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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was thinking of storing my DVD on an external Firewire or USB 2.0 IDE drives.


I am pretty sure that the performance would be good enough for reading a movie. Also, you can daisy chain multiple external drives (ie 6~8) per USB/Firewire controller as needed for a very larger disk array.


Since each box will have it's own powersupply, it will not tax the main unit's PS. The units can be "stacked" out of sight thereby keeping the main HTPC small.


Here is
one I am thinking of.



Any thoughts, comments or question.....
 

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Plenty of speed, I do it across a 100 Mb network with no issues. Most firewire enclosures I've played with support daisy chaining.


Firewire is definately faster than USB 2.0, just make sure you look for the latest oxford chipset.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree that Firewire is probably faster than USB2.0 but USB2.0 maybe more useful.


I believe (and I could be wrong) that firewire cannot be chained more that 7 deep on one controller.


USB's can be hubbed together to form long chains.

For example: 1 USB2.0 port on the PC to a 4 port powered hub. Each hub port can be chained to 127 devices. (again I could be wrong here too)


My real concern for USB2.0 would be sharing the bandwidth with things like USB mice, keyboard, IR readers, etc. Since these are low speed devices and a movie playback would not use the enitire bandwidth, then sharing should be OK.
 

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Agreed - I have about 150 movies on external drives. FW is definitely the way to go due to the support for daisychaining. Note that with the combo FW/USB2 drives, the daisychaining only works with FW.
 

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Copied this from somewhere:


FireWire supports data rates of 100, 200, and 400 Mbps, and it supports up to 63 devices with a maximum cable length of 4.5 meters between devices. The maximum number of hops in a chain is 16 for a total maximum end-to-end distance of 72 meters. The IEEE 1394 standard supports daisychaining and branching or peer-to-peer implementations. Connections can be free-form, mixing branches and daisychains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Looks like FW is the way to go.....


How much diskspace was required for 150 movies? What format did you store them? I will have around 250 movies and hope to store them in VOB format. Yes, I know, lots of disk spaces!



Shopping list

1 - Firewire card.... 2 or 4 port?

1 - Enclosure

1 - 160 gb HD


Enclosure choices
This or
That or the other


and maybe this also


Any recommendations.....
 

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If you plan on having lots of external firewire drives, wouldn't you be better off just buying a cheap fileserver computer. Many have additional built in IDE controllers, so you could put ~8 HD in one computer (assuming you got the right case).


This could also be more flexible if you are interested in RAID configurations.


If you really wanted speed, you could set up a Gigabit ethernet link between your HTPC and your fileserver.


Ozy
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BrianH33
Looks like FW is the way to go.....


How much diskspace was required for 150 movies? What format did you store them? I will have around 250 movies and hope to store them in VOB format. Yes, I know, lots of disk spaces!
I'd have to check, but I think I have 600 gigs. I rip them in ISO mode. Most of them are for my kids and I generally use DVDshrink to remove the excess material without compressing the quality. A lot of their stuff is Sesame Street which is very small. I store their stuff in VOB files in VIDEO_TS directories. I store my movies in ISOs, because I rip them, watch them, and delete them. I have 3 external firewire enclosures plus 2 internal drives.
 

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Average movie, stripped down (re-authoured with DVDshrink) with only video and main audio, I'd say they average 4.5 GB.


I store them in standard DVD format (VIDEO_TS/ .VOB AND .IFO).


Wes
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
If you plan on having lots of external fire wire drives, wouldn't you be better off just buying a cheap file server computer. Many have additional built in IDE controllers, so you could put ~8 HD in one computer (assuming you got the right case).
In theory, that would be correct except that one would have to build the entire server right off the bat. The hardware cost would be more that the 10 FW enclosures. Then there is the space for a larger server case, maintenance of the OS, upgrades to the drivers etc etc.


With FW drives, I buy them as needed. I could stack the drives on a shelf (with proper ventilation). The cost of a FW enclosure is around $50 us. 10 would cost $500. It would cost more for a decent file server hardware if you don't have the spare parts already.

Quote:
Average movie, stripped down (re-authoured with DVDshrink) with only video and main audio, I'd say they average 4.5 GB.
Yes, i calculated 5gig per movie, 32 movies per 160g drive, 250/32 = around 8 drives to start.
 

