Media server build to support a HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 04-22-2013, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I have posted before about building a HTPC, and need a media server to become the storage hub for my household. In the past, I use to run WHS v1 which recently died and hence need to build a replacement server.

Purpose:
1. I own about 0.75 Tb of content, most of which are family photos and videos (have a 3 yr old rolleyes.gif). I need a method to host a photo website so my family has easy access to pictures.

2. Function as a DVR for OTA recordings which would be done via the HTPC but the network storage pool would be used to hold the content.

3. Plan to have 4 TB pool via 2 x 2tb HDD ( already purchased Seagate greens)

4. Stream music / videos / photos throughout the household via plex. Need processor power to transcode.

5. Remotely access secure documents, plan to use skydrive fetch feature.

6. Rip some DVD / Blu-rays for easy playback for the kids, need MKV support.

7. Some way to back-up the server itself - esp the photos and videos.

8. Ability to serve and stream to 3 devices simultaneously, HTPC / iPad / Galaxy tab.

Questions:
1. My biggest point of confusion is which OS to choose: Win 8 / WHS 2011 / Win 7.

2. Processor (i5 vs i7) for compute power but at the same need the power consumption to be as low as possible.

3. Minimize fan noise as it will be kept in my closet beside the bedroom.

4. Should I wait for Haswell line coming out this summer?

I already own the HDD and have Cat 5e wiring in my house. Rest everything needs to be purchased. Please help my utterly confused soul. I want this server to last for a minimum 7 - 10 years.

Thanks,
Conkydoc
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post #2 of 22 Old 04-23-2013, 09:17 AM
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Why did WHS Ver 1 die?

I am still running Win2K server on PII 233 MHz. They rarely just die.

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!!!
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post #3 of 22 Old 04-23-2013, 05:38 PM
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Setup:
Windows 7
Intel Core2Duo @2.16ghz 4gb Ram
40gb Sata as OS Drive
2TB for OTA recording
3TB for Movies and TV Shows
4TB Drive Backup drive for Movies and Shows and holds some tv shows temporarily
for when I have time to remove commercials and convert to .mp4.

This server holds 3 Avermedia Duet Tuners for a total of 6 tuners which run using Mediaportal.
Using Mediaportal I can have all the recordings on the server and can send Live tv to any of the HTPC clients.

Most of my movies and shows are ripped in .mp4 format. This way there is no transcoding necessary since Hardware Acceleration
for .mp4 is supported on most devices (my galaxy tab has issues with blurays converted to mp4). I use serviio to share the content
with mobile devices.

Movies and shows are backed up around once a week using Synctoy. I do it manually but been meaning to use Task Scheduler to setup a weekly backup.
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post #4 of 22 Old 04-23-2013, 07:26 PM
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Mine does all of that, given it has a bit more storage space. WHS 2011 will give accounts to family members and they can remote connect. Also you can use the TV Archive feature so it will auto transfer all recordings to your WHS storage pool and automatically wake and put the HTPC back into sleep for scheduled recordings. My Ceton is in the file server and gives the HTPC's network tuners.

Specs:
Intel i5 2500k
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H
8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600
Ceton infiniTV 4 PCI-e CableCARD Tuner
90GB Corsair GT SATA 3 SSD [OS Drive]
Sans Digital 8-bay eSATA Enclosure
HighPoint DC7280 32-port SATA Card
2x 750GB SATA2
8x 1TB SATA2
6x 2TB SATA2
Rocketfish Case (Lian-Li rebrand) modded to hold 19 HDDs
Zalman 850w Heatpipe Silent/Modular PSU
Windows Home Server 2011
FlexRAID Cruise Control + Snapshot RAID ∞
Cyberpower 1500VA Battery Backup
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post #5 of 22 Old 04-23-2013, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Why did WHS Ver 1 die?

I am still running Win2K server on PII 233 MHz. They rarely just die.

I had a WHS v1 running on a early Atom barebones ( I was naive didn't know that servers need a little more processor grunt). I think the mobo is fried, the server will not even reach the bios screen. I was able to recover all the data from the HDD though. Not sure what fried the setup, it was on a UPS backup also.

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post #6 of 22 Old 04-23-2013, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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i5 seems to be the best choice available as of now. However, I really think waiting for the Haswell maybe worth the energy efficiency.

One of the problems I am facing is finding a case that will not have a 120mm fan running 24/7 and still house 2 -3 HDD, my closet is very near to the bedroom biggrin.gif. Any suggestions?

I was very happy with WHS v1 and I have read several WHS 2011 reviews. The bottom line is that MS has pulled the plug on WHS line (wish they had not). I am thinking of just migrating to win 8 pro for the server solution also and fully use the power of homegroup.

Is there benefit of keeping the OS on a SSD for a server?

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post #7 of 22 Old 04-25-2013, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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No replies / Suggestions....hmmm. Here are the summary questions:

1. Quiet case for a media server. Suggestions?

2. Is there benefit of keeping the OS on a SSD for a server?

3. Mobo suggestions, something that will run 24/7 and not burn out like my last one ?

Thanks in advance...
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post #8 of 22 Old 04-25-2013, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conkydoc View Post

One of the problems I am facing is finding a case that will not have a 120mm fan running 24/7 and still house 2 -3 HDD, my closet is very near to the bedroom biggrin.gif. Any suggestions?

