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Fastest Network Protocol?
What is the fastest networking protocol for streaming from a NAS to XBMC? OS can be changed if required. So far things are running pretty well but I would like to see if I can optimize or make small hardware changes before considering full hardware upgrades.

I have the following:
FreeNAS 64bit running off USB on an old desktop PC
4GB memory
3+1 2TB drives using ZFS

Shuttle XS35GT
XBMC Win7 64bit running off 64GB SSD
2GB memory

I'm currently using FTP for streaming. I don't have Gigabit Ethernet in place either (older motherboards). I'm just looking for where I can make the best gains. I may have to suck it up and upgrade my components.

You can upgrade both shuttle and nas with Very inexpensive gigabit pci cards and a 50 bucks 5p giga switch. That would by far give you the most performance for your hard earned cash.
Anything *nix should easily max out a Gbps link with NFS. I hit 100 MBps consistently.
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A bunch of XBMC instances, big-ass screen in the basement + a 20TB FreeBSD, ZFS server.
NFS has less protocol overhead than SMB.

So, with the same throughput, it transfers more real data.

So..if you can choose, choose NFS over Samba.
My Shuttle isn't upgradeable (its the size of a textbook) so I will probably have to build a new XBMC htpc. Is NFS faster than FTP?
ftp isn't stellar for streaming - would probably pick SMB first for Win, NFS second
System: XBMC HTPC with HDMI WASAPI & AudioEngine - Denon AVR-3808CI - Denon DVD-5900 Universal Player - Denon DCM-27 CD-Changer
- Sony BDP-S580 Blu-Ray - X-Box 360 - Android tablet wireless remote - 7.1 Streem/Axiom/Velodyne Surround System
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Fastest Network Protocol?00