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New WHS and HTPC builds to integrate with existing home system


Columbian
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HI ALL

 

After loading up a shopping cart, before I clicked checkout, I did some more research. Now I am more confused than ever with the choice of options and having difficulty deciding on the best route to go.

 

I currently have 2 laptops's, wireless printer, PS3, 2TB Iomega home network cloud drive, 2 - 1T Iomega non cloud media drives, one of which just failed, on my network. The older Acer Travelmate 6592 runs XP Pro and is my work unit, the other, an Acer Aspire 8951G that I use for pretty much everything. After the failure of the Iomega, I realized I needed to do something with my network storage. Luckily the drive that failed was the first one I purchased, and all data is now on new cloud drive. My first thought was to build a raid 5 array, but was unsure how to run and integrate. After researching, I realized I can and want to do sooo much more!

 

Existing equipment:

Living room: 42" Plasma, new slimline 320G PS3 w/adapter for IF control, Logitech 5500 surround system w/coax and optical inputs Logitech Harmony 900

I use PS3 to stream music, movies and Netflix

 

Bedroom: 42" Plasma, work laptop, el cheapo Sony 2 channel cd,tape,dvd,fm mini unit interfacing tv and laptop (to be replaced soon..lol) D-link Dir 655 router, and Iomega drives.

 

Intent:

I don't do a lot of gaming, but don't want to be limited to only PS3

Want central file storage w/redundancy - not hung up on raid, but not against either.

My buddie calls my current system f*ck with central...lol I am the only one who can turn on and configure everything without Harmony remote...lol Want to simplify.

Stream my movies and music to wherever I choose in HD, living room, bedroom,pool wireless speaker, or main Laptop.

Control with Harmony 900 as much as possible

 

First build thoughts.

As I want a server and it will run 24/7,build and use it in the bedroom as HTPC as well, and a stand-a-lone HTPC in the living room to interface with existing equipment.

I bought the PS3 to play physical medas,( CD's, BD's, and DVD,s), stream netflix, and play games.

If I build a good server, do I really need to build a HTPC for living room? Will a better wireless router improve streaming when multiple clients are used simultaniously?

 

I'm not averse to spending some dough, but not into breaking the bank either and having redundant equipment!!!lol

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ok...this is an awfull and obvious newb question. I can get a Thecus 4100Pro for $299. Why wouldn't I? Is this a dead end machine, like buying an apple...lol... or would this be a great way to start, buy the drives and use it till I learn more. I can always throw the box out when I become more educated on what I would like to build...lol There's just too much to figure out, and my 2T Iomega Cloutd Drive is a timebomb waiting to lose ALL my music, movies, and photos! :wacko:

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ok...this is an awfull and obvious newb question. I can get a Thecus 4100Pro for $299. Why wouldn't I? Is this a dead end machine, like buying an apple...lol... or would this be a great way to start, buy the drives and use it till I learn more. I can always throw the box out when I become more educated on what I would like to build...lol There's just too much to figure out, and my 2T Iomega Cloutd Drive is a timebomb waiting to lose ALL my music, movies, and photos! :wacko:

 

Here is my two cents on all you input:

 

First I would separate the home server and HTPC into two units for a couple of reasons. Unless you want to get into VM's, these are two separate OS's. You will want to build your Home Server using WHS 2011 using enough storage to get the job done and to have redundancy. You did not state how much storage you needed so it is difficult to make some recommendations without a bit more information. For discussion purposes, lets say you need 4-6T, then I would build a WHS server with RAID 5 array using 3-4 2T drives. The Thecus you asked could still be bought but only as a backup unit to your RAID not as your only storage. These stand alone units do not have bare metal backups built in which is one of many reasons to go with WHS. Next I would build yourself two small form factor PC's for HTPC's. Use the Core I3- 2100 as your CPU with the motherboard/case of choice and an inexpensive SSD, one for the bedroom and optionally one for the living room. Controlling all this with the Harmony is very easy as all you are really controlling is an HTPC and your audio/video components. As for the networking, hopefully you have Cat 6 as you will not be able to get the bandwidth for streaming HD BD over your network unless you are using wired or MOCA. Wireless streaming for audio is easy but you need a device to attach to your speakers or speakers with build it Wi-Fi. As a point of reference, check my backup strategy layout I did and even if you do not go as extreme, it will give you ideas.

 

 

http://thedocsworld.net/backup-strategy/

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I feel better after your reply (PSDoc) to my post and checking out your builds. I have been loooking at the Gigabyte H67N and caviar greens after I looked at some other builds on ( http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/build_it_ultimate_windows_home_server ) Maximum PC..The server on Maximum PC will cost $2700 CDN with hard drives prices as they are these days. I think I am on the right track. I have decided to go with the Thecus 4100Pro and 4- 2G WD Caviar green to allow me to back up my data and provide basic server functionality while I acquire the pieces to complete a proper WHS2011 build and at least 1 HTPC. Thank you very much for your input and, if you don't mind, I will be picking your brains in the coming months as I put together a proper server. :D This first build will give me some real server experience for under $1000 CDN and decide what I really want(need) when I build my server.

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I feel better after your reply (PSDoc) to my post and checking out your builds. I have been loooking at the Gigabyte H67N and caviar greens after I looked at some other builds on ( http://www.maximumpc...ows_home_server ) Maximum PC..The server on Maximum PC will cost $2700 CDN with hard drives prices as they are these days. I think I am on the right track. I have decided to go with the Thecus 4100Pro and 4- 2G WD Caviar green to allow me to back up my data and provide basic server functionality while I acquire the pieces to complete a proper WHS2011 build and at least 1 HTPC. Thank you very much for your input and, if you don't mind, I will be picking your brains in the coming months as I put together a proper server. :D This first build will give me some real server experience for under $1000 CDN and decide what I really want(need) when I build my server.

 

Good luck and don't hesitate to post questions, this is a great community and everyone is willing to help.

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