Advice on media server upgrade options needed.
Apologies if this is not the best place for this.

I currently use an old Mac Mini (late 2009) High Sierra as my media server.
I runs Emby Server and HDHomeRun (Record) DVR
As my library has grown I have added an external drive (USB) as needed and as I could afford.
I now have 6 external drives ranging from 2 TB to 4 TB and I will need more space soon.
I have two Chrome Boxes (Wired) and a Raspberry Pi 3 (Wifi) each running LibreElec.

The Problem: In short SMB connections are horrible. Any attempt to connect to the mac can take a minute or more.
Once connected things work fine, no buffering even over wifi to the Pi.
This problem is not only with Kodi connections, from my old Kubuntu powered ThinkPad things are just as bad. Start connecting and go get coffee bad.
Before upgrading to High Sierra, I was using Mavericks and SMBup. I did not have this issue. Downgrading is not an option.

With Leia just around the corner I was thinking now could be a good time to try and address this.

A new NAS would no doubt the best option but sadly is way out of my budget at present.

I may have access to an old HP desktop (2010) I do not know the specs at present.
I was thinking that something like this upgraded with an SSD and Installing Linux would be a budget improvement over the Mac. May be?

If this is a good option, one question I have is how do I use my External drives that are formatted HSF+ (Journaled) with a Linux OS. Would I need to Reformat the drives to something else?

And Yes the Library is 85% backed up plan to back up the rest this week.

Any thoughts or ideas?

Thank you and Happy Holidays
Thought about using a Raspberry Pi as a NAS? You can add the external HDD with it, or even as a penny pinching option use Libreelec on your Pi, with the external HDD connected, there is a setting that allows the HDD to be shared, so it could be possible to do it that way.

Three instances of Kodi should be fine for the Raspberry Pi 3b+ as a NAS.

And, yes, agreed, regarding the Mac, it's next to useless networking to ANYTHING!!!!!!!
Server: Windows Server 2016 Standard Hyper-V with Ubuntu Server VM, NFS shares and MySQL
Kodi: 2 Raspberry Pi 3 running Libreelec
My Setup thread | Setup Ubuntu / TVH / Schedules Direct
Thanks for the reply.

No I had not considered using a Pi as a NAS.
But I am very interested.

I did a quick search about this idea but...
Now for the questions?

1) Is Gigabit Ethernet over USB 2.0 going to be at least as good as the mac?
2) I like the idea of using LibreElec but can it see and use multiple external drives?
3) Will Emby Server run well on a Pi/Libreelec?
4) And the dumb question what format would the drives need to be to use with a Pi/Libreelec?

A quick search looks like $80.00 would do the trick. Christmas is just a few days away.

Thanks again
1) not as fast, but will not drop, again there’s not many instances of Kodi to be an issue

2) yes to all!!

3) I think emby server can be installed via docker on Libreelec so shouldn’t be an issue.

4) ext4 is the best bet

Hope that helps
Server: Windows Server 2016 Standard Hyper-V with Ubuntu Server VM, NFS shares and MySQL
Kodi: 2 Raspberry Pi 3 running Libreelec
My Setup thread | Setup Ubuntu / TVH / Schedules Direct
thank you so much for the help.
I have been searching and reading. this may be just the way forward.
and it will fit into the budget.
thanks again for taking the time to reply.
Personally I'd keep the Mac and change the OS.  Dual boot it using something light like Lubuntu or even better Ubuntu Server, depends how confident you feel using terminal all the time.  Setup NFS shares and a MySQL database, job done.  I am using an old Acer Revo in exactly the same way and it can serve 5 Kodi clients, no problems.
HTPCs: RPI 3B+, 2 x RPI2B & RPI1B on LibreELEC 9.x
Control: Google Home + RPI1B Webhooks Server
Audio: Pioneer VSX-819HK & S-HS 100 5.1 Speakers
Server: Acer Revo R3600, 4GB RAM, 6TB HDDs, Xubuntu 16.04.x, NFS, MySQL
I considered just ditching macos altogether and loading xubuntu instead. But I need the mac still for some things.
Dual booting could work but then my media server goes down when I need to use macos.
Unless you are suggesting something I don’t get.

Thanks for the reply

EDIT: i guess i could try MacOS in VM, i never tried that before. Not sure how well it would work.
EDIT 2: Never mind that idea does not seam to work well at all.
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