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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been an HTPC "guy" for the past few years and would probably never go back to standalone players. With that being said, the time has come for me to build/design my own media server. I'm a movie nut and would love to have EVERYTHING online (I have a ton of stuff on disc). I'm just curious about some of you guys with media servers. What type of movie collection are you sporting online? I mean do you have thousands of movies available at any given time?


I'm currently running about 8TB out of my HTPC and have about 1000 movies online. That is with 2 Sony Firwire changers (both full) so if you take 400 dvd movies out of that, I have about 600 or so on hard drives. These are ALL hd (HD-DVD's, BLU, etc, etc). I would truly LOVE to NOT have another disc laying around but I have about 80 HD-DVD's, 60 Blu Ray discs and about and couple of terrabytes of HD movies stored on disc.


Do some of you guys store keep almost EVERYTHING online?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrin /forum/post/18159205


I have been an HTPC "guy" for the past few years and would probably never go back to standalone players. With that being said, the time has come for me to build/design my own media server. I'm a movie nut and would love to have EVERYTHING online (I have a ton of stuff on disc). I'm just curious about some of you guys with media servers. What type of movie collection are you sporting online? I mean do you have thousands of movies available at any given time?


I'm currently running about 8TB out of my HTPC and have about 1000 movies online. That is with 2 Sony Firwire changers (both full) so if you take 400 dvd movies out of that, I have about 600 or so on hard drives. These are ALL hd (HD-DVD's, BLU, etc, etc). I would truly LOVE to NOT have another disc laying around but I have about 80 HD-DVD's, 60 Blu Ray discs and about and couple of terrabytes of HD movies stored on disc.


Do some of you guys store keep almost EVERYTHING online?

I have all my media stored on my Windows How Server (currently about 16TB). This is made up of SD DVDs, Blu Rays, HD-DVDs, recorded tv shows, etc... From there all my media is streamed to 2 HTPCs and various other players throughout my house. You can see my build here using a Chenrbo Case. The Norco 4220 is another very popular case that is used in building a Media Server (example build here )


If you prefer not to build I would recommend going with an HP MediaSmart EX495 + Sans Digital TR5M eSATA enclosure. This would give you 9 bays (18TB max), and you could always add an 8 bay USB enclosure if you need more space
 

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I used to have a 1-2TB "server" with a raid5 card. It was ok but I left it off most of the time because it was noisy and used a bit of power (or at least I thought it did).


In the last year I built an Unraid server and I have to say I'm very happy with it. Currently at 12TB of storage, and I love how I can just leave it on (low power cpu) and just have it automatically spin up the drives as data is needed. Works great overall, and I have very few complaints. I also like the idea of having some protection in the form of parity, vs something that either doesn't do any or simply uses redundancy (WHS) solely. But again there are pluses/minuses for the different options, so do your research.


Forgot to add, on my unraid I'm up to about 800 movies, and 60+ TV series. It's awesome being able to access them from any HTPC I have. I watch sd, hd, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 /forum/post/18159483


I have all my media stored on my Windows How Server (currently about 16TB). This is made up of SD DVDs, Blu Rays, HD-DVDs, recorded tv shows, etc... From there all my media is streamed to 2 HTPCs and various other players throughout my house. You can see my build here using a Chenrbo Case. The Norco 4220 is another very popular case that is used in building a Media Server (example build here )


If you prefer not to build I would recommend going with an HP MediaSmart EX495 + Sans Digital TR5M eSATA enclosure. This would give you 9 bays (18TB max), and you could always add an 8 bay USB enclosure if you need more space

Firstly, I wouldn't buy ANYTHING HP (that's just me). I already had my eye on that Norco (although there seem to be quality control issues). Ahh..the thought of a 20 bay, hotswappable unit (salivating). I am also researching the various Raid forms (including FlexRaid) and will make a decision when I'm closer to a build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by genro /forum/post/18159564


I used to have a 1-2TB "server" with a raid5 card. It was ok but I left it off most of the time because it was noisy and used a bit of power (or at least I thought it did).


In the last year I built an Unraid server and I have to say I'm very happy with it. Currently at 12TB of storage, and I love how I can just leave it on (low power cpu) and just have it automatically spin up the drives as data is needed. Works great overall, and I have very few complaints. I also like the idea of having some protection in the form of parity, vs something that either doesn't do any or simply uses redundancy (WHS) solely. But again there are pluses/minuses for the different options, so do your research.


