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Ok what do u think of this set up?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Currently have 2 og atv's running openelec xbmc along with xbmc on my mac pro,

Want to be able to watch tv upstairs and downstairs at the same time IF POSSIBLE with one of the 2 possibilities below i can but which would be best? Have a 60mbps cable internet connection so streaming wont be an issue


1st possible array for server and programs:


Scaleo intel server (i already own) upgrade ram and cpu!!!

Install unraid:air video and playon

4tb hardrives- 4 inside server, 1 for parity, 1 for cache, 1 for movies, 1 for pics and music (and tv shows??) and itunes server?

And

Esata box connected for all remaining hard drives (roms for games, etc...) itunes server perhaps?

Perhaps:
---Mac pro w windows, parallels or fusion in order to run playon??

Possibilities:
((Google chromecast -2 ea-1 for up stairs 1 for down stairs! POSSIBLY?? So i dont have to do 2 seperate openelecs in the house just mirror my desktop xbmc to both tv's?))

NETTOP BOXES? Instead of chrome cast??
-1 in master bed room openelec???
-1 downstairs openelec???
Better graphics memory and cpu

(Can u triple boot openelec, unraid and playon along w air video from unraid? Or is that even possible haha!

Possibly a solid state drive in each nettop

Im very open to suggestions!!

I hope i did not confuse anyone and some people will chime in with advice and or suggestions?
post #2 of 20
Seems complicated and rather limited. Your all over the place and I am having trouble following along. I'd build a full blown media server that can do it all and just run extenders like small HTPC's or Intel NUC's. I generally hate crap hanging off the back like Esata boxes and such- seems amateur and noob and makes a mess. You really want that ?

Build a real server and control it headless with your laptop or desktop. Why Unraid ? a WHS server with FLEXRAID can do so much more, and it's more friendly to rebuild and upgrade in future.

You don't like Microsoft or just don't want to pay for the copy of windows? You could always just install it and reset the activation clock every few months, which is still better IMO than the way your thinking of doing it. Then again FLEXRAID could work in LINUX I guess, but again you give up a lot.

Triple booting ? Really ?

Build one server that can do it all. Build a Client PC that can do it all. Hook them up with CAT6 and live happily ever after. There will always be something your HTPC or server can't do if you do it the way your thinking.

The HTPC forum has tons of info on cheap media server builds. What is your budget? How much storage do you need now? How much possible might you need in future? Would HOT SWAP bays make more sense for future expand ability rather than clumsy Esata boxes and wires? What do you need your HTPC to do ? What do you need your server to do ?

If you make a list of all the things you really need, and another list of all the things you might ever want- it will help you choose the right solution.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Tbh i dont want to have to run another os that needs constant updates, patches and virus scanner, ive moved away from windows due to all that, i run a mac, and yes even thise are not perfect, i like flex raid due to the fact that u can just plug in a drive and do t have to re format it but they all need to be formatted first in a windows type format

What i want ultimately is a media server that can serve 2 tv's simultaneously... Not even sure its possible?

I want to run xbmc, and a few other programs and basically thats it! I want to serve my media and have a place for all my music and photos! And everything backed up periodically... No in depth stuff such as email server or anything to hard to manage,

Yes i rambled in my initial post, and i apologize,

Thanks for ur suggestions! Offer any others im open to them
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
And about the esata stuff, it will all be on a moddle atlantic stereo rack tucken within a closet, so no, i wont mind hanging esata behind my server as i wont really ever see them
post #5 of 20
You seem intent on doing it the wrong way (my opinion) so I am afraid I can't provide too much assistance. I do what you want to do in my home, but I do it a different way that seems opposed to the way you want.

To get different TV's - you can either use a dual HDMI out from your AVR and run to both and use a single machine on both screens, or you will need a separate client machine on the second TV. Two clients makes the most sense.

Your confusing a "server" with a HTPC. Or your trying to do too much with too little- there is going to be a mess, a high level of frustration, and a limited amount of capability in doing it the way you want to do it.

