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NAS with HTPC, setup recommendations and eSATA, GBLAN


Standard Member
HTPC and NAS Newbie, about to buy. What to do about NAS & eSATA/GBLAN connection on a home network with/for HTPC?
HTPC - living room, watch/record TV, play mp3s & radio, view photos, dvds, home videos etc. to replace DVD player/recorder, CD player, TV digibox, and give internet access on TV for web & iPlayer etc.
Home setup - desktop PC + laptops, wireless network.
Questions: is NAS for centralised file storage & backup best way to go?/how to connect?/to what? and using what (GBLAN or eSATA)?.
I've read 'sticky' here re: data transfer rates etc.
NAS - 'home serveresque': centralise data storage, 'always on' PC access to files without requiring a PC or HTPC always on, and backup by 2 HDDs in RAID in NAS, (or, less likely - might be influenced by what NAS hardware is available at reasonable price - single HDD NAS with external HDD attached to NAS for backup).
Data/processing intensive tasks (e.g. v. occasional video editing) done on desktop PC on its HDD, and live with slow(er) transfer of finished files to NAS.
Recording/playback of TV (i.e. PVR-type) would be using HTPC's HDD, so it seems to me the only high data-transfer rate-intensive activity that is 'critical' would be video (e.g. home videos) stored on the NAS played via the HTPC on the TV. Concurrent streaming of high data-rate files (e.g. video, recorded TV) to other PCs is nice, but not need, to have. All mp3s would therefore be streamed off the NAS by the HTPC, but not high data-rate (whilst I use high bit-rate encoded mp3s using Fraunhofer LAME codec with variable bit-rate I guess this is nothing compared with video streaming and no problem re: data transfer rates?).
HTPC will be GBLAN mobo, and rest of setup is 54mbs wireless/10/100 LAN dsl modem/switch/router. So, it seems I can insert a GBLAN switch between dsl router and HTPC mobo and connect a GBLAN NAS to GBLAN switch, then the data transfer limiting factor is between files on the NAS HDD to the HTPC mobo at GBLAN transfer rates. Accessing them from anywhere else on the network is limited by 54mbs wireless or 10/100 lan. It seems that better than this should be to take advantage of eSATA to connect an eSATA NAS directly to HTPC mobo (by adding eSATA card to HTPC - HTPC will be ATX so guess this isn't a problem to do), but I don't see how eSATA 'works' on NAS? Surely this just attaches the NAS to the HTPC mobo by (e)SATA but that doesn't make it network attached? There would be no network access to the NAS, or could be if as a shared drive, but only when the HTPC turned on, so not operating as a NAS in that case, just acting as an external HDD to the HTPC mobo connected by eSATA (rather than USB or Firewire, for example)? So it would have to be connected to the HTPC mobo by eSATA (giving SATA data rates for the between HTPC and NAS HDD) AND the NAS would also have to be connected to the network from its own (GB)LAN connection to the (10/100) router so the NAS can be accessed by the rest of the network when the HTPC (hence eSATA connection) is turned off or sleeping. And if that is the case, when the HTPC is on presumably the NAS drive(s) would be seen both as an HDD on the HTPC and at the same time as a drive on the network? And could that cause any problems?
Phew, if someone could shed any light/tell me if I'm barking up the wrong tree (or just barking) that would be grrrreat.

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