HTPC and Media Server Pair New Build Need Advice

Approximate Purchase Date: within a month
Budget Range: flexible ($500-$1500)
System Usage from Most to Least Important: music and movies storage
Parts Not Required: monitor or speakers (hooking up to home theater)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

So I am looking to build a HTPC with little or no storage, coupled with a media server with a lot of storage.
I would like the HTPC to be somewhat small, as it should have very little stored on it. I plan on keeping all of my media on the server which I will keep away from the home theater set-up. I would like the server to have room for around 10 3.5" hard drives in the future. I will only need about 5tb to start with.

Let me know if any more info will be of help.

Thanks in advance!!
5 answers Last reply
More about htpc media server pair build advice
  1. i took on the same ambitious project about 2.5 years ago to build a server with TB's of storage, i think i could help you out and share what i learned from my build. but first some questions...

    do you want your 5tb's of storage as single logical partition? do you want fault tolerance and/or scalability? (what i'm getting at is are you looking at including a raid controller card)
    does your budget include software and an OS?
    will you be using your htpc just for playing media, or gaming too?
    can your server be headless, or does it require monitor/mouse/etc?
  2. I plan to keep the drives partitioned separately. I guess a single partition would be nice, but I would want to easily add another drive. I do not plan on including a raid controller card. I feel that most decent ones would put me well over budget, and have had a couple bad experiences with them in the past.

    I intended my budget to be mostly hardware. I have access to free OS (including Windows 7) from MSDNAA. Is there other software I will be needing and should be aware of?

    I will just be using my htpc for playing media.

    Lastly, I don't see a reason why I would need a monitor, mouse, etc. for my server. I was hoping to have something I could just manage from my home network. (although if this is very difficult I hope to find out before actually purchasing hardware).
  3. good to know what is expected to be included in price or not. i'll leave out software, raid controller, peripherals...
    keep in mind though that if/when one of your drives fails you may change your tune regarding raiding (speaking from experience). even if your server is to be headless you should have the ability to hook it up a monitor/mouse/keyboard in the event something goes wrong that can't be fixed over the network.
    also, i'll just put it out there, but if you intend to use the htpc ONLY to watch media you may want to consider a WDTV live instead. it'd be a cheaper option than a full-fledged pc, i've got one on my secondary TV and it's a great alternative.

    alright, i've come up with a pretty inexpensive option so as to leave you with room to put more $$ where you feel you'll want improvements/extras and still stay under budget.

    mobo/cpu: ZOTAC NM10-B-E w/ 6 SATA ports ($140)
    ram: Mushkin Enhanced 4GB ($50)
    hdds: WD25EZRSDTL 2.5TB x2 ($220)
    case: SILVERSTONE RV03B-W w/ 10 3.5" bays ($160)
    psu: any basic 400W thing will do ($40)
    total: $600

    HTPC: (i've got this exact build right now and love it)
    mobo/cpu: ASUS E35M1-I ($175)
    ram: CORSAIR XMS 4GB ($40)
    case/psu: Antec ISK ($75)
    ssd: OCZ Agility 3 60G ($135)
    total: $425

    all in all this will get you a bitbucket with low power consumption, ports for 6 drives, room for 10 drives. when you've filled up all 6 ports you'll have to add a controller card (~$150) to get another 4 (but doesn't require raiding them)
    and you've got a htpc that's dead silent and quick.
    the total price is only $1025, you've got quite some room for the inevitable odds and ends (cables, fans) and any extras you may decide to throw in (may i suggest a Logitech diNovo Edge for the htpc))

    i hope this is a good starting point for you...
  4. Thanks a lot for your suggestions.

    When I make the server, what OS would you recommend? I was considering just installing windows 7 and using the built in home network sharing capabilities to share the files. I am just wondering if this is an OK way to go.

    Also, assuming I fill up my server at some point (10 hdds), wouldn't I need a >400W PSU to power them all?

    Thanks again,

  5. yes, windows' network sharing is more than fine, though i'm not certain how different versions handle sharing. i'd stay away from starter/home basic, pro would be ideal.

    hdd's really don't take much power at all, green ones like i suggested usually idle at <1W and max out at ~4W, and the atom 510 maxes at 13W. even with 10 working drives and an atom under load, even a 100W psu would be sufficient.

    my server (atom 330, 5x hdd's, hardware accelerated raid card) idles at 15W and has never broke 60W. my antec earthwatts 380 is more than enough.

    btw, i'm changing my mind on that silverstone case, it's butt ugly and doesn't have 10 proper hdd bays.
    get this instead.
Ask a new question

Read More

Systems Product