A server should serve. Storage, back up, automated processes. It's not something you need to manage. I turn off windows updates on my server. You fear seems misplaced regarding what you think about a server with regards to your concerns, I don't have any issues like that you mention.

I think having a server and also a client on the TV makes the most sense and provides the most functionality. It's the best way to do what you want to do. Unfortunately Microsoft totally dominates and owns this space so if you opposed to using them and prefer unraid, Linux, OpenElec, Apple and all that stuff then your probably going to run into a bunch of dead ends and limited functionality.


But two cheap XBMC machines on OpenElec off an Unraid server might work for the simple streaming task - A server with storage and two XBMC clients for both tv's. Not going to get you the full performance of a real HTPC but it should get you 90% of what you want.

UNRAID + Two cheap clients is an more limited option that would work for you. It's not cheaper though- which brings me back to where I started from. If your not saving much money, there's little reason to take the harder path to travel
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

You seem intent on doing it the wrong way (my opinion) so I am afraid I can't provide too much assistance. I do what you want to do in my home, but I do it a different way that seems opposed to the way you want.

To get different TV's - you can either use a dual HDMI out from your AVR and run to both and use a single machine on both screens, or you will need a separate client machine on the second TV. Two clients makes the most sense.

Your confusing a "server" with a HTPC. Or your trying to do too much with too little- there is going to be a mess, a high level of frustration, and a limited amount of capability in doing it the way you want to do it.

A server should serve. Storage, back up, automated processes. It's not something you need to manage. I turn off windows updates on my server. You fear seems misplaced regarding what you think about a server with regards to your concerns, I don't have any issues like that you mention.

I think having a server and also a client on the TV makes the most sense and provides the most functionality. It's the best way to do what you want to do. Unfortunately Microsoft totally dominates and owns this space so if you opposed to using them and prefer unraid, Linux, OpenElec, Apple and all that stuff then your probably going to run into a bunch of dead ends and limited functionality.


But two cheap XBMC machines on OpenElec off an Unraid server might work for the simple streaming task - A server with storage and two XBMC clients for both tv's. Not going to get you the full performance of a real HTPC but it should get you 90% of what you want.

UNRAID + Two cheap clients is an more limited option that would work for you. It's not cheaper though- which brings me back to where I started from. If your not saving much money, there's little reason to take the harder path to travel

Sorry mine seems complicated... Thats why i came here and i thank u for ur opinions...

So let me start again asking q's along w what i want to do:

I want to stream all my content and have unraid (or flexraid?) doing all the storage? Is this Correct thinking?

And have it serve itunes? (Can i do that from unraid/flexraid?
And have all my pictures and important stuff on it that can be accessed from afar over 3g and the internet for family if they want to watch my movies...



Am i confused as to wanting a server or an htpc? I guess i am, i was looking at unraid as a server and i guess the nettops would be mini htpc's? .. Is this also correct?

Can u describe how u have ur set up in ur home?

Maybe ill gain a bit more understanding?

Thanks and sorry im confusing! I want simplicity and im confused as to serving and holding my media i guess?
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by j2048b View Post

Sorry mine seems complicated... Thats why i came here and i thank u for ur opinions...

Actually it is me that should be apologizing to you. I am assuming you know certain things and that you disagree with my opinions, when in fact I should really be providing you more information and helping educate you.

I was like you once too- and wanted to do the same thing. I need to realize and respect I have a few more posts than you on these subjects tongue.gif I'll try my best to sincerely help you out with what I know biggrin.gif


So let me start again asking q's along w what i want to do:

I want to stream all my content and have unraid (or flexraid?) doing all the storage? Is this Correct thinking?

[/quote]

Yes and No. Flexraid or Unraid are server software programs designed for storage. They are competing products and both are good. Either is a good option for storage server. I personally favor Flexraid because I believe it has a few advantages but often those advantages are best realized inside a Microsoft OS like Windows Home Server. Often those willing to go with a Microsoft product go with Flexraid, and those that do not want Microsoft tend to favor Unraid.

