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Old 11-16-2015, 10:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Server or PC? to serve media in my home

I'm looking for some advice/tips about how to set up a media server in my home.
What I would like to do:

-Serve movies, games, music and live tv
-Setup a raid for protection
-Quiet
-Low power consumption

First off I have 7+ TB's of files I would like to protect. These are legit copies of my movie, music and game collection. Yes everything is legit and owned.

-I have a 4 tuner cable card that I want to serve to at least 3 tv's at once.
-Need to be able to pause and record tv.
- A handfull of xbox 360 games that I would like to stream to up to 2 xbox 360's at the same time
-Movies, tv and music that I would like to serve to up to 4 devices at once.

In total I have 3 tv sets, two computers, 3 cell phones and 3 tablets that I would like to have access to these files.

No matter what I want to just have one centralized computer to handle everything.

I need to know if I should build a pc from scratch or just purchase a small server. After I put together a list of parts that I think will handle the job the price tag is well over $1000 with hard drives but then I was looking on ebay for servers and I see a bunch that are way less and seem to have a lot more power.
Such as this:
Dell PowerEdge 2950 II Server E5345 2x2 33GHz Quad Core 32GB PERC5i 2 Trays | eBay

Of course this one does not include hard drives but it would still save me a lot of money.

Can I get any thoughts and opinions on this?
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Old 11-17-2015, 06:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server or PC? to serve media in my home

Firstly, that Dell is pretty old. If you want to stream these movies to devices the processors in it probably won't handle the job that easily unless only one person is streaming at a time.

Second, TV tuner card serving TVs. Are you wanting to do this with cable, or OTA TV? Due to the nature of digital cable/sat this isn't possible. For OTA it's better to just have regular antennas on each TV. The alternative being one large antenna to a card then use splitters but that gets a bit ugly.

For the rest, a NAS that would allow a Plex media server setup would suit for the rest. This is pretty easy to setup but could also be costly. You could easy build a machine with an i3, H81 board, 4-8GB of RAM, and a decent PSU with the drives to do the same. Depending on what RAID you want you'll probably need a RAID card too.

For the 360 stuff, no can do. It's illegal to have ISO copies of the games and unless you're running modded 360s you need the disc in the drive to play the games.
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Old 11-17-2015, 11:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server or PC? to serve media in my home

Thank you for your reply.

The tv tuner card is a digital cable card. I already have a pc running as a media center but it's getting old and does not handle anything over 720p. I use nextpvr as a back end and I can already stream live tv to all of my other devices. I use Kodi for pretty much everything.

I do understand the legality of the xbox stuff. Technically no I'm not supposed to have game rips on my pc but I don't worry about it to much since I do own the games and I do not share them. The xbox's are modded so again I already have this set up but between the movies, music and games I have 3 external hard drives plugged in all the time. This makes me nervous because I don't want to loose my data to a failed hard drive and I hate having all of those drives plugged. Plus it's just ugly.

I thought about a NAS but since I need a PC to use the cable card and serve live tv I figured I would just put everything together in one pc.

So I guess I could look into buying an upgraded tuner card that also plugs into my network and then go NAS for file serving and backup but then I am still looking at spending more than I would to just build a pc. Plus I would need to buy a new switch to handle everything. I'm maxed out as it is with wired devices.

What kind of CPU would you recommend for such a job if I go the pc build route?
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Old 11-17-2015, 11:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server or PC? to serve media in my home

I forgot to mention that the server will be doing no transcoding at all. The only thing it would do is serve files and tv. The clients handle everything else. I've noticed that a lot of people here use things like plex media server and other software that transcodes files on the fly. I won't be doing this. I prefer Kodi and it handles everything perfectly without any transcoding.
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Old 11-17-2015, 11:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server or PC? to serve media in my home

Did not know about NextPVR, thanks for that as I'll have to look into it. I'm more of an acquire my shows at highest quality and playback when I feel like it kinda person. I do have a coworker who was just asking me about something like that though.

To the Xbox stuff, yea simply ripping them is illegal, and so is modded boxes. Talk about that stuff is forbidden on these boards so to keep the thread from getting locked we'll leave that out of the topic.

For the NAS, not necessarily. You can get diskless systems with i3s in them pretty cheap but correct me if I'm wrong it just seems like it's too much traffic at a time to be handled. I would look at an i5 minimum but the best way to look at this is how many things does it need to transcode at the same time. If it's more than one you'll want at least an i5.
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Old 11-17-2015, 01:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server or PC? to serve media in my home

Looks like we replied at the same time. Please see the post just above your response about transcoding. Basically I just want to be able to serve files to as many devices as possible without risking data loss or bogging down the network.
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Old 11-17-2015, 02:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server or PC? to serve media in my home

My comment about traffic is still relevant, but for Kodi I'm to understand that it's meant more for having files client side which is why the client does all the transcoding...it's not really transcoding it's just playing back. That's why a lot of us here prefer to use Plex, because it's easier to make one central server like you want. Plex for us is also better in the way of device support because it'll transcode to something that somebody else's device can use. May not be necessary for your use case but it's something to consider since you want all your files centralized and Kodi requires an SQL database.
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