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Running out of storage space on my HTPC - Any recommendations for me?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Michael D. Bunting, Mar 19, 2004.

  1. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

    Jun 9, 1999
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    Real Name:
    I'm running out of storgae space on my HTPC's - 2 120GB Hard Drives. I don't have any room inside my HTPC case for any more drives either.

    Besides an external Hard Drive purchase, do I have any other options?

    Seems like some folks have created media server type setups, with lots of Hard Drives and lots of storgae space. How would I go about doing this? Do I just purchase a bunch of Internal HD's and put them together in some kind of an external case? Won't I need a cpu and motherboard for this (Server?)

    The easist option does seem to be purchasing an External Hard Drive: Maxtor has one (from newegg.com) that is 300GB and is $309.00

    But if I could build some kind of a media storage unit - that could connect to my HTPC using FireWire or USB - that would be ideal.

    Thanks for any and all help!
  2. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

    Aug 17, 1998
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    Just buy bigger drives and copy eveything over. 250 and 300gb drives are easily available and Hitachi have a 400gb monster on the way soon.
  3. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

    Dec 17, 2003
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    If you know Linux well and you have an old computer laying around you could make a NAS (Network Attached Storage) pretty easily. I don't know Linux well enough to do it, but the point is you have to have a CPU and OS to pull it off. I would either pickup a firewire drive or simply swap out the drives in there for larger drives. Lacie makes great external drives up to 400GB and 500GB. This could keep you going for quite awhile. Plus they come with a Firewire800 interface so you could get incredible transfer rates if you add a pci card to your computer.
  4. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

    Jul 4, 1997
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    Or, if you've got another PC you can add a drive to or map a network share to move over recorded files.. you don't want to record across a network, but storing older data and playing from across the network is no problem.

    But getting the 300GB is the easiest, cheapest solution.
  5. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

    Feb 27, 2000
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    The question is also - is the data on the machine important to you? If so, you might want to start looking at options to set up a system with a little redundancy.

    I'm extra aware of the insecurity of hard drives at the moment since my media box just ate its drive and all the stuff that was on there. Very annoying.

    Since I work with servers, I've come to realize there is a lot to be said for having a server to do storage on and then access that over a network with a client PC.

    If you get the drives (at least most of them) out of your HTPC, you'll also have a quieter and more easily cooled system (ie, less/slower fans) which is never a bad thing in a HT environment. The server can be in a closet somewhere making as much noise as it wants to...

    If I were in your situation (and, obviously, had the money, since this isn't the cheapo option!) I'd put together a PC to serve as nothing more than filestorage. A cheap PC, a decent RAID-card like a 3ware Escalade 7x00-series and three disks of your choice (ideally, something like three 200-gig drives or larger) and you'd have a superb file server going. Not cheap - but with three 200 gig drives you'd have 400GB storage that was very fast and above all redundant; lose one drive in a crash? No worries, the data isn't affected at all. Heck, with an optional hotswap drive cage, you could just yank the broken drive, replace it with a new one and rebuild the array, without even rebooting the machine... but of course that would be overkill for a home situation.

    Of course, it's a fair bit pricier than just getting an external firewire drive, but it's also a lot more secure.

    It would also give you an upgrade path; if you run out of storage, just buy three more drives and set them up in another array and you'd have two 400 gig "drives" to store stuff on; if you were willing to reformat, you could just get two more drives and get the same (in a RAID5 setup you lose one drives worth of storage because of the parity data that is spread out on the drives, so instead of having 2x3 disks you could do 1x4 or 1x5...)

    It sounds extremely expensive, but it's nowhere near as expensive to go with RAID these days as it was since you can get IDE drives, not SCSI or Fiber channel. Very doable in a home environment.

    It's also childishly simple to get it set up; the RAID card has its own built-in software you invoke when you start the computer and then create the disk array; Windows sees one big drive.
  6. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

    Feb 29, 2000
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    Just curious but what are you filling your HDs up with? If it's video have you tried the mpeg-4 codecs? For audio there's APE lossless..

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