Help! Spec out my Server vs. Synology? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-23-2013, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Afternoon,

I've been debating this for upwards of a year now, but I'd thought I'd get some current insights. I know this has been asked countless times before, but here's to hoping I can get some personalized answers. I'm looking to either build a moderate server or just go with a Synology 1512/1513 or 1812. I'd like to spend no more than $500-$600 before adding in the hard drive costs. I have a copy of Win 7 Professional I could install on the server, but I alternatively may purchase WHS 2011.

My main motivation for going the WHS route is to be able to use Plex when I'm on the road and would like to access my files for easy playback. It's my understanding that transcoding is bad/nonexistent with the Synology NAS devices, so the server has a clear edge there. I plan on either using a Dune device or putting together a NUC and running XBMC.

My main motivation for going with the NAS is obviously its ease of use. I really don't want to have to spend a weekend trying to figure out why something isn't working as it should. Does this happen often with your server builds? I doubt that I will ever use the maximum space allowed in a NAS, so I don't think expandability is really an issue for me.

With this being said, can I get some thoughts on what is the better way to go? If it's the server route, could someone recommend a case, processor, mobo, psu, etc. that I would need to get everything running?


Thanks in advance!

J
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-23-2013, 12:59 PM
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Rosewill RSV-R4000 Black 1.0mm SECC, 4U Rackmount Server Chassis 8 Internal Bays, 4 Included Cooling Fans $84
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or

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Intel Pentium G2120 Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80637G2120 $69.99
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ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $74
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G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBXL $37.99
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SAMSUNG 840 Series MZ-7TD120BW 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $99.99
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Intel EXPI9301CTBLK Network Adapter 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI-Express 1 x RJ45 $27.99
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-23-2013, 01:02 PM
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You can save $100 by skipping the SSD (I would not, but comparing to a NAS without one your not giving up in comparison)

You can skip the Intel NIC card and be fine (its just a nice option)

You can also upgrade or downgrade on lots of stuff. That is how you get sucked into a server biggrin.gif The end result is usually good though.

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post #4 of 19 Old 08-23-2013, 01:24 PM
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Synology NAS's can transcode Plex, they just lack the horsepower to do higher bit rate stuff.

It was the reason I sold my Synology DS411+, since it had trouble transcoding 1080P stuff w/o buffering stoppages. I used windows w/ flexraid after that, but missed synology's awesome UI. 3 or so months ago I played around with ESXI for the first time, and am now running synology's DSM in a VM and it works great (google XPenology). You said you don't want to mess around with stuff, so I'm not sure that is something you'd want to do since it takes some work to setup, but once it's working it works great.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-23-2013, 01:30 PM
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WHS is probably simple enough to use for anyone that understands a windows OS.

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post #6 of 19 Old 08-23-2013, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a bunch guys. It's not that I don't know what I am doing- I've built several computers, one of which was supposed to be an HTPC that I had to end up using for general use. I just don't want to have to find myself dealing with problems all the time, which is why I was leaning towards Synology. I'll definitely have to give XPenology a look.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-23-2013, 03:42 PM
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I went with a Synology DS1813+ because of the NAS specific chassis and software. The DS1813+ has plenty of horsepower compared to the lower end Synology NAS. The chassis was really about aesthetics, and convenience. The software revolved around AFP and TimeMachine support, and block-level iSCSI. Lastly, you'll save a few watts with a Synology NAS over a custom built server. Not much, but another consideration. The drives in a larger 8-bay chassis are really going to drive your cost. Ultimately, I'm happy with my decision. It just works for everything I need it for.


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post #8 of 19 Old 08-23-2013, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jch1 View Post

Thanks a bunch guys. It's not that I don't know what I am doing- I've built several computers, one of which was supposed to be an HTPC that I had to end up using for general use. I just don't want to have to find myself dealing with problems all the time, which is why I was leaning towards Synology. I'll definitely have to give XPenology a look.

Honestly I almost never touch my server since I built it. I would not worry about that. Once it is up and running it's very much set it and forget it.

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post #9 of 19 Old 08-23-2013, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortcut3d View Post

I went with a Synology DS1813+ because of the NAS specific chassis and software. The DS1813+ has plenty of horsepower compared to the lower end Synology NAS. The chassis was really about aesthetics, and convenience. The software revolved around AFP and TimeMachine support, and block-level iSCSI. Lastly, you'll save a few watts with a Synology NAS over a custom built server. Not much, but another consideration. The drives in a larger 8-bay chassis are really going to drive your cost. Ultimately, I'm happy with my decision. It just works for everything I need it for.


