Whats a better choice, NAS or PC?

Hi everyone,

Here is what I have..3 machines running Win 7 over a wired network plus an Xbox 360(wireless) all connected via the same router. I have 1 2 TB external HD which is connected to my machine. I would like to have a backup solution that is always on.

The NAS route seems like the obvious choice for media storage\streaming and network backup but I have an old machine I could probably use in this role.

My concern is what would be less of a power draw, a separate machine that is always on vs a NAS that is always on. Additionally noise is an issue as most of these computers are in my bedroom.

Any suggestions would be appreciated as I want to take advantage of various holiday sales this weekend if I need to order anything.
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  1. i have 2 old pentium 4 NAS in my basement running 24/7 for about 2 years now. my electric bill doesn't seems to increase much comparing to when i didn't have the NAS system. if i were you, i would build a NAS out of some old parts that are energy efficience. as for the noises, it will be noticeable because of all the hardives spinning and the fans etc.
  2. Well, a NAS will draw power for the hard disk(s), and then a bit for its electronics. I've an Iomega NAS with 2 HDDs, and my UPS reports its draw is under 17 W (my UPS doesn't have good power measurement resolution).

    A PC would inevitably draw more, unless you've got an Atom/Brazos lying around.

    That said, a PC can do a whole lot more - you could make it your NAS and proxy server, media server, etc. I guess it boils down to your use case.

    When it comes to noise, it depends. My NAS makes quite a racket, and this opinion is shared by others reviews (maybe RAID-1 causes this?). Then again, there are single-disk NAS solutions that are whisper quiet. So, if you're shortlisting NASes, their reviews will help.
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