Need help with my first HTPC or Media Server Build I'm panicking! - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 18 Old 01-02-2013, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Tyzing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 12
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Please help me...I'm having writers block (but with technology). I feel like I have enough of the makings to make a really good system but cant make my mind up on what direction I should go. RAID? Unraid? Shared folders Use my gaming desktop as my server? Run a VM on my desktop as a server? I'm leaning towards making a Lime Unraid Media server since I have so many HDD's but not sure if I have the hardware to make best use of that. I'd hate to lose my desktop for a server only because I feel like its a bit of overkill but I'll do it if its really my only way and I couldnt/shouldnt run VM's for a server, etc. I just want a media server and be able to run XBMC on my network at my house and use a PVR using my HR Prime.

Here's my goods!

Desktop:
Thermaltake Case http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Product.aspx?C=1407&ID=1852#Tab1
QuadCore AMD Phenom II X4 Black Edition 965, 3716 MHz (18.5 x 201)
Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5 (3 PCI, 1 PCI-E x1, 3 PCI-E x16, 4 DDR3 DIMM, Audio, Dual Gigabit LAN, IEEE-1394)

Motherboard Chipset AMD 790FX, AMD K10
System Memory 20480 MB (DDR3-1333 DDR3 SDRAM)
DIMM1: G Skill F3-1333C9-8GAO 8 GB DDR3-1333 DDR3 SDRAM
DIMM2: G Skill F3-1333C9-8GAO 8 GB DDR3-1333 DDR3 SDRAM
DIMM3: G Skill F3-12800CL7-2GBRH 2 GB DDR3-1333 DDR3 SDRAM
DIMM4: G Skill F3-12800CL7-2GBRH 2 GB DDR3-1333 DDR3 SDRAM

Disk Drive WDC WD20EURS-63Z9B1 ATA Device (2000 GB, SATA-II)
Disk Drive SDD INTEL SSDSA2CW160G3 ATA Device (160 GB, SATA-II)
Disk Drive ST3000DM001-9YN166 ATA Device (3000 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA-III)
Disk Drive ST31500341AS ATA Device (1500 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA-II)
Disk Drive WD Green 750 GB

Another WD 1.5TB that I can take out of the housing if needed.


HP Slimline (from 2008):

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ 2.6GHz (65W) Dual Core processor with 2000MT/s (mega transfers/second) and socket AM2
ATSC and NTSC built in HDTV tuner with FM tuner
2GB PC2-5300 MB/sec 240 pin, DDR2 SDRAM installed, upgradeable to 4GB (2 memory slots)
500GB SATA 3G (3.0 Gb/sec) 7200 rpm hard drive
16X DVD± R/RW 12X RAM ±R DL LightScribe SATA optical drive
Wireless LAN 802.11 b/g with integrated 10/100 Base-T networking interface
TV tuner card with GeForce 6150SE nForce 430 chipset
6 USB 2.0 ports (2 front, 4 rear)

Dell Studio laptop:

Processor 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
RAM 4 GB DDR2
Hard Drive 320 GB
Graphics Coprocessor Radeon HD 4570
Chipset Brand ATI
Card Description Radeon HD 4570
Graphics Card Ram Size 512 MB
Number of USB 2.0 Ports 3

I have 2 more Xbox 360's that I could use WMC if needed.

I'm willing to do whatever at this point, I just need to get on a track and follow it. I've been racking my brain for days on this and feel like I havent gotten anywhere. Thank you so much...I'm running out of options here. I'll start building something then stop and try something different.
Tyzing is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 18 Old 01-02-2013, 08:16 PM
Senior Member
 
ajkrishock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 18
Before anyone can help you, you need to answer one question:

What are you trying to accomplish? Be specific. What goal(s) are you trying to achieve?
Tyzing likes this.
ajkrishock is offline  
post #3 of 18 Old 01-02-2013, 08:29 PM
Senior Member
 
jazjon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 454
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Just get the new Mac Mini (Late 2012 model) with i7 Ivy Intel HD 4000 & USB 3.0.
Boot Camp Windows 8
Done & Done

Just be sure to do the latest EFI firmware update from the Mac OS side. (fixes white snow issue)

Also disable Dymanic Contrast from the Intel Graphics Control Panel to prevent any background flicker in MCE videos.

