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Build Advice HTPC/RAID5 questions

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by sixfootsideburns, 23 Nov 2011.

  1. sixfootsideburns

    sixfootsideburns modeteer

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    Alright, so my goal in the near future is to put together a new HTPC to serve up 1080p video and uncompressed audio (primarily FLAC) to my home as well as to my mobile phone and my laptop when I'm traveling. The kicker is that I still want my storage to be in a RAID5 array. While I know this is possible, I am still playing with what my best solutions are to get the job finished, and make sure its finished correctly. I would still like this to be a low power/low heat machine and I am willing to spend some extra money to make it so.

    With that said I have two primary questions:
    1) do you think the following hardware will be suffiecient enough to handle serving 1080p video and other high def media and maintain a 5HDD RAID5 array (5x WD Caviar Green 2TB drives is the drive of choice currently)?

    Here is what I had been hoping to use for hardware:
    Gigabyte GA-880GMA AM3+ mobo
    AMD Athlon II X4 610e Propus 2.4GHz Socket AM3 45W Quad-Core CPU
    SeaSonic X series SS-400FL Modular 400W PSU --- do you guys think 400W will be enough?
    G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB--- Not sure about this one so I am definitely open to suggestions
    and as mentioned, WD Caviar Green WD20EARX 2TB

    and 2) do you think I would be better off running FreeNAS virtually or running unRAID on top of a stripped Linux build?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. lp rob1

    lp rob1 New Member

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    File serving is not really taxing on the hardware - as long as the HDDs are up to it (they certainly are) and the network is then streaming should not be a problem.
    As for software, I would run Ubuntu Server with software RAID, then run Samba on top. There is a guide to setting up RAID on Ubuntu here.
     
  3. Atomic

    Atomic Gerwaff

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    I stream HD video on an Acer Revo R3700 (Atom processor with ION2), that gets its content from a NAS on a 100mb LAN.

    What you've spec'd there is overkill for just file serving and HD streaming.

    Have you looked at getting a dedicated NAS and a separate low power streaming box?
     
  4. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    If it's serving not decoding that setup will be fine. You could easily get away with the cheapest AMD CPU tbh. My setup has an 2GHz underclocked/volted Athlon AM3 dual-core handling 4 HDD, on a 430W SS setup, with the PSU fan doubling up as the CPU fan.

    It's only if you run ZFS on FreeNAS or unRAID it becomes more taxing with higher memory use. They have good documentation on the RAID size vs hardware requirements - read it! ;) Software RAID has improved leaps and bounds and is often argued better than cheap hardware RAID now.

    There's also the option that Atomic said - look at a Synology or QNAP box for example.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 24 Nov 2011
  5. sixfootsideburns

    sixfootsideburns modeteer

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    well to be honest, I know very little about RAID setups at all. I have done quite a bit of research into how they function, benefits and draw backs, methods for setup, etc. but I figured this would be a good next step.

    The reason my hardware was a little beefier was because I was a little worried about running software RAID, serving up HD media, and running a viewable front end with lower end components if it was going to make them struggle.

    I had considered running two separate boxes but I would really like to keep them in the same system if I can.


    If you guys think the hardware is overkill, what do you recommend I use instead?
     
  6. Atomic

    Atomic Gerwaff

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    Just to clarify... you want it to run a front end (decode and display video) for onboard storage and also act as a file server to other devices?

    I went for a low power and quiet Revo for my HTPC as it sits in the front room, all the media storage is handled by a Synology 1511+ NAS in the study that runs 24/7 and also does all my "media download tasks".
     
  7. sixfootsideburns

    sixfootsideburns modeteer

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    Alright, here is exactly what I am hoping to do.

    HTPC plugged directly into my TV and my stereo
    Serves media (mostly music) over the network and to my phone
    Storage is managed by a RAID5 array

    the "front end" I was referring too was in reference to the HTPC front end that will be displayed on the TV for browsing media.

    This machine will more than likely be on 24/7 so I would ideally like it to be a low power, low noise media box
     
  8. IvanIvanovich

    IvanIvanovich будет глотать вашу душу.

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    I would save some money and go for a Pentium G620 and H67 motherboard instead. It will preform just as well as that x4 according to anands bench comparisons. Oh... i did do that. I just upgraded from an Atom/Ion to a Pentium G620, Zotac H67 and 2x4gb mushkin ram for the same thing as what you are wanting to do for $240.
    Its a cracking little system and even comes a lot closer to my i5 750 system in many benches than I expected it would.
    But even the Atom system coped well for the tasks of media playback and file serving. I just wanted to be able to have my htpc handle transcoding tasks so I didn't have to tie up my main system anymore. I also wanted to be able to do some light to medium gaming from time to time and the 1.6ghz atom was way too limiting.
     

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