NAS vs Desktop case w/ multiple drives - Why NAS?

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NEUR0M4NCER Offline
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Post: #1
Hi all,

I'm currently using my main home PC to serve files to the Revo in the living room, and to the XBOX upstairs, but I'm going to be hitting my 5TB space limit soon, and will need to expand storage (again!). The PSU can't take much more, so if I stick with a PC box (probably a dedicated one, rather than the main 'puter), I'll need to invest in a new PSU as well. I'm not sure I understand the benefits of running a purpose bought 'NAS' solution, rather than re-tooling an old box to do the same job for 1/10th of the price.

My question:

Is there any reason at all I might be better getting a NAS (which would need to have 4+ drive bays) other than power consumption, and if so, are there any budget friendly recommendations?
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TugboatBill Offline
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Post: #2
The use of a PC based NAS (flexnas or unraid) is (usually) less expensive and more flexible that a ready made NAS. They do require more work to set up, though it is minimal.

You can keep power consumption quite low, IE I have 5 - 2TB drives in a Unraid box. I'm using a Celeron 430 CPU (45w) and a 300w PSU. Unraid powers down drives if they're not in use. Basically most of the time the system is in near sleep state. I keep mine on 24*7 but I could reduce power usage more via suspend and WOL. I've seen reports of some using an Atom based MB to keep power usage even lower.

Another downside to ready made NAS's is that you options for adding additional functions is limited. PC based NAS gives you more possibilities, though with that comes more complexity.
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Robgue Offline
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Post: #3
I went with the home built file server. Just more flexible. You can constantly add disk/storage to your media server. Run out of sata ports? add a pcie sata card.
You could use it to run sabnzbd or as a torrent box. Maybe you want to turn it into a mythtv server later. I think this especially since in the future xbmc will have a built in pvr frontend - you just want to have those options.
I'd get a low power atom board with some expansion ports. something like this:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...-_-Product
You could always make it easy for yourself by using something like Mythbuntu. Just a little overhead but this will primarily be a file server. An atom chip will be more than enough.
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saratoga Offline
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Post: #4
NEUR0M4NCER Wrote:The PSU can't take much more, so if I stick with a PC box (probably a dedicated one, rather than the main 'puter), I'll need to invest in a new PSU as well.

For what its worth powersupplies are pretty cheap, and with most GPUs being driven off the 5/12v rails these days, the average aftermarket unit can easily power many more disks then can be practically fit into a case.
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BORIStheBLADE Offline
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Post: #5
I was thinking about going the NAS route, but ended up building a desktop pc as my server. I did this so I could do all my ripping and if needed encoding of videos in the same location as my movies so it didnt bog down my main pc.

I use a KVM switch so I can do it all from the same desk too.
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NEUR0M4NCER Offline
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Post: #6
Thanks for all the replies and tips - given just these thoughts, I wonder why anyone would ever want a standalone 'NAS' appliance...

Obviously I was leaning towards the PC based NAS to begin with, but now I'm sure of it. First things first: A router with more than five Ethernet ports... Eek
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poofyhairguy Offline
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Post: #7
NEUR0M4NCER Wrote:Thanks for all the replies and tips - given just these thoughts, I wonder why anyone would ever want a standalone 'NAS' appliance...

Home built PC NASes really pay off when you want 6+ drives- basically when you want 10+TB.

For regular folks one of those three drive NASes (especially with 2TB drives) gives them years of space.

Only us on demand video media types (XBMC users) can fill that sort of space (and maybe semi-professional photographers at best). Rips of Blu Rays, DVDs, and piles of scene Mkvs can easily fill a 10+TB NAS, which is where PC based solutions shine.

Quote:Obviously I was leaning towards the PC based NAS to begin with, but now I'm sure of it. First things first: A router with more than five Ethernet ports... Eek

Don't mess with that. Just get a good Gigabit switch and plug it in.
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NEUR0M4NCER Offline
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Post: #8
Heh, it's becoming a logistical nightmare - I was thinking of grabbing a new router to minimise the number of power plugs in use... behind the TV there are currently ten plugs in two power strips - and it gets quite hot back there.

I'll look into the switch though - thanks!
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