Hey guys, I'm looking to see if I can possibly make a music server using an old Dell laptop, an external harddrive, a wireless router, and some free software. Problem is I'm not quite sure where to start or if I want is even possible!
The main thing is me and my brother have similar tastes in music, and both have quite large libraries that we would like to turn into ONE library that we can both stream (hopefully wirelessly) through our respective PCs and music players (foobar2000!!). This would save us both a lot of our own harddrive space, and it'd be nice if we could share new music this way and just tell each other like, "Hey look at the new stuff i just put in the library, it's great."
Sorry if I'm posting in the wrong place or if what I'm asking is super dumb, I'm pretty newbie.
Yes, you can keep everything stored on the external drive, which can be mapped as a network drive by your computers -- then you can play music on each of your machines off the network drive.
You can use the Dell laptop to run the drive off, but you could also save some electricity by running it off one of your computers. You just need to set the sharing and security permissions to allow everyone on the network to read and write to the selected drive.
Seeing as both of our computers are connected to the router wirelessly, would this affect quality of the music output? Also, would it be better to use a desktop external harddrive (WD My Book, Elements) or a portable one (Passport, FreeAgent)?
Music is really not too large for easy wireless transfer, you only start to have a problem with very high definition video (like streaming bluray disks), so the quality will not be affected for your uses.
It doesn't matter what type of drive you use, internal or external desktop or portable, they will all transfer data far faster than what you need for a few music streams.
For now, stay with the parts you already have. Later you can upgrade to a more expensive network attached storage (NAS) solution if your needs dictate.
An external hard drive is an internal hard drive mounted on a caddy, with or without additional software. How they run 24/7 will depend on the hard drive and may (or more likely not) be improved by software...
Either way, if you and your brother consolidate your music collections into one, and keep it all on one external hard drive, your fault tolerance will be 0 disks...
Also if you and your brother are intending to listen to different music at the same time, your hard drive will be working flat out... If you decide to run the gauntlet, you'll want something fast, nothing single platter...