So are you looking for a case without 120mm fan (why? 120mm fans can be as quiet as 80mm fans with much larger airflow) that can house only 2-3 HDDs (that can be filled up very quickly)?
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post #9 of 22 Old 04-25-2013, 05:02 PM
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1. Fractal Design's Define R4 I have it and it's whisper quiet.

2. No
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post #10 of 22 Old 04-25-2013, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

So are you looking for a case without 120mm fan (why? 120mm fans can be as quiet as 80mm fans with much larger airflow) that can house only 2-3 HDDs (that can be filled up very quickly)?

Probably my ignorance. I have a desktop that I built about 7 years ago using a cooler master HAF chassis, it has a 120mm fan which has a hum to it all the time. But I understand your point. Any case suggestions ( I am going to research the Fractal design r4 as mentioned)?
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post #11 of 22 Old 04-25-2013, 06:37 PM
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You shouldn't worry about fan noise. Every 120mm fan at 1200rpm or higher will be noisy. You can control fan speed by SpeedFan (a quick guide) or a controller like Zalman Fan Mate. (Or replace a fan with a quieter one.)

Vertical or horizontal? Define R4 is a good vertical case. SilverStone GD08 horizontal case houses up to 11 HDDs + 2 SSDs.
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post #12 of 22 Old 04-25-2013, 07:20 PM
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If you want silent 120mm fans, either use a fan controller as stated above, or spend a little extra on good quality silent fans. I went with Noctua's in my file server and gaming build, and they are so quiet you can't even hear them.

For cases, you can't go wrong with Fractal Design, Lian-Li, or Silverstone. They have great air flow designs, are very sturdy, and have great internal layouts.

For the SSD, you don't need one, but of course it makes reboots fast if you need quick uptime, they have super fast transfer rates and great cache speed, it will just take away one less drive noise, and consume less power. Plus, longevity will probably be better, although we have yet to see the long term effects on many writes since they have only been around for a few years.
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post #13 of 22 Old 04-25-2013, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conkydoc View Post

I want this server to last for a minimum 7 - 10 years.

Mainstream support for WHS 2011 ends on 12 April 2016. No extended support. Support lasts only for 3 years from now on. You can continue to use it beyond that, but without security updates.

From Microsoft support (now available only in cache):

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post #14 of 22 Old 04-26-2013, 04:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by conkydoc View Post

I want this server to last for a minimum 7 - 10 years.

Mainstream support for WHS 2011 ends on 12 April 2016. No extended support. Support lasts only for 3 years from now on.

From Microsoft support (now available only in cache):



It would still work but this is a good point because the entire tech world moves so fast that keeping a pc 7 years or more is unreasonable.

4 or 5 is probably as far as I'd try to stretch it. That's forever in computer time.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #15 of 22 Old 04-27-2013, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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When I say 7 years, I meant from a standpoint of functionality.

However, I am seriously contemplating for Intel Haswell line to come. If they are going to be 20% efficient, that can mean significant electricity savings.

I ordered the Fractal design R4 (on sale at newegg) for $79.99

Are there any benefits of a ATX mobo vs mATX for server build? Any recommendations?

This seems to be a good one : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157302
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post #16 of 22 Old 04-27-2013, 12:12 PM
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$79.99 for the Fractal Design is a very good price. I paid $110 for mine.I always cheaped out on cases but his year I decided I was going to treat myself. I'm glad I did. Worth every penny. Very roomy. Room for 8 3.5" or 2.5" drives. You can also add a couple of SSD's in the back of the backplate. Just make sure if you do that you do it before installing the motherboard.
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post #17 of 22 Old 04-27-2013, 01:59 PM
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I really like the Fractal Design cases, I looked at the Arc Mini and the Define Mini for my server build. Both cases are microATX and I reckon you could get 9 3.5" HDD's in them.

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post #18 of 22 Old 05-05-2013, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
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The Case arrived. It is quite big. Didn't realize how big this case was. Since it's here, will likely stay with a ATX board now. Now, waiting for the Haswell line to become available, the power savings hopefully will be worth the wait.
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post #19 of 22 Old 05-05-2013, 01:21 PM
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It is pretty big.biggrin.gif But once you start installing all your drives and components you'll really appreciate the roominess.
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post #20 of 22 Old 07-01-2013, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Time to rekindle this discussion thread. Haswell generation of processors are here.

Has anybody tried them and is there enough electricity saving to justify cost?

Any build suggestions with regards to the processor and mobo?

PSU recommendations? Please read this article: http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2013/05/01/haswell-psu/1

I am ready to buy at this time, so fire away...

Thanks in advance as always.
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post #21 of 22 Old 07-11-2013, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Am I missing something here? No replies in over a week? I could not find another discussion thread addressing my issues.
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post #22 of 22 Old 07-11-2013, 09:55 PM
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PSU ... new C6/C7 state saves 2W-3W at idle, that will result in $2-$3 saving per year. So spending $10 more on PSU just for this purpose is more or less pointless. Of course you can disable C6/C7 state in BIOS setup (it is disabled in most 8 series mb by default for the sake of compatibility with the majority of PSUs in the market).

For example,

Core i5-4430
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (tower case) / Geminii S524 (desktop case)
ASRock Z87 Extreme4
DDR3-1600 4GB x 2
Seasonic S12II 430B (80 PLUS Bronze, supports C6 /C7, a bit older, but one of the quietest) or Seasonic G-450 (80 PLUS Gold)
Win 8 Pro
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