Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Next step with my home setup?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    9
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts

    Next step with my home setup?

    Hello all, I’d be really grateful for your advice on how to move my family PC setup forwards… am sorry for the long post but I wanted to explain the current setup and also to explain what I'm after, and finally my thinking so you could shoot me down and (hopefully) suggest something better? I’d be really grateful for any feedback.

    The current situation:
    I’ve got a couple of tower pc’s that are used daily for home use. One of them has an old Athlon XP processor with a radeon 9600 gpu, a gig of ram and a hideous case. It’s ancient, about to die, slow and really noisy too. Oh and it holds all the outlook data files for the family. The other one is an X2 4800 with a couple of gig of ram, and a 7800 GTX graphics card, a lot quieter, looks okay and runs games and apps like photoshop nicely. Holds all the music and photo media for the family. We also now have a laptop (rock x770). Desktops are hardwired, laptop wireless, all routed through a linksys54gs router.
    The time has come to replace the old athlon box, but I’d like to re-think the whole setup, with your help?!


    Requirements:
    (a) I would like a server of some kind. As you might expect, currently got duplicated user files across all the pcs. Solved the outlook/email problem by creating a share and sharing the outlook data files across the network. But really, I would like a central server that is always on, doesn’t use huge amounts of power, is quiet and can perform the following duties:
    1. Store everyone’s files
    2. Hold the media – i.e. photographs and music
    3. Run the slimserver media streaming software
    4. Centralise email / outlook
    5. Centralise backups of all the client devices
    6. Provide remote access facilities so family can get at files when at work/school
    7. Do stuff like hosting any test databases, sharepoint etc
    8. Maybe centralise virus checking, parental control etc

    (b) I need to upgrade/replace the oldest pc in order to:
    1. Run more modern games
    2. Avert disaster it’s about to die 

    (c) Want noise to not increase from current levels!

    Constraints:
    (a) The biggest constraint is space. All of the current equipment is housed in our dining room, where the built-in furniture allows for 2 tower pc solutions. Given I want 2 clients AND a server, am seriously looking at SFF i.e. shuttle type solutions. I could stack a couple of shuttles together and store in the place of a single tower…
    (b) Budget – not sure yet, need to understand my options better. Would like to re-use components where practical but not if it compromises the requirements. £2K would be a hard sell to the missus

    My proposed solution:
    Keep the most recent pc (X2 4800), remove the GPU, put in a raid array of new HDDs and use this to run small business server which will help with centralising user storage, email, security, backups and also remote access.
    Buy 2 new pcs, shuttle solutions like the XPC SD37P2. Stick either E6600s (or Q6600?) in each, along with 2GB (or 4GB?) of RAM.
    Steal the 7800GTX 256MB graphics card from the server, and use this in one shuttle, and get a 7900GTX 512MB for the other. Put striped raptors in both to speed up windows (XP pro) a bit.
    Whilst this will give me 2 up to date PCs, I’m estimating that will cost me circa £900 per shuttle, plus server storage and I’ll probably need to upgrade the router to get the benefit of a gigabit LAN. So as this stands I can see this costing over £2K…

    So, if you’re still awake, any better ideas?
    All the best
    sp

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    scotland
    Posts
    639
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked
    37 times in 34 posts

    Re: Next step with my home setup?

    I think you're making things very complicated (and expensive) for yourself. Just doesn't make sense to me that you **need*** to spend that amount to achieve your goal, you may ***want*** to spend that much in which case you're free to do what you like.
    We have 2 pc's and a laptop. One pc is essentially the server (it's actually just an xp pro system with some shares) and holds all the music, video, pictures, email and hosts slimserver for our squeezebox - it's headless and just sits in the corner not needing to anything much other than being available (it's got 750Gb of disk space).
    The main pc and the laptop are the ones we all use for day to day stuff.
    The main pc also has 750Gb of disk space and synctoy runs once a day to make sure there is a current backup of the data on the server machine.

    If you want a quiet machine steer well clear of Raptors as they are noisy buggers. For the little improvement they will get you I think you should stick to standard drives - Scan are doing 2 x 500Gb Seagates today for £115! I reckon you could build yourself a new super fandango machine, upgrade the disk space in your good machine and still have change out of £1000.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    9
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts

    Re: Next step with my home setup?

