HTPC or WHS build?

Hey guys, I recently started putting my own systems together after about a ten year hiatus. I started off by building myself a pretty solid gaming rig, then one for my girlfriend. I have always liked the prospect of having a home server to share my movies and music throughout the house and elsewhere as well as having a central repository for all my computers.

So here is my dilema obviously the home server option has come a LONG way since the last time I was building but I think the HTPC / NAS combo may suit my needs. I have about $1500 that I am allowing myself to spend on this project.

So what say you current builder community? I am looking for opinions or ideas!

Thanks to all in advance! :)
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  1. mini itx HTPC would be best. It would only cost you less than $500 lol not 1.5k :) Then again, i have no experience with NAS maybe it would bump the cost to 1.5k :(.
  2. i don't mean to thread hijack here, but I JUST built a HTPC that is exactly what you're looking for. See the link below;

    Scroll to the bottom for pics and see if it suits your liking.

    Just make sure you network your home with CAT5/6 and have a gigabit router/switch and you're golden
  3. Thank you both for the speedy reply and recommendations! I especially appreciate the cost and build shares! Admittedly I have gone a bit overboard with my recent builds, mostly due to the sheer excitement for what is available now compared to 2001!

    I am currently leaning toward the HTPC supplemented by a NAS, im just not sure about where the HTPC would "live" as my TVs and AV components are all wall mounted. My summer project this year was to route CAT6 cable to my living and bedrooms so the server option is shining a bit more due to that recent investment. I often travel quite a bit for work (continental US and Japan) so the servers ability to stream and connect me to home is very appealing to me.

    Since HTPC is pretty new to me how does it handle multiple HD streams? Assuming network is not a constraint.

    BTW, Steelbeast, 13 HDD bays is beyond awesome and is definately drool worthy for me!
  4. Oh! A bit more info, I am planning a 6x3TB HDD set up as I will be ripping and storing approx 60 BD movies. And forgive my ignorance to HTPC it won't nessecerily have to sit next to the TV, I just picture HTPC in my minds eye as an AV component that needs to be clustered with the rest, but various networking solutions take care of that issue. *face palm

    The link is old but maybe it can help. I'm sorry I don't know much about it but I heard the APUs

    a8-3850 can be a good HTPC since it also has a great GPU built in.
  6. Thanks cutebeans! I enjoyed the article! I decided to go the htpc route. So now I just have to pick my parts!
    Thanks again!
  7. k0alaFRESH said:
    Thanks cutebeans! I enjoyed the article! I decided to go the htpc route. So now I just have to pick my parts!
    Thanks again!

    Yeah, HTPC is just way more flexible and my build proves it. The only difference with my build is that i "shatter" the concept of a super small box for a HTPC AND using separate NAS boxes which create alot of additional cost and overhead. You can always turn my HTPC on its side and will somewhat match Home Theater components, which interestingly isn't that much bigger than an A/V receiver lol! If you scroll down on my thread there's a picture of it sitting on a standard size bookshelf piece of glass for perspective. People just have to think out of the box (no pun intended) :)

    EDIT: The only issue you have is that all your stuff is wall-mounted. I don't know your layout, but there are workarounds making it look decent. For example, putting behind a couch or large speaker, under a corner table, bunching it with other components to blend in, etc.Otherwise I will have to recommend using additional NAS boxes tucked away in an office or closet if top-knotch aesthetics are a "must" for you.

    EDIT 2: If you plan on streaming HD video to 3+ HDTVs at the same time, you will probably have I/O issues. Best way around that would be to "stagger" the load using a few NAS boxes so it isn't saturating your poor single Gigabit port on the HTPC. However, that only helps if people aren't trying to access the same NAS/HDD for their media lol. At which point, you'll want 7200 rpm drives. It's tricky business when you have a heavy demand.

    You can also "downmix" the stream using PS3 Media Server or something, but that kind of defeats the purpose of HD.
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