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post #1 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello all,

I have recently created my HTPC and am busy copying my blu rays to the hard drive. Ideally, I would like to rip 1:1 using MakeMKV but my storage is quickly being eaten through by the 20gig+ file sizes. I currently have three terabyte plus drives in the HTPC and noticed that I don't have room to add anymore so my question is how would I best be able to add more storage?

I understand I have a few options:

1) External drives. Seems the easiest but I worry about filling that up then having to get another one, hence having to juggle multiple drives.

2 & 3) Media Server and NAS. I have looked into these but it seems far above of something I am capable of doing. I have never run a server before or created one. I don't really have any friends that could help me out with that either. Most importantly, I would prefer not to have to stream files to my receiver or tv because the files are so large and don't want to have to delay with delay or lack of direct HD audio.

Basically I am looking at fairly cheap and easy methods to add storage. Any suggestions?

Thanks AVS!
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post #2 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:00 AM
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This is pretty close to a question that I've been wanting to ask but I'm not sure if it is against the forums EULA.

I would say go with a server or NAS. That's my plan (server). But more importantly I wanted to know about reducing/reencoding ripped BR files. I'm not too worried about the size of my DVD files but as I'm buying more and more things on BR I am concerned about the amount of space they eat up on a hard drive.

I do have have a an older dual Xeon system that I could dedicate to the needed processes but I not sure if I can ask about software to do this with other than the stuff I know about for ripping. Is there a good guide that someone point me too? Also, I've never used or made .iso's.
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post #3 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:05 AM
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I think a media server is a good option in the long run. However, you could also just get an external raid enclosure like this (there happens to be a great shell shocker deal on that right now).

I would recommend using a software raid solution like Flexraid instead of whatever raid/jbod solution is built into the enclosure though.
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post #4 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:06 AM
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Does your HTPC have an eSATA connector? If so you might want to just add an external enclosure and buy disks as you need them (or when they're on sale). This would be much cheaper than going the full NAS route and the HTPC would essentially act as a NAS anyway.

Edit: haha great minds think alike!
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post #5 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:07 AM
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Do you know how to build PC's?

If so you could build a windows home server 2011 box for pretty cheap and it is not hard to set up at all.

If you have never built a pc, dont be afraid, its never been easier to do and you can find guides to walk you through it.
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post #6 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mortey View Post

Hello all,

I have recently created my HTPC and am busy copying my blu rays to the hard drive. Ideally, I would like to rip 1:1 using MakeMKV but my storage is quickly being eaten through by the 20gig+ file sizes. I currently have three terabyte plus drives in the HTPC and noticed that I don't have room to add anymore so my question is how would I best be able to add more storage?

I understand I have a few options:

1) External drives. Seems the easiest but I worry about filling that up then having to get another one, hence having to juggle multiple drives.

2 & 3) Media Server and NAS. I have looked into these but it seems far above of something I am capable of doing. I have never run a server before or created one. I don't really have any friends that could help me out with that either. Most importantly, I would prefer not to have to stream files to my receiver or tv because the files are so large and don't want to have to delay with delay or lack of direct HD audio.

Basically I am looking at fairly cheap and easy methods to add storage. Any suggestions?

Thanks AVS!


Save your time, effort and money.

Skip the NAS and the external boxes that are just baidaids and build a server.


Most NAS boxes costs $200+

You can get a $35-$50 LGA1155 motherboard, a $35 G530 CPU, 4GB DDR3 $20, a case and PSU ($50-$60)

Same cost you have a full service server- that you can add as much HDD's and storage in future as you want.

Most external box solutions are limited in 2-4 HDD's and you can easily outgrow it.


Plus with a server- you can add in 2TB now... then 3TB drives later this year..

Perhaps 4TB drives next year... and buy as you need. Cost per TB gets cheaper over time.

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #7 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:15 AM
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post #8 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow! Thanks all for the quick and awesome replies. It seems like the general consensus is to build a WHS. I do build pcs, though it has been a little while, so I think I could set up the Server itself but configuring it would be my biggest issue. I wouldn't know where to begin though I realize there are lots and lots of guides out there for that. Also, I have never done a RAID setup so I wouldn't know about that either. Also, would I still be able to get HD audio through streaming? Additionally, the blu ray copies are over 20 gigs each, will that take forever to stream to my HTPC?