Mac Mini (Late 2012, Ivy i7-3615QM/Intel HD 4000) Win 8 Pro x64 Media Center, 2 USB Ceton InfiniTV tuners + Companion iPhone App, XBox extender, MyMovies.dk WHS 2011 StableBit DrivePool, TIP: (DISABLE Intel Graphics Control Panel's Dynamic Contrast to prevent 29/59 flicker)
jazjon is offline  
post #4 of 18 Old 01-02-2013, 08:48 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Puwaha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,122
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 30
You have the beginnings of a decent VMware platform, except that the 790FX chipset doesn't do hardware pass through. Why is this important? Well, with 20GB of RAM, you could build a VMware server, and then a Windows 7 HTPC virtual machine... pass through the video card so you get full graphics capabilities. There is a growing trend among gamers who do this.

If you aren't serious about virtualization, then I'd build dedicated machines for your server and media center tasks. You don't want to do VMs unless the system is dedicated to VMs. Otherwise, if you have to reboot the host, then all the VMs go down with it. If all you want to do is play around with virtualization, then VirtualBox is a good tool.
Puwaha is offline  
post #5 of 18 Old 01-02-2013, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Tyzing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 12
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajkrishock View Post

Before anyone can help you, you need to answer one question:
What are you trying to accomplish? Be specific. What goal(s) are you trying to achieve?

The biggest thing I Want is a clean UI for movies and tv..much like XBMC offers. I would like to keep my desktop usable....even if I have to use a VM as my main operating system. I need to have all of my movies and tv and recordings on a drive that my other clients like my laptop running XBMC can access and I suppose I can SQL them together.

Whatever ends up being the host will also be downloading torrents and nzbs and have the process as automated as possible with slick beard and CP
Tyzing is offline  
post #6 of 18 Old 01-02-2013, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Tyzing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 12
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Let me be even more specific. My desktop is downstairs now I have run hdmi throughout the house with the intentions of having it be my central hub for everything but that has not been ideal because I will use my desktop and then disable my tV upstairs but then the wife wants to watch a movie so I have to re enable the tv and then make sure the audio is working etc etc

I'm quickly becoming the only person in the house that can work our system and it needs to be simplifies. Much like this post it's all over the place!
Tyzing is offline  
post #7 of 18 Old 01-02-2013, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Tyzing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 12
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puwaha View Post

You have the beginnings of a decent VMware platform, except that the 790FX chipset doesn't do hardware pass through. Why is this important? Well, with 20GB of RAM, you could build a VMware server, and then a Windows 7 HTPC virtual machine... pass through the video card so you get full graphics capabilities. There is a growing trend among gamers who do this.
If you aren't serious about virtualization, then I'd build dedicated machines for your server and media center tasks. You don't want to do VMs unless the system is dedicated to VMs. Otherwise, if you have to reboot the host, then all the VMs go down with it. If all you want to do is play around with virtualization, then VirtualBox is a good tool.

What would that look like? Have my desktop as the server like Lime unRaid and then just vm if I need to use the desktop?
Tyzing is offline  
post #8 of 18 Old 01-02-2013, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Tyzing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 12
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Also...I don't have to use the desktop to provide video...it could just take care of all the backend stuff and I use my laptops, atv2, raspberry pi for the access to xbmc.
Tyzing is offline  
post #9 of 18 Old 01-02-2013, 10:19 PM
Senior Member
 
ajkrishock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyzing View Post

Let me be even more specific. My desktop is downstairs now I have run hdmi throughout the house with the intentions of having it be my central hub for everything but that has not been ideal because I will use my desktop and then disable my tV upstairs but then the wife wants to watch a movie so I have to re enable the tv and then make sure the audio is working etc etc
I'm quickly becoming the only person in the house that can work our system and it needs to be simplifies. Much like this post it's all over the place!

I think if I were you, I would try to separate your desktop from the entire entertainment scenario that you are trying to construct. Really, a desktop is for things generally unrelated to the consumption of entertainment content on the other machines. Keep it that way. Reducing the hardware that the wife has to interact with is good for her (and, as I'm sure you know, what's good for her is good for you). Build PC's for PC usage and HTPC/servers for the entertainment side of things.

If you intend to stream live TV from a central "host" (a server, I assume), then that's the place to host large drives with movies, music, download torrents, etc.. I accomplish this using a server running windows home server 2011. All of our content (Live TV, movies, music, documents, pictures, videos, torrents, etc) emanate from the server. Every now and again, I'll log in to it from my workstation but for the most part, it sits in a closet and hums. Wife never has to touch it. Live TV is provided by a Ceton InfiniTV card. The 4 tuners it provides are tied to each of two home theater PC's. I use Windows 7 on those machines partly because it's required by the networked InfiniTV tuners, but mostly because I really like the interface. Really simple to operate. No complaints from the wife.

I cannot comment in XBMC or VM or any of that stuff. My network is not simple by any means, but I stick with Windows because that's what the family knows and understands, and both my wife and 6 year old son can navigate through the media center PC's like champs. Don't make the mistake of complicating a system so much that even you can't find your way back in the event that disaster strikes. Your posts sound confused and panicked like you're sitting in a room full of parts and cables and have decided to curl up in a fetal position and cry.

