Well its time for me to begin a new project for my home theater. This project will include both a server and one client system. I may build additional clients down the road, but for, it'll just be one.
So to start this off, I'm looking for suggestions regarding hardware, software, etc, to reach my goals. I already have some ideas based on the systems I've already put together, but I'm not up to date on all the requirements needed to properly serve and handle all of my media. So any help is appreciated. Sorry for the long post, but there is a lot I need to cover.
First, my goals for this project:
1. Build a server that can store all of my video, audio, and picture media. This server needs to have a bit of expansion room for growing in to.
2. Build a small client pc that meets the minimum requirements to properly playback any of my media.
I have been taking stock of my media, and I have some rough guesses on how much space I will need. I'm looking at 20-30tb of space needed to accommodate my collection of ~600 blurays, ~300 dvds, and ~450 cds.
I would like the server to handle the heavy lifting processing the media I rip, so it needs to be able to handle 1080p Bluray and 3D transcoding (for playback on other devices). I also want to choose hardware that can handle 4k playback. Part of this project includes replacing my tv with a 4k model, so I want a little future proofing for when i need to playback such content. This setup won't handle live tv/dvr stuff since I have a satelite setup with DirectTV.
As far as the client, I'm thinking about something small like one of the Intel boxes or a mini-itx box. This box will be the one to go in my theater room. If I need to use a larger case to accommodate hardware for features like MadVR, then I'm open to that. There will also be other devices that access content on the server. That will range from tablets to other pcs and consoles in other rooms.
As for software, I have a copy of WHS 2011 and Win 8 Pro available, so I'm thinking one of those two. I'm not sure which is better equipped for server needs, so any suggestions there would be helpful. I'll be using the MediaBrowser 3 for the server software. For the client pc, I'm leaning towards Win 8. I've been experimenting with 8 and there are some cool things I can leverage such as the start screen for easy access to all of my media sources (remote control is workable as well). I plan on using MB3 once its out of beta for playback, so my start screen will only have tiles to MB, IE, and then my streaming sources like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
My first issue is with the server build. Looking at the number of drives I will need, I'll need a fairly tall tower or go with a rackmount case as I've seen used here by many people. I was hoping to go with a tower due to the place I had to keep it, but I may have to rethink that based on my storage needs. I saw some cube style cases that might work though, giving me plenty of room for drives, like one from Lian Li. I see a lot of advantages to a rackmount case though, I would just need to figure out where to put it.
My next issue is minimum hardware required for both pcs. I would think that even though both the server and htpc need to be able to playback all media, the server would need more power since its having to transcode media for devices. Then I have to figure out whether I need to build the htpc with the power to handle MadVR and SVP. Ive been following the progress of both, but I haven't tried to use either one on my current htpcs. So first, can someone lay out the reasons/scenarios that warrant using those two, and then what are the minimum hardware needs to allow each to be used in a meaningful way?
I'm also thinking about how I should make use of raid with the server. Flexraid looks like a good option, but there are many options to choose from. I assume most are going to say that using raid is a must for this setup, so I'm checking out the options.
There is also the question of networking. I would love to run ethernet to my HT room for the htpc, but I may not have that choice. If I can relocated my modem and router to the HT room, then I'll be fine, but if not, I'm considering a HomePlugAV2 kit. The new HomePlug spec seems to fit my needs and reviews seem to back that up, so I would try it out.
I'll post up my hardware ideas and see what you guys think, but I wanted to go ahead and get this started to get suggestions.