Thanks!

And Assassin: I am DEFINITELY interested in your server guides! You're HTPC guides are what inspired me to convert my pc to a home theater pc.
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post #9 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mortey View Post

Wow! Thanks all for the quick and awesome replies. It seems like the general consensus is to build a WHS. I do build pcs, though it has been a little while, so I think I could set up the Server itself but configuring it would be my biggest issue. I wouldn't know where to begin though I realize there are lots and lots of guides out there for that. Also, I have never done a RAID setup so I wouldn't know about that either. Also, would I still be able to get HD audio through streaming? Additionally, the blu ray copies are over 20 gigs each, will that take forever to stream to my HTPC?

Thanks!

And Assassin: I am DEFINITELY interesting in your server guides! You're HTPC guides are what inspired me to convert my pc to a home theater pc.

Do you have a gigabit (hard wired) network (I assume you do since you are contemplating a server vs NAS)?

If so then yes it is plenty fast enough. And yes, you will get HD Audio.

Thanks for the bolded part. You just made my day and I am glad I could help you get into HTPC.
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post #10 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:42 AM
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I am assuming the htpc you just built is plugged into the tv, right?

A "server" does not have to be anything more than another computer on your network. You will want both computers plugged into each other via gigabit switch (kind of like the wifi router you already have, but more robust for the large file sizes).

Many users have more advanced raid setups for data redundancy. If you feel like that is above your head or your needs, you could just as well run a desktop PC with XP on it and that could be your server. All you need to do is enable the drives to be seen and shared on the network.

As long as both computers have gigabit connections and you connect them to each other with a gigabit switch you shouldn't have problems with lag or stuttering.

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post #11 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:45 AM
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I plan on going with a server myself. I want it to be hooked up to my home network and I want the added flexibility. The hardware part won't be a problem but I've never use WHS or any other type of server software. But I have time to learn about it since the server project is still a couple of months out.
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post #12 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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I do have a hard wired network in my office while my HTPC is located in the living room next to the TV. The HTPC has a wireless connection to the network. I would prefer not to have to wire out Ethernet to the living room since that means I would have to drill holes and such.

So I guess you mean I would just plug in the WHS to the Ethernet port on the back of the HTPC? Seems like that would be an issue since then the Server couldn't connect the network (office) unless it can use the HTPC's wireless connection?

See, these are all the questions I have. And I don't know how I would get HD audio. Maybe bitstreaming?

I don't mind buying the proper equipment but I would want the total cost under $500 or so.

@Assassin: any idea when you might have some guides out?
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post #13 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mortey View Post

I do have a hard wired network in my office while my HTPC is located in the living room next to the TV. The HTPC has a wireless connection to the network. I would prefer not to have to wire out Ethernet to the living room since that means I would have to drill holes and such.

So I guess you mean I would just plug in the WHS to the Ethernet port on the back of the HTPC? Seems like that would be an issue since then the Server couldn't connect the network (office) unless it can use the HTPC's wireless connection?

See, these are all the questions I have. And I don't know how I would get HD audio. Maybe bitstreaming?

I don't mind buying the proper equipment but I would want the total cost under $500 or so.

@Assassin: any idea when you might have some guides out?

Wireless for decent bit rate video is a bad bad bad idea. I wouldn't consider streaming video across your house until you have a wired connection. There are some solutions like powerline adapters if you don't want to lay done cat6 cables.
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post #14 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:57 AM
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If its features you're after, do a server build. If its cheapness, get a 4 bay enclosure. The one lockdown linked to is $99 + the drives. Sure a server won't be too much more (probably $200 + the previous post costings didn't include the OS) but $100 gets you a 2TB drive. A 4-bay enclosure can be build up to 4x2TB = 200 BluRay disks at your current 20GB per.

Keep in mind too that with a dedicated server you have another PC to build and maintain (updates etc) whereas the enclosure just uses your existing HTPC.