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Wow. And I thought I was doing great with 2 internal (160 + 200GB) drives. You guys are amazing :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:
You guys are amazing
Yes, we know ;)


Seriously, with the cost of FW enclosures, do you guys think that it may be easier to go with that or a file server?


Remember that 89% of the time these drives would be idle.
 

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I have 3 FW enclosures (2 @ 160GB, 1 @ 120GB) that I used for about a week doing the same thing you are planning on. Worked fine. Then it hit me, after spending considerable time ripping DVD's, Vinyl and CD's, "What if one of these bad boys dies?". Thats when I sat down and did the math...and ended up going the file server route. Ten enclosures @ $50 plus Ten 160GB drives (@ approx $120) = $1700. Thats not exactly cheap either!


I had an old AMD 450mhz w/ 512MB laying around, picked up a 3ware 8 port IDE RAID controller on eBay for $200, bought 8 new 160GB Seagates for about $120 each. I'm running a RAID 5 array on Linux (free). Total cost $1160. Not only is it about $500 cheaper then the FW route, but you can't put a price on even a smidge of fault tolerance!


IMHO, your money would be better well spent in a file/media server that can "grow" with your needs, instead of being locked into a JBOD FW scenario.


My 2 cents.
 

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FWIW, speed or bandwidth is not a major consideration for streaming Mpeg2 DVD files across the network. 6-8MB/second is all that's required, so even a PC with an old 10BaseT network card can function as a server.


However, with 100BaseT network cards costing less than $20 these days, why not "spend the big bucks."! :D


You should also consider loading your file server up with cooling fans, and put the server in another room. That way you don't have to compromise noise in your theater room to keep your server drives cool.


I currently have 840 gigs of server space, and it works flawlessly!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Before I start, I am not against file servers for this stuff. I am just exploring another way to use current technology to solve the problem of massive storage requirement of keeping movies online at a reasonable cost.



schud


Yes, I agree that noise maybe an issue. I was thinking of putting them inside my wall unit in the enclosed bottom unit with ventilation to get rid of the hot air.


mnkynifefite

Quote:
I had an old AMD 450mhz w/ 512MB laying around, picked up a 3ware 8 port IDE RAID controller on eBay for $200, bought 8 new 160GB Seagates for about $120 each. I'm running a RAID 5 array on Linux (free). Total cost $1160.
I agree that if you have the spare parts hanging around then there could be some money to be saved. If you had to buy a MB/ CPU/ Mem/ Video / CD and case to fit all that in, then your cost estimate would be too low.


Oh and can that 3Ware card support more that 8 drives? In my case, I already have over 7 x 160g of information. That would leave me no room for growth. The 9th drive would cause a big headache!


Then there is the initial cash outlay. With FW drives, I buy as needed, 1 a month, or every 2 months until I am done.

Quote:
but you can't put a price on even a smidge of fault tolerance
If this was important programs or data that was extremely difficult to re-create, then I would say that a raid-5 was mandatory. But these are copies of movies I own. If I lose a drive.... oh well .... time rip the 30odd movies again. Around 15 to 20 hours work. The major problem would be buying another drive.



We seem to think that 8 or 10 160g drives would be enough. I don't think so. In my case, I am already at 8 drives. Soon I will be at 10, and before I now it I will be at 12. The physical size of 12 x 3.5" enclosures would be much smaller than a full size or tower case needed to support 12 drives. I know of someone with 1400+ DVD's (of course not online).


How much of a power supply would be required for a server with 12 x 160g hard drives. I would venture to guess at least a 550w. The power for 12 FW drives would be 360w. A saving of ~200w full time.


Also, just as a thought, if I had a friend with a HTPC, I could bring one of my drives with the 30+ movies and plug it into their FW port.
 

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I went with SCSI. No need for a separate computer (although I went that route because I wanted to host more "server" type functions on it), parts needed:

- SCSI RAID PCI card - $50-$150 depending upon config

- external enclosure - (although you can put the drives in the primary PC case I went with an external enclosure) can use a case designed for drives only or just mod a cheap PC case

- cable to connect the raid card to the external enclosure

- number and sizes of hard drives as desired - granted native SCSI drives are expensive but I got around that by using IDE drives and a IDE-to-SCSI converter.


