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post #1 of 119 Old 02-18-2007, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've run out of space on all the drives I have in various computers on my network, so I need to buy some kind of storage solution to expand space. I would like it to be some kind of RAID, not just a JBOD so I don't lose data.

I have my HTPC on the network, I basically just want to feed DVD and HD files from a storage device to my HTPC. I don't need to stream many different files all at once.

I don't understand what kind of speed I need, I'm looking at the Infrant and the Buffalo stuff on newegg, but I don't really know what it is that I need and what is overkill. It seems like the Buffalos are maybe noted for being slow, but as I said I'm not looking to move a huge amount of data around, just streaming one HD or DVD program at a time basically.

What's my best value options?
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post #2 of 119 Old 02-18-2007, 04:21 PM
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I'm asking a similar question ... did come across the USR8700 ... wonder how good it is ...
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post #3 of 119 Old 02-18-2007, 06:35 PM
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I just spent a few months researching for large storage solutions and purchased the Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ last month. I've seen nearly 100% positive responses from all owners. It's $600 w/o disks or $1000 with 2x500GB. They have an active user forum with Infrant employee participation, and a very stable firmware, but with active development and feature additions. I highly recommend this product if you truly need network storage. But, the one thing I don't like about it is that it can't be direct attached when needed/wanted.

If you can use direct attached storage, I'm sure you can find something cheaper, but of course w/o all the features. Maybe something like the 2 drive AMS Venus DS3R for $150 ... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817332006

Chad R.
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post #4 of 119 Old 02-18-2007, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

.... I would like it to be some kind of RAID, not just a JBOD so I don't lose data ....

A point that has been raised countless times, but deserves a quick mention:

RAID is not *necessarily* backup. If you accidentally delete/overwrite a file, it is gone - the RAID functionality will not help you. RAID helps protect against disk failure but does nothing to offset the impact of human error.

On the other hand, JBOD *can be* backup if you make periodic (not immediate as in RAID) backups. For example, I keep three generations of backups, one per week, so as long as I discover the error within a month, I am fine. Given that my movies and music do not change dramatically each day, losing a week's worth of changes is a non-issue (btw, I backup some key files every six hours).

The primary value of RAID is data availability (i.e. drive fails, you can still use your system while it rebuilds) not data backup. This is why RAID is absolutely right for a corporate environment. You can't have your users sit around for a day waiting for the IT guy to reload the system. My family, on the other hand, can easily forgo movies (or, gasp!, play a DVD) for an evening if such a disaster occurs for me.

For me personally, the best solution is JBOD where my backup software automatically does the above and informs me when files change so I can be alerted to some sort of file corruption or screwup on my part. For example, "Bill, I am backing up five new movies, but DOOM has changed." Of course, that wouldn't be a bad thing.

There are a bunch of threads about this point, just search for "raid backup" (without quotes) and you should trip across them.


Bill

Cheers,
Bill
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post #5 of 119 Old 02-18-2007, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billped View Post

A point that has been raised countless times, but deserves a quick mention:

RAID is not *necessarily* backup. If you accidentally delete/overwrite a file, it is gone - the RAID functionality will not help you. RAID helps protect against disk failure but does nothing to offset the impact of human error.

On the other hand, JBOD *can be* backup if you make periodic (not immediate as in RAID) backups. For example, I keep three generations of backups, one per week, so as long as I discover the error within a month, I am fine. Given that my movies and music do not change dramatically each day, losing a week's worth of changes is a non-issue (btw, I backup some key files every six hours).

The primary value of RAID is data availability (i.e. drive fails, you can still use your system while it rebuilds) not data backup. This is why RAID is absolutely right for a corporate environment. You can't have your users sit around for a day waiting for the IT guy to reload the system. My family, on the other hand, can easily forgo movies (or, gasp!, play a DVD) for an evening if such a disaster occurs for me.

For me personally, the best solution is JBOD where my backup software automatically does the above and informs me when files change so I can be alerted to some sort of file corruption or screwup on my part. For example, "Bill, I am backing up five new movies, but DOOM has changed." Of course, that wouldn't be a bad thing.

There are a bunch of threads about this point, just search for "raid backup" (without quotes) and you should trip across them.


Bill


The snapshot capability of the ReadyNAS and some others is a great way to avoid deleting files accidently. ReadyNas also features a network recycle bin so in for most practical purposes a ready nas provides RAID and adequate backup....

