I would like to store my music files on an external source - and I would like the ability to play them back without having to copy to the PC. So I guess I am looking at a device that can stream fairly well.
What would the best method be for this - using an external HDD [either internal HDD with enclosure or a prebuilt one] or NAS?
And can you give me some recommendations as well?
Traditionally I buy Seagate - only ever had one fail on me about 15 years ago, but I understand that quality does change. I have a very limited budget, so an inexpensive solution is preferred.
I was looking at something like this [WD 5 year pushed me in that direction]:
I have tried :
a) using a dedicated PC and its internal drive as shared drive. It is slow, takes a lot of space and is so-so in term of performance.
b) using an external drive. USB2, USB3, eSATA... Works nice if you have only 1 computer or if you want to take it with you. However, it does not offer any protection against loss. My WDBook died over night after one year without any warning. Ditto with LaCie (although it lasted nearly 3 years).
c) Real NAS/RAID. After a bad experience with a cheaper brand, I bought a Synology DS211j (2 drives) and, more recently, a DS411j. I love them both. As a NAS it has a nice interface, simple to use and quite flexible. Their latest OS DSM 4.0 will manage security to your router/firewall, media station, iTune server, photo and video station and file server. As a RAID, it offers you a wide variety of stripping, duplication, redundancy.
I am not employed or paid by Synology, but simply a very satisfied customer.
If you are on a tight budget, I suggest you get a Synology or Drobo (I have heard good things about them too although never really used them...). Buy a 2 drive NAS and use it with full redundancy and budget to buy a new pair of bigger drives every year or so. (Mileage may and will vary...)