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Question Help To Build A Movie Pc/Server Or Suggestions

mr gothic

Active Member
hi
im looking at building a server which i can add expaned storage over the years,ive looked at nas from synology and qnap which look very expensive,i dont need it to be on 24 hours.
i will be streaming to a zidoo streaming box.
i need plenty of storage and at the moment i have 5 6tb external harddrives with my 4k and 1080p bluray rips on and need to cut space to one case.
i would like to build a cost effective pc server around a fractal case or similar with maybe 8 internal bays a motherboard with 8 sata ports,windows o/s on a m.2 and using windows storage spaces for grouping the drives together.
would this sort of build be ok for streaming 4k and 1080p films? what sort of parts/recomendations should i be looking at ie type of motherboard,ram,processor.
or should i be going the nas route all input welcome my budget is around £600.
hope this all makes sense cheers
 

maf1970

Well-known Member
Think you need to reconsider your budget for this due to the huge amount of storage you currently have. £600 would only cover the cost of drives for storage for a NAS or server. A suitable NAS box could set you back £500+. To build a server, I wouldn't like to guess but you would have to find a suitable case that can take 8 drives and you almost certainly would need a RAID card. Not forgetting a motherboard, CPU, RAM, CPU Cooler and PSU.

So what Zidoo box do you have ? Their site shows as many as a dozen options.

How did you rip your blu-rays,DVDs etc. Do you still have the originals ?
 
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Deleted member 24354

Guest
I have to agree with @maf1970 for what you want your budget is way too small. Personally I would buy a NAS like a Synology DS1618+ (as long as you don’t need transcoding) as everything is built and ready to go.
For a media server you would ideally want a decent 8 channel raid card, which would cost between £200 -£500 alone. Motherboard and i3 processor, £300, 32 Gb RAM -£400, case £200, 500w PSU £100. SSD for OS - £50.
 
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mr gothic

Active Member
hi thank you for the replys,looks like a very expensive self build if i went that route the budget didnt include the drives which i was going to add over time,i still have my discs just incase i have to rip them again,ive got the zidoo z9s coming to replace the egreat a5, i will have to have a think about my options and maybe start saving some more funds.
cheers
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
...would this sort of build be ok for streaming 4k and 1080p films? what sort of parts/recommendations should i be looking at ie type of motherboard,ram,processor.

I wouldn't get too hung up on whether hardware X is "good enough" for format Y, especially in a SOHO environment with very few clients pulling data simultaneously. Compared to the bit rate requirements for media formats, even HD & 4K, modern discs and bus systems are much faster and can easily "handle" it for a few clients.

Even 100mbps ethernet (which is now a bit old school) could handle 1-2 high bit rate HD video streams, though since 1000mbps (Gigabit) ethernet is so cheap now, you really ought to be buying that as it is widely available at little or no additional cost and can easily handle multiple HD video streams.

It's real time transcoding where the hardware (CPU) power is required - if you avoid the need to have to do that, you'll saved some money and have a happier life.
 
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Deleted member 24354

Guest
The one advantage that a pc based NAS has over an appliance like Synology or QNAP is that you can put a decent graphics card into it, to offload transcoding tasks to the GPU, meaning you can get away with a smaller main processor. It’s swings and roundabouts though, cost wise. As a rule of thumb for NAS memory, (came from an OCUK thread on movie NAS) you want 1Gb of RAM for every Tb of storage.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Serving files requires practically no RAM - back in the day we used to build servers that serviced hundreds of users with megabytes let alone gigabytes of RAM and they worked perfectly well.

I suggest the idea that X amount of storage requires Y amount of RAM might stem from things like the ZFS file system which has a deduplication technology that does require a certain amount of RAM per terabyte of (deduplicated) storage due to some stuff it caches to effect deduplication.

If you are not implementing such technologies and have few users, for a basic file server, then I suspect huge amounts of RAM are not required. My microserver hosts 4TB of disc and despite running a full fat llinux OS, it ticks over at bearly 750MB RAM utilisation.

To be sure, one would be well advised to check out the requirements of one's chosen OS rather than rely on Internet Myth.
 
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Deleted member 24354

Guest
I think that the requirement comes from using FreeNAS which is what a lot of the media builds seem to run on.
 

chazman88

Active Member
Biggest deciding factor for the spec of the server would be whether you need it to transcode the rips for you and if so how many concurrent streams?

I’m pretty sure if you use Kodi on the right client you don’t need any transcoding so nearly any server specification would work.

Have a look at unRaid as a server software solution. I’ve been using it for years and years for my Plex server and is solid.
 

wormvortex

Distinguished Member
Why are you buying drives when you already have them? Also why go down the RAID option? It's pointless. It's for redundancy and you don't need redundancy for movies at home.

You could simply purchase an HP micro server for <£200 (when they do them with cash back or an older model) and buy a small 32-128GB SSD for <£100 to install an OS on and connect all the current drives assuming they are currently just formatted as FAT,NTFS,EXT etc..

There's only room for 4 HDD's in a micro server but you could purhcase an additional 4 bay HDD caddy and sit it on top and still have change from £600.

Obviously you'd want to look into some backup system but assuming your rips are from your own media then you already own the physical media and could re rip in the event of a drive failure. Obviously time consuming but not the end of the world.

