Need advice on chosing components for home server

Terry_66

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Oct 18, 2016
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I'm looking into building a good home server/htpc/nas. A lot of the posts I see are stressing cheap, but I am taking a different approach with an eye to expected future needs. I'd rather buy a better board/cpu than get more RAM because it is Soooooooo much easier to add more ram than.....you know.

Duties will include home server/nas, but I am not sure whether I'll want it as an htpc as well, so let's go with not and assume I'll buy or build something to hook directly to the tv. While I haven't settled on the OS, I can guarantee windows will have no role to play. I like my linux. It will be low-powered and very quiet, run 24/7 and quasi-headless (I have a small monitor laying around that I might toss into the mix.) Again, trying to anticipate future needs I may end up plugging it and tucking it away in some out-of-the-way place. Basically I guess what I'm trying to say that in a best case/worst case scenario, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Just for S--- and giggles, let's say I want it to host virtual appliances as well. I should add that its just little old me using this rig, so there shouldn't be a lot of draw. I'm also intending to use inotify to trigger the video conversion end of things, but not wanting to strain the passive cooling by running it flat out I'll probably nice the hell out of it (conversion) and throttle it back using cpulimit. If I'm desperate for a certain video I can sftp it over to my desktop and do the conversion there, and as it won't be downloading 24/7 any backlog should be taken care of in due time.

The case must have room for expansion, I've been ogling the U-NAS NSC-800 Server Chassis http://www.u-nas.com/xcart/product.php?productid=17617 because of expandability, and I've read about a few builds where it is well thought of. Form factor, mini itx, How good is the Supermicro line of mobos with the 8 core processors? They seem well thought of, but my poor little head starts spinning when I try and delve the specs and compare them.

All that being said, I'm looking at a startup cost of around $1000 +- (probably +), but I'm kinda flexible. You know about the law of diminishing returns? You can buy a cheap one at $x, a good one at $2x, and a great one at $5x type thing where the benefits increment more slowly and the price skyrockets. I don't need the best rig on the block, but I sure as hell won't have the worst.

So if anybody has tips, hints or suggestions (Except windows enthusiasts, I tossed microsoft out ten years ago), feel free to share them as I'm looking for a few good suggestions.

Almost forgot - I am not a gamer. No Doom3, no Assassin's creed. Tic-tac-toe is about as hardcore as I get, so I'm not investing a fortune in a gpu. I've been dragging a video card around apartment to apartment for years, so I might as well stick it some place.

Thanks
 

RealBeast

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Sep 13, 2010
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If you go with FreeNAS use the zfs file system and all you need is an HBA (host bus adapter), not a RAID card. A very good HBA for your use would be an IBM M1015. Read up on it at the FreeNAS forums for configuration. 8 high quality ports under $100 that FreeNAS can use.
 

RealBeast

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If you decide to build it yourself, my favorite NAS OS is FreeNAS, and you can build that with the cheapest parts you can find pretty much. Take a look at their FORUMS. Depends on your ultimate goal for storage capacity you may be able to live with the onboard SATA ports, but if you can find an IBM m1015 HBA you can add a ton of drives to a cheap old P68 or so board with an i3 that has onboard video.
 

Terry_66

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Oct 18, 2016
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Realbeast, haven't checked out FreeNAS yet but I will soon. Going the home server/nas/htpc route. Prime requirement is the linux kernel. No doubt you're familiar with incron, an event driven cron-like function added somewhere in the 2.6 series. Instead of using cron to start backing up files at a preset time, for example, you can trigger the backup to begin the backup when a certain type of file is created/moved, etc, in a watched directory. You're not limited to backups but can use it to move files, transcode media, alert you when a job finishes or whatever you wish.

If you dig really deep into ffmpeg's man pages there's an audio filter called volumedetect which can be used to recode audio tracks with the gain applied. I'm looking for a very quiet rig. Expandability- those Supermicro boards can give 6 sata ports, then you get to choose between a RAID card or more sata ports and a software raid. I have my desktop for crunching the big numbers. Not really looking to breath new life into old equipment, the idea is to build one solid, dependable rig tailored to my own personal quirks and then forget it once its running.
 
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