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Old May 23, 2013, 01:00 PM
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Default Building a Media Server... Not a gaming rig

Normally I build gaming rigs and you guys are awesome with your advice. Now I'm building a Media Server for my home and looking for more of that awesome advice!

I have 4 HD T.Vs (3 x Samsung and 1 x Panasonic), 3 PCs, 2 phones (Android) and a tablet that this media server will serve. That being said, I will house the server under my office desk and connect it to my network with a CAT 6 cable. I need to have 8 bays so I can add lots of drives down the road. I want USB 3.0 for my USB key to connect quickly.

This server will be on 24x7 and is connected to a small UPS. I will run Windows 7 (I have experience with this OS) on this server along with FTP, My own site (I have an IP service), streaming, DLNA, RDP, video recording from my security cameras, usenet, permissions based network access and more.

So, here is the parts list... Keep in mind I haven't shopped around for pricing yet, I'll do that later.

SSD for OS:
Intel 520 120GB
Newegg.ca - Intel 520 Series Cherryville SSDSC2CW120A3K5 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

PSU:
Corsair AX760 760W 80 Plus Platinum
I want efficiency since it'll be on 24/7 and be large enough to power the drives I plan to add later
Newegg.ca - CORSAIR AX760 760W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS PLATINUM Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Case:
Azza Solano 1000
It's big enough for everything I need and has decent cooling
Newegg.ca - AZZA Solano 1000 Black/Black Japanese SECC Steel/Metal mesh in front ATX Full Tower Computer Case

Motherboard:
Asus P8C WS ATX LGA 1155
Supports the CPU I want, has the PCI-e 3.0 x 8 slot I need, has 6 SATA connectors on board (2 of them are 6 GB/s), has USB 3.0
Newegg.ca - ASUS P8C WS ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1155 Intel C216 DDR3 1600
I'm still considering this one: Newegg.ca - Supermicro X9SAE-V Desktop Motherboard - Intel C216 Chipset - Socket H2 LGA-1155 - Retail Pack

CPU:
Intel Xeon E3-1230 Ivy Bridge or i3-3225 Ivy Bridge
Newegg.ca - Intel Xeon E3-1230 V2 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 69W Quad-Core Server Processor BX80637E31230V2 or Newegg.ca - Intel Core i3-3225 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 55W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I33225

RAM:
Corsair Vengence 16Gb
This is cheap, has great reviews and is pretty fast. I don't think I'll ever need more than 16 GB.
Newegg.ca - CORSAIR Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CML16GX3M2A1600C10

RAID Card:
LSI MegaRAID LSI00331 (9271-8i)
This card has the new 2208 controller, 8 internal connectors, supports 6 GB/s, is just a BEAST overall.
Newegg.ca - LSI MegaRAID LSI00331 (9271-8i) PCI-Express 3.0 x8 Low Profile SATA / SAS RAID Controller - Kit

HDD for RAID 5:
I'm really lost here... Not sure if I should get the RE or Red or go with Seagate maybe? Do I go 2 TB, 3 TB or 4 TB? I'm thinking Western Digital Red 3 TB or Seagate Barracuda 3 TB because of price.

Any advice is greatly appreciated as always.

My budget is about $2,500, but I always have a tough time sticking to it... LOL!

Thank you,
Sameer

Last edited by Lalji; May 23, 2013 at 01:27 PM.
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Old May 23, 2013, 01:23 PM
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Why not buy a NAS instead? It'll handle what you want to do and requires less maintenance and upkeep. Something like the QNAP TS-869L/TS-869 Pro or the Synology DS1812+. These units run about $1100.

The Synology units offer easier expansion too so you can add up to 18 more drives to that base unit.

I would recommend the WD Red's at 3TB or 4TB. Might as well go as big as you can afford so you don't need to replace any drives as you expand.
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Old May 23, 2013, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by JD View Post
Why not buy a NAS instead? It'll handle what you want to do and requires less maintenance and upkeep. Something like the QNAP TS-869L/TS-869 Pro or the Synology DS1812+. These units run about $1100.

The Synology units offer easier expansion too so you can add up to 18 more drives to that base unit.

I would recommend the WD Red's at 3TB or 4TB. Might as well go as big as you can afford so you don't need to replace any drives as you expand.
Way to throw a wrench into my plans! That QNAP and Synology look really good! Do you have experience with these units? I notice their performance is quite a bit slower than the solution I outlined, but it is quite a bit cheaper!
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Old May 23, 2013, 02:24 PM
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I have a 4-bay unit, the QNAP TS-469L. It's still Intel Atom based though, similar to those 8-bay units. It's filled with 4x3TB WD Red's in RAID6.