I built a 1.4TB RAID 5 media server using nine 200GB IDE drives (using 8 drives for storage (7 usable for data after accounting for the parity deficit), and 1 drive online as a hot spare) and averaged $1.3 per GB.


The cost is a little high per GB if only needing a low GB sized array but the advantage is that it is easily scalable without the need to buy more of the primary components, i.e. a SCSI U160 card can support up to 15 drives per channel and you can get 1-4 channel raid controllers......


In my case to add more storage I have a number of options....

- add additional drives to my external case (space for 3 more)

- add a second external enclosure and insert additional drives

- swap the HD upgrading to a larger individual drive size

all without the need to buy additional core hardware (MB, CPU, mem, video, etc.....)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
although I went that route because I wanted to host more "server" type functions on it
And that is the only reason to go SCSI. The price of a 200g SCSI drive would be more that the cost of the computer itself.

Quote:
granted native SCSI drives are expensive but I got around that by using IDE drives and a IDE-to-SCSI converter.
How much is this converter??


After you fill your Raid 5 with 9 drives, is the 10th just stand alone or were you planning on buying another 9 drives?


All these solution are very reliable and costly. Really necessary for movies?

Would the FW external drives provide more flexiablity. Of course, much less reliablity.


A 9 drive solution would be 9 x $50 + 9 x $120 (160g drives) = $1530 and would provide 1.44 TB of space.


How much are 200g drives? $180.00? How much is the external SCSI tower? How much is the converter? How much is the SCSI card? How much is the PC.

Quote:
averaged $1.3 per GB.
My cost would be $1.06 per GB.
 

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Your fileserver can be a pretty modest computer...


You can get a motherboard with built in video/lan/sound for ~$60, a processor for ~$50, and 256M memory for ~$40. A full tower case with 300W PS for ~$50. DVD-ROM drive for ~$30.


So, you're looking at
 

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BrianH33,
Quote:
How much is this converter??
I use the Addronics card which runs about $83 direct.
Quote:
After you fill your Raid 5 with 9 drives, is the 10th just stand alone or were you planning on buying another 9 drives?
I can add additional drives one or more at a time as desired to the SCSI array (the adaptec storage manager software allows array resize on the fly to add more drives), only after I fill up the case will I need to add an additional case in order to accommodate more drives.
Quote:
All these solution are very reliable and costly. Really necessary for movies?
A question everyone has to answer for themselves, but given that in my array I can hold 500+ DVDs and 750+ CDs (don;t have near that many yet, but working on it), how much is my time worth re-ripping them all if I have a hardware failure? If you go with a non-raid config and only have to reload a single drives worth of disks you have to first manage which disks are on which drives so you can know which ones to reload, then reload them, etc.... For me, my time is worth more to me than the couple of hundred $$ I could save with a less flexible or robust solution. (Plus this way is more fun......)


I have attached a pic and desc of my current home config.......

 

myrack.pdf 299.04296875k . file
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
xstanbx


[Preface]

I am not trying to say you system is not good here, it is an excellent example of a full blown server. I am trying to compare it to a FW JOBD. So please do not see it as any attack

[/Preface]

Quote:
I use the Addronics card which runs about $83 direct.
That's per drive right?


I am very jealous of that system. Yes, the FW solution would not be as robust as yours, but I think, much much cheaper. I think the cost of your system is far more than $1.30 / GB ($1820.00).

Quote:
only have to reload a single drives worth of disks you have to first manage which disks are on which drives so you can know which ones to reload, then reload them, etc....
Very very true! Someway would have to be developed to track which disk is on that drive. As for the ripping... yes time consuming.


Harddrives do not fail that often (knocking on wood).

Quote:
Plus this way is more fun......
True very true

Quote:
but given that in my array I can hold 500+ DVDs and 750+ CDs
How are you storing your DVD's. At 5g/DVD average over 1.4TB gives 280 DVD's.


How are you storing CD's. I am using CDex with ALT Standard encoding with 200 cd's taking 15gb (if i remember correctly). So to store the equal amount for me would require ....

750 * 5 = 3.75TB (assuming 5 gb per movie)

4* 15gb = 60gB (assuming 4 times the space if I used ie 800CD's)


Total 3.81 TB's.
 
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