Sean
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post #6 of 119 Old 02-18-2007, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sean_w_smith View Post

The snapshot capability of the ReadyNAS and some others is a great way to avoid deleting files accidently. ReadyNas also features a network recycle bin so in for most practical purposes a ready nas provides RAID and adequate backup....

Sean

Agreed and I appreciate you not turning this into a religious war (as a few of the previous threads became). That is why I carefully phrased my statements. I just don't want people to think "RAID=backup" without carefully considering their requirements and the specific features of the device they are looking to purchase.


Bill

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Bill
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post #7 of 119 Old 02-18-2007, 10:17 PM
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Bill..

What software do you use for backup? Do you use the backup built into windows (if you are on a windows box) or do you use a third party software to back up your data?

R~

"Me Personally, I want to slay the dragon"
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post #8 of 119 Old 02-19-2007, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:


RAID is not *necessarily* backup. If you accidentally delete/overwrite a file, it is gone - the RAID functionality will not help you. RAID helps protect against disk failure but does nothing to offset the impact of human error.

That's a good point, but overwriting a file is not something that concerns me. Disk failure does concern me. Right now I have I think about a TB in just drives, and while it's not THAT big a deal if one fails, it would be annoying and something I'd like to avoid, which is why RAID is worth it. My array of drives now is also smaller sized drives <250gb, so not that big a deal if one fails. If I have much larger drives and one fails, it's a little bit more annoying. Really the only files that are going to be on the server/NAS are just plain movie files, very static. Most of the drives I have now haven't had any data changed on them in a long time. So it seems to me that Raid is probably the more effective and efficient way to just have some simple piece of mind (and also not have to do backups manually all the time, though maybe there are automatic ways to do this that I'm not aware of).
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post #9 of 119 Old 02-19-2007, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad-R View Post

I just spent a few months researching for large storage solutions and purchased the Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ last month. I've seen nearly 100% positive responses from all owners. It's $600 w/o disks or $1000 with 2x500GB. They have an active user forum with Infrant employee participation, and a very stable firmware, but with active development and feature additions. I highly recommend this product if you truly need network storage. But, the one thing I don't like about it is that it can't be direct attached when needed/wanted.

If you can use direct attached storage, I'm sure you can find something cheaper, but of course w/o all the features. Maybe something like the 2 drive AMS Venus DS3R for $150 ... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817332006

Chad R.

What I don't really understand is why it's so expensvie for just the case and software, really.

For instance this Buffalo NAS:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822155306
Has 1TB of capacity, and is $499.

Here is another buffalo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822165011
That also has 1TB and it's $699.

And the diskless infrants:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822329006
and
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822329023

Are at $499 and $615, respectively, without any drives at all.

I don't understand the price differences between each respective product, and also between the two brands. I was looking at the Infrant stuff before, but it seems like to get similar kind of storage space as the Buffalos, that I'd have to spend at least several hundred dollars more to buy the drives I need, and I don't really understand why that price discrepancy is so large.
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post #10 of 119 Old 02-19-2007, 12:29 PM
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Honestly, I followed the Buffalo Technology product line for more than a year and was almost 95% convinced that's what I would get when I was ready to do it. I don't have time to go through a detailed comparison right now, but will say a couple of things.

Buffalo has 5 network storage products (i think was 4 until recently). The two links you provide are the lower two... "TeraStation" and "TeraStation Home". Based on "feature-set" alone, one of these may be perfectly suited for your needs. Here's Buffalo's product comparison chart... http://www.buffalotech.com/compariso...e/terastation/

I assume the 1.0TB models are not just "max potential capacity", but actually comes with 4x250GB drives. 4 drives is the maximum it can hold, and I can't remember if their products have the ability to upgrade existing disks. If not, that should be of concern.

As I stated, one of those may be perfectly suited for you, but.... as always, you get what you pay for. From a feature set, the TeraStation Pro is more comparable. Id also say you should put a value on: stability, speed, customer support, firmware fixes/additions, community support, etc...

If you want, tonight I can spend a little more time doing some technical comparisons and point out pros/cons: i.e. ide vs sata, hot-swappable, X-RAID, security/authentication options, nfs/samba/ftp/http/https, etc...

I know several people on these forums have an Infrant ReadyNAS product. Maybe they will chime in with some of their reasons.

Chad R.
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post #11 of 119 Old 02-19-2007, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhett7660 View Post

Bill..

What software do you use for backup? Do you use the backup built into windows (if you are on a windows box) or do you use a third party software to back up your data?

R~

I do the weekly backups manually - not a big deal since I wisely structure my directories, though it would be nice for it to be automated. I may tap the Windows solution for that.

