Complicated Setup...Need Expert Advice!

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by frogbog, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. frogbog

    frogbog
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    Hi guys,

    i currently have a somewhat complicated setup and was wondering if anyone can help me sort this out once and for all.

    I want to be able to watch movies at least in the 2 downstairs living/lounge rooms. However over the time, i have ended up investing in a media pc, a sony bravia 40v3000 (both are lounge) and a sony 46ex503 (in living room - connected directly to an RJ45 cable which runs all the way to the lounge d-link router).

    Rather than having to switch on a big media pc running serviio(which takes a lot of power!), i want to be able to have a device which i can somehow send movies/files to from my OFFICE pc upstairs and then everyone should be able to access this single device, i.e. mainly to watch movies/music etc.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    By far the most versatile solution would be a NAS and a media player connected to each TV - all wired by CAT5e/6 cables to the router as wireless is a big headache for media streaming.

    With the above setup each TV has total control over what is being viewed with full control over stop, pause, rewind etc without affecting any of the other TV's. Each TV has the option to watch the same media as in another room, or watch something completely different in each room.

    A NAS means that you don't need any power hungry PC's running to watch the media. A single bay NAS can be bought from under £100 (plus HDD's) or you could build/buy a full server depending on your needs. Be aware that a full DVD rip will eat up around 7Gb per disc, but a BluRay is more like 30Gb so you may well end up needing a lot of storage space if you have a lot of discs to rip and store.

    There are hundreds of different media players to choose from ranging from about £30 for something very basic upto over £300 for a combined BluRay player and media player. Many players can also hold internal HDD's so could be used as the NAS to save you buying a separate unit.
    My personal choice of media players are those from HDI Dune and they range in price & features from the £100 TV101 to the HD Max at £370 (the Max is also a BluRay player, as is the Smart B1). There are plenty of other options depending on what you want, but IMO with a media player you really do get what you pay for.

    HTH,
    Mark.

    ps, it might be worth clicking on the 'Report Post' button and asking a moderator to move this thread to the dedicated media player section of the forum where you are more likely to get the best advise - Streamers & Network Media Players | AVForums.com - UK Online
     
  3. frogbog

    frogbog
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    Thanks very much for ur reply mark. Im sorry but i forgot to mention that i want a solution which allows all tvs to access a single network device. i am willing to hardwire if necessary. but the device must:-

    REASONABLY POWER EFFICIENT
    BE ABLE TO DOWNLOAD FILES FROM PC
    PLAY MEDIA FILES SUCH AS MKV OR DIVX ETC
     
  4. frogbog

    frogbog
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    hi guys,

    i know you must be thinking what a strange question i'm asking, but how can i slow down my pc components?

    The reason is simply because i have a media pc, which i use to watch movies and listen to music. It uses approx 200 watts of power and i want to now use it as either a file server or nas, so that all devices can access the media.

    I don't want to buy a NAS or another Server. So due to it's high power consumption, i'm thinking if i knock down the speed of my PC's CPU, memory etc. This hopefully will have little effect on it's performance, but still should be okay to use as a NAS, right?

    Could anyone clarify if this is possible and if so, what components i can slow down?
     
  5. shadowboxer

    shadowboxer
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    What is the full system spec?
     
  6. frogbog

    frogbog
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    Thanks for your reply shadowboxer. Considering that i most likely will now convert this PC to a NAS or media server and that most NAS devices aren't as fast, I'm sure that i can slow some of the components down.

    Here are my exact PC specs.


    AMD Athlon 64 x2 4850E 2.5GHz (I think this is 45watts?????)
    Gigabyte-MA78GM-S2H Motherboard
    WD5000KS 500gb HDD
    OCZ 1GB DDR2 PC2-6400 800Mhz x 2
    Opera OP18A Media Case
    Samsung TS-H653N 20x Sata DVD Drive
    Extra Fan (80mm Akasa AK182-L2B)
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  7. LJx

    LJx
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    The only way I see that that could be using 200W is if your PSU is very inefficient
     
  8. frogbog

    frogbog
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    LJx - thats my rough guess mate, as the specs of 2 main components are cpu=45w and mobo(idle)=67w.

    I actually don't know, but i can only assume that once i play movies, download etc, i must be using around 200w for all components.

