Best Way To Store Media

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LittleFatMan Offline
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Post: #1
I am running into a problem that seems to be common in my life. I am running out of space!

Now, I am not as weighty as some of your hardcore users out there. I have 2 external drives that total 5TB of space. I am contemplating buying yet another external, but I have been thinking, "There has got to be a better way."

Any advice? I am not super tech savvy and tend to doubt my ability to build a RAID doohickey. Not do to lack of intelligence, but lack of time. Also, I travel and move a lot so lugging about a huge tower like contraption is out.

Is there some simple consumer level product that could help me out? A few months ago a friend had a nifty gadget: plug it into a USB port and swap in an internal hard drive like it was an old school Nintendo and the internal drives were game cassettes.

Thanks for your help, I do appreciate it!
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-07 08:17 by LittleFatMan.)
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Dam0 Offline
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Post: #2
um, where to start?....

if you want to keep a bunch of drives and have them kinda portable, then your only real option is a N.A.S. system. you can buy them already populated with hdds, plugin, configure shares with web browser, has single gbit lan socket and a power socket, couldnt be any simpler.

when you fill the drives, you simply buy another NAS, and plug it into the lan,setup new shares and away you go.

if you move, the nas is usually much smaller then your desktop computer and only has 2 x cables to pack.

if money is an issue, why not just plug your 2 or 3TB drives internally in your desktop pc, then only have to move one box when its time to move on. most desktops will fit minimum of 5 3.5" hdds internally, also this option will help conserve energy, since the drives can be managed to spindown when not in use by your OS.

i hope this helps,
Dam0
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #3
Sounds like your friend had something like a Drobo. Very easy to use, hot swappable, and you can mix drive types and sizes.

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TapRackPull Offline
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Post: #4
I'm thinking your friend had something like this...

[Image: ST0005U.jpg]

SATA to USB connection.
Accommodates 2.5 and 3.5 HDDs.

It only allows for 1 HDD at a time, but if you have an idea of what is on each drive, and know what you want to watch, it could work quite well.

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vinistois Offline
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Post: #5
I had an unraid build which sucked back a bunch of my time and energy, and ended up having 4 cooked western digital drives. It was mostly my mistakes, the drives were not ideal for an unraid environment. But the software made troubleshooting very painful.

In the end I bought a QNAP 419p+. LOVE this unit. Stuffed it with 4 x 2TB drives.

Buy one with 3 brand new drives, transfer over all your data from your external drives, then use your external as a secondary backup for your important files.

There are similar products from other manufacturers such as Dlink and Drobo. The QNAP is quite popular, and works very well for me and others. I set it up (very quickly and easily) for RAID-5 with a hot spare. This way if I have a drive die, then the hot-spare instantly comes online without intervention.

I also installed "crashplan" on it, which is a very affordale cloud backup system. It keeps my 'photos' share continuously backed up to the cloud. I also sync a share which contains system images of all my computers, which I replace monthly.
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Diggs Offline
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Post: #6
I faced this same issue and jumped in with an unraid server. Unlike vinistois, my experience has been great. Granted I have only been running Unraid for a few weeks now, but it resolved my storage issues and was really easy to set up. It did take some time to get all the drives ready, then copy the data over and for it to complete building parity, but it did all this while I was sleeping or at the office. So, yes it can take some time, but if you can follow some basic directions (and if you are running xbmc you can) it's not difficult and is a great solution.

Cost was a bit high, but I am happy I didn't go with a Drobo which was even more expensive. The main cost was the actual drives, so all NAS solutions are a bit pricey simply because of the current cost of hard drives. Glad they are starting to return to reasonable prices. I almost jumped on the QNAP NAS as well, but prefer the unraid parity method versus a typical RAID 5 setup. IMO it just seems a better solution for redundancy if that is your goal. If not, then the speed of a RAID 5 setup might be the better solution for you.

