Replacing the old (HT)PC ¯ what should I be considering? - Page 4 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #46 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-10, 07:54 AM
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Unless there are specific channels specific to plex.. you SHOULDNT need plex if you are running media portal.

On the flip side.. if you do something like the homerun network tuner.. you may not need all the extra stuff in media portal.. and just need something for playback like plex :P

That's the problem with these sorts of setups.. there are SOOO many options/configurations.. not one is right for every setting/person

(while not 100% familiar with them.. I would assume that the homerun pvr if that was used, would save its info to a NAS & or server location.. which then any playback media center thing could then access?)

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post #47 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-10, 09:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyMedia08 View Post
...
-common external NAS to router
...
-mini (or mATX) HTPC1 suitable for Room1, say with extenal roku. blu ray player
-mini (or mATX) HTPC2 suitable for Room2, say with blu-ray player
...
If you do go NAS, abandon optical drives in the HTPCs and rip the movies to the NAS. Helps to keep the HTPCs smaller/quieter.
Will save you the headache of regularly updating the players. But on the other hand you'll need a good ripping program.

To test the external storage setup, attach a USB3 drive to the router and make it accessible to all HTPCs...
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post #48 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-10, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
 
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Other NAS questions:
1) Does a NAS require its own OS/licence , ie just like any computer? If yes, are there definite advantages to a modern Win 7 or Win 8 OS, versus an older one? That is, could I use a licensed version of Win XP as my OS, or is that just a dumb idea.

2) Is it typical to have a low capacity drive to boot from and then a series of largers ones for the main file server function?

3) Is there a good web reference site on the topic?
As an aside, I do have a few hard drives lying around the house (some recently 1TB purchsses) so I likely wont even have to intially buy drives (but will if I need to). I also have some older drives, which are slower/smaller, but still may be useful as backup drives.

I must be warming up to this NAS option. Starting to really like the idea

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post #49 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-10, 10:02 AM
 
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NAS (as a standalone box, what the name implies) has to be taken seriously.
Even if only because you lose everything if you screw up.
And it is hard to have a backup of the NAS, because NAS hosts the backups...

It has its OS. You can call it firmware, just like routers have.
With some of them you have the option upgrade the amount of RAM it runs in.
Some allow also a mSATA SSD as cache...

Have a look at this as an introduction
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/nas/n...nology-vs-qnap

Comparisons are always subjective
http://en.akihabaranews.com/115670/r...he-smb-segment
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post #50 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-10, 12:20 PM
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While I think a NAS is a reasonable idea, I personally don't use one myself. My HTPC has ~10TB of storage using local disks and a SSD boot drive.

A NAS basically *is* a computer with a bunch of SATA ports to plug drives into. The computer itself is much slower than even your old PCs, but it usually doesn't matter much as long as it's fast enough to handle all the data IO from the drives. It's wise to check the benchmark numbers of particular NAS products because there are a number of products that use CPUs that are slow enough to impede performance.

The main reasons I went this direction was because it simply cost less, and would perform better than a NAS (and my HTPC is using a case that can hold a bunch of drives). Plus, using file sharing features in Windows, it can do everything a NAS can, and more. I just made sure I got a "silent" case, and went with "silent" drives. Plus, there are better HDD diagnostic tools for Windows than are typically available on NAS systems. You know, if there are an SMART errors on any drives, I'm alerted. These are "free" features you don't get on the low-end NAS products.

If none of my TVs had a convenient place to put a HTPC, I probably would have done the NAS thing.
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post #51 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-10, 01:08 PM
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I tend to agree with audacity.

One option that I mentioned up above.. if you don't want to have one of the HTPCs always on as this server/NAS..
Could also do some modification on your existing office system, to act as this NAS/Server. Again would require this being always on.. but would serve more flexibility.
Also as stated, much easier to backup, etc.

EG: I have my office PC, which also acts as a SERVER. Overly powerful PC, it runs an HTTP server, and a FTP server on it for personal use.
On it, I have my primary drive, partitioned into two drives.. my OS drive and a 'data' drive for regular files.
Currently 2 1tb drives in it for my 'media' server. This hosts VIDEO, Music, and photos.
Then I have 2 1tb external HDDs, which I use to backup the media drives.
I am currently running plex media server, which references all the above media.
(playback via TV plex app, HTPC on in the basement, and via web externally on mobile).
Plex also serves as a DLNA server for other devices like my AVR if I so chose.
I also have ITUNES set up on there (not always on though) to allow playing on my iphone through homesharing, as well as with that, can push music to my airport express which I push out to speaker on the patio (gives me access to full library vs just what is on the phone)

I find that with the PC, it just allows more flexibility like above.. compared to some NAS's

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post #52 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-10, 01:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyMedia08 View Post
NOW: 3 HDTV (in basement (102"), den (55") and bedroom (39") Each HDTV has... a nearby networked XP.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyMedia08 View Post
...
-mini (or mATX) HTPC1 suitable for Room1, say with extenal roku. blu ray player
-mini (or mATX) HTPC2 suitable for Room2, say with blu-ray player
-mini (or mATX) HTPC3 suitable for Room3...
Since you are looking to overhaul your whole home network including at least 3 (!) HTPCs (and maybe some regular PCs as well), you should also consider virtualization...

