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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seems like the black hole of HTPC is storage. It's the most expensive part by far of this hobby and in many cases it seems like there is no end to it. This makes me wonder when is too much enough ?


I've seen some digital whores around here. I mean serious freaks of nature with an insatiable storage appetite. I don't think I fall into that category quite yet, but I definitely have more storage right now than I ever thought I would need a couple years ago. I have all of the bays on my Norco 4220 populated with 3TB drives and now I am considering finding a chassis with more drive bays or an add on solution.


How much storage do you have?

How much storage do you want ideally ?

How much storage do you expect to have over the next few years?

Is your current storage strategy and solution going to hold up for the next 24-36 months do you think ?

What do you currently use? What do you like about it? What do you wish you could improve?


Is there a light at the end of the tunnel or is this a never ending black hole of HTPC ? If you drop a hard drive into the black hole of storage would it ever hit the bottom where enough is enough ?
 

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LOL...


This:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...-enough-in-todays-digital-world#post_24503548


I've seen some digital whores around here. I mean serious freaks of nature with an insatiable storage appetite. I don't think I fall into that category quite yet...

Followed by this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...-enough-in-todays-digital-world#post_24503548

I have all of the bays on my Norco 4220 populated with 3TB drives and now I am considering finding a chassis with more drive bays or an add on solution.

While it is just a matter of degrees, based on the bolded section above, it would seem (at least to me) you're in "that catagory" with both feet



I aspire to be a digital whore. Well, I guess I'm one already in that I have tons of loose internal HDDs scattered around the house, but I want to be a "well-organized" digital whore. To that end, I am planning on building a pretty massive server to store all my favorite HD content. The problem is that I'm too busy creating content (mainly editing HDTV recordings to remove commercials, pulling .srt subtitles from CC data, and muxing into a .mkv file with optional chapter stops), so my build never gets off the ground.


Glad to know that I'm not the only one with a big appetite for storage
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...-enough-in-todays-digital-world#post_24503548


Seems like the black hole of HTPC is storage. It's the most expensive part by far of this hobby and in many cases it seems like there is no end to it.


I have all of the bays on my Norco 4220 populated with 3TB drives and now I am considering finding a chassis with more drive bays or an add on solution.

Storage is a pittance compared to the cost of the content. At $20 per BluRay and 45GB per rip, that's $27,000 worth of data in your Norco. If you are transcoding or ripping dvds, it'll hold $50K-$100K of content.


What I don't understand is:

1) What are you storing that costs less than the storage itself?

2) If it is worth so little, why are you bothering to store it?
 

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How much storage is enough? That all depends on what you need to store.


My HTPC is used primarily for recording TV. It has a 120 GB SSD for the OS and a 1.5TB drive for recordings. I strive to keep up with recorded shows so I don't get backlogged. As a result, the 1.5TB drive is rarely more than half full, and much of that is used for storing variouys applications and miscellaneous files.


I also have a 24-bay Supermicro server. Currently, 22 of the 24 bays are occupied, although I do have enough spare drives to fill the empty slots. Drive capacities range from 1.5TB to 4TB. As the drives start aging (or failing, as the case may be), I upgrade to larger drives. Current capacity is around 33 TB or so, with about 11 TB free, IIRC. The server holds mostly Blu-Ray and DVD rips in mkv format with lots of archived TV shows waiting to be viewed, mostly older shows acquired from torrents that I just haven't had a chance to watch. I already have more movies than I will probably get a chance to watch in my lifetime and yet I keep adding more.


The server can hold up to 96 TB if I max it out with 4TB drives in all 24 slots. I'm already about one-third of the way there and I suspect I'll edge closer to the mark as time goes by. Otherwise, I may have to take inventory of what's on the server and start deleting items that are of least importance. I sincerely doubt that I'll miss most of what's there. In fact, I've already had at least one instance whereby data was lost and was unrecoverable. I don't recall everything that was on the drive and I'm not losing any sleep over it.
 

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I guess it depends on how much money you have and what you like to watch. I have one friend that collecting movies is his number one hobby. He easily has more than 600 blurays and a probably 3,000 CDs. I don't think I have a single other friend who owns more than 30-50 DVDs+blurays combined.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricN  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...-enough-in-todays-digital-world#post_24503847


Storage is a pittance compared to the cost of the content. At $20 per BluRay and 45GB per rip, that's $27,000 worth of data in your Norco. If you are transcoding or ripping dvds, it'll hold $50K-$100K of content.


What I don't understand is:

1) What are you storing that costs less than the storage itself?

2) If it is worth so little, why are you bothering to store it?

I'm pretty sure the avg BD rip is closer to 25GB.


There are plenty of people that shoot their own video and take ridiculous amounts of pictures and never delete anything. Just an example of something that would cost much less than the storage but to most people would be "priceless".


