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Thread: NAS PC Help

  1. #1
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    Question NAS PC Help

    I currently have an old PC that's really to become a NAS to hold all my music and feed a few Squeezeboxes; my goal is to run it headless, but I can use a monitor/mouse/keyboard to set it up if needed. The last PC server I built a year ago used VortexBox, but I didn't like it. It kept having issues, and I kept having issues logging on to it when the unit would have errors, which left me very frustrated. Right now the PC has a fresh version of Windows XP which I may use with the Squeezebox Server and remote log-in if I can find a better option.

    Does anyone have an recommendations of a good and low maintenance solution I can use as I only need to store and be able to access the music; like a NAS. I am not using this as an HTPC, and would prefer to just drag and drop files onto it from my main PC after I rip of download them.

    Thanks for the help!

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    So you will have a seperate ripping machine, and the old PC is basically just going to run LMS and store all your files?

    I've been running SqueezeboxServer (er...LMS) from a Virtual Machine running Debian for about three years and it has been super low maintenance. I'm not using a Linux GUI at all, so it is all command line. I still access LMS through the web interface though. Debian was pretty easy to install, and if you install Samba you will be able to see the drives in the LMS/NAS in Windows Explorer and either rip directly to those drives, or drag/drop after ripping/downloading. One other nice thing about running it in a VM is that you get remote console access to the VM if you ever need it. For a command line base OS like Debian you can also use SSH sessions to run it headless.

    Thanks!
    George

    Quote Originally Posted by zingo View Post
    I currently have an old PC that's really to become a NAS to hold all my music and feed a few Squeezeboxes; my goal is to run it headless, but I can use a monitor/mouse/keyboard to set it up if needed. The last PC server I built a year ago used VortexBox, but I didn't like it. It kept having issues, and I kept having issues logging on to it when the unit would have errors, which left me very frustrated. Right now the PC has a fresh version of Windows XP which I may use with the Squeezebox Server and remote log-in if I can find a better option.

    Does anyone have an recommendations of a good and low maintenance solution I can use as I only need to store and be able to access the music; like a NAS. I am not using this as an HTPC, and would prefer to just drag and drop files onto it from my main PC after I rip of download them.

    Thanks for the help!

    Attachment 80667

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    Before I switched to a Synology DS413 NAS, I had another Win 7 machine pulling video / audio / ftp serving duties. It was pretty low maintenance. Keep in mind, outside of my tablet & work laptop, everything in my apartment is hardwired in a gigabit network.

    But basically:
    - shared the folders I store my media on (advanced sharing, full control, windows user id login req'd), and mapped them as network drives (or just accessed them via My Computer -> Network)
    - accessed Logitech Media Server settings from a browser (ex. 192.168.1.3:9000) on any browser enabled device on the LAN

    I would just copy the music from my laptop / desktop to the remote folder, pull up LMS in a browser, go to settings and hit rescan so the new music is indexed. That's about it.

    Aside from some port forwarding on my router so I can access LMS from work, there was no other maintenance or real need to directly access the machine. While I did have a monitor / kb / mouse hooked up, I mostly just remote desktop'd to the server if I needed to do anything on it.

    Assuming the machine is fine now since you did a fresh install of XP (ie. no hardware issues), you should be able to do exactly the same.

    After moving to a dedicated NAS box, it's the same experience FYI.
    Last edited by PrazVT; 01-30-2013 at 09:04 PM.
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    Thanks for the responses.

    Has anyone tried FreeNas?

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    I believe FreeNas works best under Ubuntu

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrazVT View Post
    Before I switched to a Synology DS413 NAS, I had another Win 7 machine pulling video / audio / ftp serving duties. It was pretty low maintenance. Keep in mind, outside of my tablet & work laptop, everything in my apartment is hardwired in a gigabit network.

    But basically:
    - shared the folders I store my media on (advanced sharing, full control, windows user id login req'd), and mapped them as network drives (or just accessed them via My Computer -> Network)
    - accessed Logitech Media Server settings from a browser (ex. 192.168.1.3:9000) on any browser enabled device on the LAN

    I would just copy the music from my laptop / desktop to the remote folder, pull up LMS in a browser, go to settings and hit rescan so the new music is indexed. That's about it.

    Aside from some port forwarding on my router so I can access LMS from work, there was no other maintenance or real need to directly access the machine. While I did have a monitor / kb / mouse hooked up, I mostly just remote desktop'd to the server if I needed to do anything on it.

    Assuming the machine is fine now since you did a fresh install of XP (ie. no hardware issues), you should be able to do exactly the same.