In simple terms: you build just one PC (hidden somewhere in the basement/closet) that hosts all your PCs (HTPC and not) images that you RDP into. This way all your computers can stay as is since they serve as terminals. You do need a decent video card and good Gb networking throughout the house...

This is more a business-like, client server setup (not exactly but close). Any image can be "run" on any computer.
And you probably don't run more than half your PCs at the same time - only so many images will be needed.
Any new computer, being it a desktop, laptop or tablet, can "run" any of the images out of the box...

This will be more work (but less cost!) and some learning curve if you haven't done this before.
But the hypervisor itself - software installed on that new box in the closet - runs off of a 1GB USB stick and is free!
And backing up and/or cloning a system is just copying two files (vmdk and vmx)! Windows stays activated!!

If nothing else, you'll end up having a setup everybody will use few years from now...
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post #53 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-10, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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Points noted re NAS. Definitely two camps out there re pro/cons. Just priced some up at about $400 before OS and drives.

Yup, all great points re your office PC. I have, ironically, something similar re dedicated data partitions, two internal 1 TB drives, plus external backups plus replication to other drives. AKA the poor mans NAS. So I am in a good position if I go that route.

I had not considered beefing my office PC up further to serve my HTPC video needs ( I stopped at audio), but its certainly an option. Indeed time/money may be better served there with one or two extra drives and some reconfiguration.

As was noted said earleir, soooo many options. Gonna draw me out some options.

On virtualization, not sure that would work well for me as the various pcs in the house not all on the same OS, and have some have vastly differrent uses/peripherals... ie they are not all cookie-cutter like at work. But yes the concept is solid.

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post #54 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-10, 04:36 PM
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If you get a modern HTPC, you don't have to be afraid of leaving it on 24/7. The reports I've seen are that Kill-A-Watt measures a HTPC around 2-3 watts when in sleep mode.

I've been running WMC on Win7/8 for about a year and it's never failed to wake up for a recording.
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post #55 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-10, 06:16 PM
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Agreed. My Windows 7 pc has never failed to wake up to record, and shows less than 1 watt while "asleep".

Though I have to mention that my android mini pc is running at 2 watts with full HD streaming at 3 watts. I'm going to look into running tvheadend as a TV server (backend) with XBMC as the live TV PVR front-end. If this can be configured on the same device, I might say goodbye the traditional HTPC. There's sure a lot of cost savings as the Android mini pc setup is under a hundred bucks including cost the remote.
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post #56 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-11, 09:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by four View Post
Since you'll run out of ports on a regular router with your number of PCs, start with a good Gb switch (or maybe 2-3 of them).
Unless you need PoE, this is a decent model for a decent (one day) price...
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/MX33932
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post #57 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-11, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
 
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Back to the HTPC/client side...

1) Can the Zotac/NUC/BRIX type solutions accomodate both a bootable SSD drive and say a 500GB traditional data drive?.

2) Assuming one has say 2 TB work of server storage somewhere in the network for media files, what type of capacity is suggested for the HTPC box for it data drive? Is 500 GB about right?

3) Is use of an external USB data drive for the HTPC data drive ill-advised with resepct to performance?

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post #58 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-11, 11:33 AM
 
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1) No. Just one mSATA SSD slot (on NUC/Brix). This is max.
2) All depends on what you want your HTPC to do.
3) It will work just fine if you can avoid simultaneous use (USB3 drive).
I prefer external USB/FireWire drives as a half-way solution to NAS. Did it for many years.
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post #59 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-11, 02:25 PM
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1) No but a mATX PC that can will cost about the same price. An AMD FM2 system can cost even less.
2) I'd recommend 1TB but 500GB or 750GB might be fine if the number of TV recordings is limited and music files are heavily compressed.
3) USB3 should be OK, provided it provides true USB3 performance (some aren't much better than USB2.) USB2 might be problematic if recording TV while watching TV.
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post #60 of 361 (permalink) Old 2013-12-11, 03:23 PM
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1) some of the mini PCs will have a ESATA connection, providing close to internal speeds, if you had a drive in the external enclosure.
mATX obviously can hold more internally.
2 & 3) really all come down to WHAT you want to do with it. If you want that to be your server, etc.. and want to have those drives there.. BEST performance yes would be local.
But if you are doing just playback from one of those.. and the media stored elsewhere you really do not need much at all locally.
(EG: When I had my media server PC hosting (rather than my server), it had a 500g for OS, database, etc.. as well as hosted the MUSIC and PHOTOS there. But video was hosted on a network drive on my server (it had the storage at the time). So when that media server was STREAMING to another box, it took from my server across the network, to it, then pushed it out to the streaming box... and I never had an issue that way)

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