Pre-Built HTPC with built-in NAS? old-fashioned solution or still reasonable? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-08-2019, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Pre-Built HTPC with built-in NAS? old-fashioned solution or still reasonable?

I have a large collection of CDs and VHS Tapes. This spring I finally converted the last of the VHS tapes to DVD-R, just to make sure they don't get damaged.

I am very busy and almost never have free time to tinker around with anything. When I discovered the Brennan B2 (which backs up CDs to FLAC to play via a stereo system) I was able to get my kids to insert the CDs, back them up, and then switch them out. I have backed up about 2500 CDs. No freaking way could I have done that via a PC.

I think I have somewhere around 2000 DVDrs that I want to back up onto a RAID server. I also own about 400 movies and TV Series box sets that I would like to watch via a computer interface.

Because my kids are so active online, I rarely stream anything- it's actually easier for me to have netflix send me a DVD than for me to deal with crummy streaming capabilities while my kids are on Twitch or playing online.

For almost 10 years I would price out a RAID-enabled HTPCs, usually from Assassin, but they'd cross over $2k and I'd put the plan on-hold. Never bought one.

Building out the hardware of an HTPC is nothing, I've built windows-based gaming PCs before and they take maybe 12 hours max, but configuring the RAID, configuring the kodi, all of that seems like a major drag to me when I have to get back to work.

I can see that in 2019 people are building out a NAS more often than an HTPC with drives installed in the cabinet, but I am hesitant to do that because:
1. My kids use all the bandwidth
2. I need, I really require, a one step DVD Back Up- no way could I back up DVDs via a PC

I have two questions:
1. Is anyone still building HTPCs with 16TB of RAID array inside the box?
2. How much effort is it to install and configure all the windows-based software for display in 2019, including the blu-ray software, one-step DVD-R backup, etc?

Are there competitors to Assassin in the pre-built arena still operating in 2019? Am I making too big a deal about setting up a RAID array?
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-08-2019, 09:08 PM
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It is generally more beneficial to house your storage in a separate enclosure. The simplest is to purchase a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device with lots of drive bays and connect it in a room where you won't hear the drives/fans and not have to deal with heat dissipation. You can purchase a stand-alone drive with robotic loader to enable ripping onto the NAS.

You can then make a very quiet HTPC that is attached to your receiver/pre-pro/display. Your media will also then be accessible by other devices either local or remote.

Media Room: LG oled65c7, Marantz AV8805, Sherbourn 7/2100, Emotiva A-300, Studer A80, Studer Revox b795, Nakamichi RX-202, HTPC, exaSound e38, Sweetvinyl Sugarcube SC-2, (2) Piega P10, Piega Coax Center, (6) Piega AP 1.2, Hsu VTF-15h mk2
Office: Emotiva mini-x A100, Geek Pulse, (2) KEF LS-50, Goldenear FF 4, PC, NAS 130TB
Bedroom: Panasonic TCP55vt35, Marantz NR1200, Dune 3 Prime, (2) Elac Uni-Fi UB5
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-09-2019, 06:01 AM
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You can build an inexpensive server using unRAID, FlexRAID, SnapRAID or similar software. I've been using unRAID for over ten years and I love it. The OS boots from a flash drive so there's no need to deal with Windows. You can use any old PC to start with and upgrade as desired. At some point you may wish to switch over to a server rack like I did.

As was previously mentioned, a pre-built NAS is the simplest solution, but they're expensive and really don't allow for expansion beyond the scope of the enclosure. I detest them for that very reason. I currently have thirty drives in my server with dual parity drives and a cache drive. I started off small with just a few drives and then added more drives and upgraded my license as necessary to handle the additional number of drives.

I converted all of my DVDs and Blu-Rays to mkv files using MakeMKV. It's a slow and tedious process but it works. Unless you have some kind of disc changer that can rip a lot of discs automatically, any method you use will require manually loading and unloading a disc in a drive for each disc you want to rip. I've got about 1700 movies on my server and counting. I've got probably close to 100 TV series and miscellaneous videos and more albums than I can count, most of them in flac format. My server is currently at 155 TB of storage with almost 60 TB free. I just run MakeMKV in the background on my PC and then copy the mkv files over to my server.

UnRAID has lots of apps that have been created for it, including Plex, which I use in conjunction with my Nvidia Shields. I just checked and they also have a version of MakeMKV for unRAID. You can set up shares in unRAID for various types of files, such as movies, 4k movies, music, etc. Folders are automatically added to each drive and files added to the share are copied to the drive with the most available storage. You can map the shared folders just like a drive and every file in the share shows up when you open the shared folder regardless of which drive they are physically stored on.
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-11-2019, 04:16 AM
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When I look at the cheap core count of cpu's today, I think an UnRaid server running a virtualized ripping setup, with 2-3 optical drives,
and a Zidoo media box is a very interesting set up. Your 16 TB of storage could be but three 8 TB drives. They could be WD Easystore external drives,
pulled from their external cases when on sale.

I find most NAS to be low in power, and expensive for what one gets. Which really is a low power, somewhat expensive device with limited expansion, but with
a high convenience factor.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-11-2019, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
When I look at the cheap core count of cpu's today, I think an UnRaid server running a virtualized ripping setup, with 2-3 optical drives,
and a Zidoo media box is a very interesting set up. Your 16 TB of storage could be but three 8 TB drives. They could be WD Easystore external drives,
pulled from their external cases when on sale.

I find most NAS to be low in power, and expensive for what one gets. Which really is a low power, somewhat expensive device with limited expansion, but with
a high convenience factor.
You don't really need a high power CPU in a server unless you plan to use it for transcoding. You do need a good quality NIC since everything will either be transferring data between devices or streaming. You can also use regular desktop hardware as opposed to specialized server hardware. Server motherboards may be able to accommodate multiple CPUs and lots of memory, but for a home network you can get by with a more barebones setup.

+1 for using drives pulled from external enclosures. That's all I use in my setup. The warranty isn't as long as their desktop counterparts, but they're the exact same drives. The warranty is shorter because the external cases don't really allow for proper cooling. The drives should last considerably longer when used in a properly cooled enclosure. They're usually much cheaper than the desktop units and they go on sale quite often. I typically get 8TB external drives for as little as $125.
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-11-2019, 10:57 AM
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You certainly don't need a modern pc....

But it might make sense to put cores to work. An affordable 6-8 core Ryzen system could be 2 cores of UnRaid, and four cores of virtualized htpc
running MadVR, and a core set to virtualized ripping.
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