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HTPC/Server build questions


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Man, and I here I thought you had a legit complaint! ;)


Personally speaking for me and my environment it is legit. But I don't know enough about you or your environment.


If you want to know whay for me it is valid, it is because I moved out of a play pin a long time ago. No way I am letting someone put me back in it. :)

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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 dependability.


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


My two cents.

1. I would not use one box for an HPTC and server. The only only option you would have is Windows 8 with Hyper V and personally I think that is more trouble than it worth. If you decide to got that route, increase you RAM to 16 gig. Also, you need bare metal restore and you cannot get that from crashplan

2. For the storage you are talking about, I would go with Windows 7/8 for the HPTC and 2011 for the server unless you have technet than consider 2012 essentials.

3. If you like or want parity, there is only one choice IMO - Hardware. If you can like with extending or mirroring than you go with a software solution.

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