    After moving to a dedicated NAS box, it's the same experience FYI.

    PrazVT..How do you like the Synology? I was looking at that same exact model to purchase. I am a Nas newbie as this is my 1st venture. Is it user freindly?
    PS: I'm still kinda new in the hobby, but my wallet has been around the block a couple of times.

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    Why not just use Windows Home Server?
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhart86 View Post
    PrazVT..How do you like the Synology? I was looking at that same exact model to purchase. I am a Nas newbie as this is my 1st venture. Is it user freindly?
    I was a little nervous at first, because I was used to having a reasonably beefy quad core box as a server. But, thus far the DS413 has been rock solid.

    - I installed the four 3TB drives easily, connected it up and ran Synology Assistant the first time in windows, so it could find the NAS.
    - The initial software installation / configuration is pretty straight forward, with respect to setting up the RAID array; I'm using the Hybrid array, which basically gives me 9TB of space with the last 3TB disk being used for parity. There is a 1 time parity check that is done in the background that uses up some cpu resources and takes a 1-2 days, but the NAS is dual core and it didn't impact usage.
    - The OS looks like windows and runs in a browser; very easy to use.
    - You can install a number 3rd party "packages" - I haven't messed w/ too many though.
    - Logitech Media Server runs exactly the same as the Windows version - no issues there.
    - The native Synology media server software works really nicely as well; My PS3 can read all the m2ts blu-ray rips I have and the Pioneer AVR can access all my FLAC music (though I use my SB mostly).
    - Transfer rates are a little slower w/ the Hybrid RAID (~50-60MB/s), but not a big deal.
    - I have another external USB 3.0 2TB disk attached via the DS413's USB 3.0 port, that holds all my music and that shows up fine as well.
    - Once you enable windows file sharing in the OS, any computer can access it via the network.
    - You can also connect to it remotely and play movies / music using the video station / music station apps, as well as download content to whatever computer you're connecting from using the Filestation app.

    Overall..I'm happy with it. It's dual core, responsive, and runs pretty quiet. The led lights are a bit bright, but otherwise no real issues thus far.

    BTW, I'm a NAS newbie too. This was my first one, but it was like setting up / tweaking my computer.

    If you have any questions or need help, just hit me up.

    - Praz
    Last edited by PrazVT; 01-31-2013 at 10:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrazVT View Post
    I was a little nervous at first, because I was used to having a reasonably beefy quad core box as a server. But, thus far the DS413 has been rock solid.

    - I installed the four 3TB drives easily, connected it up and ran Synology Assistant the first time in windows, so it could find the NAS.
    - The initial software installation / configuration is pretty straight forward, with respect to setting up the RAID array; I'm using the Hybrid array, which basically gives me 9TB of space with the last 3TB disk being used for parity. There is a 1 time parity check that is done in the background that uses up some cpu resources and takes a 1-2 days, but the NAS is dual core and it didn't impact usage.
    - The OS looks like windows and runs in a browser; very easy to use.
    - You can install a number 3rd party "packages" - I haven't messed w/ too many though.
    - Logitech Media Server runs exactly the same as the Windows version - no issues there.
    - The native Synology media server software works really nicely as well; My PS3 can read all the m2ts blu-ray rips I have and the Pioneer AVR can access all my FLAC music (though I use my SB mostly).
    - Transfer rates are a little slower w/ the Hybrid RAID (~50-60MB/s), but not a big deal.
    - I have another external USB 3.0 2TB disk attached via the DS413's USB 3.0 port, that holds all my music and that shows up fine as well.
    - Once you enable windows file sharing in the OS, any computer can access it via the network.
    - You can also connect to it remotely and play movies / music using the video station / music station apps, as well as download content to whatever computer you're connecting from using the Filestation app.

    Overall..I'm happy with it. It's dual core, responsive, and runs pretty quiet. The led lights are a bit bright, but otherwise no real issues thus far.

    BTW, I'm a NAS newbie too. This was my first one, but it was like setting up / tweaking my computer.

    If you have any questions or need help, just hit me up.

    - Praz

    Thanks Praz..............just ordered one! One question, please.............. Why did you choose the Hybrid Raid as opposed to the other Raid options. I think initially, the thing I will be challenged with the most is which Raid to select and why.

    Thank you for your insight and extremely useful explaination
    Darren
    Last edited by dhart86; 02-01-2013 at 09:50 AM.
    PS: I'm still kinda new in the hobby, but my wallet has been around the block a couple of times.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    Why not just use Windows Home Server?
    It looks like copies start at $50? Did I find the right version?