The "every six hour" backup is done with a freebie app called "back2zip", though I don't actually zip anything.


Bill

Cheers,
Bill
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post #12 of 119 Old 02-19-2007, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:


If you want, tonight I can spend a little more time doing some technical comparisons and point out pros/cons: i.e. ide vs sata, hot-swappable, X-RAID, security/authentication options, nfs/samba/ftp/http/https, etc...

I know several people on these forums have an Infrant ReadyNAS product. Maybe they will chime in with some of their reasons.

Thanks a lot for your input. I've read lots of good reviews for the Infrant stuff, and that's what I was looking at, but decyphering some of the specs on newegg is a bit difficult. In addition, many of the reveiws on the net can be helpful, but may be steering me towards more expensive products that have capabilities that I don't really need to take advantage of. For instance, I can appreciate the added speed of a faster NAS device, of SATA drives etc, but like I say I'm really only going to be streaming one thing at a time, so a lot of the added speed capbilities are probably unecessary. Among the drives I have in my system now I have a mixture of SATA and IDE drives among a couple machines, and a couple external USB drives, and all are totally fine in doing what I need to do which is just watching the movies files on the drives.

I don't mind spending more for a quality product that is more robust, may last longer, has more robust software that's easier to setup, but it seems to me any will work fine at least for my fairly basic tasks. Things like hot-swappable drives aren't really necessary, I figure if I have a drive failure, I'd just turn the thing off and order a replacement drive and replace it when it arrives and let the array rebuild. Maintaining completely operable server 24/7 is not at all a requirement, so hotswapping is cool, but one of those things that seems unecessary.

One thing that I wouldn't mind paying a bit more for would be good support should the device fail, a good warranty. But it seems to me that many of the featuresets that are out there I won't be taking advantage of. But please correct me if I'm wrong. What I really don't want to end up with is a NAS that is good enough for now, but when I start streaming say 1080p files or something, it starts running out of steam and isn't fast enough, but the way I see it, even streaming that stuff realtime is quite easy to do. I don't forsee a need for streaming many files simultaneously, for instance, though. Of course on the other hand, I don't want to be spending hundreds of dollars more for capabilities that go to waste, when I could easily have spent less for the exact same performance and data space that fulfills my needs.
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post #13 of 119 Old 02-20-2007, 04:20 AM
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Hi,

I see that you have a HTPC, and not just a "simple" streamer.

Find out how you want to access your data, NFS, Samba etc. as well as where and how you will connect it (thru a switch etc)

Personally I have a ReadyNas, and I like it very much. It serves my purposed quite well. A few of my friends also have invested in a ReadyNas, and they also like it very much.

Another friend just bough the Dlink 323(?), and I had a look at it yesterday. From the little time i played around with it, it did the job good.
Although it is only a 2 drive (raid-0 and -1 or JBOD) it might be a solution.
The size of the thing was also good, i.e. small...

Good luck hunting one down for your needs.

M.
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post #14 of 119 Old 02-20-2007, 06:03 AM
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well i got a readynas nv+ and i am very happy with it. they have a very active forum for questions and more imprtantly answers. have a look there as there is a lot of info.

also it is incredibly small, i was expecting something larger..it is like a medium sized toaster (think the size of 4 disks and an extra couple of inches or so...and it is quiet, but i am not overly bothered as it will eventually be in a back room that is increasingly looking like a 1940's IBM computer room with wiring traps the viet cong would have been happy with...
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post #15 of 119 Old 02-20-2007, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meenenator View Post

Hi,

I see that you have a HTPC, and not just a "simple" streamer.

Find out how you want to access your data, NFS, Samba etc. as well as where and how you will connect it (thru a switch etc)

Personally I have a ReadyNas, and I like it very much. It serves my purposed quite well. A few of my friends also have invested in a ReadyNas, and they also like it very much.

Another friend just bough the Dlink 323(?), and I had a look at it yesterday. From the little time i played around with it, it did the job good.
Although it is only a 2 drive (raid-0 and -1 or JBOD) it might be a solution.
The size of the thing was also good, i.e. small...

Good luck hunting one down for your needs.

M.

