Step 2: Setting up the Server :Hardware
Hosting from another PC can cause movies to lag and slow down the host PC. I tried a NAS Hard drive enclosure, but the firmware was just too unstable and resulted in data loss. I originally found FreeNAS, and fell in love immediately. Very shortly later I discovered that FreeNAS has many great features, but has slow xfer rates on windows networks and isn't as stable as it needs to be. This again resulted in data loss, about 70 converted movies. almost 2 weeks of work! I paid $30.00 for NASlite M2 and haven't looked back. It doesn't have a lot of the features of other NAS builds, but it doesn't need them either. it's rock solid and is really easy to set up. It also has a good support forum, unlike other sites that cater to ultra geeks. and don't like answer "simple" questions.
Yes I am suggesting an old PC as your server, and this is why.
All your Media Sever does is server media, even streaming a 8GB blue ray iso over 2 hours doesn't take much hardware, besides that NASlite is Linux based, has no GUI and therefor handles the hardware much more efficiently.
once again there are too many different PC to make this a step by step but here is what you need to cover, at a bare minimum.
Basic requirements are:
- Pentium or better processor (I'm using a PIII 256M RAM)
- PCI bus
- 64M or more of RAM
- 1 or more fixed disk drives
- PCI or on-board network interface adapter
update the BIOS if necessary, so it supports large drive sizes.
in the BIOS disable the comm ports, printer ports, etc.
set the error reporting to halt on all but keyboard, this will allow the computer to boot with no keyboard. ( for later)
I set up power management to "most saving" and hard drive power down after 10 min.
Depending on how many hard drives your using you may want to upgrade the power supply.
large IDE drives are rare, slower, and usually not supported by the motherboard bios. So when buying Hard Drives definitely get SATA drives.
usually computers of the PIII era don't have SATA ports, this isn't a problem, you can get a PCI SATA adapter at Best Buy for $20.00. which will support 2 drives, mutiple SATA cards can be used in the same computer.
using a RAID is an excellent way to protect against data loss and increase performance, however it's expensive, and software RAID isn't supported by NASlite.
see if you can boot from a USB drive, if not install a hard drive for the OS. smaller the better,
you'll need a CD-ROM to install the OS, after that you can remove it.
you'll also need a keyboard and monitor attached, but only for the install.
once your hard drives are installed, make sure your computer boots at least to the "no bootable drive" part. building 2 of these I did run into some finicky hard drives and an older SATA card that didn't support 1TB drives. connect the drive and make sure it sees them all.
hard drives generate a lot of heat. so make sure your case has enough fans and vents to cool it properly, add more as needed.
close up all of the empty drive bays and card slots. this will actually help get air flow to the right places.
that's it on to step 3!