After taking the plunge into a HTPC about 14 months ago, my media collection is starting to burst at the seams, so it is time to expand into a separate media server. Conveniently, we are doing some extensive home renovations at the same time, so I've taken the opportunity to wire the house so I don't have to worry about trying to serve media via wireless or have to fish CAT6 through the walls.
However, as I am specing out the components for the server, I'm running into some question about hard drive capacity and limitations
The equipment I have:
- 5x TOSHIBA DT01ACA300 3TB Hard Drives
- 2x Samsung EcoGreen 2TB Hard Drives
- Existing HTPC w Ceton InfiniTV 4
The Software I am planning on using
- Flexraid with Data Protection and Drive Pooling
- Windows OS (still deciding between Win7, Win8, WHS 2011, and Server 2012 Essentials)
- Plex Server (or maybe MediaBrowser 3)
I'm fairly open on the hardware, noise isn't going to be much of a factor since it will be in the basement. My biggest criteria are storage capacity and cost. By storage capacity, I specifically am looking for the most flexibility in terms of the quantity of hard drives I can support without needing extra hardware or needing to replace the case with something larger. I would also prefer a rackmount case since I'll have my switch and router in the rack too, but I can work with a tower on a shelf if it works out better.
SATA connections on the motherboard and space in the case seem to be the limiting factors. My guess is I'll need a minimum of 9 SATA connections to handle everything planned for my server (7x HDD, 1x SSD, 1x BD-ROM, but I'd like to plan for at least 3 more hard drives for future expansion just in case, so I'd need space for 12 drives.
So this leaves me with 4 questions:
- Is there any hope of finding a motherboard that can handle 9 or 12 SATA devices?
- Assuming the answer to #1 is a no, is there an inexpensive way to add additional SATA ports without expensive RAID controllers?
- Does anyone have any rackmount chassis (or Tower case) suggestions that an accommodate a minimum of 1 external 5.25", 1 internal 2.5", and 10 internal or hot-swap 3.25" drives. Cost is the biggest factor here as I am trying to stay under $200 and would prefer to be under $150 with shipping.
- This is somewhat of a side-bar question, but how do the multi-bay external drive enclosures work with eSATA and/or SATA? Are you actually trying to run 4 or 5 drives through the same eSATA port? Does this end up being a bottle neck in performance for Flex-Raid or other drive pooling solutions?