Well my iSCSI testing didn't go so well... bottom line I ended up punting by swapping the SSD for a 1TB 2.5" drive ($69). Initially, when I set up the iSCSI drive I had an issue where the PC lost access to it and I had to delete it at the NAS and recreate it. After that is was working great for a week or so.
The other day I needed to swap switches in my electronic closet and thought nothing of yanking it out and replacing it with the new one. It has 8-ports including my NAS and this PC. Apparently the PC didn't like being disconnected (no recordings at the time) from the NAS as afterwards no matter what I did it wouldn't properly use the drive. Best I got was viewing its content in Explorer. Almost as worse was the way Windows 8.1 (in this case) handled the issue. It made booting up and restarting take forever (attempting to connect/reconnect I'm guessing). Even the required service would start than stop within a few seconds. Since I couldn't get the service started I had zero hope of resolving the issue.
Eventually I did a Windows Refresh and the PC was back to normal with the service working. I can't remember whether I tried to access the iSCSI drive afterwards or not... which is a biggie as in would I have lost the drive's content. But at this point I didn't care. Being a DVR even with my mistake of not closing the connection I didn't want to expose myself to a similar issue going forward. I could see losing the drive until everything was rebooted worse case the NAS and PC... but being stuck in limbo with Windows seeing the drive and not being able to access it or even having no means of graceful recovery forget it...
I did quite a bit of googling to see if there were any ways of getting the service started and or resolved without any luck. If anyone has any info I'd appreciate it for general knowledge. I'm surprised Windows handled it so poorly. Even if the iSCSI drive is completely corrupt it should be able to carry on per se.
The new drive is fairly slow but uses a whopping .6 Watts at idle and 2.2 under load. And removing it from its external case wasn't pretty. It surely won't be going back to Fry's. I saw a note in the HTPC forum stating you can't install Media Center on a fresh Windows 8.1 install and I can ensure you you can... I have now done it a few times!
Side note: I decided to use the SSD in my desktop PC and Samsung's migration software worked great. It took about five minutes to clone the existing hard drive to the SSD. After disconnecting the old drive it booted like a champ and has been working fine.