HTPC + NAS suggestions

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Joined: 30 Sep 2011
HTPC + NAS suggestions

Hello all.

I'm currently using an Athlon 64 latptop with an external 2tb USB HD and an Audigy notebook sound card as a media center and shared drive (and torrent, and server, and backup ...). I use either MediaPortal or XBMC.

I want to make a new one from scratch. I plan it to be an i3-2100 or 2105 (I've read the 35w version saves only an average of 2-3 watts IRL) with an H67 or Z68 chipset card. I will choose one with a legacy PCI because I have a PCI-to-PCMCIA adapter for my Audigy Notebook. I will internalize the USB drive, but perhaps use a 150 gb 2.5" laptop drive as the main one for energy and noise issues. It will have 4gb of ram.

I also have an USB AverMedia digital tv tuner, which I don't use but will on the new PC. And, of course, a gamepad Wink Remote isn't missing: it's a generic one for windows. The speakers are a logitech x-540 set and the TV is a 40' Bravia.

I plan to use Win7 and MediaPortal / XBMC (as I'm doing now). The new thing is: I plan to set up a virtual PC with a home server solution (such as FreeNAS) with exclusive access to the 2tb hard drive. It will also be in charge of P2P and everything server-related (including serving for the Media Center it will be built into).

And that's the plan. I would like to know opinions and suggestions. At first I wanted to make an standalone NAS with an Atom solution, but it didn't get through the WAF (wife/wallet acceptancy factor).


Thank you all for your help.

LowTech's picture
Joined: 30 Nov 1999

If you're on a tight budget for a NAS I would say look around on ebay for some reamer that still has an acceptable CPU and can support SATA HDDs.  There's a ton of these boxes to be had for around $50 to $75.  Throw in a couple of new HDDs and then load it up with a little Free NAS goodness and you have a NAS/server on the cheap.  Beware though there were some butt-ugly computer cases around a few years back so if you have an issue with aesthetics this may not be a viable option.  

Joined: 30 Sep 2011

Thank you very much. I've contemplated that option, but there's two drawbacks:

1- I live in Spain. 2nd hand PCs are not as cheap as in the US or UK and intl. shipping rates for a desktop would be expensive.

2- Most outdated PCs in the second hand market are Pentium-D types or similar, which use a huge amount of power. Laptops, OTOH, don't have SATA ports. My current USB solution has given me some file corruption problems under heavy use already.

Joined: 24 Jun 2009

I'm currently running with an 8TB ReadyNAS NV+.   This is 2 or 3 generations old now, but still has a GB ethernet port and supports DLNA (if that matters to you).     Best case, I get around 45MB read speeds and 30MB write (SMB) and the poor little Sparc processor is maxed out at that point.   I run Raid 0 (I just couldn't justify wasting 4TB backing up TV shows) for speed.   As long as you're not trying to feed multiple streams from the device, it's fine for a single HTPC setup.

I've even been toying with the idea of opening up the box and replacing the motherboard with on of the newer Intel Atom boards.  6GB I/O, 10x performance at half the power usage, etc.    The only downside is that due to Sparc big-endian byte ordering, if you change the chip, you need to reformat all the drives.  Sad

Amazon has them for around $350 US.    It's almost worth the price just to get a nice shoe box case with easily removable drive bays, but the device will do the job.

Joined: 16 Nov 2010

Go with FreeNAS.


add in couch potato for SABNZB you are all set.

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