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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

I'm considering building my own media server and then a seaprate HTPC. The HTPC would be very simple. It would just run Win7 and have a Blu Ray ODD. It would access Blu Ray and HD DVD files I have ripped from some file storage over the network and send it to my Denon AV Tuner to display on my projector. My entire house is wired with Cat 6 Ethernet gigabit connections.

The media server is the question. It would be a completely separate machine from my HTPC. I would like it to do the following:
  • Be on all the time
  • Use low power
  • Handle 2 to 4 SATA drives (hopefully SATA 3)
  • Easy access to the video files
To do this, I am trying to decide what to build:
  1. Processor: Should I use an Intel Core i3-2100? Is that overkill? Or something smaller like the AMD E-350? What do folks recommend?
  2. Motherboard: Should I do one of those combo motherboard/CPU things? This would go along with the first question if I do an Atom or an AMD E-350...
  3. Memory: 4GB DDR3? 8GB DDR3? Am I smokin' crack?
  4. Backplane for hot swappable drives: Is this necessary?
  5. Case: What's a good case for this system?
Thank you in advance!!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by GamingDaemon;14225182
  1. Processor: Should I use an Intel Core i3-2100? Is that overkill? Or something smaller like the AMD E-350? What do folks recommend?
  2. Motherboard: Should I do one of those combo motherboard/CPU things? This would go along with the first question if I do an Atom or an AMD E-350...
  3. Memory: 4GB DDR3? 8GB DDR3? Am I smokin' crack?
  4. Backplane for hot swappable drives: Is this necessary?
  5. Case: What's a good case for this system?
1.) Processor, almost anything will be able to handle simple file sharing. i3 2100 will work, E350 and atom will both work. I don't think it would be necessary to go any higher than that if it's just file sharing.
2.) Depends if you choose atom/e350 or separate processor/mobo. SATA3 is not important, 3.5 mechanical drives cannot saturate it. Just make sure it has enough SATA ports for the amount of drives you want, otherwise you'll need expansion card.
3.) 2GB would work even, but RAM is so cheap no reason to not just get a single 4GB stick
4.) Hot-swap not really necessary, usually good for critical applications, Home file storage doesn't need it. (though the case I list below does have it) Just a nice extra to save time on powering down to replace drive failures.
5.) Case : how small/big do you want? is 4 hard drives the most you would use? I use a Lian Li A05NB, hold ten of drives after I converted the 5.25 bays. If you go with mini-ITX build, I think this Chenbro case is a great option : http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=CA-3416912&title=Chenbro-ES34169-BK-120-120W-Mini-ITX-Server-Chassis

So I guess post back with what size case you want and budget and I can provide couple builds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Jonowxeno!

Based on what you've said, I'm struggling on two fronts now:
  1. First, I'm looking for a solid motherboard that has six SATA slots
  2. And second, a good case.
Here are the cases I am looking at now:
  1. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811123127
  2. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146051
  3. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352002
So, if anyone can recommend a good motherboard that has 6 SATA slots, or speak to any of these cases, I am really interested...
 

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I just ordered a file server build from the egg that has an E-350 proc on an Asus m-itx board.

I used 3 HDDs (1 (500GB) for OS and 2 (2 TB) for Raid-1). I got a case that has 1 internal 3.5" 1 external 3.5" and a 5.25" I then used this for the 5.25. It allows for a slim ODD because I just can't seem to get myself to part with them.
tongue.gif


If you are fine with only 3 drives I'd get this and just use the adapter. I also swapped out the PSU on that for a different one. The case uses flex-atx power supplies. There are 5.25 to 2.5 hot swap bays if you want to use those. I just wanted something that could fit in my shelf and me not have to worry about it.

I was looking for a cheap build and my final price was around $500.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by armourcore9brker;14230318
I just order a file server build from the egg that has an E-350 proc on an Asus m-itx board.

I used 3 HDDs (1 (500GB) for OS and 2 (2 TB) for Raid-1). I got a case that has 1 internal 3.5" 1 external 3.5" and a 5.25" I then used this for the 5.25. It allows for a slim ODD because I just can't seem to get myself to part with them.
tongue.gif


If you are fine with only 3 drives I'd get this and just use the adapter. I also swapped out the PSU on that for a different one. The case uses flex-atx power supplies. There are 5.25 to 2.5 hot swap bays if you want to use those. I just wanted something that could fit in my shelf and me not have to worry about it.

I was looking for a cheap build and my final price was around $500.
I like the price. Thank you for the advice!
Quote:
Originally Posted by kujon;14230427
did you get a chance to check out this case?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112266
Nice case!! I think I prefer the black version and it is a little cheaper: LIAN LI PC-Q08B

Looks like I could get about 6 drives in there, definitely 3 very easily. Thank you.
 

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Have you considered using an external 4+ bay eSATA port multiplier enclosure? There are quite a few in the under-$200 range. Some even come with PCIe controllers, in case your motherboard doesn't have an eSATA port that supports port multipliers. These will pretty much only use the electricity your HDDs need. If the HTPC is the only system that needs regular access to the drives, then this is the most energy-efficient method.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonowxeno;14236238
The Q08 is decent, have you looked at the lian-li A04 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112316

That's what I'm using, fits 7 3.5 drives + 1 2.5, but I converted the 5.25 drive bays so I have a total of 10 3.5 drives + a 2.5 SSD for OS.
I like the A04 too, but the Lian Li PC-Q08B might fit better sitting on top of my rack in my home theatre closet: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112265

Has anyone used that one?

Also, Zap, can you tell me more about the eSTAT port multiplier? Is there one someone can recommend?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by GamingDaemon;14230730
I like the price. Thank you for the advice!

Nice case!! I think I prefer the black version and it is a little cheaper: LIAN LI PC-Q08B

Looks like I could get about 6 drives in there, definitely 3 very easily. Thank you.
yup, just pick up a mini itx board with a good amount of sata ports and you're good to go
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by GamingDaemon
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Also, Zap, can you tell me more about the eSTAT port multiplier? Is there one someone can recommend?

I do not have a recommendation. I own one, but picked it up on a hot deal and have not used it yet.


They are listed at Newegg under server RAID systems. Most of them support some kind of RAID, but you can also use them in JBOD.

A basic 4 drive unit runs around $100 without interface card. If you already have an eSATA port that supports port multipliers then this is a cheap way to get started. You can also get ones that support USB 2.0 and even USB 3.0 so you can hook it up to any computer. That one even supports hot swapping drives. Some come with eSATA PCIe cards. Some come with SATA 6G cards so while the drives in the box can be anything, the interface between the box and the host computer has more bandwidth. Of course if 4-5 drives aren't enough, you can do 8 drives.

Note that there are often bad end user reviews of all these units. Most of them come from the users not using them with an eSATA port that supports port multipliers, or from them not setting up the various RAID/JBOD modes properly. And of course some of these enclosures can just be finicky, but then again some computers are that way too.
 
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