In terms of connecting, I assume I would just connect it to the network. I have a router that everything's connected to, it works fine. I don't know what you mean in terms of accessing the data, I am not familiar with those terms. I was assuming I could just connect the NAS to the router via 10/100 ethernet cable and do whatever setup was necessary for the NAS and that it would be seen on the network as a device and I could access it to move files there and access those files much as I do know with drives/PCs across the network. Am I correct in these assumptions?
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post #16 of 119 Old 02-20-2007, 03:07 PM
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Software Raid
I just ordered 3 500Gig WD drives and a non-Raid SATA card from New Egg to create a windows XP software RAID array. Primary reasons for choosing this solution are cost, robustness, and no proprietary cards, boxes, etc. Speed I hope will not be an issue since I only plan on watching one movie at a time on XBMC.
I plan on using the Tomshardware RAID howto to create the RAID and it will be housed in a Antec full tower. Hopefully the power supply will be able to power 3 raid drives, DVDr drive and my OS drive. I also hope that noise and heat will not be a factor.
Let me know if there are any big disadvantage to this solution other than features that I am not planning on using such as web server, ftp, http access, user managament, quota, etc.

Regards
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post #17 of 119 Old 02-20-2007, 08:14 PM
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I'll throw in a vote for the Infrant units. I've been happy with mine. Other than some jumbo frame slowdowns (gigabit) I've been generally pleased with the performance. Yes it is pricey, but the support is good, and the software is good.
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post #18 of 119 Old 02-21-2007, 03:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

In terms of connecting, I assume I would just connect it to the network. I have a router that everything's connected to, it works fine. I don't know what you mean in terms of accessing the data, I am not familiar with those terms. I was assuming I could just connect the NAS to the router via 10/100 ethernet cable and do whatever setup was necessary for the NAS and that it would be seen on the network as a device and I could access it to move files there and access those files much as I do know with drives/PCs across the network. Am I correct in these assumptions?

Hehe... sorry for the bad wording...
I was thinking of which "protocols" you will use to access the NAS. Will you use NFS or Samba or something else.
Some NAS has support for something, some for something else.
I recon Samba is good enough for streaming HD to a HTPC. At least it works fine in my Gb Lan environment (2PCs, 1laptop and a Tvix). If you do not have a Gb Lan I would suggest you look into it, and maybe look at a router that support jumboframes (that is if the NAS you select supports it).

Hope that clarified something... (still haven't had enough coffee yet so...)

Btw... one of my friends are using a NV towards his HTPC, and I can't say I have heard him complain yet...
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post #19 of 119 Old 02-25-2007, 05:49 AM
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Has anyone tried the Addonics minitower drive enclosure.

http://www.addonics.com/products/raid_system/mst4.asp

I know its not a NAS but it would solve the original problem posed and its a whole lot cheaper. I was thinking about buying one but I don't know how good they are. Any input?
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post #20 of 119 Old 02-25-2007, 12:08 PM
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The NAS stuff is all overpriced IMO. I would just get a nice big case, a few smaller (say 6x250gb) and run freenas on an older p2-400 or something. Works just fine. I do it with a SCSI array of 12 drives (6x36 and 6x18). PLenty o storage.
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post #21 of 119 Old 02-25-2007, 12:12 PM
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That Addonics unit looks really nice. I might have to pickup one to try with 4 extra 400gb drives I have. I use the Buffalo Linkstation Pro units for my NAS. I have 2 500gb units and 1 have 2 500gb external usb drives attached and the other has 1 500gb usb drive. These units are very fast compared to other ethernet type storage devices I have tried and the USB attached drives access just as fast as the main unit. This was a major problem I had with a Simpleshare device. The usb drive on that was about 4 times slower than the main unit. Simpletech tech supports backed that up. It would be great if I could put the Addonics device with 4 400gb drives on the last USB port of the Linkstation. I also notice on the Addonics site that you can just buy the 4 IDE to USB card as a separate item and use your own case. Nothing special about the addonics case. I really like the Infrant device, but I just cannot bring myself to spend that kind of money for a unit that I still have to buy drives for. You can buy 2 of the Linkstaition Pro 500gb and still have a few bucks left over. That is if you don't need the RAID protection.
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post #22 of 119 Old 02-26-2007, 06:08 PM
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I agree with goobenet. I had an old PC lying around, filled it with four 320GB drives and run NASLite. Its not a free OS but its pretty cheap and runs well.
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post #23 of 119 Old 02-27-2007, 11:03 AM
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So let me get this straight...

(BTW, I'm a total newb to building a server)

I could take a PIII 733mHz I have around the house, add a couple of large IDE Drives, install a server OS like the ones mentioned (freeNAS, NASlite, etc.), plug in a CAT cable from the NIC to my router and voila! I have an NAS?

Would it work as well as say, the Buffalo Linkstation products?

How would it work with any of the Media Players mentioned on the forum here?