I know plenty of people that store 100's of TB of downloaded content as well. There is no point though. As plenty of people have already discussed.... there isn't enough time in life to watch that much content.


I have about 20TB with 15TB (5TB free) of that being in a media server storing ripped content from my BD/DVD/CD collection. Another 5TB being photos, videos, backups and scanned documents. My plan is to not expand beyond my current storage but I can see adding another 3TB disk to my media server before I finish my collection. I have finally started to delete content I know I'll never watch again. Mainly TV shows that are currently running that aren't very entertaining.
 

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I have 12.5TB in my HTPC just for storage of archived movies/TV (2x 4TB, 1x 3TB, 1x 1.5TB). I was copying 1:1 BR/DVD rips to them.


I am tired of needing codecs or the need to transcode and all that comes along with it. Also realizing I will run out of space with what I have before all my DVD rips are replaced with their BR equivalents. I have since decided to encode my BR/DVD collection to 15Mbps h.264 m4v files w/AAC audio (don't do surround sound, don't ever see me doing it) @ high level 4.0. This will allow NATIVE playback on all my devices (BR players via DLNA, Chromecast, Xbox 360 extenders, HTPCs/computers without any codecs needed, and any future devices I might get like an Apple TV 4 etc). The visual quality of the resulting files isn't on par with BR obviously, but is better than HD cable. I am fine with the final quality of these encodes.


Plus, from what I see of the resulting file sizes, I should be able to fit my current collection onto a single 4TB drive with some room to spare; and then redundantly duplicate it to my 2nd 4TB drive. This is another huge bonus for me. I always told myself if I lost the drives with my movies on them, I wouldn't do all this again and would just stick with recorded TV/movies and streaming services. Now, I will have a backup.


The backup drive will go into my main rig, wouldn't make sense to keep it in the HTPC. The 1.5 TB drive will replace my 750GB drive in the HTPC that currently holds recorded TV/music/pictures/home videos. The 3TB drive will go into the spare parts pile.


I also will be able to replace the i5 3470 in my HTPC (needed for transcoding the 1:1 rips) with a spare Celeron G1620 I have. I also will be able to unplug 2 of the 120mm fans in my HTPC (have 3 atm, 1 will stay plugged in) because the lesser processor and reduced amount of HDDs in the case. This all will reduce power/noise of the HTPC too



When the 4TB drive, and it's counterpart back up drive are full, I will just replace them with 6TB drives (hopefully out by then).
 

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Enough storage is equal to double whatever you think is enough at any given time. 30TB might seem like enough right now, but a few months down the road you'll have mysteriously run out of space and need another batch of hard drives. Happens every freaking time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricN  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...h-in-todays-digital-world/0_100#post_24503847


Storage is a pittance compared to the cost of the content. At $20 per BluRay and 45GB per rip, that's $27,000 worth of data in your Norco. If you are transcoding or ripping dvds, it'll hold $50K-$100K of content.


What I don't understand is:

1) What are you storing that costs less than the storage itself?

2) If it is worth so little, why are you bothering to store it?

You make some good points but I think you are short sighted or off the mark just a bit.


At least in my scenario I don't have $100k worth of media. Now I've been collecting movies and music since long before I joined this forum (
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...-enough-in-todays-digital-world#post_24504500


First,

I think most BR rips are probably closer to 25GB as an average. The only super huge ones I have are the high frame rate stuff from Peter Jackson or James Cameron like Avatar or The Hobbit type stuff. Most movies are smaller than 45GB as MKV's.


[...]

I have a lot of duplicates. Some of my stuff I have as ISO and MKV-- ISO in case I want to playback the entire disc or access the menu or special features, MKV for the normal movie only collection.

So instead of 45GB rips, you have 25GB rips and they are duplicated. I think you were making some argument for why the 45GB/BluRay figure was way off, but I couldn't follow it.


The other media you mention: DVDs, music, software and programs, games...these are all far more expensive per GB than BluRays. The hard drives to store them, in comparison, are practically free.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricN  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...-enough-in-todays-digital-world#post_24504655


So instead of 45GB rips, you have 25GB rips and they are duplicated. I think you were making some argument for why the 45GB/BluRay figure was way off, but I couldn't follow it.


The other media you mention: DVDs, music, software and programs, games...these are all far more expensive per GB than BluRays. The hard drives to store them, in comparison, are practically free.

