Home server advice.

robump

Active Member
Hi

I am new to these forums, and i was wondering if you could give me some advice.

I currently have a WHS box with 600GB Storage and a 1.8GHz P4 and 1GB ram.

I am going to be getting 2 new 750GB HDD's with a PCI RAID controller, so i was wondering whether it is justified to upgrade the Internals such as the CPU and mobo, and whether this will speed up my transfer speeds over a gigabit network, or will it not make much difference. Basically for streaming 1080P when i get round to getting a new TV.

I think if i did upgrade i may go for a dual core and use it to encode video. Not sure though, i need to build a new 1080P media centre too so any advice for this is welcome too.

Thanks

Rob
 
N

nburg01

Guest
I've built a few media servers and by the far the most important component is a fast gigabit network card. You really don't need high-end components like a top notch motherboard, graphics card or even CPU, but I would recommend plenty of RAM.

If your media server is just being used to store media files then it's the clients that are doing all the processing like decoding h264, etc. It's the client PCs that need to be high spec, not the server itself.
 

robump

Active Member
Thanks, the mobo already has gigabit on it, so if i say put 2GB of ram in it and a raid controller with 2 750GB hdd's you reckon that would be fast enough to stream 1080p though H264, or even blue rays as .iso's.

I am going to be rebuilding my media centre for the 1080p so i think ill go either quad or dual core in there, my main pc is a E6600 3.6GHz and a 8800gts 640mb, and these can easily play 1920 x 1200 on my 24" dell.

i guess i will just have to rip some blue rays and try streaming them.

Thanks again.
 
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nburg01

Guest
To stream HD material the number 1 thing you need is a fast pipe, so gigabit network cards on all machines in your network, connected with Cat5e, is all you need to stream HD stutter-free, the spec of the server itself will have little bearing on streaming performance. But for any server setup with multiple clients connecting I would definitely go for 2Gb RAM minimum.

To smoothly decode HD/h264, a dual core CPU is easily up to the job, but if you can afford quad core then go for this, always good to have as much future-proofing as possible.
 

robump

Active Member
Thanks for your help.

When and if you stream 1080p films, do you rip them into h624? or do you stream them another way?

I think when i build the new media centre i will put my E6600 in it and put a quad core into my main pc, it seems the most cost effective way.

Thanks
 
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nburg01

Guest
If you're ripping blu-ray as an ISO then this will be a huge file, streaming it over Cat5e will be fine, but you'll use up a lot of hard disk space very quickly.

You can reduce its size by converting it to an h264 MKV, but this will require encoding that will take about 8 hours minimum. But the hard disk space you will save will be huge and a good MKV encode will be very close to the original in terms of quality.

When encoding to MKV I recommend encoding it as a 720p file instead of a 1080p file as the file size will be much smaller and still look fantastic on an HD TV.
 

robump

Active Member
Thanks

I was wondering if you were going to suggest ripping it in 1080p or not. Are you allowed to suggest which program to use, because i really only rip DVDs into there video filesystem, them use mymovies to play them on the various media centers, I have both Leopard and Vista, so i can pretty much run anything.

I may even put the blue ray drive in the server, and just leave it running super slowly, this is the only reason i was considering upgrading the server, but im not sure if it is really worth it.

Thanks
 
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nburg01

Guest
You need AnyDVD to rip your blu-ray DVDs to hard disk for playback, you have to pay for it but I think it's also available free on a trial period.
 

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