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    Why not just use Windows Home Server?
    1. Linux is free, a little more involved though.
    2. Linux based can use some pretty low spec hard ware, this means you can use something that may not get used otherwise and also is likely lower power and will be easier on your electric bill.
    3. Once it's set up, it will likely take less maintenance, not a guarantee, but it's likely.
    4. Did I mention it's free....:)

    If you are a techy person or don't mind learning something new, it's a great way to go. However, if you have all windows in your house, just want something that works, and have the money for it. Windows Home server works as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zingo View Post
    It looks like copies start at $50? Did I find the right version?
    I think so

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...0home%20server

    Quote Originally Posted by TurboGTU View Post
    1. Linux is free, a little more involved though.
    2. Linux based can use some pretty low spec hard ware, this means you can use something that may not get used otherwise and also is likely lower power and will be easier on your electric bill.
    3. Once it's set up, it will likely take less maintenance, not a guarantee, but it's likely.
    4. Did I mention it's free....:)

    If you are a techy person or don't mind learning something new, it's a great way to go. However, if you have all windows in your house, just want something that works, and have the money for it. Windows Home server works as well.
    Agreed with all the above, personally despite being in IT I am finding I just want things to "work" without relearning a bunch of stuff so when I plan on building another smaller desktop and converting my current desktop into a server I am planning on going with Windows Home Server more than likely.
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    For NAS like functionality (backups, RAID arrangements perhaps not available on Win 7/8, WHS looks useful. Considering Windows Home Server doesn't natively support streaming of mkv / m2ts (h264 + ac3 or dts) or FLAC, I don't see it as being that useful for media serving though.

    I simply ran:
    - TVersity Pro for mkv / m2ts / avi / mp4 / FLAC / lossy audio
    - LMS for the Squeezebox
    - Bulletproof FTP for ftp
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    Hmm.... Well here's my story about this... I ran Raid 5 under Win 7 in a HTPC and didn't notice any issue with sound of movies recorded or gotten off OTA tuner. My bigger issue was I felt the cpu couldn't keep up and dropped video and or sound at times, so moved back to a single drive or so vs. the Raid setup.




    Quote Originally Posted by PrazVT View Post
    For NAS like functionality (backups, RAID arrangements perhaps not available on Win 7/8, WHS looks useful. Considering Windows Home Server doesn't natively support streaming of mkv / m2ts (h264 + ac3 or dts) or FLAC, I don't see it as being that useful for media serving though.

    I simply ran:
    - TVersity Pro for mkv / m2ts / avi / mp4 / FLAC / lossy audio
    - LMS for the Squeezebox
    - Bulletproof FTP for ftp

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    That is possible. Video transcoding requires a beefy CPU to keep up if you are streaming to a device that doesn't natively support the format you are trying to play. While my server box was a relatively beefy Intel Q9650 box, I for the most part, encode to formats that my PS3 can play.

    I believe that the RAID capabilities motherboards have + what combinations may be available in Windows are software-based. So I'd guess that there is some CPU overhead for dealing with it. .. which could lead to some stuttering if the machine isn't that powerful. Partly conjecture here - could be wrong :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by disneyjoe7 View Post
    Hmm.... Well here's my story about this... I ran Raid 5 under Win 7 in a HTPC and didn't notice any issue with sound of movies recorded or gotten off OTA tuner. My bigger issue was I felt the cpu couldn't keep up and dropped video and or sound at times, so moved back to a single drive or so vs. the Raid setup.
    If your going to run a media center, using a software raid is a bad way to go (i.e. pretty much any raid that comes on a consumer mobo, which is still better than the raid you get in the os...), it will take quite a bit of your processor and will also write slower. In this case I would recommend an actual hardware raid card, even a relatively cheap hardware raid card will out perform the os raid or the motherboard software raid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboGTU View Post
    If your going to run a media center, using a software raid is a bad way to go (i.e. pretty much any raid that comes on a consumer mobo, which is still better than the raid you get in the os...), it will take quite a bit of your processor and will also write slower. In this case I would recommend an actual hardware raid card, even a relatively cheap hardware raid card will out perform the os raid or the motherboard software raid.
    It was a motherboard RAID thing but a teacher of IT told me its was a software raid, sorry to confuse you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by disneyjoe7 View Post
    It was a motherboard RAID thing but a teacher of IT told me its was a software raid, sorry to confuse you.
    Not really sure on the confusion...you were using RAID built into the motherboard, which is a software RAID setup. This uses your systems processor AND RAM to do this task and could end up using a good portion of it. This is a bad thing when your processor also has to decode video and audio.