Quote:
And have it serve itunes? (Can i do that from unraid/flexraid?
And have all my pictures and important stuff on it that can be accessed from afar over 3g and the internet for family if they want to watch my movies...

I think your missing a complete understanding of a server versus a HTPC and vice versa. In the purest sense, they are different and compliment each other. I sense your trying to get one machine to do the function of both- which often provides some issues.

Quote:
Am i confused as to wanting a server or an htpc? I guess i am, i was looking at unraid as a server and i guess the nettops would be mini htpc's? .. Is this also correct?

I think you want both biggrin.gif

Quote:
Can u describe how u have ur set up in ur home?


Sure. I can biggrin.gif
Quote:
Maybe ill gain a bit more understanding?

I will start from the begining and try to explain what I have learned. Check out my next post eek.gif
post #8 of 20
My story:

I started out much like you. I had some movies on my PC that I wanted to play on my TV, and I also wanted to stream some stuff from my PC on my TV too. I got into HTPC for this reason. Quickly I wanted to do more, like media organization, and use a slick front end like MediaBrowser or XBMC- and soon I need more storage space to hold my stuff. Originally I used one machine to to it all- My desktop. It was a good machine, i7 with SSD and I had lots of storage in it. I simply ran a long HDMI cable under the floor and to my AVR receiver and I lived happy that way for a few months. I wanted to watch on two TV's (my 55" Plasma in living room, and also my projector in my theater room) so I run two HDMI cables- each from my AVR to each display.

I was noob and just learning and I thought this was want I wanted. But I soon realized it was cumbersome, unreliable, and a general hassle. I wanted something with more storage- and also more appliance like so I can use a remote control, and my wife could understand how to use it.

So I build a cheap HTPC for about $250 and I installed that into my theater system. I hooked it up with HDMI to my AVR. It was SSD only machine, so it was quiet and cool. I networked it into my desktop with Cat5e cable I already had run years earlier, and the desktop served as the "server" and had the storage hard drives in it. That seems to work better having a dedicated HTPC that is appliance like installed on the actual TV system rather than use my PC for it. But there was still a major issue, If I restarted my PC or it was not on then the HTPC would not work. I was successful in getting my wife into the HTPC and since I was a PC geek and spent a lot of time on my desktop every time I restarted, or crashed- or messed around with my desktop the HTPC would stop working and she would yell at me.

It was obvious I needed a dedicated, reliable, always on media server. I also needed more storage than I was able to hold in my PC.

After building a media server- it's the best thing I ever did. It's very reliable, very upgradeable and expandable, very affordable, and it works wonderfully without any fuss. I never need to restart it, or install anything. It's truly stable and very much set it and forget it. My server holds our pictures, our media- it provides automated backup of my HTPC and laptop and desktop. I can access it from anywhere- and it run PLEX so I can watch my stuff anywhere I want over the internet ( you can soon do this with mediabrowser too) PLEX is just like XBMC but it allows for transcoding and uploading over the internet to mobile devices like laptops, cell phones and tablets when your away from home.

Having tried to do all in one- and then living with a dedicated server and dedicated HTPC I can say without any hesitation that all in one is not a good solution at all.

I think what you want is a server for storage - and some client HTPC's on your displays. At least one, possibly two if you want two independent systems on two different TV's. Your better off splitting up the duties and making the server to handle storage and back up, and making the client HTPC's to handle streaming, playback, running your front end etc... You do not need or want to hook up your server to your TV. You can let is just sit someplace like a closet.
post #9 of 20
My opinion is that a dedicated server provides much more stability and consistency than an all in one solution.

If you want to set it up and forget it you want a dedicated server. WHS + Flexraid is a really good and popular option. It holds some advantages over Unraid in that you can add full drives or HDDs with data on them without losing any data. Unraid you can't. Also if your server breaks down or when you want to rebuild it flexraid is much better because the drives are readable in any system. With Unraid you often end up copying data over which isn't ideal.

There's more you can do with windows home server. I paid $35 for my WHS, so it's not that expensive but there is a cost to flexraid and WHS which is why some avoid it.