BTW, I'm basing this on the original features request: "Basically I am looking at fairly cheap and easy methods to add storage. Any suggestions?"
If the OP has found that his requirements have grown as people have posted cool things you can do with a media server then that changes things. Upgraditis is a horrible and wonderful disease...
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post #15 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Wireless for decent bit rate video is a bad bad bad idea. I wouldn't consider streaming video across your house until you have a wired connection. There are some solutions like powerline adapters if you don't want to lay done cat6 cables.

I agree with this. Look into the Powerline adapters. You will save yourself at least a few hundred dollars worth of headaches.
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post #16 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

Keep in mind too that with a dedicated server you have another PC to build and maintain (updates etc) whereas the enclosure just uses your existing HTPC.

Depending on how you set it up there is little to no maintenance.
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post #17 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 12:01 PM
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I agree with this. Look into the Powerline adapters. You will save yourself at least a few hundred dollars worth of headaches.

200Mbps powerline adaptor (no need to go higher) is a great idea. Often these go on special at newegg for $50/pair. Money well spent...
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post #18 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 12:03 PM
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HD audio has nothing to do with the server. It has to do with what type of audio your files have and whether or not your software/hardware is set up to take advantage of it.

You aren't going to get anywhere watching bluray movies over wifi. The technology is not there yet to have a consistent experience.

If hardwiring ethernet is not an option, perhaps powerline or moca adapters would be. Powerline uses your electrical wiring in place of ethernet, and moca uses the same coaxial cable that that carries your cable television.

You could put your server physically close to your htpc, and then connect both of them together with a gigabit switch.

Another option, if your htpc has an esata port, is something like this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817576009
It's basically like a "super" external hard drive, with room for four hard drives in there. Each show up as individually letter drives in My Computer.

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post #19 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

200Mbps powerline adaptor (no need to go higher) is a great idea. Often these go on special at newegg for $50/pair. Money well spent...

They had a 200mbs Netgear pair that includes a 4 port switch on one of the pair of adapters for $69 last week.

Or if a person has coax in place, ethernet-over-coax adapters might be a good alternative. You are supposed to be even able to multiplex over the top of a cable signal on a single coax usually (although not over satellite; not sure about FIOS).
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post #20 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I will look into this Powerline adapter! Didn't know that technology existed. So would I just get that gigabit switch, put it in the living room where my htpc and server are, and connect that to the powerline adapter to get network access from the office? I think that's the deal.

And as for an esata port, I don't really know. this is my computer I am using as an HTPC : http://www.dell.com/us/dfh/p/xps-630/pd
I know it is kinda overkill but it's what I have right now.

Thanks so much for all the KILLER advice.

EDIT: also, I have Directv so I don't know how connecting via the cables would work as far as that option goes.
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post #21 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mortey View Post

I will look into this Powerline adapter! Didn't know that technology existed. So would I just get that gigabit switch, put it in the living room where my htpc and server are, and connect that to the powerline adapter to get network access from the office? I think that's the deal.

And as for an esata port, I don't really know. this is my computer I am using as an HTPC : http://www.dell.com/us/dfh/p/xps-630/pd
I know it is kinda overkill but it's what I have right now.

Thanks so much for all the KILLER advice.

EDIT: also, I have Directv so I don't know how connecting via the cables would work as far as that option goes.

No. If you already have a gigabit router, you shouldn't need another switch. If not, you'd get a switch. Connect that to your internet modem/router, whatever, than plug your office computer into one of the ports. And into another port plug an ethernet patch cord that would run to one powerline adapter plugged directly into a wall outlet. On the other end you'd plug the other adapter into an outlet near where you want your htpc, and run an Ethernet patch cord from that adapter to your htpc. The powerline simply serves as a bridge in your ethernet network. As far as the devices plugged into the adapters know, they are plugged into a wired network.

If you got something like the netgear with a built in switch, you could also plug in your TV, blu ray player, or other ehernet enabled devices and have them all connected into your network.

In my experience powerline works very well when it works, but there are a variety of conditions in your home wiring that may prevent it from working, or working at a particular outlet or between a particular pair of outlets. You can try different outlets, but sometimes it's just a fail. More often than not it will work. Ethernet over coax may actually be more reliable, but is a little bit more complicated.

