At long last, I've got the parts on order to put together my file server. Here's a list of the parts:
Intel Quad Core Q6600
4 GB (2x2GB) Corsair Dominator 1066
Antec True Power Trio TP3-650 (650 W)
(I did say "at long last", didn't I? I've been sitting on this case for a year (CompUSA fire sale) intending to build my new main PC, but...the economy happened.
A Norco 4020 will come in 3 or 4 months. P.S. - I've been sitting on the CPU for nearly as long.)
Supermicro AOC-USAS-L8i 8 Port SAS RAID
x2 (Thank you eBay!! $50 each)
AMCC SFF-8087 Forward Fanout cables
x4 (Thanks again to eBay. $7 each!)
Video: an old PCI GeForce 6xxx I have laying around
I plan to use Ubuntu and mdadm for software raid. I intend to grow this server incrementally. I want to start off with 4 drives in RAID5. When this gets close to being filled, I'll add another 4-drive RAID5 array and use LVM to JBOD the two arrays. This will be repeated as needs grow.
As soon as the parts come in from newegg, I'll experiment with my proposed setup with 4 400GB drives I have had laying around for the past year (blasted economy!). With this experimental setup, I'll use the next month or so to learn the ins and outs of linux, mdadm and LVM. After I've become confident in my competence with them, I'll swap out the 400 giggers for 4 1.5TB drives, and use the 400GB drives elsewhere for my upcoming HTPC.
I don't intend to use this system for anything other than serving my movies, music, and other data. No Folding@Home or transcoding will be done on this box, thus the low graphics card and non-HW raid cards. Besides, I can't afford that Areca 1680 I really wanted.
My goal is to have this machine serve media to Windows machines, linux machines (MythTV), and game consoles (XBox360). If anyone has good knowledge on what to use to set this up (NFS, samba, iscsi, etc) please chime in.
I welcome any critique and comments. To those out there who use mdadm and LVM, please drop any nuggets of wisdom you may have, and point me to any good resources (online or otherwise) to help a brother out. Thanks in advance.