    Quote Originally Posted by killie99 View Post
    I think you're making things very complicated (and expensive) for yourself.
    Spot on, that's me all over! Seriously, I overcomplicate stuff. I can't help it, it's how I'm made It's why I need good souls such as yourself to suggest a more practical solution. Keen not to throw money away, for sure.

    Your own solution sounds ideal, except that I'd need another box albeit headless. Hence I was considering replace one pc with a shuttle, introduce headless box another shuttle, upgrade storage on other tower pc. Take your point I don't need server s/w just a normal o/s, some shares and an automated backup job.

    I guess the cheaper alternative, which is what I *think* you are recommending, is to simply replace the old pc, and let the new, quiet replacement double up as a PC and also as the main server which is always on.

    Point noted about the raptors.

    I really appreciate your comments!
    cheers
    sp.

  4. #4
    Senior Amoeba iranu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    On the dinner table. Blechh!
    Posts
    3,532
    Thanks
    111
    Thanked
    156 times in 106 posts
    • iranu's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus Maximus Gene VI
      • CPU:
      • 4670K @4.3Ghz
      • Memory:
      • 8Gb Samsung Green
      • Storage:
      • 1x 256Gb Samsung 830 SSD 2x640gb HGST raid 0
      • Graphics card(s):
      • MSI R9 390
      • PSU:
      • Corsair HX620W Modular
      • Case:
      • Cooler Master Silencio 352
      • Operating System:
      • Win 7 ultimate 64 bit
      • Monitor(s):
      • 23" DELL Ultrasharp U2312HM
      • Internet:
      • 16mb broadband

    Re: Next step with my home setup?

    You might like to consider something like this or this. They seem to meet your requirements.
    "Reality is what it is, not what you want it to be." Frank Zappa. ----------- "The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike." Huang Po.----------- "A drowsy line of wasted time bathes my open mind", - Ride.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    351
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked
    9 times in 9 posts
    • nimbu's system
      • Motherboard:
      • M3N78-EMH
      • CPU:
      • AMD 4050e
      • Memory:
      • 4GB (2x2GB) Cosair XMS DDR2
      • Storage:
      • 30GB Samsung SSD : 250GB Seagate ES
      • Graphics card(s):
      • 9800GT
      • PSU:
      • Hyper Type R 550W Modular
      • Case:
      • Antec P180 Mini

    Re: Next step with my home setup?

    As Iranu suggests, you should consider a NAS box. Should fulfill your serving needs (dunno about the slimserver bit though).

    As for your Pc requirements, shuttles amd raptors imo dont mix too well. They need soem decent airflow to keep cool. (I disagree on the noise front, I have two in my system next to me and i cant hear them, but sound is very subjective.)

    Considered building up your own SFF? Ie with a Sugo / Aria case?
    MAIN BOX: 4200+ @2.75 : Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe: XP120 + Papst: 2Gb Mushkin Redline PC4000: 512MB 7950GT: 2x36GB WD Raptors in RAID 0:WD 420GB : NEC DVDR/RW: All Wrapped up in a Antec P180



  6. #6
    Jay
    Jay is offline
    Gentlemen.. we're history Jay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Jita
    Posts
    8,364
    Thanks
    304
    Thanked
    568 times in 409 posts
    • Jay's system
      • Motherboard:
      • ASUS P5Q Deluxe
      • CPU:
      • Intel Q6600 G0 @ 3.0GHz with Corsair H50
      • Memory:
      • 8GB Corsair XMS Pro DDR2 800MHz 5-5-5-12
      • Storage:
      • 128GB Crucial RealSSD
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Sapphire VaporX HD4890 1GB
      • PSU:
      • 720W Enermax Infinity
      • Case:
      • Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • 2 x Samsung 22" 226BW V2 (3360 x 1050)
      • Internet:
      • O2 / Cisco ASA 5505

    Re: Next step with my home setup?

    I have a full DL380 server and cisco switch setup to do all i need, terminal services, share HD content etc etc.

    The problem I have is the electricity bills! I have had to turn it off, a NAS box should do all you need and won't cost the earth to run.
    □ΞVΞ□

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    9
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts

    Post Re: Next step with my home setup?

    Iranu, nimbu, jay - thanks for your help!

    I need to give some serious thought to a NAS solution. I've read conflicting views on whether the lower spec NAS boxes have a beefy enough CPU to run the likes of slimserver (and stream FLAC). I need to check that out - I know something like the Thecus N5200 Pro will definitely do the job as a fair few people rave about it on the slimdevices forum, but tbh it's probably overkill for my needs. At that price (>£500+storage), I start thinking about building a headless SFF device instead.