Edit, depending on how old your DirecTV setup is, you could be a prime candidate for ethernet over coax. Until recently, you needed two coax lines to each DirecTV DVR. Now with the SWM setup for DirecTV, you only need one, which would mean you have an unused coax line to your TV which is readily available for use as a ethernet connection without worrying about multiplexing. Also, Etherent over coax is actually what DirecTV uses for their Whole Home setup to connect your various DirecTV boxes to each other and to your internet connection. I think it's actually possible to piggyback your htpc off the DirecTV network if you have the Whole Home setup although i haven't actually tried it yet.

By the way, you'd probably also put your server or NAS in your office an plug it into the switch as well, and it would be networked to your htpc.
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post #22 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 12:35 PM
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I bought a Mediasonic 4 bay drive and put 4 3 TB hard drives in it to supplement the two 2TB and 500GB external drives I had before I got into ripping blurays. This was before the floods in Thailand though so the 3 TB drives were only a little over $100 and the enclosure was $99. I might try to research how to change one of my old PC cases into a server one of these days. I have an old case that's been stripped of some components and a full older PC that is running Windows XP. I wonder if I would add a bunch of hard drives to the XP computer and use that as a server or do I need to actually install WHS?

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post #23 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I am working on some server guides for anyone interested.

Stay tuned.

I'm interested. Let us know when it's ready.
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post #24 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 12:42 PM
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I wonder if I would add a bunch of hard drives to the XP computer and use that as a server or do I need to actually install WHS?

-Your hard drives have sata connections, does the motherboard in that PC? I think you could put a pci/sata card in there if not (someone more knowledgeable please clarify that).

-Will you need to add a NIC to get gigabit speeds?

The benefits to Windows Home Server are in features like automatic backups.

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post #25 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 12:43 PM
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@Assassin: any idea when you might have some guides out?

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I'm interested. Let us know when it's ready.

Working on securing the domain name as we speak. These things take a little time but I will try to put a rush on it.
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post #26 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 12:51 PM
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No problem. I haven't even started buying the hardware yet. Also, I'm want to take the 2 Duet cards out of my HTPC and place them into the server. Then I could even build a slim itx streaming box in the future. Right now I'm using this.

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post #28 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 12:59 PM
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Nice. I haven't had a website in years. I don't even know how much it cost for domain names and hosting these days. Keep us posted.
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post #29 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

-Your hard drives have sata connections, does the motherboard in that PC? I think you could put a pci/sata card in there if not (someone more knowledgeable please clarify that).

-Will you need to add a NIC to get gigabit speeds?

The benefits to Windows Home Server are in features like automatic backups.


It's a pretty old PC so I think it would most likely have PCI connections. I might get around to opening it up one day and see what's inside.

I would probably set this PC up downstairs next to my current PC that is connected by ethernet to my router that's only 10/100. The PC I'm using now has a gigabit connection but I'm not streaming at gigabit speeds right now and have had no issues streaming bluray rips outside of the Boxee Box which was a fault of that piece of hardware and their crappy software.

The automatic backups sound pretty good. I was using FlexRaid when it was in beta but now I'm living on the edge with no backup solution once they went paid. Honestly, with Blockbuster bluray rental, Netflix, Hulu, and the variety of online streaming videos I find myself buying a lot less blurays and mostly streaming stuff now. I only buy my utmost favorites now and either rent the bluray for marginal movies I want to see in high quality and then just stream everything else. It still would suck if a couple hard drives crapped out on me though. *knock on wood*

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post #30 of 61 Old 05-14-2012, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great advice so far guys!

Can't wait for your guides on servers Assassin!

@ Zon2020: thank you so much for the detailed descriptions!! I really appreciate it. I live in an older house with older wiring (built in '51) so I am a bit nervous about the reliability now of the Powerline adapter. The wiring and electricity was so bad before we had air conditioning put in that if you ran the dishwasher, the dryer, and tried to turn on a blow dryer in a bedroom, the powerbox would have to be reset. It's changed since we had air conditioning put in which improved it but I'm still nervous.

I do in fact have the whole home dvr setup at my house. The office has a tv and is the "Satellite Receiver" to the DVR in the living room. So I would need to look into using that. Gotta be honest though: very nervous about the whole thing. Sounds like a lot of money and heart brake. I wish I knew someone who could do it for me but I don't know anyone who is as smart at this stuff as you guys are unfortunately. It would make me feel MUCH better.
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