View Full Version : Building a media file server

6th November 2005, 23:54
Some general background

I've recently decided to build a new PC geared toward performance and because of that I've opted to purchase either 2 WD Raptors or Seagate cheetah's and configure them in a raid configuration. Because these drives lack ideal capacity and thier cheapest prices I've decided to turn my old(er) rig into a media file server so that loosing the HD capacity is not that big of a deal.

The PC is I plan on turning into a the file server has the following stats

P4. 2.53ghz
1gb pc2700
ATI AIW 9600xt
1 WD 80gb Caviar 7200 8m
1 WD 80gb Caviar 5200 4mb(i think) it's a 3yr old drive but still going strong
IDE controllers
Cheap Intel board
10/100 on-board ethernet
Runs 24/7 Very stable, pretty fast, and I've never had a problem with it

Eventually I plan upgrading the overall capacity with cheap 500g hard drives and adding a 10/100/1000 pci network card to increase it's functionality.

What I need help on is a convenient way to set this up, other than throwing it somewhere and sharing the drives, or is that the most convenient?

What OS to use? presumably a server OS or perhaps not?

Any good programs etc..?

I don't have a whole lot of Linux experience but am not beyond leaning and very interested if a Linux option is best suited for my needs

I'm obviously interested in performance of the server getting the files to be quickly. The server will be hosting mostly larger media files.

The number of computers that will need to access the server will mostly be between 1-4, with 1(mine) possibly using it fairly often

I know this isn't the best medium to be posting this on but there are thousands of PC forums that I do not have time to register for only to get sub-par answers and at least this forum has a great reputation for 1 on aspect of computing.

If you could give me some advice or direct me to reputable forum, I'd be very thankful(much obliged, sounds better but I'm not in a western.


7th November 2005, 06:44
I'm running an old AMD 1.2ghz system with Windows 98SE, 256meg PC2700 RAM, a five-year-old Maxtor 5400RPM hard drive, and a fairly new, very cheap ($55 new) Gigabyte motherboard as a media PC, networked via 10/100 broadband router. Whether I open a media file residing on that machine via another computer or vice versa, there's negligible delay before it's open and playing, and never stutters. My movie encodes tend to be excessively high bitrate. If all you need it for is housing media files for playback, it takes practically nothing.

Edit: If you're planning to use it only as a server, gimme the 9600 XT. You can have my Rage Fury Pro. :)

7th November 2005, 17:18
I'm probly also eventually going to use it as somewhat of a tivo box..sorry I's also nice to have a decent back up pc.

int 21h
7th November 2005, 18:16
MythTV, LVM, and Samba?

A really good how to is here: http://wilsonet.com/mythtv/, and I believe it covers pretty much all of these topics.

MythTV (http://www.mythtv.org): a TiVO like program for Linux. Supports Hauppage hardware very well. Recording straight to Mpeg-2 generally uses less than 5% CPU when using this hardware. MythTV also supports commercial skip, dvd playback, etc.

LVM (http://tldp.org/HOWTO/LVM-HOWTO/): Logical Volume Management, under Linux allows you to dynamically grow or shrink data partitions over hardware. You can setup a /movie partition, and dynamically grow the size of /movie by adding hardware overtime without changing any of the underlying data (simply adding configuration to LVM)

Samba : a Linux service for sharing folders/files with Windows.

7th November 2005, 23:50
I'm probly also eventually going to use it as somewhat of a tivo box..sorry I's also nice to have a decent back up pc.
Mine's also working as a TiVo box with a capture device that uses hardware MPEG-2 encoding. Aside from writing 32MB chunks of data to the hard drive as it captures, there's almost no activity at all. I can game on it during capture, which I tested with the FarCry demo.