Storage hardware advice: migrating from USB drives to NAS

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jmachine Offline
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Post: #1
Hey all, I'm looking for some advice regarding upgrading my media file storage. I currently have all of my video files on 4 USB 3.0 disks, totaling 7 TB. I run XBMC from my desktop machine with three displays attached, one of which is a 32" TV on which XBMC is almost always running if I'm at home. My desktop PC is a multiboot system, actually originally built as a hackintosh, but I pretty much always boot into Windows 7 because that's my preferred platform for running XBMC while multitasking on my other screens. However, recently, I've had the desire to use OS X more (a VM just isn't the same), or do a bit of gaming in Windows, neither of which works very well when I'm running XBMC.

So what I'd like to do is network all of my storage so that it's easily accessible from all of my devices (desktop, laptop, and a few Android devices), and run my media center from my laptop probably via Openelec. I've been looking at NAS bays with USB ports, and wondered if anyone has an opinion on these two products that I'm considering, or would recommend something else? Both of the following are two-bay diskless devices, and I plan on getting a 2 TB disk to put in one. Newegg has a Seagate NAS drive for $90 and Amazon has the same capacity WD Red for $100. Will probably go for the Seagate unless the WD is strongly preferred. I'm trying to spend less than $300 including the disk, so I'm considering:

Synology DiskStation DS214se
2 USB 2.0 ports, $145 at Newegg w/ promo code

WD My Cloud EX2 2 USB 3.0 ports (apparently certain USB 3 hubs do work), $190 at Newegg

Any thoughts?
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Starstream Offline
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Post: #2
Either would do, probably go with the Synology.

Though if your not fussed and just want a basic storage dump for XBMC, Newegg have a Thecus 2 bay N2520 for $180 with 1 USB3 port and 2 USB2 ports. The Thecus has an x86 Intel CPU which is way better than the low end Arm/PPC stuff often thrown into NAS as featured in the Synology and Western Digital in fact Synology charge $350 (214Play) for the same class CPU in their lineup.
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jmachine Offline
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Post: #3
Thanks for the feedback, that Thecus 2 bay looks pretty ideal. I might go ahead and pick that up with the 2 TB Seagate NAS drive. Appreciate the recommendation!
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maddog808 Offline
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Post: #4
You could spend a few extra $$, and build yourself an Unraid server. I built this one for $262, and it has room for 12 hard drives.

Just a thought. Wink

My Living Room Theater XBMC Mini-ITX Build
CASE: MI-100 - MOBO: ASRock A75M-ITX - APU: A6-3500
Kingston 4GB 1600MHz - SanDisk 128GB SSD -- DVDRW
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My 12 drive capable 8TB Unraid server - SAB, SB, & CP
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wsume99 Offline
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Post: #5
(2014-05-17 04:51)maddog808 Wrote:  You could spend a few extra $$, and build yourself an Unraid server. I built this one for $262, and it has room for 12 hard drives.

Just a thought. Wink
+1 (it is a really good thought)

HTPC: Win 7 Home 64-bit | MB | CPU | GPU | RAM | Case | PSU | Tuner | HDDs: OS, Media | DVD Burner | Remote
Media server: unraid 4.7 | CPU | MB | RAM | Case | PSU | HDDs: Parity-2TB, Data-2x2TB
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jmachine Offline
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Post: #6
I actually did also want to also set up some sort of backup scheme for my media, so I think the unRAID server might make more sense. Actually, maybe I should just make it an HTPC, because I have a decent amount of spare parts usable for a new build... including a HD 6870 but mostly small stuff otherwise.

Thanks for that link to your server build. I have two questions regarding going this route: first, for unRAID, the parity drive needs to be at least as big as the largest data drive, correct? and second, with my current 4 data drives, would you recommend leaving them in their enclosures and attaching them via USB (2 or 3), or removing them and attaching them via SATA, or does it matter?

Appreciate the advice!
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jmachine Offline
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Post: #7
Before I plan out anything, I should really ask if running an unraid and XBMC from the same box? I'm really new when it comes to servers and RAIDs, so reading through the threads and such to understand what I'll be working with. Can unRAID be run in a VM, or am I thinking of something else?

I quickly put together a build on Newegg (just based components on rating and price) in which I could use my spare GPU and it came out at $330, but then adding a 3 TB WD red would bring it to $455 Undecided I have a feeling that some of my parts could be overkill, but I was thinking about running a VM and XBMC (w/ Aeon Nox 4.19 skin) concurrently. Here's the build I quickly came up with. Anyone have any thoughts?

ASRock H77M LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $70
Intel Core i3-3240 Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz LGA 1155 55W Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500 BX80637i33240 $120
CASE $50

PSU 400w $50

4 GB DIMM $40

3 GB WD red $125

AMD RAEODN HD 6870 - collcting dust on my shelf

Total=$455 (-HDD = $330)
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DJ_Izumi Online
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Post: #8
There are other software options that could run in Windows too, like FlexRAID.