    What do you think?

    The other answer is to sell it and buy either a NAS or something like a WDTV live/book etc?
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  9. betelgeus

    betelgeus
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    one option(i've never tried) but might work is putting the pc into sleep mode(using about the same as a nas and turning on wake on lan so it wakes up when needed and goes to sleep after a certain time,whether you can use wake on wirelessly i dont know.
     
  10. frogbog

    frogbog
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    i don't plan to use it wirelessly mate as everything is hardwired. I'm now thinking if its worth selling the pc and getting a two WDTV live boxes for each room. Then connecting them somehow to a networked hdd...sounds like a costly solution, but what is there i can do. My main plan is to have ONE storage solution and for me to be able to play and share movies/music on the two tvs, without high electricity running costs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  11. frogbog

    frogbog
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    anyone?
     
  12. yazooo

    yazooo
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    Again I think a NAS and some small media players is your solution.

    I have 3 TVs over the house and several PCs. All my media however is on a NAS, which as mentioned if very efficient power wise. Each of my TV can connect to the NAS to stream movies at any time, independently. On TV does this using a HTPC, an ASRock in this case. Another used a small player, the WDTV (western digital). I play predominantly mkvs.

    Everything is wired with gigabit cable.
     
  13. frogbog

    frogbog
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    the problem i have yazooo, is that i don't like the idea of a pc running constantly as it can work out to be very expensive. I simply want at least two tvs to be able to play media at the same time.

    Would this idea work or can you give any other suggestions?:-

    [​IMG]
     
  14. bryanchicken

    bryanchicken
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    that lan HDD in your diagram is basically a NAS, so what you are suggesting is the same as both MarkE19 and yazooo have suggested.

    The NAS can be a lan HDD connected by whatever means to the network, or a specialised NAS device or a whole PC that also provides other services. Up to you.
     
  15. frogbog

    frogbog
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    God, im so confused. from the 2nd piccy, you can see what im trying to setup, cant you? if i bought a nas, id still need the whole setup or is there anything else you can recommend?
     
  16. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Basically you do need to go the route I suggested previously and as shown in your diagram in post #6. The only change though is that the 'front room' should not have a router as you can't have more than the 1 router in a single network - just swap out the router for a simple network switch which alows several devices to connect to the network in that room. You can have (within reason) as many switches as required on the network.

    As stated a NAS is just a simple HDD connected directly to a network switch/router. The unit needs some processing power to read the HDD and output the data in a format the network can understand. A single HDD NAS uses very little electricity so can be left running 24/7 and can feed 2 or more media players at the same time. It can be connected to either the switch in the front room or the router in the office - it doesn't matter where it connects to the network, but can be accessed by any devices on the network. Even a media player with an internal HDD can be accessed by all devices on the network as long as it is powered on - or if you have 2 media players with a HDD then both HDD's can be seen by all devices.

    Mark.
     
  17. frogbog

    frogbog
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    thanks for that explanation mark mate.

    the reason i have two routers is because the superhub for some strange reason has a weaker wifi signal.

    Now you said "feed", do you mean if two people played 720p movies simultaneously on both media players at the same time, then can the nas handle this data output?

    also whats nas do you recommend?
     
  18. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    You're welcome - hopefully things are starting to make some sense ;)
    OK and being cable routers you don't have to worry about them both having a modem - just as long as one of the routers has both DNS & DHCP disabled it should work fine, but I guess you already know that :p
    Even at 1080p a half decent NAS should be able to send/feed media to 2 or more media players at the same time.
    How many HDD's do you want it to hold and how much are you willing to pay?
    A single bay NAS can be bought for under £100 or you can go for a full server running Windows Home Server with room for 4 or more HDD's for around £300 (or less if the HP cashback offer is still available) - all prices are excluding HDD's.

    Mark.
     
  19. frogbog

    frogbog
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    Sorry mate, i don't know or understand what to do with the above...are you recommending i change the setup??

    I plan to use either one or max two hdds. Thats why i was trying to see if my pc could become a nas as i already put in a motherboard and cpu which are energy efficient.

    I have ordered an Efergy ESocket Monitor, which hopefully should tell me how much power my pc and any other electrical appliances are taking.
     
  20. frogbog

    frogbog
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    Well guys, i have some news (Hopefully good!)....

