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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,


I currently have an MCE box in my living room with 3 hard drives (Maxtor 120, 200, 250 GB). I'm using a accent ht-200 case, and as you can probably tell, I'm having a few problems with heat. So, I was thinking about moving two of the drives (200 and 250) to a media server and serving mp3s, dvd iso's, recorded tv, and hdtv(ota) files. I have a spare PIII 500 MHz with an Aopen AX63Pro Motherboard and 256 mb of RAM sitting to the side. I guess my question is will this do the job of a media server? I would probably install XP Pro on it (or any suggestions?). I have a cat5e wired network so I don't think that will be a problem. Also, if this will work, will it be fast enough for MCE to use the networked drives to record tv and hdtv streams? I guess in the worst case scenario, I could use the old box for a smoothwall box.


Thanks in advance for your help,


ryang
 

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It would likely be fine unless you plan on doing software raid or something.
 

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500mhz will be fine if you are just sending data to and from HDD via a 100Mbit network connection.


Don't know about Gigabit though, if you were ever to upgrade your ntwork to that.


-Suntan
 

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@cburbs


What kind of file structures do those NAS mini OSes support?


Can they handle single files larger than 4GB? This is important for .TS support


-Suntan
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys for the replies. I just implemented it this weekend. It works great. I'm running the PIII 500 MHz with XP Pro, 256 MB ram, and a 10/100 network and it's very responsive. I pulled the hard drive with the movies out of the MCE and put it in this one. I mapped a drive that matched the one I had in the MCE and all is well with mymovies. No Stutters, no glitches with any of my recorded content, dvds (iso), recorded hdtv, or wmvhd trailers. The living room is almost dead silent now. Just thought my experiences could help someone else out on a budget and an old computer laying around.


Thanks again,


ryang
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan
@cburbs


What kind of file structures do those NAS mini OSes support?


Can they handle single files larger than 4GB? This is important for .TS support


-Suntan
No and yes.....I haven't tested it but I think you can only have a single file larger than 4gs if you FTP it over to the NAS box.


I haven't had tons of time to play with it. If it is multiple files over 4g that is fine but single file I believe ftp is the only way to transfer.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan
@cburbs


What kind of file structures do those NAS mini OSes support?


Can they handle single files larger than 4GB? This is important for .TS support


-Suntan
No and yes.....I haven't tested it but I think you can only have a single file larger than 4gs if you FTP it over to the NAS box.


I haven't had tons of time to play with it. If it is multiple files over 4g that is fine but single file I believe ftp is the only way to transfer.
 

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This is great to hear. I have a PIII 500mhz as well with 512mbs of ram that I wanted to convert into a Media server as I have ran out of space of on my HTPC. Time to buy more 250gb hdds :D


ryang: Have you tried recording HD content from your HTPC directly to the PIII? If so, any issues?
 

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Before jamming some old computer full of HDDs, take stock of the power supply. More than likely, you will need to upgrade it. Clean power to those drives will keep your budget server running happily.


-Suntan
 

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Sunta, thanks for pointing that out. I actually already tried to add a 3rd drive to my old PIII before in which case the PIII did not react very well to a few months ago while doing some temporary drive movements around my other PCs. The PC essentially would not boot. :D So I'm actually looking into getting another power supply just in case.


Any minimum requirements you guys would suggest for a new power supply. I'm thinking three 250gb hdds (prim master, prim slave, secondary slave) and the plain old cdrw for the secondary master is whats going to be on the IDE chains for the PIII
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
FourDoor: I haven't tried recording anything directly to the media server. MCE won't let you record to a mapped network drive.


I run a Thermaltake Silent Purepower 450w in the tower, because I just had it laying around. I ran three drives at one time without any problems on this power supply. Actually, when I was configuring it at first, I think I was running a old 350w power supply (no-name brand) and it worked okay.


ryang
 

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Well I went to Frys yesterday to go look for a powersupply for the PIII and daym those things are expensive. I saw some cheap ones around the $40 range but was unsure of the brands so I just skipped the power supplies all together. I then went to look at cases and there were some decent ones around the $50 to $70 range with a PS included.


Then I thought about it, is it really worth spending $70 for a PIII hdd case? I decided I would sit on the decision for a little bit as there isn't an immediate rush to get the PIII up and running.


Anyone have any recomendations on an inexpensive case that will provide ample cooling and include a power supply that I can move the PIII guts into to make a media server?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryang
... I was thinking about moving two of the drives (200 and 250) to a media server and serving mp3s, dvd iso's, recorded tv, and hdtv(ota) files.


...Also, if this will work, will it be fast enough for MCE to use the networked drives to record tv and hdtv streams?


...FourDoor: I haven't tried recording anything directly to the media server. MCE won't let you record to a mapped network drive.
Hi Ryang,


Pardon what may be a basic question, but I'm a little confused by what appear to be contradictory statements.


Your the first two statements seem to say that you want to build a media server for the purpose of archiving recorded content on networked drives.


However, the last statement seems to say that Windows won't permit this.


Could you please clarify?


Thanks very much.


Larry
 

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FourDoor said:
Then I thought about it, is it really worth spending $70 for a PIII hdd case? I decided I would sit on the decision for a little bit as there isn't an immediate rush to get the PIII up and running.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



I just spent $92.50 to fill up my work truck this morning. $70 for a case does not sound that bad to me. Next week you will still have your case, but all the gas in truck will be gone :D


Cases are the only computer component that I try not to buy online. Shipping can be $20 and they are easily damaged during shipping, which means you spend another $20 to send it back!
 

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FourDoor,


You get what you pay for with cases. If you expect to run your server 24/7, you had better get a case with a power supply that can handle it. I wouldn't spend less than $75 on a case and power supply.

My two DVD servers are Coolermaster Stackers with dual 350watt Antec power supplies and inexpensive Asus Athlon 2400 based motherboards with 512MB of value ram. They work fine and will last a long time without overheating and all the problems that come with fried components. Make the investment and buy a case and power supply that will allow expansion in the future. You will save money in the long run.

Regards,

TCIII
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Larry,


Sorry about the confusion. MCE won't let you record to a mapped drive, so for me to get around that, I'm manually moving those files from my local MCE hard drive to the "media server". They play fine over the network then.


I only keep probably 5% or less of recorded tv for archival purposes, so it's not a big deal to me to move the files over. But for someone that keeps alot recorded content, this could pose a problem.


I'm not for sure, but the mce addon, d-cut , might be able to write to a mapped drive. I'm going to try to experiment with d-cut this weekend and see if it works. If so, I can set up d-cut to automatically convert those files over to compressed wmvs, and store them on the server. That would be great!


ryang
 

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The more I thought about it, the more and more I get discouraged to invest more $ in the PIII system to get it up to server spec. With all the other great deals that show up on new PCs that could be used as a bare bones system media server, I can't justify spending $100 to house a PIII 500mhz PC that is already on it's last leg.


So I guess my plan of attack right now is to sell the PIII for like $50, and use that towards something like a Dell 430SC when it goes back on sale or on a new mobo/case.


If I was to go with a TRUE BUDGET media server, what your recomendations for mobo/cpu/case/power supply? Any other prebuilt barebone systems out there people prefer?
 

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The PIII 500 is fine as a media server. I use a Athlon 1200 underclocked to 550 in mine. Mr. Coyle was right. The power supply is the most important part of a server. Keeping the hard drives cool is second in my book. If you ain't got the $ to do it right, don't do it.
 
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