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After doing a lot of research, I'm officially overwhelmed at my choices and the variables that may go into a "perfect" setup (or close to anyway) for my needs. From reading threads in here, it seems the folks in here might be able to push me in the right direction. I am essentially starting at zero, with the exception of existing laptops and streaming devices. No old PC laying around to convert to a NAS.


What I want to do: Pretty simple really. Central storage for media(iTunes purchased/digital copy and potentially start ripping DVD/BD) with some data security (RAID5/6). Access that media from other devices in the house. Backup 2 Macs and 1 PC.


What I have at the moment: Like I said before, 2 Macbook Pros and a 4 year old Win7 Laptop. Family Room: Samsung "Smart" Plasma, Apple TV, PS3, Yamaha RX-V867. Bedroom: Non-smart TV, Apple TV, PS3.


Networking: House is not wired. I use a Netgear MoCA connected to a TrendNet switch to connect the devices in the family room. I have one more to connect in the bedroom, but currently don't have it in service. Fios internet. Plan right now would be to have the NAS in my office, so connected to the main Fios router.


Concerns: Reliability, ease of use by wife, maxing out my own skill level (not clueless, but not anywhere close to a "pro" either), network hinders performance.


I was all settled on a Synology solution, since they seem to do just about everything, and the software is apparently fairly intuitive. Potentially getting a DS1513+ just to make sure I don't run out of space in the next 3-4 years after I start ripping discs. Then I started reading about FreeNAS, and while it may offer less in out of the box features, it looks like it might have a community of users that get it pretty close with add-on packages. With DIY, I could have more processing power for cheaper. At the same time, I'd probably rather avoid needing to tinker all the time.


Some time this year, I might also build a HTPC to use with a HDHomeRun. It isn't clear to me if the Synology would be very useful for helping with that, or the DIY route for that matter. I think at most I could store some of the non-copy protected shows on there, to stream later. Could help me avoid needing a media extender to access the HTPC DVR (just use DLNA or iTunes)?


Everything is running through iTunes on the W7 laptop right now (well not everything since I ran out of space a while ago). So with the Synology I was thinking I'd use it for an iTunes Server, then use the laptop to serve the Apple TVs like she does now. She should see little difference in how it works, and I get to backup all the stuff she buys in iTunes. It seems that FreeNAS could do this too with "Firefly". I believe both would allow me to serve via DLNA via something like Plex as well to the PS3. Not sure if one works better than the other.


So the approximately $1500 question. If you were me, what would you buy? Should I look at something else? Am I missing a detail in here? Do I really need more horsepower than the Atom processor in the 1513+? I was going to start ordering 4TB WD Red drives today if they are still on sale while I debate the actual hardware. Appreciate the help, and apologize if I missed some other thread that spells this out already. I did search.
 

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 http://www.avsforum.com/t/1460222/how-to-roll-your-own-synology-diskstation-for-nas-update-5-28-2013-dsm-4-2-3211



You can get the best of both worlds:


DIY Hardware, you can build your own machine that is far superior to anything you can buy from Synology, and still save quite a bit of money.


You get to use one of the best NAS operating systems around, Synology's DSM.


This is what I built, you can see the cost and how it compares to a Synology box that can hold 6 HDD's




Remember, the Synology you were thinking about getting has a very weak CPU, and is not very capable of transcoding media to devices that cannot handle it themselves. Also remember that if you do not already have a vast media collection, then you could potentially get by with the Synology 1513+ if you paid close attention to how you RIP your media and what devices are going to be playing the media. Me personally, I did not want to have to worry about that and I already had a large media collection, so I build my NAS with that in mind, hence the Core i5 which was actually overkill.
 

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I just build an unRaid server using almost the identical same parts as SandstormGT above. It works great, I would definitely roll my own as it will give you multiple OS options to choose from.
 

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Synology is nice, and it is supposed to be user friendly. Their support appears to be good. I also built my own UnRaid server, and I am in the process of building another one. The one thing I dislike about UnRaid is how you install / use program or plug-ins. You either have to do it manually, or add the program file to a folder. At times, the program / software won't install or work so if you are not savvy at Linux, you will need to seek help from the forum members.


With Synology, you can install whatever software / program is available similar to windows. I only use my server for streaming media, which has worked great.
 

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unRaid can seem a little intimidating. However, by reading the forums and experimenting, I got the following programs running on my server with minimal fuss:


SABnzbd+

Sickbeard

Couchpotato

Plex


Now, all of these will run fine on Synology as well, so it is just a matter of preference.
 

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I like the parts list that SandsormGT came up with. I built a very similar system and tried Windows Home Server, FeeNAS, Windows 7 Ultimate, and finally Windows 8.1 Pro. I settled on Windows 8 Pro then updated to Windows 8.1 Pro because I like how the Storage Spaces works. I set it up with a 20 Tb storage space and currently have 2 4TB drives along with 2 3TB drives in it. By setting it up as a 20 Tb pool I can continue to add drives without really having to do much to the software, and they can be internal or external USB drives as well. With this setup I am streaming all of my DVD ISO's and ITunes to all my devices with ease thru CAT5e and WiFi 802.11N. The data pool can be setup with parity or mirroring.

Sean
 
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