Though I do agree, performance is lesser than that of a PC (I had a similar setup to you as well), but this NAS is far more convenient and if a drive ever dies, at least I have LED notification and hot-swap caddies to replace it effortlessly. Uptime is also far better since you don't have to be bothered with Windows Updates or Windows in general being unstable.

Speeds typically range from 30-100MB/s, be it reading or writing. I suspect performance would be better with only RAID1 or RAID10 as those are less intensive, but I opted for higher availability and redundancy than speed. Either way, it is more than fast enough to stream media.

I run Plex on my NAS too (QNAP has an "app store" of sorts) which works nicely. Streaming outside my house sucks regardless since I only have a 1Mbps upload speed, but it does work. There's lighter DLNA/UPnP media servers too though like PS3 Media Server or Twonky (default).

I also have Transmission running on it to for torrent downloading. That works perfectly fine too. I believe there's Usenet clients available too.

It of course has HTTP, FTP, SQL, LDAP, VPN, etc capabilities too. It's basically a server in a box.

The only issue I've ran into with my QNAP is that you cannot share external media devices. They can only be accessed via the web file manager.

This was also my first NAS purchase, so I don't have any experience with Synology. From what I read though when I decided to buy mine, they both run very similar software with similar features. I got the QNAP because it was cheaper than the comparable Synology due to boxing day sales.
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Old May 23, 2013, 04:25 PM
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I will +1 Synology I use the RS812's as backup media at clients. They work well and have load balance/fail over capabilities. I just installed the cheap $200 Synology unit at a smaller clients and it has some fancy web browser OS looking setup. Was impressed with the overall feel on the cheaper unit for what was paid. One issue with the $200 unit is the cpu is weak, you max out the cpu at about 60MB/s.

I have not used any for media streaming or apps. but the Synology units have a widget store of sorts as well. They do have a lot of functionality.
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Old May 23, 2013, 05:04 PM
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I think you are spending way too much money for what you plan on doing w/ the machine. You could spend half as much on the motherboard, power supply, and ram and likely not have any drop in any performance. You could stick w/ the quad if you plan on doing any transcoding to PS3s, etc.

Your bottleneck will be your network so I also do not see the need in a $700 RAID controller. You will be limited to 112MB/s no matter what card and drives you are using.
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Old May 23, 2013, 05:45 PM
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Motherboard: Newegg.ca - SUPERMICRO MBD-X9SCL+-F Micro ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1155 Intel C202 DDR3 1333
CPU: Newegg.ca - Intel Xeon E3-1230 V2 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 69W Quad-Core Server Processor BX80637E31230V2
RAM : Kingston KVR1333D3E9S/8G 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 ECC CL9 DIMM that one is tested on that particular MB
Case: Personal choice but I prefer the Fractal design cases
PSU: Newegg.ca - SeaSonic G Series SSR-550RM 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply -->that is plenty, you don't need more than that for some drives.

That would bring you around ~600$ I think so you have plenty more for the drives and then some.

For the O/S, you can go with either a 60GB SSD or perhaps 2 cheap HDDs in raid 1.

Since you'd like to RDP onto that build you can go either windows 7 or perhaps Windows Server Essentials? I think my build would be quite affordable and still far more flexible than a NAS could be. You can also just buy used stuff in the BST section..

FYI, my server is a Gigabyte P55 UD2 MB / I5 750 / 8GB G.skill / crappy Sata card. I use Server 2012, Hitachi desktars in raid 5 and I have a raid 0 array of crappy seagates drives running ~ 5 virtual machines. It has been rock solid for the past ~3 years. If I was to build another one today, I'd just buy used stuff.

I don't know if you really need that kind of Raid card for such a build tho. I use the integrated software raid in Windows Server and I have had no issue so far. As bad as it is, I can read/write around 110MB/s average and peak at 125MB/s with only 3 drives in raid 5.

+ the advantage of going Windows servers - You can have a windows deployment server, update services, you can join your PC in a domain and centrally manage accounts and security...

Finally, I don't know what you use to stream to your iDevices but I use "Airplay it" and it works quite well. It compresses the files so you don't have to keep the full hd movie + a compressed version to stream over WiFi. Only downside is that it hasn't been updated for the iPhone 5.
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Old May 23, 2013, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD View Post
I have a 4-bay unit, the QNAP TS-469L. It's still Intel Atom based though, similar to those 8-bay units. It's filled with 4x3TB WD Red's in RAID6.

Though I do agree, performance is lesser than that of a PC (I had a similar setup to you as well), but this NAS is far more convenient and if a drive ever dies, at least I have LED notification and hot-swap caddies to replace it effortlessly. Uptime is also far better since you don't have to be bothered with Windows Updates or Windows in general being unstable.