Often Unraid versus Flexraid boils down to windows versus Linux . I side with MS but others disagree.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank u very much and yes 2 client htpc's and a server will be awesome! I do like both flexraid and unraid, i cannot stand plex it has never been reliable and still is not, ive got it running and trying to serve my stuff to my iphone and ipad when away and all videos have looked like crap!

Thats y i want to use airvideo on unraid, but im hesitant with unraid now because i may have to write code and stuff??

I know windows seems to have more options as far as programs go...i just dont know if i can do windows plus ill have to format and move my files to different hard drives anyways because they r all hfs+ for mac at the moment

What do u have to format ur drives to for flexraid?

Just not sure i want to have to install another os, as ill already have 2 nettops w openelec, my mac pro and 2 laptops w windows we hardly use anymore...lion server perhaps?

But i do want it simple!

Uve given me a ton of info and i appreciate it and yes im a complete newbee! Ivr never ran a server..

.so now either another os and flexraid, or unraid installed on a dom inside my scaleo server not taking up a harddrive slot...?

on another note:
i also have a motherboard abit ab9 pro w 9 internal sata ports and 4 gig memory sitting in a closet as well! Haha man too many decisions!

I wish i could see them side by side for a comparison!
post #11 of 20
Flexraid format is windows format. Usually NTSF
post #12 of 20
Your plex issues are probably related to internet upload speed, your cell phone service speed or limited by the weak hardware you have. You need a full power CPU to transcode on the fly.... At least a dual core modern Intel or AMD.

Your Abit Mobo might make a decent server- you could run Unraid off a USB stick or you can make a full server off a hard drive.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks mfusick!

I run a dual 2.8 mac pro, so im not sure y plex sucks for me but it does!

Yeah the motherboard will make a kickass server w 9 satas!

Ive got a great internet connection so im not sure the speed is the issue w plex sucking for me?

In flexraid if u loose a drive can it be re written? Such as w unraid and the parity drive? And what is the max hd allowed: 3tb? 4tb? Just trying to compare?

Is there a decent comparison for pros and cons of each somewhere i can read?
post #14 of 20
Flexraid is like Unraid in that if you lose a drive it can be re written. Yes. It's called parity based back up.

Flexraid can take any size HDD your hardware can. 4TB shouldn't be a problem

Your parity must be as big as your biggest drive though
post #15 of 20
What hardware is needed for flex raid? If I have 10 to 15 external had drives with various size like 3tb, 4tb,2tb , can I use with flex raid.

I am trying to understand pros & cons to buy Synology 1812 vs flexraid.

I am waiting for 4tb prices to come down little more and then buy Synoloy 1812 (around $860) and add these hard drives. If I am able to use all my existing drives as one file system with flexraid, I want to consider it. Also, if there are advantages with flex raid, I want to consider it.. I am assuming that people buy flexraid for cost effective solution.
post #16 of 20
Yes you can mix and match and use your existing drives with flexraid
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sukumar View Post

I am assuming that people buy flexraid for cost effective solution.

I personally picked it because it didnt require me to wipe the drives that were already full of data in order to start using it.

Bill
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
But the drives all have to be in a windows format to begin with correct? U cant throw in mac formated drives right? If so, i will have to format wether i do flex raid which requires an os, or unraid that only requires unraid on a usb, dom, or ssd.... Ive given alot of thought to this discussion and am a bit more open to flex raid and whs, or simply windows 7... Because i have a crap ton of apps for burning my dvd's and cd's plus with playon... I might just do flex raid so i dont have to install windows on my mac and use it virtualized...
post #19 of 20
In your case Unraid might be a good option but you lose the windows side of things
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

In your case Unraid might be a good option but you lose the windows side of things

Ok i have been going back and forth so i will see soon how it goes... But the more ive read and re read our conversation... It might be easier for me with all the windows stuff i still have, to just run my server thru whs..and flex raid as i already have a 500 gig drive w xp and all my past windows stuff... So im gonna hook my ibm intelli server back up and instal flex raid w about 3-4 drives and see how it goes....especially because the apps ive paid for cant be used on mac...
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