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Cheap And Cheerfull Home Storage

Last response: in Systems
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May 19, 2011 4:33:15 PM

Hello All,

Despite the tons of information and informed users on this site I have posted a couple of threads about storage and still not reached a conclusion.

I have a number of external USB hard drives that I store all sorts of different files on and I am sick of not having my data centralised (for reasons of access, prettyness, ease of access ect) I am looking to consolidate my hard drives into one machine that can be accessed by say, 4 computers.

The data I store varies but the majority of files are media files (ie video, audio and image files) with a large amount of 3dsmax files, .rar files and word documents.

From what I can gather a media centre is not quite what I want and would be well beyond my price range as I am to spend under £500 pounds (hopefully much less). This is fine with me as I have no desire to record HDTV, connect to the internet, have multiple displays, or any of that stuff. What I would like is to have a very large bank of storage available to several computers in a small network, have it run 24/7, and have the data available to any of the PCs in a timely fashion. That is to say that I do not require 6GB/s speeds for piping BluRay quality film into a home theatre but would like to be able to load a film at say 720dpi in less than 10mins, even if I have to copy it onto the networked PC to do so...

In looking around the system I am after seems to be described as a NAS rather than a home server (what I thought it would be called). There are lots of premade enclosures available but they seem to be highly priced and offer very little expansion.

I have noted a few of the higher end Mobos that have 9 SATA connectors but starting at £80 for the Mobo alone they arent as cheap as I qould like.

The trouble I am faced with is - If I begin to look at older technology as a cheaper alternative, what minimum specs do I need to keep in mind? FreeNas seems to encourage 6GB of Ram, this seems high even in comparison to normal desktops (not very cheap either). Can anyone help clarify this for me?

I found this while I was trawling about today, it's an intel motherboard, very low power and with an intergrated Atom processor but only 2 SATA connectors, £70 . http://downloadmirror.intel.com/17597/eng/D945GSEJT_Tec...

I was wondering if this would answer my storage needs, given that I could attach a SATA multiplier to allow several more hard drives (obviously increasing power consumption).

What I don't know is if this would be my best option. My main priority is Cost, then volume, then speed, then power...
Perhaps I would be better with a cheap PC build crammed with hard drives but as I say, I do not know enough about these systems to understand the minimum requirments of such a machine.

Any help, advice, pointers or links would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.
!