    I was suggesting if you want RAID look into a dedicated hardware RAID card to plug into a pci-x slot. This offloads the task of managing the RAID to the cards processor (and the cards memory if you get a nice enough card).

    I work as a system admin and deal with this stuff a lot. Let me know if you have any questions. I can likely at least point you in the right direction.

    *Note* Built in OS "RAID" is worthless for the most part, you'd be far better off using the software RAID on the motherboard.
    So in order: OS <<< Motherboard <<<<<<<<<H/W RAID card.
    Last edited by TurboGTU; 02-28-2013 at 04:40 PM. Reason: added note

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    Thanks and I keep that in mind if I get stuck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboGTU View Post
    Not really sure on the confusion...you were using RAID built into the motherboard, which is a software RAID setup. This uses your systems processor AND RAM to do this task and could end up using a good portion of it. This is a bad thing when your processor also has to decode video and audio.

    I was suggesting if you want RAID look into a dedicated hardware RAID card to plug into a pci-x slot. This offloads the task of managing the RAID to the cards processor (and the cards memory if you get a nice enough card).

    I work as a system admin and deal with this stuff a lot. Let me know if you have any questions. I can likely at least point you in the right direction.

    *Note* Built in OS "RAID" is worthless for the most part, you'd be far better off using the software RAID on the motherboard.
    So in order: OS <<< Motherboard <<<<<<<<<H/W RAID card.
    +1 This is what my friend in IT suggested when we was building my home server. We use a raid card instead of motherboard with built in raid. It has worked great for me thus far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    Why not just use Windows Home Server?
    +1. It's surprising how inexpensive WHS is.

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    A team member of mine runs FreeNAS and loves it - I personally do not have experience with it. From a stand alone NAS standpoint DROBO makes a great product with built in RAID functionality - pricey though. I have a HTPC (running xbmc 12.2 frodo) built in a silverstone case, plenty of disk, RAM, CPU cores, and run vm-ware desktop to run multiple virtual PC's for misc needs, etc. I RDP into it to manage it, load content, hop onto virtual pc's, etc. apple TV gen 1's running xbmc connected to other tv's and streams content from the HTPC. very versatile.

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    I'm still waiting on a NAS that will run iTunes Server, if that happens I'll likely pay whatever price they ask for it.
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    Yeah, I was going to move my wife's itunes stuff out to my file server, but I've read some pretty terrible things about running itunes from a network. I mean, who would want to do something like that.....

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    I should clarify, iTunes on my Mac works fine with content on a NAS. What I want is a NAS that actually run the iTunes software, so that the computer isn't needed in the chain at all.
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    Does Apple make a NAS? Otherwise...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Syndil View Post
    Does Apple make a NAS? Otherwise...
    Actually, they do, sorta. Their Time Capsule has a drive built in and both that and the Airport Extreme can get USB drives on to your network. I have the Airport and a couple 3TB drives attached to it and can see those from every device on my network. In my case all my media sits on those drives and not on the pc running iTunes. It's not a true NAS setup, but as it relates to the discussion here it is and provides the same basic functionality. What this setup is missing is the ability to run server software like the Squeezebox or iTunes software. When I ditched the Squeezebox I removed the NAS because at that point it added no extran functionality and this setup is simpler.

    It's not a big deal for me because the iMac is always on anyway and iTunes is always running, but for people with laptops only I could really see the benefit and I think Apple is missing an opportunity here. I say I'd buy such a device only because I think it's a good idea.

    Also, there are MILLIONS of non-Apple devices that are already running iTunes, they're called Windows computers.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

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    Office Rig
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    Yeah, I have no apple computers in the house (wife has an iPhone though). I have a copy of our music library on the file server (freenas) that is served up via DLNA to pretty much everything in the house. In my reading about keeping the itunes library on a file share it seems that even apple said this was a bad idea (can't remember why, if I have time today I'll post a link), but some of the stuff I read scared me. I have a windows phone and zune plays fine with the server, I don't have any issues with running mini-DLNA for hosting my music, everything in the house picks it up (laptops, xbmc, onkyo avr, xbox 360). It installs as a plugin for freenas. It's not the itunes software running on a nas, but it serves up the content.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    I'm still waiting on a NAS that will run iTunes Server, if that happens I'll likely pay whatever price they ask for it.
    The DS413 has an iTunes Server built in; I haven't messed with it, but I'll test it out w/ my lossy collection of music and report back. there is a description in the screenshot - is that what you're looking for?

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