Speeds typically range from 30-100MB/s, be it reading or writing. I suspect performance would be better with only RAID1 or RAID10 as those are less intensive, but I opted for higher availability and redundancy than speed. Either way, it is more than fast enough to stream media.

I run Plex on my NAS too (QNAP has an "app store" of sorts) which works nicely. Streaming outside my house sucks regardless since I only have a 1Mbps upload speed, but it does work. There's lighter DLNA/UPnP media servers too though like PS3 Media Server or Twonky (default).

I also have Transmission running on it to for torrent downloading. That works perfectly fine too. I believe there's Usenet clients available too.

It of course has HTTP, FTP, SQL, LDAP, VPN, etc capabilities too. It's basically a server in a box.

The only issue I've ran into with my QNAP is that you cannot share external media devices. They can only be accessed via the web file manager.

This was also my first NAS purchase, so I don't have any experience with Synology. From what I read though when I decided to buy mine, they both run very similar software with similar features. I got the QNAP because it was cheaper than the comparable Synology due to boxing day sales.
Yeah, I'm worried that the Atom won't be able to handle the load or might slow down. To be honest, I didn't think it supported all those things you mentioned such as HTTP, FTP, SQL, LDAP, VPN, etc .

I will be sure to research the QNAP some more. Thank you very much, I really appreciate this!
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Old May 23, 2013, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowfat View Post
I think you are spending way too much money for what you plan on doing w/ the machine. You could spend half as much on the motherboard, power supply, and ram and likely not have any drop in any performance. You could stick w/ the quad if you plan on doing any transcoding to PS3s, etc.

Your bottleneck will be your network so I also do not see the need in a $700 RAID controller. You will be limited to 112MB/s no matter what card and drives you are using.
Yeah, that was probably my biggest concern. I just don't know what the requirements would be and what I should or should not get. Why do you say I'd be limited to 112MB/s?

Could you suggest lower priced alternatives?
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Old May 23, 2013, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Behemoth- View Post
Motherboard: Newegg.ca - SUPERMICRO MBD-X9SCL+-F Micro ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1155 Intel C202 DDR3 1333
CPU: Newegg.ca - Intel Xeon E3-1230 V2 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 69W Quad-Core Server Processor BX80637E31230V2
RAM : Kingston KVR1333D3E9S/8G 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 ECC CL9 DIMM that one is tested on that particular MB
Case: Personal choice but I prefer the Fractal design cases
PSU: Newegg.ca - SeaSonic G Series SSR-550RM 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply -->that is plenty, you don't need more than that for some drives.

That would bring you around ~600$ I think so you have plenty more for the drives and then some.

For the O/S, you can go with either a 60GB SSD or perhaps 2 cheap HDDs in raid 1.

Since you'd like to RDP onto that build you can go either windows 7 or perhaps Windows Server Essentials? I think my build would be quite affordable and still far more flexible than a NAS could be. You can also just buy used stuff in the BST section..

FYI, my server is a Gigabyte P55 UD2 MB / I5 750 / 8GB G.skill / crappy Sata card. I use Server 2012, Hitachi desktars in raid 5 and I have a raid 0 array of crappy seagates drives running ~ 5 virtual machines. It has been rock solid for the past ~3 years. If I was to build another one today, I'd just buy used stuff.

I don't know if you really need that kind of Raid card for such a build tho. I use the integrated software raid in Windows Server and I have had no issue so far. As bad as it is, I can read/write around 110MB/s average and peak at 125MB/s with only 3 drives in raid 5.

+ the advantage of going Windows servers - You can have a windows deployment server, update services, you can join your PC in a domain and centrally manage accounts and security...

Finally, I don't know what you use to stream to your iDevices but I use "Airplay it" and it works quite well. It compresses the files so you don't have to keep the full hd movie + a compressed version to stream over WiFi. Only downside is that it hasn't been updated for the iPhone 5.
Hey,

I looked at that MB, but it doesn't have USB 3.0 and so my external drive would be significantly slower going from ~200MB/s to about 30MB/s and that would suck. Also, it doesn't support SATA 6 GB/s so I don't think it will take full advantage of the SSD I plan to use for the OS.

As for the used parts, I did that in the past and got burned, so I prefer to stay away. I'm sure it would probably be fine, but once you've had that bad experience, you don't want to go back, if you know what I mean?

My devices are all Android, so I'm not sure if "Airplay it" would work, but I will give it a look. Just as an FYI, the devices are a Nexus 4, Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 10 so all are Android. Also, I have a license of Windows 7 that I haven't used yet, so I was planning on using that.
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