Relax. One disaster at a time. Get one thing working the way you want and build on it. Take your time. Think it through.
ajkrishock is offline  
post #10 of 18 Old 01-03-2013, 10:04 AM
AVS Special Member
 
blueiedgod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Amherst, NY
Posts: 1,472
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Liked: 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyzing View Post

Let me be even more specific. My desktop is downstairs now I have run hdmi throughout the house with the intentions of having it be my central hub for everything but that has not been ideal because I will use my desktop and then disable my tV upstairs but then the wife wants to watch a movie so I have to re enable the tv and then make sure the audio is working etc etc
I'm quickly becoming the only person in the house that can work our system and it needs to be simplifies. Much like this post it's all over the place!

Why not use media center and media center extenders to access the content from other parts of your house without the need to run HDMI cables? Media Center extenders work over regular wired network, coax, powerline, and maybe even wireless (not recommended).

Anyone who knows how to use a remote can access everything they need to access...

It is one of those set it and forget it set ups.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
blueiedgod is offline  
post #11 of 18 Old 01-03-2013, 10:44 AM
Senior Member
 
ajkrishock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Why not use media center and media center extenders to access the content from other parts of your house without the need to run HDMI cables? Media Center extenders work over regular wired network, coax, powerline, and maybe even wireless (not recommended).
Anyone who knows how to use a remote can access everything they need to access...
It is one of those set it and forget it set ups.

Yeah, I didn't get that either. It would have made more sense to run Ethernet or coax for MoCA if he doesn't already have drops installed where he needs them.
ajkrishock is offline  
post #12 of 18 Old 01-03-2013, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Tyzing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 12
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thank you for all the feedback guys. I have ethernet run to all the various locations as well. I'm open to using WMC on all the TV's and then access them by the various laptops and xbox's but the issue of what to do with all of my drives still remains. What type of server/setup would work best with all the HDD's I've mentioned if I'd like to make use of them all? Have my desktop running Windows Home Server or another server OS like unRAID or just keep everything on the desktop as is and then just raid the HDD's.
Tyzing is offline  
post #13 of 18 Old 01-03-2013, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Tyzing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 12
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajkrishock View Post

Don't make the mistake of complicating a system so much that even you can't find your way back in the event that disaster strikes. Your posts sound confused and panicked like you're sitting in a room full of parts and cables and have decided to curl up in a fetal position and cry.
Relax. One disaster at a time. Get one thing working the way you want and build on it. Take your time. Think it through.


You must have tapped into my home security cameras....dude, there are wires EVERYWHERE. I've already ripped apart 2 different computers checking out the motherboards and I doubt I'm going to be putting them back together because of the way I did it! Thank you for the advice and kind words....you are right...simple isnt always boring and I need to realize that.
Tyzing is offline  
post #14 of 18 Old 01-03-2013, 10:57 AM
Senior Member
 
ajkrishock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 18
Here's step one:
=============

Build your media server using the following parts:

Thermaltake Case http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Product.aspx?C=1407&ID=1852#Tab1
QuadCore AMD Phenom II X4 Black Edition 965, 3716 MHz (18.5 x 201)
Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5 (3 PCI, 1 PCI-E x1, 3 PCI-E x16, 4 DDR3 DIMM, Audio, Dual Gigabit LAN, IEEE-1394)
DIMM1: G Skill F3-1333C9-8GAO 8 GB DDR3-1333 DDR3 SDRAM
DIMM2: G Skill F3-1333C9-8GAO 8 GB DDR3-1333 DDR3 SDRAM
Disk Drive WD Green 750 GB {OS / Boot drive]
Disk Drive WDC WD20EURS-63Z9B1 ATA Device (2000 GB, SATA-II) [Data / Storage]
Disk Drive ST3000DM001-9YN166 ATA Device (3000 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA-III) [Data / Storage]
Disk Drive ST31500341AS ATA Device (1500 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA-II) [Data / Storage]
Another WD 1.5TB that I can take out of the housing if needed. [Data / Storage]

Build notes:

1. Make sure you have a good enough power supply for this. 600 Watt at least.
2. Since you have a collection of different data drives, I'd look into maybe flexraid or something similar.
3. For a media server, 16 Gb is more than sufficient. Save the additional 4 Gb for the Slimline (if it will accept it)
4. Save the SSD for the slimline machine. The speed will be useful for your future HTPC.
5. Strongly recommend Windows Home Server 2011, but do whatever feels good. Keep it simple.

