Jump to content
RESET Forums (homeservershow.com)

HTPC/Server build questions


knaack

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone,

 

I've been reading lot on this site and others and have been planning to build a new server/HTPC for some time now. Currently, I have an aging WHS v1 that has been great to me, but is now providing corrupted files and will no longer backup my PCs. On that, I have my media collection, as well as personal pictures, documents, etc. My streaming right now is limited to my PS3/Xbox 360 in the family room, a bluray player that allows DLNA streaming in the master bedroom, and an iPad/iPhone when not at home. I've already run Cat 6 throughout the house, so everything is wired that can be. I'd eventually like to expand to at least another room and potentially to 1-2 family members not living in my house.

 

After researching a bit, my current build idea looks like this:

Intel Core i5-2570k

Crucial Ballistix sport 4gb x 2 PC3 12800

Seeasonic M12II 620 bronze PSU

ASUS P8-H77-I Mini ITX Mobo

Lian Li PC-Q08B case

WD Green 3 TB drives x 3

Samsung 830 SSD 120 gb for OS drives/programs

 

Overall, I don't really need a ton of space (5-6 drives max for forseeable future), and the small form factor would allow it to sit happily near the TV in the family room and would make the wife happy as larger cases are "unsightly".

 

The plan was originally to use it with WHS 2011 and Flexraid, so I could do backups of my home desktop and wife's laptop using the built in software, but honestly I'm not sure if using Crashplan to backup those computers to both the cloud and to the server would be the better option. That would allow me to simply put Windows 7 or 8 on the computer, and bypass the WHS 2011 compatibility problems with UEFI/GPT.

 

 

So in light of all of this, I have a few questions based on the build mentioned above...

 

1. Would this be able to double as a HTPC as well as my server? My biggest concern with using it as a HTPC and server would be the reduced security (higher chance of getting a virus that corrupts the data or the family accidentally deleting something off of it). On the flip side, I'd rather not build or buy a separate NAS to house personal or important documents if I'm already going to have a server with redundancy and that can be backed up to the cloud with Crashplan.

 

2. What OS would you recommend? Overall, I'd rather stay away from non-Windows based OS's as I don't have much familiarity with them and don't have the time to learn an entirely new system. I could go with Windows Server Essentials 2012 as the successor to WHS, but I honestly don't think I know enough about domains and networks to troubleshoot it properly (plus it's 450 bucks!). That leaves me with WHS 2011 or Windows 7/8. WHS 2011 has the backup problems mentioned above and also has potential compatibility issues being based on Windows Server 2008 if I wanted to use it more as a HTPC. Windows 8 has some nice features, but storage spaces is seeming more and more worthless given its inability to rebalance the drives and performance issues.

 

3. Any opinions on Flexraid vs drivebender? I bought drivebender during the 10 dollar promotion earlier, but I like the parity drive idea behind flexraid for eventual expandability.

 

Any ideas or responses would be most welcome! Thanks you!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think your hardware generally looks fine, but what HTPC software are you planning on using? Windows Media Center? XBMC? Is the HTPC part of this only going to play ripped movies or is it going to do live TV as well?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replys. Do you think the longevity of the reds will pay off in the long run? By purchasing 3 reds, I essentially pay for what could be a 4th green drive, so if one were to fail, I could just replace it for the same price (with likely a larger drive in the future).

 

I'm thinking about using XBMC; I've been a fan since I modded my original Xbox years ago. I won't be doing live TV at all given that I have U-Verse, and from what I've read, it looks like I'd have to tune the channel manually anyway to stream live.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replys. Do you think the longevity of the reds will pay off in the long run? By purchasing 3 reds, I essentially pay for what could be a 4th green drive, so if one were to fail, I could just replace it for the same price (with likely a larger drive in the future).

 

Based on the prices I've seen, there's no way you could do that. From what I've seen, there's less than 20% difference in price between Greens and Reds. At that rate, you would have to buy at least 5 Greens (actually, more like 6) to make up the cost of 1 Red. Given that Reds are designed for 24/7 use, my feeling is they're the better option. My $0.02.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm thinking about using XBMC; I've been a fan since I modded my original Xbox years ago. I won't be doing live TV at all given that I have U-Verse, and from what I've read, it looks like I'd have to tune the channel manually anyway to stream live.

I have very limited experience with XBMC so take this with a big grain of salt: Because XBMC can be installed on so many small/quiet/inexpensive devices, if I was you I think I'd at least consider using something like an Apple TV as the client and putting this new machine you're about to build somewhere else. (like the basement) You could probably spend less on a case then since it wouldn't be sitting in the living room.

 

As for your question on backups (cloud vs WHS style backups) I'll give you my opinion because I've wrestled with this question myself in the past: Both. I use and love Crashplan, it's terrific for backing up data. (data on your server as well as data on client machines) But the reason I also use WHS backups (and Time Machine backups for my Macs) is for the convenience factor if/when a hard drive dies. Let's say your wife's laptop hard drive goes belly-up. With WHS you can do a full "bare-metal" restore with no thinking required - an hour later and you're back in business. If you're only using Crashplan, you now need to install the OS, go through a million patches, re-install applications, and then start copying data from the cloud back to the laptop. (trying to remember which things were important and which weren't)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely agree. Bare metal restore is really the only reason I use WHS. I do have it doing other things, but the restoration ability is the key feature for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites
ImTheTypeOfGuy

I have very limited experience with XBMC so take this with a big grain of salt: Because XBMC can be installed on so many small/quiet/inexpensive devices, if I was you I think I'd at least consider using something like an Apple TV as the client and putting this new machine you're about to build somewhere else. (like the basement) You could probably spend less on a case then since it wouldn't be sitting in the living room.

 

As for your question on backups (cloud vs WHS style backups) I'll give you my opinion because I've wrestled with this question myself in the past: Both. I use and love Crashplan, it's terrific for backing up data. (data on your server as well as data on client machines) But the reason I also use WHS backups (and Time Machine backups for my Macs) is for the convenience factor if/when a hard drive dies. Let's say your wife's laptop hard drive goes belly-up. With WHS you can do a full "bare-metal" restore with no thinking required - an hour later and you're back in business. If you're only using Crashplan, you now need to install the OS, go through a million patches, re-install applications, and then start copying data from the cloud back to the laptop. (trying to remember which things were important and which weren't)

 

Wow, the worst advice and best advice all in on post. ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, the worst advice and best advice all in on post. ;)

Ouch. :) So are you disagreeing with using a small client device for XBMC, or specifically using an Apple TV as that device? I have an old first-gen Apple TV onto which I'm planning on installing XBMC if I can ever find some spare cycles... I'd love to hear your reasoning if nothing else to save myself the effort.

Link to post
Share on other sites
ImTheTypeOfGuy

Ouch. :) So are you disagreeing with using a small client device for XBMC, or specifically using an Apple TV as that device? I have an old first-gen Apple TV onto which I'm planning on installing XBMC if I can ever find some spare cycles... I'd love to hear your reasoning if nothing else to save myself the effort.

 

Just giving you a hard time about using and recommending an apple product.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...