    I got the Efergy ESocket Monitor today. I connected it to my media pc case power socket and checked the wattage which seems pretty low to me. At idle it fluctuates between 50-60watts and if i'm playing a 1080p movie in XBMC, it hovers around 75watts, but never over 80watts.

    I've calculated how much it would cost to run the PC for either 6hrs or 8hrs:-

    80watts / 1000 = 0.08kw x 6 hours = 0.48kw

    0.48kw x £0.1761 = £0.84 x 7 days = £5.88



    80watts / 1000 = 0.08kw x 8 hours = 0.64kw

    0.64kw x £0.1761 = £1.12 x 7 days = £7.84


    Chances are though i most likely won't use it for more than 4-5hrs at most.

    What do you think? Is that good wattage? If so, how then do i go about making this pc into a great media sharer, so everyone can watch what they want in their rooms?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  21. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    My media server is running 24/7 so if it was eat5ing that much leccy I'd be bankrupt by now :blush:
    I have no idea exactly what my server does use, but I built it with low power usage components as I knew it would always be on - I should get a power meter to find out I suppose.

    I run unRAID as the operating system on my server. It is installed onto a USB flash drive so all HDD space is used for media storage. It is free for use with upto 3 HDD's and then $69us for upto 6 HDD's or $119us for upto 21 HDD's.
    1 HDD is used as a parity drive - this must be at least as big or bigger than any other HDD and then if 1 HDD fails you can still recover all media - simialr in some ways to RAID5, but adding another HDD is much easier. Also all HDD's can spin down to save power, and when streaming it only spins up the HDD it needs to read the file you want, so far more power efficient than normal RAID where all HDD's need to be spinning when reading anything from the array.
    Other options include FreeNAS or Windows Home Server. Or if the PC already has standard Windows installed you can just use that.

    Mark.
     
  22. bryanchicken

    bryanchicken
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    while by no means a bad power consumption it isn't spectacular either, like marke19 says.
    My "server" (more a HTPC but performs server duties also) uses 25W at idle. That is with 3x3.5" hard drives and 2x2.5" hard drives.
    With just 1x2.5" it uses 16-17W. I have energy efficient bulbs that use more :rotfl:
    However, at 4-7 hours a day it probably isn't worth you upgrading your hardware. It'll take you a couple of years (at least) to pay back the hardware cost using electricity savings.

    You don't actually need any new software to be able to share the media, unless you are transcoding.
    If you are running windows, just share the folder and you're done. Look into wake-on-lan for convenience also :thumbsup:
     
  23. maciozo

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    Perhaps underclocking would work?
     
  24. frogbog

    frogbog
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    Thanks mark and bryan...i think bryan has understood what im after. Rather than lose out on a good pc and spend more money on hardware, im basically thinking, why not just use the pc and pay a little extra leccy bill....

    I know ur gonna say, uve already told me how to setup, but i want to know where to put everything,ie router,pc, modem locations, where to pull the wires from/to...windows is slow,
     
  25. frogbog

    frogbog
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    Hi guys...ive setup wakeup on lan in win7...but i don't understand how my tv (which is connected to dlink router) will wake up the pc. Can anyone pls explain how i go about doing this and what i will need?
     
  26. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Just put the devices where you want them. The great thing about a network is that it doesn't matter what is connected where, as long as everything is on the same network all the devices can talk to each other.

    Mark.
     
  27. frogbog

    frogbog
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  28. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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  29. frogbog

    frogbog
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    if a tv can't do it, then what is the point of having a magic packet?

    PS: i have just had a brilliant idea! I have a samsung galaxy s2 mobile phone...can that switch it on/off, via wireless or bluetooth? if thats possible, then how?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  30. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    WOL was basically created for one PC to turn on another, and was created long before media players etc started to find their way into homes. I am not aware of any media devices that can send a magic packet, but there may be some.
    Waking the PC via Bluetooth or wireless would depend on the BIOS of the motherboard and the driver options for the receiver. Some motherboards can be woken over USB but apparently not all. To wake using Bluetooth you would need to go into the properties of the device and if there is a 'Power Management' tab then you can set it to wake the PC in there - if there is no tab then you can't do it AFAIK.

    Mark.
     

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