(Right now I don't have any players, but I want to build a system that will eventually feed the whole house)

Jay B.

Thankful to be part of this great site!

Jay B.
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post #24 of 119 Old 02-27-2007, 11:26 AM
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Also, what's the downside to the Buffalo Linkstation Pro? (Not the Terastation). It's available with a HDD for less than $200. No RAID, etc, but quiet, low-power NAS, right? Is it going to work with a TIVX 5000 or the forthcoming Netgear EVA8000?
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post #25 of 119 Old 02-27-2007, 11:56 AM
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Windows Xp Software Raid Build Complete
Guys, I just completed the build of my software raid box. I had an old celeron 333 with about 400MB of Ram that I added a 4 port SATA card, 3 500GB drives and installed windows xp. I used the Tomshardware hack to enable RAID 5, created a SMB share and now I am off and running with a fully functional RAID box for my XBMC.
Performance so far has been great but note that software raid is CPU intensive and my celeron CPU is barely doing the job. I think the box will probably only support one process of writing 4 gigs of data to the raid while I streaming another to the xbox with out seeing any impacts to video performance. I need to do some more testing.
What I have done so far is to copy 8 gigs of data to the raid array while it was regenerating. That process consumed about 80 to 90% of the cpu and only 100MB of RAM.
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post #26 of 119 Old 02-27-2007, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I still really don't have a good answer to what I should buy? The Bufallo stuff is so much cheaper than the ReadyNas, but I don't want to buy the wrong thing.
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post #27 of 119 Old 02-27-2007, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwillb View Post

So let me get this straight...

(BTW, I'm a total newb to building a server)

I could take a PIII 733mHz I have around the house, add a couple of large IDE Drives, install a server OS like the ones mentioned (freeNAS, NASlite, etc.), plug in a CAT cable from the NIC to my router and voila! I have an NAS?

Would it work as well as say, the Buffalo Linkstation products?

How would it work with any of the Media Players mentioned on the forum here?

(Right now I don't have any players, but I want to build a system that will eventually feed the whole house)

Jay B.


In a word, YUP. Works pretty slick actually. FreeNAS is FreeBSD based so it'll run anything freebsd can. Friend of mine had a few of those older promise IDE cards and has 11 120gb drives running and 1 CDRW (he somehow figured out how to burn accross the network to the CDRW, nifty!).

Not to mention those IDE cards are dirt cheap now, and you can pick up a bulk lot of 120/160gb drives now for about 50 bucks a pop, if you find the right ebay auction.

As far as media players, um, i don't know. I don't use them. I'm not sure if it can register itself as a uPnP device. I would assume you need some uPnP client anyways, so just map the drive on the windows machine to the uPnP client when it searches for media.

I've never used NASLite, but FreeNAS is very similar to the linkstation in the fact that it's all web-based, and even better, can grow to meet your future needs, just buy more disks, upgrade the RAM, etc.
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post #28 of 119 Old 02-28-2007, 05:05 AM
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I use NASLite+. It was pretty easy to install. The biggest hurdle was convincing the bios to boot off of the CD ROM. The system that's running is fairly modest (a old Pentium II I think with maybe 128Meg of memory). It's fairly limited in that it can handle only 1 to 4 IDE devices and no raid setups available. Right now I have 2x 400G Seagate drives in the thing.

http://www.serverelements.com/naslite-plus.php

But yes, other than the cost of the drives, it essentially only cost me the price of the software (under $30 I think). The computer was one that I had kicking around in the bottom of a closet.

-Steve
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post #29 of 119 Old 02-28-2007, 06:21 AM
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Alright, let me clarify my question. I'm going to do one of two things, either convert an existing computer, which is still going to cost some $$$ to buy drives, etc. or purchase something like a Linkstation Live, that will not only be an NAS, but also has media and print server included, and I could chain an existing 500G USB drive to it.

Which would be more reliable and less hassle overall?

Thanks to all for their replies and input - AVS Rocks!

Thankful to be part of this great site!

Jay B.
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post #30 of 119 Old 02-28-2007, 08:16 AM
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I ultimately purchased the ReadyNAS+. The single biggest deciding factor was XRaid. I like the idea that I can grow the system by replacing drives with larger drives.

I also chose the ReadyNAS+ because based on what I had been reading, hot swapping the drives was not nearly as easy.

I do like some of the media streaming capabilities and the FTP server, these were a lower prioritity requirement for me.

Of course, the systems may have changed since my purchase. I do not purchase items based on "futures". The mandatory list of functionality must be present at the time of purchase.
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