Forgot to add, on my unraid I'm up to about 800 movies, and 60+ TV series. It's awesome being able to access them from any HTPC I have. I watch sd, hd, etc.


Aside from DVD's in the changers, I have about 95% HD material archived. I'm looking into Unraid as well.
 

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I used an older Sun FC-AL Fiber Channel Array currently have 16TB full or 24TB. Only problem with this and a home theater is the Array is very loud. The fans are so loud in fact that it does not sit in my server rack it is in my generator room. Another good quality is that it stores the Video from the homes camera systems on it also,so I managed to avoid a seperate DVR box for security cameras.

BTW I also have a HP MediaSmart Server but it sucks very slow and buggy I think it might have to do with the 512MB of ram it came with, Has anyone had success with this as I would like to give it to a family memeber for backup use in their home. I could easily throw more memory at it but I dont want to waste my time if it just does not cut it. The device runs a SBS 03 Hybrid OS.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dynamic1 /forum/post/18159776


I used an older Sun FC-AL Fiber Channel Array currently have 16TB full or 24TB. Only problem with this and a home theater is the Array is very loud. The fans are so loud in fact that it does not sit in my server rack it is in my generator room. Another good quality is that it stores the Video from the homes camera systems on it also,so I managed to avoid a seperate DVR box for security cameras.

BTW I also have a HP MediaSmart Server but it sucks very slow and buggy I think it might have to do with the 512MB of ram it came with, Has anyone had success with this as I would like to give it to a family memeber for backup use in their home. I could easily throw more memory at it but I dont want to waste my time if it just does not cut it. The device runs a SBS 03 Hybrid OS.

Do you have the original HP EX47x series? For those most everyone upgraded to 2GB RAM right away. The newer series (EX49x) runs much better, but the EX470 was a champ for me, never had issues streaming/backing up. I sold it recently since I went the DIY route
 

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I have about 300 blu-rays and 500 dvd's archived on my server uncompressed (discs are neatly packed away in a spare room to the displeasure of my gf who thinks i should get rid of them now).


Right now I am waiting on the Areca 1880 to expand again. Currently with a 1231ML in Raid 6 that is 13.6TB formatted plus another 4 1TB in a WHS "drive pool" (temporary until 1880).


If it were me and you really want to store a lot of movies I'd go with building one with something like the Norco 4220. If you plan to rackmount (as I did) I would highly recommend the rails to slide the thing in and out. They are a huge pain to install and align correctly but it beats the hell out of have to remove my heavy ass server to work on it.


As for RAID implementation flex, unRaid, raid controller card I will leave that upto the other guys. But I would recommend start with a good case and decent hardware configuration that gives you room to expand. You don't have to buy all of your hard drives now, but you also don't want to be changing cases or equipment often either. Make sure you give yourself room to grow and add hard drives as needed.


Also try to locate the server somewhere out of the way so that it can be loud when it wants to be, trying to make a quiet server is a losing battle. I put all my equipment, server and htpc's in a walk in closet in my study. I can't hear a thing with the door closed.
 

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For some reason I couldnt visualize having a seperate server so I always tried stuffing as many HDDs as I could in one case. Actually nm it was my wife who said I cant have more than one computer. I think I had like 4 when I met her. So I stuffed all my equipment in one case. It sucked. I hated it. I finally convinced her about an HTPC after reading a lot here and then naturally explained why I needed a server. I like having things seperated and it makes more sense. The small lian li case in the living room looks good and people dont even know its a computer. My server is in the furnace room in the basement which is about 55F. I was having cooling issues with that same case upstairs so that was even better having it down in our basement. Plus I dont hear it. Not that it was that loud but still its nice to have it out of the way. My next build for a server is all rackmount with one of the new norco 24 bays when they are released. I think for now I will at least swap out the case. I have a gigantic lian li down there now and it works ok but has a design flaw where there are just too many HDDs stuffed into one spot without enough cooling.


As far as benefits I dont think I have to tell you how great having every single bit of media at the push of a remote. Its incredible. I dont even use it for music or internet or the many other things you could do. But just having all my media is insanely awesome. I find I hardly ever watch as many movies as I do tv shows. I guess thats because we usually dont have much time or patience for 2 hour movies. I think I have about 4000 movies on there and several dozen shows. I guess I only like certain comedy shows. Its basically every movie I ever saw in my life and every movie I want to see in my life.
 

