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post #1 of 79 Old 09-04-2013, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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My HTPC cannot hold anymore hard drives, so I thought about building a seperate Media Server. I'm going to repurpose my wifes old gaming PC, a best Buy special Asus CG1330 and add some new parts to it. Here's my list of parts. Let me know if I'm missing anything or have suggestions.

Motherboard - Asus M4A78BLT-M - AMD 760G/SB710 - Micro-ATX (from old PC)
Case - NZXT Source 210
CPU - AMD Phenom II X6 1035T 6-core Thuban (from old PC)
PSU - SeaSonic S12II 520w Bronze
RAM - 16GB [4 x 4GB] G.SKILL Ripjaws Series DDR3-1600 [url
HDD - 4 or 5 WD Red 3TB (haven't decided if I need 5 drives yet)
Thumb Drive - 8GB Sandisk Cruzer (had laying around)
OS - FreeNas v9.1.1
Fans - 3x ARCTIC F12 PWM Fluid Dynamic Bearing Case Fan

How does all of this look to you? Is there anything else I'm missing? Any tips for setting up FreeNas? I'm looking to do Raid-Z1.

Edit-got rid of all the url links. smile.gif Didn't realize the forum doesn't support url tags to make them clean looking. It was just a mess of links before
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post #2 of 79 Old 09-04-2013, 01:32 PM
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Honestly, if you've got that CPU kicking around it's silly not to use it, but it's a bit of a monster (6C, 95W) for a media server, unless you're planning on doing some transcoding. Likewise, half the memory you propose would do fine. FreeNAS is a very lightweight O/S that doesn't need much to run, so everything there is way more than what you really need. ZFS is a slick filesystem, but not very widely used. It doesn't do RAID like traditional solutions, but does have resilience built in. Trouble is, if it ever has problems, it could be difficult to troubleshoot.

Honestly, FreeNAS would be ok at serving files, but if you want to do anything else at all with the server, you'll run into problems. I'd possibly consider WHS, which gives you a lot more flexibility (e.g. Plex. MediaBrowser 3, DLNA)
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post #3 of 79 Old 09-04-2013, 02:52 PM
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You can make a media server out of anything so if you have stuff use it.

if not:

Intel G1610 ($35) + Asrock 75/77 Mobo for $69 is what you should do if your trying to get away cheap.

With something like FLEXRAID you could build a server now with what you have and upgrade or replace the mobo and CPU at a later date pretty easily (without losing data and re-using the same hard drives)

I did exactly that about three times now.
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post #4 of 79 Old 09-04-2013, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I did think about going with a different CPU, but the PC is just lying around. I mainly just surf the web & watch live/recorded TV I don't do much gaming anymore. I would like to look into the ability to stream movies/tv shows to my Android phone when I'm on the go. I'm not how to do it right now. So I guess transcoding will come in handy later on.

Going thru all the FreeNas forums, they highly recommend 1GB of RAM per 1TB of disk space for the ZFS file system. RAM is the major player with that OS and they say max it out as much as possible. Some people who have stuck with the minimum amount have been plagued with weird issues. I'm going to have 12 TB of hard drive, so I decided to max it out, 16GB is all the MB will take. I wish I would have built this server last year. As RAM prices have almost tripled since then. I bought the same G.Skill Ripjaws in 2 x 4GB, and it was $35. 16GB was $50.

I did consider WHS2011, but with it being near end of life and MS not looking to update or continue on with the project, made me fearful of a lack of support. I still have my HTPC thats doing all of the recording/watching/mediabrowser. I'm still not sure if I want to bother burning all of my Blu-Rays to the server, as I have a really nice stand alone Blu-Ray player. I don't have to worry about setting up bitstreaming. But I still want to burn all of my DVDs to the server, about 200 or so.
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post #5 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott750 View Post

I did think about going with a different CPU, but the PC is just lying around. I mainly just surf the web & watch live/recorded TV I don't do much gaming anymore. I would like to look into the ability to stream movies/tv shows to my Android phone when I'm on the go. I'm not how to do it right now. So I guess transcoding will come in handy later on.

Going thru all the FreeNas forums, they highly recommend 1GB of RAM per 1TB of disk space for the ZFS file system. RAM is the major player with that OS and they say max it out as much as possible. Some people who have stuck with the minimum amount have been plagued with weird issues. I'm going to have 12 TB of hard drive, so I decided to max it out, 16GB is all the MB will take. I wish I would have built this server last year. As RAM prices have almost tripled since then. I bought the same G.Skill Ripjaws in 2 x 4GB, and it was $35. 16GB was $50.

I did consider WHS2011, but with it being near end of life and MS not looking to update or continue on with the project, made me fearful of a lack of support. I still have my HTPC thats doing all of the recording/watching/mediabrowser. I'm still not sure if I want to bother burning all of my Blu-Rays to the server, as I have a really nice stand alone Blu-Ray player. I don't have to worry about setting up bitstreaming. But I still want to burn all of my DVDs to the server, about 200 or so.

ZFS will work fine with smaller amounts of RAM, but if you plan on using ZFS deduplication, then that feature does require a lot of memory for all the dedup tables that need to be held in RAM. Dedup is another discussion altogether though...

Ok, the deal with WHS2011 is that, yes, officially, MS have made it end of life, but, it's still built off Windows 2008 R2 Server, and that will be supported for a long while yet. Pretty much all software that runs on 2008 R2 will run on WHS2011 (and 2008R2 uses the same kernel as Windows 7), so drivers, patches etc are readily available. I had no problems running WHS2011 even though I knew it was coming up to end of support. It's bullet proof, cheap, and if you add one of the third party drive pooling tools (DriveBender, DrivePool) you can turn all those disks into one large one. You also get features like automated client backup and Windows 8 support, Just a thought before you commit to FreeNAS.
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post #6 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 06:54 AM
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You still have 2.5 years of mainstream support on Windows Home Server 2011. http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/?sort=PN&alpha=Windows%20Home%20Server
What difference does that make really? People still use XP without issue and mainstream support ended for that over 4 years ago.

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post #7 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 07:11 AM
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People still use XP without issue and mainstream support ended for that over 4 years ago.

Because extended support continues until April 8, 2014. Mass transition from XP to 7/8 is happening right now. Of course some people will continue to use XP after the end of extended support either because of ignorance or without connecting to the Internet.

There is no extended support for WHS2011. It is a product abandoned by MS. You can continue to use it after 2016 perhaps without problem in most cases, of course.
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post #8 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 07:52 AM
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Because extended support continues until April 8, 2014. Mass transition from XP to 7/8 is happening right now. Of course some people will continue to use XP after the end of extended support either because of ignorance or without connecting to the Internet.

There is no extended support for WHS2011. It is a product abandoned by MS. You can continue to use it after 2016 perhaps without problem in most cases, of course.

Extended support really doesn't mean anything to a home user other than critical security hotfixes. All other hotfixes and support is dropped for home users after the mainstream support phase ends. Ignorance and connecting to the internet really have little relevance. Especially if you're using a 3rd party browser. Most people are using routers from their ISP with sufficient firewalls. The majority of security related issues home users encounter are going to happen whether they are on unsupported XP or the latest and greatest.

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post #9 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by itznfb View Post

You still have 2.5 years of mainstream support on Windows Home Server 2011. http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/?sort=PN&alpha=Windows%20Home%20Server
What difference does that make really? People still use XP without issue and mainstream support ended for that over 4 years ago.

This makes so much sense.

It infuriates me when idiots cry about end of life support for WHS2011 (which is years away BTW) as an excuse to bash it and MS. They have no real interest in the product anyways, but rather just look to expose any negative they can for personal bias reasons alone.

WHS2011 I paid $35 for it 1.5 years ago. It still sells under $40. It's a great easy to use affordable option even today, but Haters gonna Hate


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post #10 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 08:09 AM
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I have no reason to believe my WHS2011 will stop working in the near future (years)

By the time it matters something will be available as a better option. Today there is no good options, so upgrading based on fear seems senseless to me. What is all this fear about ?

Your going to get left out in the cold and in the dark by MS ?

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post #11 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 08:11 AM
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So what's so great with WHS2011? 1. Cheap 2. Backup clients. Anything else?
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post #12 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 08:23 AM
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So what's so great with WHS2011? 1. Cheap 2. Backup clients. Anything else?

And,

It works.

There is no good alternatives in the sub $50 consumer category at this point, and there is no reason to think WHS2011 will stop being as good as it currently is just because MS ends support in a few years.

When a clear choice emerges as a viable replacement I will consider upgrading. If I was building a server today I would take the same path I took (Flexraid + WHS2011). It's hard if not impossible to get that complete functionality for the same price anywhere else.

Both are tried and true products, with proven results and lots supporters. They are both mature products, with the bugs worked out and the solutions to common problems figured out and easily available. Lots of info on them, and both are easy to set up. Once running it's set it and forget it.

I don't trust the same from my other options. Not at this point today.

Unraid lacks serious functionality and features, I dislike USB driven OS-es for full functionality. Many other products don't offer both pooling, and parity, and ability to keep the drives readable in any system, or add a drive with data on it without any data loss. Also, remote off site access, or remote desktop access. I use my server on a second monitor as a second whole system connected to the same mouse and keyboard. It makes things like media organization much easier.

Cost is very high for other WHS products, so they are not good options for the cheap consumer.

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post #13 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 08:30 AM
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If you want *Windows*, then actually any Windows version looks good for a media storage server. Windows Home Server 2011 happens to be the cheapest (because it is abandoned), so it is the best for some (budget-minded) people. smile.gif
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post #14 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 08:35 AM
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And,

It works.

There is no good alternatives in the sub $50 consumer category at this point, and there is no reason to think WHS2011 will stop being as good as it currently is just because MS ends support in a few years.

When a clear choice emerges as a viable replacement I will consider upgrading. If I was building a server today I would take the same path I took (Flexraid + WHS2011). It's hard if not impossible to get that complete functionality for the same price anywhere else.

Both are tried and true products, with proven results and lots supporters. They are both mature products, with the bugs worked out and the solutions to common problems figured out and easily available. Lots of info on them, and both are easy to set up. Once running it's set it and forget it.

I don't trust the same from my other options. Not at this point today.

Unraid lacks serious functionality and features, I dislike USB driven OS-es for full functionality. Many other products don't offer both pooling, and parity, and ability to keep the drives readable in any system, or add a drive with data on it without any data loss. Also, remote off site access, or remote desktop access. I use my server on a second monitor as a second whole system connected to the same mouse and keyboard. It makes things like media organization much easier.

Cost is very high for other WHS products, so they are not good options for the cheap consumer.

This is something we can agree on 100%. Sure there are other valid options. If someone just prefers the unRAID solution or prefers Linux to Windows then that's great for them. But the value of WHS2011 and ease of use is almost impossible to beat. I've been working with Linux since very early Slackware in 94 and I'll still run into the strangest issues that take me longer than I'd like to resolve. With Windows it just works. Windows for $50 or less.... I'm all over it.

The only thing I don't like about WHS2011 is the lack of Windows Media Center. Since I have FiOS cable and record shows on my server it'd nice to have that option. However VirtualBox and a Windows Home Premium VM solves that in a couple minutes biggrin.gif
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Originally Posted by renethx View Post

If you want *Windows*, then actually any Windows version looks good for a media storage server. Windows Home Server 2011 happens to be the cheapest (because it is abandoned), so it is the best for some (budget-minded) people. smile.gif

It's not abandoned any more than Server 2008 R2 is abandoned. It just has a shorter life-cycle due to being a home user based product. That's not the reason it costs $50 either...

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post #15 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 08:43 AM
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It's not abandoned any more than Server 2008 R2 is abandoned. It just has a shorter life-cycle due to being a home user based product. That's not the reason it costs $50 either...

Abandoned in that there is no real successor to WHS2011. (WS2012E is not.)

Why so cheap?
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post #16 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

If you want *Windows*, then actually any Windows version looks good for a media storage server. Windows Home Server 2011 happens to be the cheapest (because it is abandoned), so it is the best for some (budget-minded) people. smile.gif


Yup^ I would agree with that statement 100%. The more than double the cost for W7 or W8 is the issue there. You don't really gain anything by spending the $$$ so I don't see the point in doing that.

Side Note:

Since I use a dedicated SSD for my OS and I choose FlexRAID over the others- I can easily install anything I want (Windows 8/9/10 even windows 11 when the times comes) I could install WHS2017 in 2017, or I could install WHS2014 next year... (if it exists).

I won't lose a bit of data- and it won't take me more than 20 minutes.

That is why I have chosen the path I have taken.

Ability to do this kind of stuff is grossly underrated IMO. I don't care which solution you choose, there will come a time when you need to make adjustments because either software or hardware has failed, or technology has changed. How easy that is, or how hard it is - it's really up to what you choose today.

For me- Choosing cheap, highly capable, easy to set up, WHS2011 today was also about being able to replace it easily in future. It's not like your stuck with it.

I can literally power down my server, unplug my SAS8087 cables from my two HBA cards- boot back up and install windows 8 or WHS2012 right on top of my install now - then restart plug back in my SAS8087 cables and I have a new OS and all my data. If I want to pool it all together again I can choose any option I want to do that, or I can re-use my existing Flexraid I have now.

I don't see any dead end in the path I have taken, rather I see an easy out and easy upgrade path. Everything that is said negative about WHS and Flexraid is really a postive IMO. I realize I might be more prone to tinkering, upgrading and such than some.- BUT at some point every single person will need to to do it. How easy do you want it to be ? Choose wise now.

My server thread documents my tearing apart my WHS2011+ Flexraid server four times now. I went from 10TB to 20TB to 30TB to 35TB... I changed SSD's, I changed motherboards, I changed CPU's, I changed hard drives, RAM, PSU, I changed cases, I added IBM M1015, I broke that... added DELL 6GPS HBA cards.... etc... etc....

I never lost a bit of data- it was all pretty easy. And- my server very much is set it and forget it. There is no reason I would need to touch it unless I am inclined to do so.
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post #17 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 09:05 AM
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Abandoned in that there is no real successor to WHS2011. (WS2012E is not.)

Why so cheap?

I just don't understand the "abandoned" part ??

What does that mean ?

That just means MS is stopping support and development on the product right? They are focusing on newer products as replacement products right ? Like future versions of Windows and WHS.

so what?

WHS2011 is not that old, and it does not lack in any functionality or features that you need or want in a newer option (at this point).

It does not suddenly become less good- just because MS announces that they are ending support for it in the future. Is windows 7 less good? They did the same thing with that. And isn't windows 7 older than WHS ? How come I don't see the mass outcry about W7 ? Rather I read lots of people sticking with it over windows 8 for various reasons.... How is this different ? I do not understand the singling out of WHS2011 on these matters- it's been this way for 20 years with MS products. It seems like in the case of WHS2011 it gets twisted around because people want to be biased be against WHS2011 or MS. I don't understand why though...

It's just unreasonable to think WHS2011 will stop being good simply because they are stopping updating and developing it. If it does not change at all- I would be perfectly happy. I turned off my updates anyways (they mess up my server shares so I choose to install them manually one a month or two anyways)

I do not see the issues with WHS2011 that everyone sees with it. It's freaking $35 and it's awesome. It does everything and it's easy to set up.

I think the choice for WHS2011 seems to come more from FLEXRAID versus Unraid /Snapraid/ etc.... Flexraid seems to really match up well with WHS2011 as an affordable total solution that highlights the MS advantages (like native readable drives, adding drives with Data on them, changing out hardware..... high compatibility with almost all consumer hardware.... etc... etc.. )

And,

Lastly-

Sorry to you Renethx- I don't mean to seem like I am criticizing you or talking to you exclusively. I am not. I am responding to you- but really responding to everyone and everything I have read and seen on the WHS2011 issue around here. I am just personally venting my opinions and feelings, and in no way is it an attack on you.

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post #18 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 09:40 AM
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Microsoft stopped developing WHS line at all. Currently Microsoft recommends either Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 Essentials (a stripped version of Windows Server 2012) for a home server. Neither of them is a true successor to WHS2011 in functions or the price point, however. A lot of die-hard WHS fans have been jumping to WS2012E and very pleased. But it's not for most home users (pricey and overcomplicated [e.g. Active Directory]). So there is no definitive choice of Windows for a home server right now. For a media storage server, any Windows should be good. Some people may think Windows 7/8 is good because of WMC (a centralized PVR). Some people choose WHS2011 because it is cheap, etc.
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post #19 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 10:43 AM
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So there is no definitive choice of Windows for a home server right now.

This is a ridiculous statement.

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post #20 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 10:56 AM
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This is a ridiculous statement.

Hmm, it looks like your are a narrow-minded person. A ridiculous statement to some people may not be ridiculous to others. Personally I am using my home server as a DVR too and I don't have to go cheap. So no reason to choose WHS over the others.
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post #21 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 11:09 AM
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Hmm, it looks like your are a narrow-minded person. A ridiculous statement to some people may not be ridiculous to others. Personally I am using my home server as a DVR too and I don't have to go cheap. So no reason to choose WHS over the others.

It's still a ridiculous statement. Why would there ever be a definitive anything in home computing? Everyone is going to have different needs/wants. If there were definitive solutions then there wouldn't be these forums since everyone would own the same product and be perfectly happy. On top of that you try to somehow twist that ridiculous statement into a reason for WHS being a product no one would ever want to use. Ridiculous.

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post #22 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 11:38 AM
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If there were definitive solutions then there wouldn't be these forums since everyone would own the same product and be perfectly happy. On top of that you try to somehow twist that ridiculous statement into a reason for WHS being a product no one would ever want to use. Ridiculous.

Actually there is a definitive solution for a particular purpose (maybe you are just ignorant?). Still there can be forums like this and people gather to see what's is the best solution if exists and how to set it up etc. Nothing ridiculous.

If you feel I try to twist something, it's your own feeling. No further comment on this.
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post #23 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 11:59 AM
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WHS2011 only weakness would be no WMC built in- But that is not a problem compared to other options because they don't have WMC either (non windows, Unraid, etc.. )

If you must do DVR you have two options:

Windows 7 or 8
or
Virtual Machine (like itznfb) on WHS2011

Other than that- WHS2011 lacks nothing I can see.

For someone wanting to do DVR I would think Windows is the best solution, but for someone who does not then WHS is better (cheaper, client back ups, remote access etc )

It's tough to beat up windows though- because usually there is a way to do anything you want to do, even if it's not core function of the windows product likely you will find a way. This is the strength of any Windows option (including WHS) IMO.

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post #24 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 12:03 PM
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Actually there is a definitive solution for a particular purpose (maybe you are just ignorant?). Still there can be forums like this and people gather to see what's is the best solution if exists and how to set it up etc. Nothing ridiculous.

If you feel I try to twist something, it's your own feeling. No further comment on this.

So my comment was a reply to your comment saying there isn't a definitive solution. Now you're saying I'm ignorant because there IS a definitive solution. Good one.

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post #25 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

WHS2011 only weakness would be no WMC built in- But that is not a problem compared to other options because they don't have WMC either (non windows, Unraid, etc.. )

If you must do DVR you have two options:

Windows 7 or 8
or
Virtual Machine (like itznfb) on WHS2011

Other than that- WHS2011 lacks nothing I can see.

For someone wanting to do DVR I would think Windows is the best solution, but for someone who does not then WHS is better (cheaper, client back ups, remote access etc )

It's tough to beat up windows though- because usually there is a way to do anything you want to do, even if it's not core function of the windows product likely you will find a way. This is the strength of any Windows option (including WHS) IMO.

The big reason I switched to WHS2011 was for automated backups of both our Windows and Apple machines. Setting up an additional VM for DVR might not be the ideal solution for everyone but since I have the licenses already it was a simple step for my setup.

Running Windows Home Server 2011 Evil Abandoned Edition
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post #26 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Great suggestions fellas! I'm still researching everything out, but it's starting to look like WHS2011 is a better fit for my needs (DVR recodrings, interaction with WMC, backups). My HTPC is Win7 Home which will play nicely with each other. Then I could reduce my RAM from 16GB to 8GB (I would swap RAm with my HTPC, giving my HTPC a nice bump tho it may not be needed).

If WHS2011 is the direction I go, what things do I need to be aware of? Issues? Compatability?
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post #27 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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What about turning my old Win7 PC into a server?

http://apcmag.com/make-your-own-windows-home-server-os.htm
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post #28 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 05:44 PM
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I haven't touched my whs server in almost a year. Guess I should find something to complain about.

It just works. So does a lot of the other options.
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post #29 of 79 Old 09-05-2013, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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post #30 of 79 Old 09-06-2013, 06:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I haven't touched my whs server in almost a year. Guess I should find something to complain about.

It just works. So does a lot of the other options.

But you don't tell people what solution you are using .... So this comment isn't helpful

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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