Building new Home Media Server

For Christmas this year the wife and I are planning on getting our kids Smart TV's and building a Media Server for the house network. While I have plenty of experience building and maintaining home pc's and some experience running a server, I am kind of at a loss as to what hardware I need or would be good for such a build. Any server we build needs to potentially be able to handle simultaneous streaming to 4 devices (the 3 smart tv's and an xbox 360 or PS3). I am looking at rackmount server cases with hotswapable drivebays for ease of expansion. More bays the better to allow for future expansion.

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Starting Beginning of October

Budget Range: $3000 after taxes/shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Media Streaming/Transcoding, data storage

Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: Yes (looking at WHS or Win8)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
Any other reliable site suggested

Location: Memphis Metro area, Tennessee, USA

Parts Preferences: Intel for CPU, all others none

Overclocking: No

Additional Comments:
Future expansion is very important
Simultaneous streaming is much preferred, again 3 smart tv's and Xbox360
Possible transcoding for a PS3 (game systems are on same None Smart HDTV so might just be easier to stream to Xbox)

Smart TV's we are planning on getting
Philips - 4000 Series - 26" Class - LED - 720p - 60Hz - Smart - HDTV

Currently looking at these parts here:

NORCO RPC-4224 4U Rackmount Server Case with 24 Hot-Swappable SATA/SAS Drive Bays

ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

SUPERMICRO AOC-SAT2-MV8 64-bit PCI-X133MHz SATA II (3.0Gb/s) Controller Card 1 of these to start, motherboard has lots of additional connections

XION AXP-1000K14XE 1000W ATX SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80+ Bronze Modular Power Supply

Intel Core i5-3350P Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.3GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80637i53350P

CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 Desktop Memory Model CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10R

Western Digital AV-GP WD5000AVDS 500GB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal AV Hard Drive -Bare Drive 2 of these, one for OS and one for OS backups

Western Digital AV-GP WD20EURS 2TB 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive Data drives, 5 of these to start

NORCO C-SFF8087-4S Discrete to SFF-8087 (Reverse breakout) Cable - OEM 2 to start

Microsoft Windows Home Server 2011 64-bit OEM System Builder - OEM
11 answers Last reply
More about building home media server
  1. Anyone have any thoughts or ideas for this build?
  2. 3000$ for a home PC??? you can build something extremely good for less than 1000$

    give me a sec.
  3. here:

    CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($289.99 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($42.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($95.99 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card ($299.98 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($37.98 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($57.08 @ NCIX US)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($90.24 @ Amazon)
    Total: $984.24

    the combination of the i7 + the CUDA cores on the GTX660ti will give the ultimate transcoding performance.

    btw... are you sure you want to get a 720p TV??? its 2012, 1080p is the norm
  4. 720P's are for the kids and in that price range and size seem to be the only smart tv's we can find seriously doubt the kids will notice a difference. Got a 1080p in the front room and this box will be hooked directly into it.

    Not sure if that case will work. I already have over 1TB of media between an 750gb external drive, my laptop and what has been placed on the PS3. Have quite a few DVD's and BluRay's to digitize so the kids don't mess the disks up. This is why I was looking at the RPC-4224 as that way I can expand as I need and still keep it all internal.
  5. May Want to look at the new Tech Thunder Bolt For Media Streaming or Google to get this Link

    Here is a MoBo that has it Built into the Board:

    ASUS P8Z77-V PREMIUM LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with Thunderbolt

    This Mobo lets you use a Cell Phone to Control it to a point Still a very new tech so it can be buggy .

    With this Motherboard you could Stream Media all day long , on another note are you going to hard-Wire the TVs or use Wireless?

    You Could go Full on wireless but just make sure you have a Good Wireless Set-up or the 6 Gb Files are going to Lag badly. if you need help on The wireless let me know
  6. Gonna hardwire everything. I occasionally run into issues now with netflix on my PS3 and XBox (both wireless) when my wife and I are uploading our work for the day to the banks. Programs are bandwidth hogs.