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I bought a Coolermaster Elite case (it has a fully vented front, currently $40 and free shipping), put Vista on it (suddenly had a free license when I moved to Win7 on my gaming rig), and installed 6 HDDs in it.


I am now out of SATA ports on the mobo, but I have a lot of HDD space now (8 TB). I use flexraid for some data safety.


All my DVDs and BRs are stored as folders (DVDs) or ISOs (BRs) on the server.
 

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 Check out my budget build with a Norco 4220 case to support up to 22 HDs.


You can substitute a cheaper processor and video card, I just had a e6600 around and I dual purpose my server as my bedroom HTPC by means of HDMI/IR over Cat6. Since I wanted HTPC functionality, I use FlexRaid on top of Windows 7. With Win7 Homegroup, it's very easy to setup shares now without the need of a server OS. Flexraid can be a little difficult to initially setup, but once you have it running it's very easy to maintain. If you go this route, give me a PM and I'll help you with the FlexRaid.
 

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Having win 7 on every computer is really nice. Its just so easy to get files and move around stuff or whatever you need. No more painful networking drives etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Damn, some great stuff here!


Ogormask: 4000+ movies?? Nice! If I had the space, I could EASILY add about another 1000 from my own collection. I too don't have a WHOLE lot of patience to watch many movies these days. I do plan on having my music collection there too. I think I might dab my feet into things with that nice (and cheap) Coolermaster case. For the money, you can't beat that! Good reviews too!
 

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I put all of my blu-ray and HD DVD (converted to blu-ray) movies onto my Unraid server (around 400). I only have a few SD DVD movies on there, since I didn't want to take the time--plus, I'll get the blu-rays eventually. Anyway, I have very little space, so there is no way I can have a bunch of DVD's close at hand--everything goes on the server.


If you go Unraid, make sure you get a mobo that can sleep. Otherwise, you have to either leave the server on 24/7, or physically turn it on when you want to use it. With the sleep script, it will sleep automatically, and wake up with a simple .bat file.
 

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I'm considering going this route as well. Is everyone just using the server itself for playback or are you using a media extender? My hope, if I do this, is to make it as robust/reliable as possible. In a perfect world, I would have something like the Norco 4220 runnin Linux, or a different OS (even a server OS)who's sole purpose was to just store the content and run reliably. I would use other Units to rip the content and then transfer it via the network to the box or rip directly. In the end, however, I keep thinking in the back of my head that I wouldn't want to also task this unit to do playback. If possible I wouldn't mind a playback transport that would have a very nice GUI (we have an Escient currently so WAF has to at least meet that ease of use), and that could playback all the files stored on there. I cannot do something with folder views and I would ultimately like to have metadata (movie cover art, movie info, etc) displayed as well. As I stated, the Mrs. is used to the Escient, so I need to do something that will be just as easy to use. Looking at Windows 7 media center, it seems to fit the bill, but that draws up the reliability concern again. Do I go dedicated NAS with transport or just hope Windows stays functional for me? Any thoughts on this?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsquared /forum/post/18162246


I'm considering going this route as well. Is everyone just using the server itself for playback or are you using a media extender? My hope, if I do this, is to make it as robust/reliable as possible. In a perfect world, I would have something like the Norco 4220 runnin Linux, or a different OS (even a server OS)who's sole purpose was to just store the content and run reliably. I would use other Units to rip the content and then transfer it via the network to the box or rip directly. In the end, however, I keep thinking in the back of my head that I wouldn't want to also task this unit to do playback. If possible I wouldn't mind a playback transport that would have a very nice GUI (we have an Escient currently so WAF has to at least meet that ease of use), and that could playback all the files stored on there. I cannot do something with folder views and I would ultimately like to have metadata (movie cover art, movie info, etc) displayed as well. As I stated, the Mrs. is used to the Escient, so I need to do something that will be just as easy to use. Looking at Windows 7 media center, it seems to fit the bill, but that draws up the reliability concern again. Do I go dedicated NAS with transport or just hope Windows stays functional for me? Any thoughts on this?

For my setup my WHS server is not used as a media extender. I use separate HTPCs or Media Players for playback of all content from my WHS. I don't want to worry about having my wife or anyone else messing around with the server. Also, since I use WHS is not really meant to use used as a Media O/S
 
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