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Looking for a storage solution for HTPC

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi All

Thanks for reading my post.

I recently built an HTPC to cater for my media needs. Mostly Films & Music. Unfortunately, due to my penchant for lossless audio and FULL HD quality movies with at least 5.1 sound, I have filled a 1TB drive in around a month!!!

So it seems glaringly obvious to me that I am going to need more storage....

Lots more storage!!!!!

So I have been reading up on different storage solutions such as NAS, WHS (don't really know much about this) and Raid Arrays. Obviously, I would like some degree of resilience built in so if I did suffer a hard disk failure I didnt lose everything on it. This leads me to thinking that Raid is a good idea.

I did look at the Synology DS411j but at ~£250 empty it strikes me as being a little expensive. plus it will only hold 4 drives. Given that at the moment 2TB drives appear to offer the best TB/£ ratio, I would only get 8TB of drives in there so will probably end up with 4 of these in the next two years!!! Starts getting messy.

I also looked at the drobo but again it only holds 4 drives. Clever tech but I feel I would soon fill it.

The other solution that came to mind was the HP ProLiant Microserver (N36L), which is about £220-240 (depending on where you buy it) but currently comes with £100 cashback from HP so effectively your geting a complete server PC in a nice small case for only ~£120-140. This (again) only houses 4 drives!

I did find a nice looking product from Lime Technology which houses 12 drives and retails for $699 (US) but also read it was unavailable. Anyone know if this is available in the UK and if so, for how much??

Lastly is the option of doing a self build (which I am not adverse to), however this is obvioulsy time consuming and introduces the possibility of incompatability issues. I was thinking to source a cheap case that houses plenty of drives internally (Coolermaster Elite 335 houses 7x3.5" and 4x5.25") which if you use a 5in3 drive cage could hold 12 3.5" drives internally.

So my questions are these;

1. what is the better storage solution given that I will connect to my media PC over GigE? Should I opt for NAS, RAID box, or WHS?

2. Which of the above three 4 drive boxes is likely the better solution?

3. If I opted for a self-build (which I feel is the cheapest in the long run), should I look to run WHS, unRAID or what OS?

4. Anybody know where to get cheap 5 in 3 drive cages? They DO NOT need to be hot swap

5. Any recommendations on a fairly cheap PCI-E SATA card (minimum 4 ports internally)
any other suggestions / ideas welcomed

thanks for reading
Edited by Redstorm_UK - 10/14/11 at 2:06am
post #2 of 3
I will try my best to help you out mate

1. Check out FlexRaid, as it will allow you to create a storage "pool" and is documented quite well. It is also scalable, which would suit your needs quite well:
http://www.flexraid.com/

2. I would personally suggest you consider several of these:
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/shark...single-525-bay

along with as many of these as you wish to add:
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-s...4mb-cache-85ms

3. For the OS, you can use Windows 7 and the Media Centre that comes with it

4. See the link in point (2)

5. http://www.scan.co.uk/products/highp...ontroller-card

Hope this helps
post #3 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redstorm_UK View Post
[...]

1. what is the better storage solution given that I will connect to my media PC over GigE? Should I opt for NAS, RAID box, or WHS?

2. Which of the above three 4 drive boxes is likely the better solution?

3. If I opted for a self-build (which I feel is the cheapest in the long run), should I look to run WHS, unRAID or what OS?

4. Anybody know where to get cheap 5 in 3 drive cages? They DO NOT need to be hot swap

5. Any recommendations on a fairly cheap PCI-E SATA card (minimum 4 ports internally)
any other suggestions / ideas welcomed

thanks for reading
1. I'm for WHS for a few reasons : I have one and know it works and have built for others and it works for them too. WHS has built in redundancy - you can mirror a HDD on a different HDD or a certain shared folder on two HDDs without having motherboard RAID.
2. A home built WHS box based on an AM3 bard w/ 6xSATA ports and a few addin PCI or PCIe SATA controllers can supply all SATA ports you'll ever need for low price and the CPU/mobo/RAM are cheap as well.
3. I studied them all and have build a "desired features" chart and a score per OS on how well each of them gives me my desired features. WHS ended up first on the list and as I said it worked for others, too.
4. No idea, but likely you won't need them at first if you use the Coolermaster Elite 335
5. amazon is your friend, all you need to do is to select what you need as card and then look at the amount and score of the reviews. The best solutions will be obvious, you should be able to find 2-3x SATA II cards for under 20$. Considering what they'll be used for performance isn't a major requirement so as long as it's sold by a reputable seller and has good reviews it should work well.

cheers
Centurion
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Centurion
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II 940 @3.3GHz 1.25V Gigabyte 790X-DS4 XFX 5850 8GB OCZ DDR2-800 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Corsair Force 3 TRUE Win 7 Pro x64 ACER 23" TN  
PowerCase
400W Silverstone Strider Antec P182 
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