They are hardly more expensive. They can be, but not often. In fact, DVDs and music are both almost always less than your $25/BR figure. I'm not one to buy a movie when it first releases. I'll wait for sales, or buy used collections on eBay. I only ever buy games on sale, as my growing Steam collection can attest to. To say that the media must cost $100,000 is disingenuous. More than the total storage, sure, but not that much more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

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Originally Posted by mcturkey  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...h-in-todays-digital-world/0_100#post_24507264


They are hardly more expensive. They can be, but not often. In fact, DVDs and music are both almost always less than your $25/BR figure. I'm not one to buy a movie when it first releases. I'll wait for sales, or buy used collections on eBay. I only ever buy games on sale, as my growing Steam collection can attest to. To say that the media must cost $100,000 is disingenuous. More than the total storage, sure, but not that much more.

Good point.

I once bought a DVD lot on ebay. I want to say it was something like 500 DVD's for $79. I remember the cost of each being like a .35 each or something. I don't remember the specifics but at the time it seemed like a really good deal, and I clearly remember the cost being well under $1 per disc.


Trouble is most of the movies are pure crap. Definitely not suggesting someone does this, but also definitely would re-enforce what you are saying.- you can buy media cheap if that's what you want to do. No rule exists you have to pay new release prices. Every home theater enthusiast knows movies get cheaper once they are not new releases. It's not a small difference either. Sometimes it's 50% or 75% of the original cost for good movies.


Assuming you paid $5 average for your 25GB MKV rip that means that each 3TB drive full cost you about $600 in media. (3000GB divided by 25GB per movie is 120 movies times $5 each)


That does not seem too excessive to me. Actually seems kinda cheap from an enthusiast perspective. Point being $100K is way too much I think, but it can still be a good amount of money spent on media. You can get a lot of media for a few thousand dollars invested, and my guess is that with a community like AVS where everyone shares a common interest in audio and video that your average AVSer has spent a couple thousand on media over the years easily. It seems like it's nearly automatic.


With cable costing 80+ per month too.. that's going to add up as well. I've been in my home since 2002 so in the last 12 years I figured I spent $15,000+ to Comcast my local cable provider. That's freakin' nuts to think about. If I spent the same on media to store on my server I'd still have it all. In comparison I have basically not much to show from my Comcast payments. All my recordings of TV are done mostly with free OTA these days anyways, I stopped paying and fooling around with those stupid cable cards recently. I dropped my cable bill down to the very basic only as we found we almost never watched any of it anyways.


Although I do strongly disagree with EricN's valuation to do agree that media can be expensive, or perhaps not necessarily expensive but the amount spent on it can add up cumulatively over time to be a significant amount. I'm not sure many people are very cognoscente of the fact how much they actually spend or how it adds up over the years. It's tough to make the jump from the $5 disc you grab at best buy that caught your eye, or the $10 disc you ordered on Amazon prime to the total value you've spent over a long period of time like a decade or two. It's nickel and dimes over time to some people, but it will eventually add up to be a serious amount if you are consistent about it.


My accumulation of hard drives is basically the same way. I buy one here. Two there. I try to grab them on sale. It adds up, and my storage capacity adds up. But I never went out and bought all at one time 48TB of storage in a single purchase.


I think if that is how people had to do it this hobby would be extinct. No one would go out and buy 20 hard drives at $100 each ($2000) plus spend say another $500-$1000 in PC hardware (or more $ if you are serious) for a media server then go out and in a single purchase buy $600 in media x 18 drives full of it ($10,000) all in one shot. That's like an investment of $25k total. That probably seems pretty crazy to many people.


But $600 a year on media, + the same spent on cable TV/TV shows + a few hundred $ in hard drives is probably a lot more reasonable. Do that for a long time you'll hit $10k, $20k, even more eventually pretty easily. I think people can swallow a couple hundred bucks at a time, but I don't know many that would drop $25K to start from zero and get there instantly.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcturkey  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...-enough-in-todays-digital-world#post_24507264


They are hardly more expensive. They can be, but not often. In fact, DVDs and music are both almost always less than your $25/BR figure. I'm not one to buy a movie when it first releases. I'll wait for sales, or buy used collections on eBay. I only ever buy games on sale, as my growing Steam collection can attest to. To say that the media must cost $100,000 is disingenuous. More than the total storage, sure, but not that much more.

More expensive per GB. If a typical BD is 25GB, and $25, that's $1/GB. For DVDs to be less, they would have to be less than say $5, CDs less than $0.50. From what I've seen of media pricing, the premium for BD is nowhere near equal to the 5x difference in capacity, likewise with CDs. Overall I'd say CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays cost "similar" per unit, say $5-15 if you buy them on special, meaning that DVDs and CDs are significantly more per GB than BDs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...h-in-todays-digital-world/0_100#post_24507410


More expensive per GB. If a typical BD is 25GB, and $25, that's $1/GB. For DVDs to be less, they would have to be less than say $5, CDs less than $0.50. From what I've seen of media pricing, the premium for BD is nowhere near equal to the 5x difference in capacity, likewise with CDs. Overall I'd say CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays cost "similar" per unit, say $5-15 if you buy them on special, meaning that DVDs and CDs are significantly more per GB than BDs.