**Edit**

6. Install the 750Gb Green drive first with no other drives attached. Install the OS, boot it up and then, when the OS install is complete (updates & all), install the data drives.
Tyzing likes this.
ajkrishock is offline  
post #15 of 18 Old 01-03-2013, 11:21 AM
Senior Member
 
ajkrishock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyzing View Post

Thank you for all the feedback guys. I have ethernet run to all the various locations as well. I'm open to using WMC on all the TV's and then access them by the various laptops and xbox's but the issue of what to do with all of my drives still remains. What type of server/setup would work best with all the HDD's I've mentioned if I'd like to make use of them all? Have my desktop running Windows Home Server or another server OS like unRAID or just keep everything on the desktop as is and then just raid the HDD's.

The purpose of RAID, when you get right down to it, is fault tolerance. RAID arrays were created as a way of spreading data across drives so that if one drive fails, the drive can be replaced, and the data from the dead drive can be re-written. There are lots of options for RAID. One I would recommend against is onboard RAID through your motherboard. The fault tolerance goes away pretty quickly if the motherboard goes. I use a separate RAID card for my RAID 5 array, but even that is kinda old school compared to some of the other software based options out there.

I shy away from things like flexraid and unRAID primarily because I am not confident I'd know how to recover from a disaster scenario using them. A card-based RAID has a web interface I can log into from anywhere, and a really big button labeled "rebuild". Hard to screw that up. I like big gray buttons.

For the time being, I don't think I would mess with RAID right now. You have a lot more pressing matters to attend to for the moment (like building your server). You can always do that after the fact. Once your server is humming away, make yourself some hot tea, settle down in front of your workstation and start doing some reading on the various options open to you. Don't jump to the latest and greatest thing because that may not be what's best for you.

**Edit**

Start your homework here: http://www.wegotserved.com/2011/11/08/flexraid-set-support-windows-home-server-2011/
Tyzing likes this.
ajkrishock is offline  
post #16 of 18 Old 01-03-2013, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Tyzing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 12
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajkrishock View Post

The purpose of RAID, when you get right down to it, is fault tolerance. RAID arrays were created as a way of spreading data across drives so that if one drive fails, the drive can be replaced, and the data from the dead drive can be re-written. There are lots of options for RAID. One I would recommend against is onboard RAID through your motherboard. The fault tolerance goes away pretty quickly if the motherboard goes. I use a separate RAID card for my RAID 5 array, but even that is kinda old school compared to some of the other software based options out there.
I shy away from things like flexraid and unRAID primarily because I am not confident I'd know how to recover from a disaster scenario using them. A card-based RAID has a web interface I can log into from anywhere, and a really big button labeled "rebuild". Hard to screw that up. I like big gray buttons.
For the time being, I don't think I would mess with RAID right now. You have a lot more pressing matters to attend to for the moment (like building your server). You can always do that after the fact. Once your server is humming away, make yourself some hot tea, settle down in front of your workstation and start doing some reading on the various options open to you. Don't jump to the latest and greatest thing because that may not be what's best for you.
**Edit**
Start your homework here: http://www.wegotserved.com/2011/11/08/flexraid-set-support-windows-home-server-2011/

I'm starting now. Thank you so much for the time you've put into these replies.

Also, what's your take on Windows Server 2012? I have that as well but if I should stick with 2011 then I'll do that.

Also, wouldnt it be smarter to install the OS on my 160GB SDD?
Tyzing is offline  
post #17 of 18 Old 01-03-2013, 11:52 AM
Senior Member
 
ajkrishock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyzing View Post

I'm starting now. Thank you so much for the time you've put into these replies.
Also, what's your take on Windows Server 2012? I have that as well but if I should stick with 2011 then I'll do that.
Also, wouldnt it be smarter to install the OS on my 160GB SDD?

Save the SSD for your HTPC. Media servers don't really benefit from the fast boot times that an SSD provides because you don't usually boot a server or bring it out of sleep mode often. you turn it on and leave it on. In general, servers are about reliability.. not speed. You want speed in the HTPC because that's where it will be most noticed.. nobody wants to wait for their TV to boot.

As far as features and functionality go, I see no advantage to WHS 2012. A 2011 license can be had for $50 or less, and it's well supported by Ceton for network tuners (which is the biggest reason I use 2011).
ajkrishock is offline  
post #18 of 18 Old 01-03-2013, 07:07 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Puwaha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,122
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyzing View Post

What would that look like? Have my desktop as the server like Lime unRaid and then just vm if I need to use the desktop?

Stay tuned. I'm going to build a new purpose-built VMserver and plan on posting my workthrough/guide here.
Puwaha is offline  
Reply Home Theater Computers

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off