    NAS device aside, as far as the PC replacement goes, I am indeed considering a SFF solution. Not sure whether you'd regard this as "building your own" as the mobo/case/psu/fan are bundled - this is what I am now considering (not a raptor in sight!):

    • SD37P2 Shuttle case/psu/mobo (£294)
    • 2x250gb Maxtors (£0, have spares)
    • LG DVD R/W SATA (£20)
    • 2x2GB OCZ PC2-6400 DDR2 (£164)
    • HIS X1950 Pro V2 512MB (£111)
    • Intel Quad pro Q6600 95W 2.4GHz (£181)


    Comes out at around £770. Still not sure if the shuttle will take that particular GPU and whether the PSU is up to it or not, further homework to be done on that aspect. But am thinking that config would run really well. The GPU in particular seems to have had good reviews about it's cooling.

    I did have a good look at the cases by Silverstone, but their cases are too wide - would only have 1mm clearance where I intend to place them - and there is some venting out at the sides. So the shuttle box seems to fit the bill.

    Comments on all of this appreciated.

  8. #8
    The King of Vague Steve B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Glasgow
    Posts
    5,051
    Thanks
    116
    Thanked
    67 times in 63 posts

    Re: Next step with my home setup?

    If I may divulge my humble opinion on the N5200, I would also like to rave about it!
    I considered the price waaaay out of my budget when I was looking for a NAS solution, however, my arm was twisted by the ravings of another man, who shall remain nameless. Needless to say, I stumped up the cash, put two 500GB drives in it and its been on for about 80% of the time since I got it. It is an amazing device!

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Stevenage
    Posts
    89
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts

    Re: Next step with my home setup?

    I'm in a somewhat similar position to you sparkle (albeir without the outlook and some other requirements you've specified!)...
    For the moment, Ive decided to use a landisk (35 quid from maplins) and stuck in a 500g hd in there.
    Its connected to my wireless router, and I can access the landisk from both my pc and laptop, by network drive mapping. However a constraint to this approach is that there is no raid (the landisk does have a usb port but I recall the option of connecting a usb external disk for extra storage/raid not being an option?).
    At the moment it suits my needs, but, with my concern for lack of raid, I am being slowly tempted to get the N5200 (perhaps over the ReadyNAS NV), not sure which one is better at this time...
    Steve perhaps you had the same quandary?

    Another option to go for is the ASUS WL-700gE Router (the wonderbox).
    This device can do raid 0 or 1 (by connecting a usb external drive off its usb port).
    It has an inbuilt 164 gig or thereabouts hd.
    Features: FTP server, webserver, photo server, independent download via HTTP, FTP and BitTorrent, iTunes and UPnP AV media server, print server, webcam host, storage server for external USB hard disks...
    However, for me, Raid 1 isnt enough.... Cost of 1Tb drives is a bit prohibitive compared to 500G, and 500g of space simply isnt enough for my needs...

    Personally Im sorely tempted to get either a N5200 or ReadyNAS NV+ (want loads of fault tolerant space - Raid 5), before my landisk fails and ive lost all my storage data!! The price at the moment is the only thing, but I feel my arm being twisted too...

    I hope my ramblings are of some help to you sparkle.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    9
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts

    Re: Next step with my home setup?

    All ramblings appreciated

    I'm going to focus on replacing the PC as step 1, but make sure I leave enough room for either a NAS or a headless server if I decide to go down that route. I've been looking at the size of the enclosure, and if I want to put all of that technology into such as small space, I'll need to go with a shuttle case. Still refining the spec but it will feature a quad-core CPU and a decent GPU.

    As far as NAS devices go, if I do get one, it'll be the Thecus. However the idea of having an always-on, full-blown server facility is appealing - difficult to justify undoubtedly, but appealing non-the-less!

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. need some ideas for a multi-room home cinema/audio setup
    By scottyman in forum Consumer Electronics
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 23-08-2008, 02:43 PM
  2. Surround Sound Setup
    By Brodieman in forum Consumer Electronics
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 14-03-2005, 12:24 PM
  3. Small Home Network Setup Problems
    By ToxicPanda in forum Help! Quick Relief From Tech Headaches
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-09-2004, 11:36 PM
  4. Sony DVD and 5.1 Setup bargain
    By Zak33 in forum Consumer Electronics
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 17-01-2004, 05:05 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •