Suggestions for 1st Home Server Build - Possible recycle/upgrade HTPC parts ?? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 1 Old 06-11-2013, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Trying to build my first windows home server build & looking for advice on:
-What parts I would need to build the windows (home) server
-Which parts I could recycle from my existing computer
-Which parts to upgrade on the HTPC?

I had originally thought about buying a pre-built 4-bay Synology (DS413) NAS. However, I realised for a similar cost, I could make my own customised Windows (Home) server, which would have more functionality, more potential to upgrade/expand later, and be a good project! I could also recycle some of the parts from my existing HTPC (2011 build details below), and upgrade some components to achieve the more advanced things I am now trying to do with the HTPC (e.g. encoding video rips).

Latest HTPC Goals (connected to 50” flat-panel TV)
• Playback music in WMC (Windows Media Centre)
• Playback TV/Movies in full 1080HD in WMC (Currently 1080 x 1920, don't know if higher resolution is possible, or better??)
• Record TV/Movies from two (installed) dual TV tuners in WMC
• Ability to rip my (small/modest) DVD & Blu-ray collection ideally in full/lossless 1080p HD videa/audio quality & store in WMC
• Compress less important ripped content (TV shoes/old movies) & store in WMC
• Browse web
• Ability to continue upgrading over time
• Ideally I also want the HTPC to continue run v quietly
[This is why I originally went for quite expensive components such as the Lian-Li case, a lower power CPU (i3) option with in-built HD graphics, massive slow turning (quiet) fan, and a pricey fanless PSU]

NAS/Home Server Goals
• Automatically back-up my main HTPC without having to regularly manage the process manually (Currently I use an external HDD & copy/paste files manually = Pain!)
• Also back-up an additional laptop without creating lots of duplication (on the server)
• Have RAID ability so if one drive fails I don’t lose everything!
• Primarily access content via my HTPC, plus occasionally access content (Mainly music/documents for this) on a separate laptop/i-phone/i-pad
• Ability to add more drives and/or update the system spec later on – Ideally have space for several drives, as space is getting cheaper & cheaper - Space/Size of box is not a concern
• I would also like the system to run very quietly, and remain permanently on with the ability to sleep/hibernate & wake automatically (i.e. Have low power usage)
• Run system on Windows Home Server software (Seems most user friendly platform - Is that correct?)
• Pretty/Look decent in the house

Thoughts/considerations for the build?
Currenlty I have everything stored locally on the HTPC, which is then backed-up/duplicated on a HDD... I imagine it would be better to store most of my media content on the home server box and stream it to the HTPC which plays stuff on the TV, and also have the HTPC rip/record/download & process/encode new content and then shuttle it back to the home server to store there, to then be streamed for consumption later. I’m not sure if this is possible, or is the best way to set it up??? (If I streamed content from the server in this way I wouldn’t want any delay/latency when watching movies)

Basically I don’t understand whether it’s better to have all the power/performance in the HTPC, and then have a relatively low power/performance server box just sitting in the background. Or whether to do it the other way around (powerful server box, thin/light HTPC). Deciding this would help me decided which parts to recycle/buy, and how powerful to make the server as per this useful article:
From the article, it sounds like using my current HTPC i3 chip for the server is a good idea, but then I don’t know what bits I would upgrade the HTPC to, to maintain it’s current features & whilst maintaining the low power/noise factor?
Also I was thinking it might be cheaper just to have massive storage space in the server box (HDDs are so cheap), rather than spend huge amounts upgrading the HTPC to cope with lots of overnight video encoding (i.e. Powerful chip & noisy GPU), and streaming everything.

Overall, I’m trying to find a solution that is still reasonably cost effective to start with, but that has plenty of capacity to beef everything up as I expand my various media library’s and become more proficient at DIY’ing. I found this article which seemed like a good starting point:
Any/all thoughts recommendations would be great - Massive fan of the site, so all input welcome!!

Original HTPC (2011) Build – Running Win 7 x64
PSU - Seasonic SS-400FL X-Series 400W Fanless PSU, £98
CPU - Intel CPU i3 2120 Sandy Bridge Dual Core Processor, £106.96
Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-H67A-UD3H-B3 Intel H67 Express Socket 1155, £111.2
RAM - Corsair Memory XMS3 4GB DDR3 1333 Mhz CAS 8 Dual Channel - £44.56
SSD Memory (For O/S) - Crucial 64GB RealSSD C300 SSD - £89.12
HDD x 1 - WD WD20EZRX 2TB Green SATA III - 6Gb/s, £63.20
HDD x 2 - 2TB WD20EARS Caviar Green, SATA 3Gb/s, 5400+rpm, 64MB Cache, 8ms, £61.06
Case - Lian Li PC-C33B HTPC Case [425 x 168 x 460 (WxHxD mm], £140.80
Fan - 140mm Noctua NH-C14 Top-Flow Flexible CPU Cooler
Blue-Ray (Writer) - LG Blu-Ray Writer, BH10LS30.AUAU, SATA, OEM - £69.56
Wireless network card - Edimax EW-7722In 300Mbps Wireless 11n PCI Adapter - £20.33
TV Tuners x 2 - Blackgold BGT3620 is a premium multi-channel hybrid tuner - £170
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