A little different 'media server' I have put together using-http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811219029http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813127041http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115052http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136151
I use this as a SageTV server for my Sage STX-HD100, along with a HDHomerun and an R5000-HD/Vip211. I ended up using the abit matx motherboard since I already had it, and I think the cheap 945 motherboards are nice and 'simple'. I installed Vista Basic using an external usb drive (no cd drives in server), and Vista had all the hardware drivers needed. I'm not a big fan of Vista, but it does seem to work ok and there seems to be enough 'little' things that kept me from using XP (like being able to easily use an external usb drive to install, and no drivers required for the 945 m/b). I have been using SageTV + Vista for several months now, and both seem very reliable. I could have used any version of Vista (and probably should have used Business for the rdp), but decided Basic is all I need.
I have the system drive (1TB) divided into 2 partitions, and the first is where Vista lives (40gb partition), the second is where all recorded tv goes. The other 3 drives are where archived recordings go (I have 1TB of Olympics, and about 1TB of other recordings). The 3 drives are spun down most of the time, so drive heat from the 4 drives is next to nothing. The whole system is very quiet (I don't use any case fans, as they are not needed). I don't care about losing a drive, except for the system partition which I backup 'live' as an image file and will be able to restore easily. If I have recordings that I really want to 'protect', I'll copy them to a dvd or keep multiple copies, or maybe have another drive as an 'important recording backup' drive.
Right now I use TeamViewer to remotely administer the server (I was using LogMeIn, but I think I like TeamViewer better).
I have 2 pci and 1 pci-e that I'll eventually use. I'll probably add a gb ethernet card first, so the hdhomerun can be on the m/b ethernet by itself (sage doesn't filter the subchannel yet, so the qam recordings sometimes stream the whole channel- 38mb/s). If I add more drives, I'll install a 4port sata card, remove the current horizontal drive mounting system, and simply make my own mounting system (drives can fit vertically in front of case, and about 12 can actually fit up front with a little space between each drive).
I don't even know what the transfer speed is between drives (I don't pay attention, and don't really care), but I do sometimes transfer recordings to an external usb drive and transfers average about 30MB/s.
So, that's my variation of a 'media server'.