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Old February 11, 2012, 08:15 PM
PeterSmyth PeterSmyth is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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Default Home Media Server Help

Hey everyone, this is my first post, please be gentle:)

I am currently considering building a home media server. I have a mental checklist of things that it needs to do, but I'm not sure of the best way to implement them.

-Must be able to stream 1080p movies around the house to various devices (more than one device at the same time would be nice, but not necessary)
-Must be able to run some kind of torrent client
-Must have some kind of data redundancy(1 parity drive would be plenty for my needs)
-I think I would start off with 3 drives(2 data, 1 parity), but I may expand to more later on
-Low power draw would be ideal, but is not 100% necessary
-Would be running for long periods of time, if not 24/7
-Trying to keep the budget around $300-$400(If this is unreasonable, let me know. I am willing to wait for HDDs to come back down in price)

It seems like an integrated CPU/Motherboard is the route to go. However, most only have 2 SATA ports. What are the ways of increasing the number of available SATA ports. Are there any problems with mixing SATA ports from the motherboard vs. SATA ports from a PCI card?
Does passive cooling on the CPU carry any significant advantage, ie less dust?
How hot do the HDDs get? Is it worth looking into a case with lots of front vents/fans?

I am debating using linux for the OS(Although I could be convinced otherwise). What is a good OS that will allow me to implement some kind of software RAID, as well as run a torrent client? As I mentioned briefly above, I plan to start with 3 drives(2 data, 1 parity). I might want to add more drive(s) later on. 4 drives total seems like a realistic number, although having the capacity to have up to 6 total drives would be nice.

As for the devices that will be connecting to the server, it is essentially a bunch of Windows machines, as well as one Macbook. An HTPC might be added later on down the road. I want to server to simply show up as a network drive, but if there is a more elegant/different way of accessing files from the machines, that would be fine.

I know it's alot of questions, I appreciate any feedback.
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