Building a media server

By giyad ยท 7 replies
Sep 27, 2008
  1. Hi everyone, I'm new here and this is my first time building a server so please bear with me... I know there are a lot of questions, but I want to get it right :D

    Ok, I've got a couple of questions. I want to build a server in order to store all my media (photos, videos, and music). Simple enough. I already have a pretty powerful (but storage lacking as it only has 150GB) desktop PC with an Antec P180 case which itself could house enough drives (6 internal bays) for a server. <strong>First question, should I just purchase more drives and use the current system (which will save money) or would it be significantly better (more reliable) to build a completely new system for the server?</strong>

    Second, being new to the whole server thing, do I need to install a server OS (FreeNAS, Ubuntu, WHS, etc...), or can I just use Windows Vista Premium? I ask because I don't want to install the OS on the drives as I want to build in some redundancy too (I'm likely going to buy 2x 1TB WD Caviar Greens). Can a server just be a stack of drives that reads/writes data, or does it need its own OS?

    Now for the fun part...

    I want to be able to watch my videos on TV, and wirelessly stream my music to laptops... So, should I build an HTPC as well, or just buy Popcorn Hour or a media center extender?? The benefits of an HTPC is that I can include a blu ray drive, plus I can use Windows Media Center which I've heard great reviews about. The benefit of popcorn hour or a media center extender is saving money.

    The idea I have is to use Powerline to connect my server/desktop to the router (router is not in the same room as PC). From there, I either connect a HTPC or the media extender. The router is an 802.11g so I will be streaming music fine, but video will go over ethernet through powerline.

    If this was incoherent and just a lot of information please let me know, I'll try to tone it down, but I would love to hear what everyone thinks!!

    Thanks in advance!

    Oh, and one more thing, I already own a copy of WHS and Windows Vista Premium, so the prices of the OS's are no longer a factor.
  2. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    just buy the hard drives and put them in the computer u are using, this is the cheapest and u can share the drives over the network if u want.
  3. giyad

    giyad TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 59

    Thats what I think Im going to do.

    I'm thinking of putting 2x 1TB WD Caviars in the desktop PC with Vista Premium installed (for Media Center). Then I'm going to build a basic HTPC with TV Tuner and hook them both up to the network. This way I can watch all my videos on the TV, stream music on laptops, and record live TV. Sound like a good idea???
  4. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    that is the easiest way and will suit u nicely.
  5. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,477   +126

    Check out my sticky on this stuff...

    You can attach your computer HTPC to your HDTV
    You can run server and let media players connect to your HDTV
    Network everything
    Or use HDD Media Players cost $44 and up.

    I've used XP, MCE and 2003 Server to run HTPC server.
    You can have Media Server - Videos, Pictures, Music, Internet Radio an etc..

    since you have WHS better off using that to manage your media server. Remember that needs to be on 24/7. I run my that way. If you use Vista MCE there is a free Web Server for that so you can setup recording from any PC wired or wireless or remote in.

    Lots of options.
    HDD sizes 500GB, 750GB 1TB. Think if you record more than one station at a time it's good to use 3x HDDs for the recordings. archive your media on other HDDs. Can be hosted on other network systems. Why just have the one HTPC you can have more than one later on down the road.
  6. giyad

    giyad TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 59

    Sorry but can you direct me to your sticky??

    When you say "run servers and let media players connect to your HDTV" what exactly do you mean by media players?

    The reason I would prefer to use Vista Premium over WHS is to take advantage of the Windows Media Center, what do you think?

    Can you direct me to this?

    Thanks for all the help btw!
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Read up on FreeNAS, I wanted to use that badly for a file server I built on a low power PC. But I couldn't get it to work with my SATA drives so I gave up and just put Windows 2000 on. But FreeNAS can make seemingly complex things incredibly simple and you could run it on a PC with pretty low end hardware with adequate performance.
  8. giyad

    giyad TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 59

    yeah I hear good things about FreeNAS. But heres the thing though, as I said earlier I'm going to be putting a couple of TB drives in my current desktop and use that as the server. So, I can't just get rid of Vista, which would mean if I wanted to install FreeNAS to manage the server I would be running two OS's at once... probably not a good idea eh?
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