I think the cost of media is going to be a grey area for most people. There is all sorts of different prices and options you can't throw a blanket over everyone and just universally put a constant value on it. Some dudes are going to be those guys that visit the value and clearance bins or buy used media from used media stores and come home with boxes of stuff for not much money. Other guys (and gals) are going to be the new release junkie grabbing one or two movies every new release Tuesday from a retailer paying full price ($15-25$ each). Huge difference in cost per GB. CD's and music definitely has a high cost per GB. GB of music is a lot. DVD's only take up 5GB (not 25GB) but you can get them so cheap and many have them from many years ago so the costs might be high, but it's money spent a decade ago. I have thousands invested into DVD's from the early 2000's, but that's money I spent 10 years ago. My HTPC hobby actually lets me manage all those discs and play them back and enjoy them again (and more) so in many ways I extract additional value from those original purchases by ripping them to my media server for easy access and enjoyment.


The amount of money I spend on CD and DVD today is very small - and those things tend to cost a lot less these days. So I do agree that they have a high cost per GB because they don't take up much space- but for many folks the money was spent many years ago so they are basically free at this point. From that angle they are very cheap per GB. You already own them. Most bought them never thinking they would store them on a media server. I did not even understand a media server or HTPC when I bought most of my CD and DVD's. Assuming I bought them for a different reason a decade ago and they are already paid for and were purchased for the specific purpose of playing back those discs in my car CD player or home DVD player - then today they are free so the cost per GB is very low. I would have spent the same weather or not I did HTPC or a media server. It costs me only the cost to store them at this point- which is nearly nothing. Pennies on the dollar considering they take up little space compared to 1080p MKV's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

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Originally Posted by davidtt485  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...gh-in-todays-digital-world/0_60#post_24507642


48 Bay AIC Server with new guts seems perfect for you. 2 HBA card and 2 expanders poof your done.

I'm already set on the guts and sata cards.


I really just need the chassis. I'm not inclined to go with junk though. I'd like something equal or better than what I have now. I always have a fear of used equipment or cheap stuff.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...-enough-in-todays-digital-world#post_24507396


Trouble is most of the movies are pure crap. Definitely not suggesting someone does this, but also definitely would re-enforce what you are saying.- you can buy media cheap if that's what you want to do. No rule exists you have to pay new release prices. Every home theater enthusiast knows movies get cheaper once they are not new releases. It's not a small difference either. Sometimes it's 50% or 75% of the original cost for good movies.

I might have 5 DVD/BD that I paid full retail upon release. Every other disc I've waited a couple years after release and purchased used. The most I'll pay is $3.50 shipped. I've acquired ~10TB of movies/tv shows at that price.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...-enough-in-todays-digital-world#post_24507458


DVD's only take up 5GB (not 25GB) I have thousands invested into DVD's

Invested thousands? Even $10K of dvds at $10-15/disc and 5GB/rip will fit on a single hard drive. You're claiming you're out of room in a 20-bay chassis and that the drives are so expensive. The numbers don't line up. They aren't even in the same league.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick  /t/1523316/lets-talk-about-htpc-sto...-enough-in-todays-digital-world#post_24503548


Seems like the black hole of HTPC is storage. It's the most expensive part by far of this hobby and in many cases it seems like there is no end to it.

Picture a guy trying to improve his sound system by adding speakers. 5.1...7.1...9.2...none of those were enough. More is better, so he needed more. He's got twenty of the largest, cheapest speakers he could find stacked up against the wall, hooked up to the cheapest components that make sound.


He's having fun, so, hey, more power to him, but he talks about problems like "I'm out of wall space for more speakers" and ignores solutions like "stop buying more speakers and focus on things that improve sound quality"



Seriously, you are already so far beyond the "dude, WTF are you doing??" line that adding chassis capacity makes no sense. Transcode. Deduplicate. Consolidate. If spending a couple hundred per month on new hdds is your "most expensive part by far of this hobby", what are you filling the new drives with? Home movies and recorded TV that you'll never watch? Random torrents that you'll never even look to see what they are?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've probably got a year if I want to stretch it out, longer if I wanted to delete some stuff.


I'm not really with my back against the wall or anything. Plus I'm on 3TB drives so swapping them out for 6TBs in a couple years is a realistic option too.


I think you are reading too seriously into things. My starting a thread was just a means of starting some discussion, not complaining or actively seeking anything. It seems like if I could go back in time two years ago and tell myself I'd have 40TB of storage space I'd think I was nuts. I clearly remember thinking if never need more than a few 2 TB drives. This makes me wonder what I'll think in another two years ???


Just wondering what others opinions are on this. When is enough really enough ?
 
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