    I'll take a look at the links in a bit.
  7. If you're looking to store movies onto a central location for the kids to view, I don't think a "Smart TV" isn't going to be able to access those movies by itself. You still need some sort of Media Extender to be able to view that content.

    I'd also ask what is your video source for live TV - Cable, Satellite, or Free Over-The-Air transmissions?

    Finally, looking at your build I noted you listed a PCI-X RAID controller. You do know that this is iffy, at best, as to whether or not it will even work in a PCI slot (completely incompatible with PCI-E), and if it does, it's limited by the PCI slot's speed.

    -Wolf sends
  8. Wolfshadw,
    thank you for pointing that out about the controller card, I missed that when I was browsing parts. Looking for a new one now.

    For live TV we have cable, haven't upgraded to digital so it is SD not HD.

    As for the smart Tv's, they are compatible with Windows Media so they should be ok.
  9. Compatible is one thing. Streaming from a central source is another. Now I may be completely off in this and if I am: 1) Please, someone correct me and 2) I'm sorry! Otherwise, please confirm with someone more knowledgeable than I am.

    I asked about your live TV set up because I wanted to introduce you to the Ceton family of products. There's actually a number of cablecard TV Tuner cards that should be compatible with your cable company.

    Ceton InfiniTV4 USB Quad Tuner - $200
    Ceton InfiniTV4 PCI-E Quad Tuner - $200
    SiliconDust HDHomeRunPrime Tri-Tuner - $160 (There's also a 6-tuner product available that requires two cablecards from your cable company).
    Hauppauge WinTV-DVR-2650 Dual Tuner - $100

    Now the selling points for these types of tuner cards are that they replace a set top box (so long as you don't mind losing Pay-Per-View) and that they're network-able. Individual tuners can be assigned to other PCs or Extenders. As an example, if you had a quad-tuner cable card solution installed in your main HTPC, you could assign one tuner to a parent's bedroom PC/extender and one each of two children's bedroom PC/extenders, and still leave one tuner for the living room. Each system/extender would act as if a physical TV Tuner card was installed.

    Now, how many TV Tuners you need is going to depend on how many systems you want to connect. My personal recommendation would be two tuners for the main system, and one each for the parent's bedroom and kid's bedrooms. Yes, you can install multiple devices into a single solution.

    Regardless of which TV Tuner solution you decide upon (and assuming you still need an extender device to stream local media to your TVs), I'd like you to take a look at the Ceton Echo. As I understand, it's currently in Beta Testing with a scheduled release at the end of the year. With this device, connected either via hardwire Cat5 or MoCA networking, it acts as if a full fledged HTPC is connected to the monitor. The only thing it lacks is an optical drive (which you want to avoid, anyway).

    Also, if your kids are old enough to have smartphones, there is a Ceton Companion App that would allow them to control the extender from a smartphone.

    All in all, the above recommendation is based on my belief that a Smart TV isn't going to be able to directly pull media stored on a PC. My first recommendation would be to go to Best Buy, where you intend to purchase these TVs, and ask a tech, "How do I display two or more locally stored media files, simultaneously onto multiple Smart TVs from my PC?".

    -Wolf sends
  10. SimonB530 - You're kind of hijacking this thread. I'd recommend you copy this post into a new thread and then edit this post with a link to the new thread. You should be able to edit this post, copy all, start a new thread and paste all. Your links should be preserved. Then either delete this post or edit it to state something along the lines of, "looking for something similar, please see my new post", with a link to your new thread.

    -Wolf sends
  11. Thanks again WolfShadw. I'll take a look at the cable tuners. The wife and I hadn't thought of linking the cable tv and we rarely use PPV anyway. Only thing is our local cable company is very restrictive so I am not sure if this is something we can do. Might be an option if TimeWarner actually does buy them out though.

    AS for the tv's we found those particular models at one of our local best buy stores and then I downloaded the manual from the manufacturer. The tv's are DLNA certified so they should be good.
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