I mention that because if you're going to stick a 6870 in your machine, well, I have a 6850 in mine and paired with Steam Big Picture Mode and an Xbox 360 wireless receiver, it makes for the ultimate combination of XBMC and Steam and turns it into a great console like gaming machine too. Smile
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CaptainPsycho Offline
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Post: #9
(2014-05-18 02:32)jmachine Wrote:  I have a feeling that some of my parts could be overkill, but I was thinking about running a VM and XBMC (w/ Aeon Nox 4.19 skin) concurrently. Here's the build I quickly came up with. Anyone have any thoughts?

ASRock H77M LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $70
Intel Core i3-3240 Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz LGA 1155 55W Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500 BX80637i33240 $120

If you are using the extra graphics card you don't need an i3 CPU a dual core celeron will be enough. You can save about $70 on this.

You only need the i3 or the graphic card for 3D content. Anything 2D a celeron or pentium cpu will be enough.

And put the drives in the new case. Don't use them in the usb enclosures.
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Veronica Offline
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Post: #10
The following has better reviews and have double the ram and is a two core than the synology model you posted and is still under $200
http://www.amazon.com/Synology-DiskStati...L2OC8SDJTC

That is the one I want, I already purchased one 3tb HDD, the HGST nas drive (H for Hitachi) are the bests, they seem to be the most reliable and last longer.

My XBMC folder:

GDrive
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jmachine Offline
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Post: #11
Thanks a lot everyone, especially critiques on that build I posted (which I put together as quickly as possible really, just threw together compatible parts) so the cpu advice is especially appreciated as well as the tip towards flexRAID. Also, I definitely like the concept of a DIY XBMC / Steam box!

I've got a Gigabyte Z68 in my main computer, but have often wished I had gone with Asus (both hackintosh-able, but Gigabyte potentially more-so). Actually... one of the DIMM slots on my board crapped out, I've gotten no love using the stupid Marvell SATA 3 ports, in addition to some other variably significant annoyances, and might be eligible for RMA which I just haven't wanted to deal with to avoid downtime. Perhaps I could find a good deal on an new board for my current box and RMA the Gigabyte for use in the HTPC (except it's a micro-ATX board so no HTPC case, but I suppose I could get a small tower and put more HDDs inside the case vs. a bay or something).

Anyways, If that scheme doesn't work out, does anyone have any (mini-ATX) mobo recommendations? That Asrock in my sample build was just at the top of the list when I filtered by socket, rating, and price, so I'm totally open to suggestions.

Despite being somewhat experienced with building / modding my machines, I'm really fresh when it comes to RAIDs and NAS, etc. so putting up this post has been super helpful. Putting an HTPC/server together sounds like a fun project that'll have major benefits and you guys have significantly eased up the learning curve and pointed me in the right direction. Thanks again!
(This post was last modified: 2014-05-21 01:20 by jmachine.)
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jmachine Offline
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Post: #12
Doing some research on types of servers, it's looking like flexRAID is probably the better solution for what I'm trying to do. However, to do it right, it looks like I'm going to need to save a bit more cash to put a new box together completely. I think it would make sense to add elements in stages, starting, or course with the topic at hand: storage.

Am I understanding correctly that I could install flexRAID onto my current Win 7 system, add my 4 usb drives to a pool (I would need to get a new raw 3 TB parity drive that I'd put inside my mini-tower), and run the RAID from the web gui on my current system? If I were to go ahead and do that as a first step, would I be able to smoothly run XBMC from, say, my laptop (i.e. should I expect to be able to view 1080p / DTS HD content over a cat6 connected Gigabit network without stutter?) flexRAID licenses are half off on the site, so it's $99 for the unlimited which seems reasonable and I would be able to reinstall it on a new system once I get that going. Thanks again for all the advice!
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aaronb Online
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Post: #13
Yes, you can install Flexraid on your existing system and build an array from your existing drives. You don't have to have parity, though it is recommended of course, but you can get started without it. You will not have trouble streaming 1080p over a wired network from a Flexraid array.
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jmachine Offline
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Post: #14
(2014-05-22 20:17)aaronb Wrote:  Yes, you can install Flexraid on your existing system and build an array from your existing drives. You don't have to have parity, though it is recommended of course, but you can get started without it. You will not have trouble streaming 1080p over a wired network from a Flexraid array.

Awesome, thanks for the confirmation. Continuing my research, but think I'm going to pick up a 3 TB HDD and start working with flexRAID, which I'm finding to be quite an appealing solution in reading through their wiki. Good stuff Big Grin
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gibxxi Offline
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Post: #15
Just a thought, with regards your Micro-ATX board; There are a lot of HTPC cases out there that support Micro-ATX style boards. My current HTPC is built on a Zalman HD503 case with an old Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM-DS2H (AM2+) motherboard, and the new system I'm building will use the Fractal Design Node 605 with a Gigabyte GA-Z87MX-D3H (Socket 1150). Both of these setups are Micro-ATX. You could probably even find a Mini-ITX board that will have enough features and a slimline chassis to accommodate it (Silverstone do practically every size of HTPC chassis known to man, lol) if you want something self-built that will have more "oomph" than NUC, especially in the graphics department. Options are endless.

Smile

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DT: Intel Core-i7 - 4770K / Nvidia GTX-770 | HTPC: Intel Core-i5 - 4670K / Nvidia GTX-750 Ti
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