Originally Posted by trpltongue
Sorry, I should have expanded a bit more on my goals
Box will be used to do 5 things:
Rip SD DVD's to hard drive array
Stream audio / video (including some on the fly transcoding of SD DVD's) to 3-4 devices simultaneously
Run Girder to take care of some minor home automation stuff
Occassional light home office use (email, excel, etc) nothing too intensive (I have a proper desktop but since the server will be on 24/7 it's just easier to hop on and check email real quick)
Occassional transcoding of movies to Ipad format
I will be using 3 2TB seagate SATA HDD's (already have them) and maybe adding 2-3 more max. Anything more than that and it will be time to move up to bigger hard drives
I already have an Antec nin-hundred case, just looking for recommendations on:
SSD for OS hard drive? or laptop HD for OS HD
Motherboard / CPU
Power Supply - Especially need help with this
I want this machine to be rock solid stable running 24/7 with as little power use as practical (don't want frugality to sacrifice stability).
You didn't mention a budget, so I'll assume you want the lowest cost while reasonably meeting your goals.
It sounds like you want a single computer do perform multiple functions, which is somewhat different from a standard media server/NAS solution. Typically a server is made to be low power, low cost, and would serve your media files and run any applications that need to be on 24/7, while a separate PC would used to transcode and rip. You could certainly combine them, but from a best practice standpoint, it isn't recommended.
Best practice also has a server placed in a separate location, not used as a web browser or internet related applications, etc... It is up to you how you wish to use your machine, but you risk security when you open your server up to web browsing, email, etc...
Why is this relevant? Well, if you exclude the transcoding element, you would need very low h/w requirements. A Sandy Bridge Celeron/Pentium would easy fit the bill and would produce very little electrical generation. For frequent transcoding, I would suggest moving up to a more powerful and expensive i series CPU. If you were trying to do this today, I would recommend at least the i3 or i5, but if you can wait a tad, Ivy Bridge is right around the corner for a small performance gain but at the same price and lower power consumption.
From a cost perspective, I would not recommend an SSD for a server. For something that should very infrequently get rebooted or running heavy I/O ops on that drive, it simply isn't a good value. It won't hurt if you have extra cash.
Motherboard is fairly standard. There are plenty of options as long as it has some basic features, you can't really go wrong.
I would recommend this
as it has enough PCI-e ports to allow multiple SAS expander cards if you require them in the future and plenty of SATA ports, USB 3.0 ports, etc... If you needed to trim your budget, this is another area where you could have some cost savings.
RAM: Any decent DDR3 that's on same and on your MBs HWC list. 2x2GB minimum for what you want to use it for. 2x4GB is pretty cheap, however, so if your budget has some extra room in it, spend the extra 20$. If you decide not to use this box for any transcoding, 4GB total is plenty.
PSU is one area I never recommend going cheap on. Total power consideration is based on the final number of components you'll have in the system. Your initial component list would be enough for a simple 400w PSU, you may want to consider something a little larger if you decide to add a separate video card and/or additional HDDs. I'm a big fan of Seasonic's gold PSU like this one
, but again, if budget is an issue there are plenty of very good psus for half the price.
Originally Posted by stepmback
How stable would FlexRaid be on a large 24 bay Windows 7 box used as a file server with some conversion utility? To me, stable means long uptimes between reboots (60 days min). How easy is it to manaage on weekly basis?
Alternatively I build on a WHS OS if that is more stable.
From a stability standpoint, it will run equally fine on WHS 2011 as it will on Win 7 or Linux. From that point, simply pick which OS you prefer. WHS 2011 offers more from a server standpoint, but it's entirely self requirement generated.
As for stability, you could go much longer without a reboot if necessary. Assuming you have no hardware failures, you should never need to reboot the system. FlexRaid offers a scheduler for updates, verifications, etc... but none of those require a reboot and are really the only maintenance action that takes place. For sanity, I recommend reviewing the logs on the local machine to ensure the SMART/etc... checks FlexRaid does doesn't show any errors or anything else of issue. FlexRaid does allow for email/sms notifications of errors or anomalies so from that perspective, no actual maintenance needs to occur.