If you were to build a "Digital Media Server", what would you use?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Robt_Moore, Dec 7, 2003.

  1. Robt_Moore

    Robt_Moore Stunt Coordinator

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    My next project will probably be a "Digital Media Server"--a dedicated box that will have lots and lots of storage. Since this is all it will do, what would the professionals at the Home Theater Forum suggest?

    It will house about:
    1500 CDs worth of ripped music
    music videos
    a few DiVX movies
    archived DVR TV shows

    I'm thinking just a plain name brand motherboard (like a newer ECS K7S5A-type), Athlon XP2000, 512MB RAM, and three 250 meg hard drives. Since it is just a file server, so to speak, I won't need a burner, floppy, modem, fancy graphic card, or even a monitor (I'll use a KVM with my old P166 I use as a print server).

    What O/S? XP Pro? XP Server? Linux?

    I only use an HP digital media receiver right now that's attached to my Denon receiver for music in the living room, and I have the full assortment of DVD, LD, VCR, etc there, and I watch the few videos I have on my PC, so there will be very little demand on the Media Server. I just need dedicated storage and easy access to my network.

    Thanks for your input

    Bob
     
  2. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    If you know Linux, that should give you great bang for the buck. If you're not comfortable hacking around in Linux, go with an OS you know. XP Pro should be enough for home use.

    If you go Linux you need to be comfortable around disk partitioning tools, Samba etc to get file sharing to work right and so on. A great choice - but if you're new to Linux, as I said you'd probably be happier with Windows.

    I'd suggest you buy a RAID controller card from http://www.3ware.com though and add another 250GB drive. Then you set those up in a RAID5 configuration, ie all four drives form one big drive. You lose one drives worth of space but instead get redundancy - even if one drive fails, you retain all data until you can replace the drive.

    4 x 250GB drives will give you 750MB of storage space, that is.
     
  3. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    If you're going to have that much space I would also definitely suggest a raid controller.

    Even if you're not familiar with Linux and you're interested in it, something simple like this would be a good project to learn it on.
     
  4. Bob Hill

    Bob Hill Stunt Coordinator

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    Another vote for a Raid controller and raid 5. You might even want to look at the SATA hard drives and controllers for an easy upgrade path.
     
  5. AllanN

    AllanN Supporting Actor

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    Also get a GOOD network card seperate from the motherboard. Mabey even twin network cards if alot of users will be accessing the system.
     
  6. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    hrm, well I just keep an old clunker computer (PIII 600) and put all my old hard drives in it for my file server, works just fine can stream movies, mp3s, etc without issue and the comp is just made up of hand-me-down parts.

    if you do want to build a new one, I too will agree that a raid 5 setup is the way to go, minimal loss of storage space with good security of data.

    file servers that will only serve to a couple computers don't need much power at all. In addition you really don't need fast hardrives unless you plan on streaming full DVD quality movies across the network. So you should primarly concern yourself with hardrive capacity and not worry so much about overall performance.
     
  7. Robt_Moore

    Robt_Moore Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for everyone's replys. The RAID 5 sounds like the way to go if I don't want to lose my collection. Thanks for the information.

    Bob
     

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