Through my searching I have not found a comprehensive answer to my questions, so I'm asking them here...
I'm wanting to set up a file server. It will have one 1.5 TB SATA drive and one 0.75 TB SATA drive, as well as a dedicated system drive on PATA.
I'm trying to figure out what CPU/RAM/Motherboard I need. I don't want to go overboard, but I want good performance too.
This file server will be serving media files to another server running PlayOn, as well as directly to one or more XBMC units. These will be digital movie or tv show files.
I have the hardware for the other units worked out. I want the file server to be ONLY a file server. I also plan to have another server, at my neighbors house, which will do automatic offsite backups of the main file server.
So...given my use, what can you recommend for system components?
I have some parts already, but they may not be enough for my use.
I have an Athlon XP 2000+ CPU/MB, with 512MB RAM, but no onboard SATA. I have a PCI SATA card (no pci-e on the MB). If this simply won't do, I'll shelve it and buy something else. If I have to buy new, how powerful should I go?
What about the remote offsite backup server? Should it be as powerful as the main one? I'm thinking it would not have to be, but...I'm still here asking.
Would I be time/money ahead if I just bought a NAS appliance? If so, which one?
I recently upgraded my server. Before the upgrade it was running two SATA drives on a PCI SATA card. It was only a dual 1Ghz box, and it ran really well with 2.5TB of hard disk space (1x 1.5TB and 1x 1TB drive), and its primary tasks were file serving, email and some light web pages. Alongside these drives was a PATA drive on which the system was installed.
I just swapped the board out for a dual Atom motherboard which is ultra-low power, and when watching movies or listening to music on my media centre, you really cant tell the difference between what we have now and what we had before.
If you just want a file server, I think your hardware will be absolutely fine without spending any more money. As the operating system is effectively free of cost, you could assemble the box and install it, and then try it out to see how it performs before you upgrade anything.