TapRackPull is very likely correct about what your friend has. I have a Dual version of the BlacX which can handle 2 drives at a time via USB 2.0 or Esata. Works great for a quick easy desktop solution for swaping drives externally. I have noticed my drives tend to get a bit warm in it for some reason, but it does what it advertises and does that very well.
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-07 23:36 by Diggs.)
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couto27 Offline
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Post: #7
currently i have 2x 3 TB inside the htpc.
i still have 4 x3.0 ports + 2x 2.0 + 1 x sata

but im also considering a NAS
I've check the best models around and I'm considering the synology 712+ ( 2 bays) possible to expand to 21TB, this model because its superfast in streaming with 2x ethernet gigabyte ports.
NASes with similar performance cost double.
its future proof for 3D streaming.

by the way... avoid the wd caviar green to RAID or NAS.

if money is a issue, i would go to 3TB seagate goflex, seagate sells a thunderbolt adapter (2,5 or 3,5) also future proof.
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-08 00:11 by couto27.)
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PatK Offline
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Post: #8
(2012-05-07 20:03)TapRackPull Wrote:  I'm thinking your friend had something like this...

[Image: ST0005U.jpg]

SATA to USB connection.
Accommodates 2.5 and 3.5 HDDs.

It only allows for 1 HDD at a time, but if you have an idea of what is on each drive, and know what you want to watch, it could work quite well.

Something to consider, 4-3.5" drives at the same time although there is no redundancy.. it is simple.

[Image: SATDOCK4U3E.H.jpg]

http://ca.startech.com/HDD/Docking/4-Bay...ATDOCK4U3E
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Diggs Offline
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Post: #9
Since this thread was discussing the docks out there, figured I would pass this deal along.

http://www.techbargains.com/news_displayItem.cfm/298341

It's a very good price but it is E-sata and USB 2.0. I would pick up another at this price if it has USB 3.0 capability.
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LittleFatMan Offline
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Post: #10
(2012-05-07 13:24)Dam0 Wrote:  why not just plug your 2 or 3TB drives internally in your desktop pc
Dam0

Hmmm.....one thing I have been considering is probably beyond my technical expertise, but what's life without pushing personal boundaries now & then...

About a year ago a friend of mine talked me into building a bitcoin miner together (read: I finance he builds) Now that bitcoin miner is sitting in a closet gathering dust, and I have considered converting it into storage for my media collection.

How are would it be to take apart the external drives, throw them into a stripped out/re-purposed bitcoin miner, adding more internal drives, and getting it all set up. Do I have a snowball's chance?
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Dips Offline
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Post: #11
Will an OpenELEC system running with 2GB RAM slow down much if you start using some of its 500GB space to store movies etc?

My external USB is starting to get filled and all this sounds complex.
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rcloud Offline
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Post: #12
I am using and have been happy with the Sans-Digital hard drive enclosures, which range from 4 to 8 hard drive bays.
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Diggs Offline
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Post: #13
(2012-05-24 08:24)LittleFatMan Wrote:  
(2012-05-07 13:24)Dam0 Wrote:  why not just plug your 2 or 3TB drives internally in your desktop pc
Dam0

Hmmm.....one thing I have been considering is probably beyond my technical expertise, but what's life without pushing personal boundaries now & then...

About a year ago a friend of mine talked me into building a bitcoin miner together (read: I finance he builds) Now that bitcoin miner is sitting in a closet gathering dust, and I have considered converting it into storage for my media collection.

How are would it be to take apart the external drives, throw them into a stripped out/re-purposed bitcoin miner, adding more internal drives, and getting it all set up. Do I have a snowball's chance?


Ok, seems like you want to take this system (bit coin system) and re-purpose it as a file server? Is that correct? Or do you want to use it for both bit coin and file server?

I have no knowledge of what a bit coin system requires or what specs you have on that system, but that needs to be explained a bit more for us to answer your question. How many external drives are there, and what models do you have? Removing the actual HD and converting it to an internal drive is typically simple, but some brands are more tricky than others. I would suggest you open one of the external units and see what it looks like. It may simply need the wiring to be disconnected, or it might take a bit more than that.

What operating system are you considering for the file server? How many drives do you have and what are their sizes and brands? How many internal drive ports do you have on the mother board? It doesn't take much horsepower to make a file server that will work well with XBMC, but more details are needed to determine if what you want to do is feasible.
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