People saying you need huge amounts of ram quite simply do not know what they are on about if you are simply after something to serve files. You could easily get away with a few GB of Ram for your needs.
 

scrowe

Distinguished Member
I currently have an older HP Microserver running Windows 2012 Foundation, with a Highpoint 622 Raid card, connected via Esata to a Star tech 4-Bay enclosure with 2x WD Red 6TB in JBOD (non-Raid) . I was looking to refresh this and had been looking at Synology QNAP higher-end. All the raid and expandability are compelling, but the cost just doesn't add up for me. As someone points out as you own the original media, redundancy is not overly critical at such a premium. I think for now I will just add 2 more drives and stick with it.

FWIW if you go the server route, Star tech do a 5 or 8 bay enclosure, they no longer do the 4-bay I have, and the 8-bay without any Raid us a not-cheap £300. But if you can pickup a Microserver and a SATA/Raid card for £200-£300, it's half the price of an 8-bay Nas equivalent, and probably more flexible, especially if you don't need transcoding.
 

scrowe

Distinguished Member
I currently have an older HP Microserver running Windows 2012 Foundation, with a Highpoint 622 Raid card, connected via Esata to a Star tech 4-Bay enclosure with 2x WD Red 6TB in JBOD (non-Raid) . I was looking to refresh this and had been looking at Synology QNAP higher-end. All the raid and expandability are compelling, but the cost just doesn't add up for me. As someone points out as you own the original media, redundancy is not overly critical at such a premium. I think for now I will just add 2 more drives and stick with it.

FWIW if you go the server route, Star tech do a 5 or 8 bay enclosure, they no longer do the 4-bay I have, and the 8-bay without any Raid us a not-cheap £300. But if you can pickup a Microserver and a SATA/Raid card for £200-£300, it's half the price of an 8-bay Nas equivalent, and probably more flexible, especially if you don't need transcoding.

Just to add, the HP Microserver deals seem very few and far between these days. The days of £200 with £100 cashback seem long gone, but the current generations are more powerful with better features at least. So you seem to be looking at £300-£400 now. As far as enclosures go, there is a German company called Fantec doing disk enclosures and the design for the 4-bay at least looks exactly like the no-longer available Startech one I have. There is an 8-bay you can get for around £350. So in reality the Synology and QNAP solutions are looking not 'that' more expensive to be fair.
 
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Deleted member 24354

Guest
I have had several microservers and Synologies. Both are very good. The Synology though is a very low maintenance feature rich device, music storage, photo backup, PC backup, family shares, PLEX server. If you are familiar with Linux then the HP Microserver with FreeNAS or similar maybe a good option. I decided that an appliance (Synology) met my domestic demands (it just works with almost no tinkering) re-keeping the family happy over my continual tinkering with my microservers, which drove my wife insane, compared to more configurability for the Microserver re hardware and applications. It really is horses for courses and cost benefit.
 

mr gothic

Active Member
hi thank you for the replys a lot of food for thought,i did have a mediasmart server for music back in the day then i had the microserver n40l with windows 2012 server with 3 4 bay icy docks hanging off it which was ok no longer have the microserver but still have the icydocks though which are usb 2.
i was looking for something i didnt have to leave on 24/7 as i only watch a couple of films a week.
 

maf1970

Well-known Member
Leaves you with alot to think about. Synology,Qnap,custom server or microserver are still options as they don't need to be on 24/7. What I would look at is what is the Zidoo box is capable of playing. I would also see what areas your TV might cover as well. Next, I asked in an earlier post but you haven't answered so I would say again how you rip the disks should be looked at as well. Do you just do the whole disk or just the film ? What format is it ripped to ?
In your case to achieve what you want is going to take considerable planning, time and effort. The first and most important part is looking at your current rip collection and seeing if you can't reduce it to a more manageable size and subsequently closer to your proposed budget.
 

mr gothic

Active Member
hi
ive been riping discs as iso of the full disc,i dont really want to shrink them to smaller files.
ive decided to scrap the server build i had a quote for a pc case with 8 internal spaces for 8 drives in a standard case amd ryzen 5 and 8 sata motherboard windows 10 o/s for a total £750,ive been talking to a friend who has a thecus n5810 5 bay nas with a jbod box hanging off it and he says it works great for his streaming setup and at a price of under £400 looks like a bargain also he says you can put nas to sleep mode.
thank you for your help.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
Unless you want all the extras, bloopers etc you'd be better ripping them to a remuxed MKV file.

You'll lose nothing in quality, the video and audio are copied 1:1 but you'll be able to ditch the excess of the menus that you can't use, video you won't watch and language and subtitle tracks you don't need,

For example, I ripped Munich the other day and the mkv was 13GB smaller than the ISO, less extreme example was Moon which was ~6GB smaller.

You'll also run into issues with streamers that can play an ISO and very, very few that can play the menus, if any now.
 

MooCow

Well-known Member
If you do go self build - look at enterprise cards secondhand - a Dell PERC controller for example is an LSI card underneath the badge - 8 ports for £20-£30. Run more than one and you have 16 ports easily for a fraction of buying a "SATA RAID card" - can also be flashed to IT mode to give up RAID features if you want to run something like UnRAID as your OS and want direct access to the individual disks.
Your disks can also be in a different box to the rest of the PC if you are struggling with finding a case with 8 bays plus expansion options using SAS card and JBOD enclosures or even another PC case if you like.
I have both hooked up to my UnRAID box, a PERC6 controller running up to 8 SATA 3.5" disks and using the onboard motherboard controller to do 5 (but can use up to 8) SSD's for cache. Creative use of drive caddies I have room for 9x3.5's and 18x2.5 drives. Then a Netapp controller and 24 bay box (yet to populate it though) - and those in turn can be daisy chained...

You don't need 32GB of RAM either for a file server or anything else you want to do.
Why Windows OS? Far better options for a server - Windows doesn't lend itself well to running headless.
 

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