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Media Server - seriously confused!!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi all! I'm a wee but confused, so I'm asking for your help. (I'd make a cup of tea, this is a long one!!)

I have a large media collection, consisting of films, tv shows and thousands of photographs. I currently have 4tb plugged into a time capsule, another 2tb plugged into my MacBook and 2tb plugged into my iMac. This all works fine, but I need to expand (again).

So I've been looking at building a server. I've two old pcs here, a pentium 3 and a core 2 duo. The core 2 duo boots, then restarts at random times. I think the motherboard is f*^%#d. The pentium 3 is fine, albeit, old! The motherboard does not have SATA, and would need PCI cards to accept SATA drives. My idea was to build a pc out of these, install xp and put all my hard drives in that. That would be shared on my network. A friend does it and it works grand for him!

But then I got thinking and started looking at a synology rackstation 812 nas. It's rackmount (I like rackmount!), and holds 4 drives. Costs about £500. It seems like the perfect solution, but since I would want to use this with Lightroom and final cut (scratch files and library's on a drive in the nas) I was worried that this may be a problem performance wise. I also read that the synology nases don't support +HFS file type. They use a Linux system, and as such my hard drives which I would be inserting (and are full of data, and formatted Mac OS extended) would have to be wiped and reformatted. If something went wrong I couldn't take a drive out and plug it into my mac, as it would be formatted for Linux. That's made me a bit uneasy about the synology.

So my last thought was a Mac Pro. It has lots of internal sata ports, and could be used as a server. I could install osx server and have it serve the data to my macs. The drives would not need to be re formatted, just plugged in. There's the added bonus that I could run plex server on it, and not need to have a seperate mac for my HTPC. I could plug it into my receiver and hey presto, HTPC, while serving files to my network. I've used final cut and Lightroom from a networked Mac Pro in work, and know it works fine. A Mac Pro would integrate easily with my all mac network. But mac pros are pricey. I'd be buying a used one, hoping to pay around £400-£500.

What do you think I should do? What have you done for your own media server?

Is there something I'm missing? Could somebody make sense of my confusion? Maybe there's an easier option (or one I haven't mentioned). This is something I've been thinking about for months now, and I'm still not sure what method of storage I should pursue.

Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated!
post #2 of 8
I use mainly Macs and iDevices. My Synology 1512+ has been great. In particular, it's ability to run a Plex Media Server addresses a lot of the issues you are dealing with. Of course the Plex Media Server or iTunes can run on one of your computers and point to the media which would live on the Synology. I haven't found the Synology's lack of HFS support to be an issue. It is a NAS and Synology does support AFP and Time Machine. It's actually quite Mac friendly. Since you would be dealing with a Raid system, you are going to have to juggle current content anyway. I don't quite see what the issue is with the lack of HFS read/write support. You transfer stuff over a network via AFP or SMB or NFS. Are you talking about hard drives that would be directly connected to the unit?

Philip
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
In thinking if I was to remove a hard drive from the unit, and insert it into a Mac Pro, the pro couldn't use it?
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by breney View Post

In thinking if I was to remove a hard drive from the unit, and insert it into a Mac Pro, the pro couldn't use it?

I don't see why not... at the worst all you'd have to do is format it.
post #5 of 8
I built my own media server by using UnRaid as OS. UnRaid doesn't use top of the line hardware. You could use your existing hardware and build one. This is my first server I've even built, and it has worked to stream my media throughout the house.

Here's their forum:

http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've been thinking (again), and searching through eBay. I think the better solution for my situation is a mac pro, since I could also use it as a plex server, and as a desktop when I need extra computing power. I can set up Apple Qmaster to distribute the processing cores from the pro and my other macs into one mac, so that I would have a total of 16 cores to render video.

But if I can't get a Pro for the right sort of money, I may just buy a Synology RackStation RS812.

Those are my thoughts at the moment.
post #7 of 8
How to build a media server

This is what i used, been like this since 2010, I suggest it to everyone interested in it.
Not sure what you decided, I prefer a dedicated server, I am currently up to 9TB
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugenstylus1 View Post

How to build a media server

This is what i used, been like this since 2010, I suggest it to everyone interested in it.
Not sure what you decided, I prefer a dedicated server, I am currently up to 9TB

I've haven't actually done anything yet. Put the project on hiatus so that anything I buy will be the right the decision, and not an impulse buy. I'm inclined to get something into my head and then waste a lot of money before I realise its not the right solution... and you can only waste money like that so many times....
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