 Gb for storage once the operating system is installed. How many hours of HD it would leave you with depends on the format. I have seen HD video in mkv. format which was about 1.5 Gb per hour which was 720p (HD not fullHD 1080p).
It is definetely not ideal for storage of video. Even with the recent increased prices on traditional hard drives they are still a better solution. But a SSD will make your HTPC more snappy and boot faster / shut down faster so yeah you could start with that at least then get a traditional hard drive for storage.
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November 16, 2011 1:04:39 PM

Depends on the compression of the HD video. My camcorder stores video at 8GB per hour. When I compress it down I typically select something close to 4Mbps (or 1.75GB per hour).

Windows 7 will take ~15GB if configured correctly, throw in a handful of programs and other things and you'll probably be close to 25GB. So, with less than 35GB left (space needs to be used by the file system, and the decimal to hex conversion) you can store less than 19 hours of HD video @ 4Mbps.

A good solution is look around for 80GB drives that people are tossing and re-use those. Sadly motherboard manufacturers are removing the IDE connectors or they would still be useful in more builds.
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November 16, 2011 1:05:26 PM

if your using windows 7 youd have maybe 40 gig free after install and updates,

But the storage vastly depends on the compression rate of the video , uncompressed video is very large and depends only on the resolution (i.e. HD 1920x1080 or old TV (SD) 720x576) anyway a minute of uncompressed HD quality video is about 7GB a minute of uncompressed SD is around 1GB.
So compression is used to make this smaller. For an 1 hour of HD video with good compression you are looking at around 1.5GB's
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November 16, 2011 1:11:48 PM

I will be using WMC with window 7, what compression does it use? Again I would only do this because right now I could get a hard drive for about the same (or more) than what I could buy a SSD now and get the hd whenever Best Buy gets them in stock again.
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Best solution

November 16, 2011 1:13:17 PM

You can't wait until you get the $80 2TB drive? You said end of the year for the build, that's 6 weeks from now. Get a Grip!
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a b G Storage
November 16, 2011 1:17:48 PM

Something to consider:

Only put the SSD in the HTPC, and then stream video from another computer in the house (be it a dedicated server, or your regular use PC). Then, as things grow and HDD prices drop again, build a little home server. It does not have to be fast, even an Atom 525 would do the trick (though you may want something better), just so long as it has a RAID controller and windows home server (or Linux equivalent). Store all of your media, and backups on a RAID 1 or 10 on the server, and stream everything through the network. This provides some redundancy, plus will allow you to stream content between more computers, as well as having a backup image of your computers if anything were to go wrong, and provide a space where everyone in the household can have a unified music and video library for the house, rather than attempting to sync everyone's music and videos every few months. Also, if your HTPC is fanless then it will be absolutely silent without a mechanical HDD :) 

If it is just you in the house, then I suppose the server wouldnt matter, but I know just keeping files straight between my wife and I is a major pain. And now that we have a renter, and friends coming over it would be nice to have things like music and video be open to the network (while keeping document private of course).
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a b G Storage
November 16, 2011 1:25:25 PM

WMC is a playback interface of WMP, it is format agnostic (to an extent). What formats you use are going to be dependant on what you want for size vs quality vs ripping software used vs features (not all formats allow for subtitles, or 5.1 audio, etc). Also, when learning about things understand that there is a difference between 'containers' like WMV, AVI, MPG, etc. and 'compressions' like h264, lagarith, cinepack, etc. The container generally dictates the features available, as well as the compressors allowed to be used within it, while the compression is simply a trade-off of file-size, quality, and upscaleability.

For example, h264 is a wonderful compression (one I use a lot and will likely use when I get my home server up and running), but it does not upscale well so you will want to rip your content to your preferred resolution. mpeg on the other hand is not the best quality/GB, but I am constantly amazed at how well it can upscale, which makes it a viable option to save everything at SD or 720p at high quality and still upscale to 1080p without too many visual artifacts (though textures will be gone). You will have to play with whatever ripper you plan on using to find what works best for your computer and TV before making a decision.
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November 16, 2011 2:03:52 PM

Best answer selected by lca1443.
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November 16, 2011 2:05:25 PM

DelroyMonjo said:
You can't wait until you get the $80 2TB drive? You said end of the year for the build, that's 6 weeks from now. Get a Grip!


I know I should just do this, but right now there are some deals to be had on SSD's and I being too impatient. Thanks for reminding me to practice restraint. Making yourself wait for things makes them much better when they finally come.
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