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Do you use Plex PMS on it, and have you tried to transcode 1080P content, video and audio transcoding? Just curious since it really doesn't have a more powerful CPU than the DS411+, which I used to have. It would work, but you'd get stoppages for buffering, which were annoying to me.


Here's a link for reference, for anyone interested in what models have what CPU's: http://forum.synology.com/wiki/index.php/What_kind_of_CPU_does_my_NAS_have

Just did a quick search http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Atom-D510-vs-Intel-Atom-D2700

My DIY NAS has an i7 3770T and a DQ77KB thin-itx MB. It kicks butt https://picasaweb.google.com/104979206991404158659/HTPCNASLianLiPCQ16 smile.gif
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-24-2013, 01:11 PM
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No prebuilt NAS device is going to give you server type power. You can easily get a nice quad for for a server and do lots of stuff, including transcoding plex or Mediabrowser. If that is what you want to do then you want to build your own.

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post #11 of 19 Old 08-24-2013, 01:35 PM
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NAS is one of the most perplexing options to me. The cheapest 4-bay NAS is ~$300, while you can build a 15-bay quad-core CPU (well, AMD smile.gif) server for $500 (plus OS cost if you are going to use Windows; Linux is free). eek.gif 4/5 bays may be good for DVD, music and office files, but not for HD videos. Configuring a server is not much different from other PCs (it's just a PC).
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post #12 of 19 Old 08-24-2013, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

NAS is one of the most perplexing options to me. The cheapest 4-bay NAS is ~$300, while you can build a 15-bay quad-core CPU (well, AMD smile.gif) server for $500 (plus OS cost if you are going to use Windows; Linux is free). eek.gif 4/5 bays may be good for DVD, music and office files, but not for HD videos. Configuring a server is not much different from other PCs (it's just a PC).

I could not agree more. AMD is just as good as Intel as a server IMO. Either is a good option and neither is more expensive than NAS.

$80 mobo + $30 ram + $35 CPU + $40 PSU + $80 server case = better than any NAS for $250-$300. You can go quad core CPU for transcoding and go even bigger in the $300-$450 range.

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post #13 of 19 Old 08-24-2013, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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It seems like you guys are much more inclined to go the home made server route. I know it's unlikely that I would incur a hardware issue, but I'm just thinking about if it happens, I'd be pissed to the point that I wouldn't even try to figure out what was wrong. Any thoughts on mfusicks build or other suggestions?
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-25-2013, 12:13 AM
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Personally I get more peace of mind knowing I have my media on a Windows server running Flexraid. It's just standard parts, easy to replace if something breaks, and drives are readable on any PC.

If you have the space, get a rackmount case with space for lots of hard drives. You may think you will not need that much capacity but think again.

I installed an expensive Netgear 4-bay NAS for a client who insisted he was only evergoing to store DVDs. He discovered Blu-rays and the NAS was outgrown in 4 months. He is now running a real server.

And that ReadyNAS was a PITA to set up. Took 3 messy FW updates only to get it to build the array.
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-26-2013, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by politby View Post

Personally I get more peace of mind knowing I have my media on a Windows server running Flexraid. It's just standard parts, easy to replace if something breaks, and drives are readable on any PC.

If you have the space, get a rackmount case with space for lots of hard drives. You may think you will not need that much capacity but think again.

I installed an expensive Netgear 4-bay NAS for a client who insisted he was only evergoing to store DVDs. He discovered Blu-rays and the NAS was outgrown in 4 months. He is now running a real server.

And that ReadyNAS was a PITA to set up. Took 3 messy FW updates only to get it to build the array.

+1

I think it's a common misconception that NAS is easy, or that a flexraid server is hard.

I built the last one and had it up and running in an hour or so... With whs installed.

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post #16 of 19 Old 08-27-2013, 10:14 PM
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So what are people using to backup these 20TB and 30TB arrays?

I was at the Synology booth at VMworld 2013 today and they recommended a second DS1813+ or the 513 Expansion Unit without protection.
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post #17 of 19 Old 08-27-2013, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortcut3d View Post

So what are people using to backup these 20TB and 30TB arrays?

The box-o-drives method. When a disk is filled, a duplicate gets bagged, tagged, and shelved. Irreplaceable stuff gets rsynced to my colo, but that's less than a TB. It's not sexy, but it's good enough for movie rips.
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-28-2013, 12:33 AM
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Some people use the following strategy:

- Irreplaceable data such as personal documents and family photos: duplicating data (e.g. StableBit) and storing data at a distant place (e.g. an online storage service).
- Replaceable data such as ripped / downloaded movies: a simple redundancy method (e.g. SnapRAID, FlexRAID, disParity) that requires just one extra drive for parity (you can use dual / triple parity too).
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