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Thread: NAS vs PC?

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    ta2
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    NAS vs PC?

    I currently have a desktop PC with a RAID0 (2x250) and a RAID5 (4x750). I would like to move those four 750's into a dedicated box for three reasons:

    1. Protection from malware accidentally being run on the host PC.
    2. Independence of RAID from changes to drivers/operating system on the host PC.
    3. Performance?

    Are these reasons valid? I have looked around and found that you can get a 4-bay RAID5 NAS box for £300 (a bit pricey?). I would be using this box for media storage, so there would be no hard drive thrashing of any kind. I am wondering whether it would be better to buy a cheap PC (anything less than £300 beats the NAS box, ofc) instead:

    Would have another HDD to run the host operating system on the dedicated PC
    Integrated Motherboard RAID vs Dedicated PCI-E RAID, which is best performance? What is the price-performance for each?
    Which Operating System (performance-wise) would be best for this NAS box (SMB networking)?

    Any thoughts or advice are much appreciated!


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    Last edited by ta2; 07-03-2008 at 02:20 PM. Reason: Accidental smiley

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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    Performance no. You will more likely see a drop in performance in accessing data on thoise drives, especially if the NAS box you choose isn't very powerful.

    And when you move up from single or twin drive NAS boxes the price does go up a good step.

    I have two Thecus N5200Pros and they are about the most powerful NAS boxes of their type on the market. They max out at about 30MB/sec apparently. That is using gigabit networkign and jumbo frames enabled on the NAS, the client PC and support in any other network gear the data is passing through.

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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    I use a NAS box just because it's cheaper to run than keeping a PC on all the time and quieter. I think Thecus as pointed out are some of the best NAS boxes around for home use.

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    Herr Doktor Oetker, ja!!! pollaxe's Avatar
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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    I have a Thecus N4100+ NAS box. I'm quite happy with it, it's set-up as RAID 5 at the moment. I chose it for space/power consumption reasons. I have it switch itself off at night and back on again at 17:30 during the week (I daresay you could do this with a PC too) but it sits nicely between my monitor and sloping ceiling which I definitely couldn't do with a PC.

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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    I opted for a cheap Ideq (sff) PC - the whole thing cost about £150 including a crappy raid card. If you wanted a decent one it'd still only cost you £200-£250 which as you say is cheaper than the top of the range NAS boxes.

    I can see the appeal of slightly smaller, lower power NAS box but as you say a small PC is cheaper and is much more flexible.
    Last edited by Templar87; 07-03-2008 at 05:09 PM.

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    Jay
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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    I just use an old AMD64 skt 754 3200+ system but I have a copy of 2003 server retail so I don't have to worry about the OS.

    My server uses about 98W idle. In work I use a Thecus NAS Box and its very good but I love me Terminal Services, TVersity etc so I don't really want to run a NAS box at home, plus a good box can cost over £500
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    Pedandic mo-fo IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    I've got 2 NAS boxes, both Lacie, a 1tb and a 500gb and as mentioned above the performance isn't what I was expecting in all honesty. On my 100mb home network they max out at around 8mb which is better then USB connected but still pretty dire considering they are both gigabit boxes. However once the data in on the box then I personally don't notice any slowdown, I run VMs off the 500gb and use the 1tb for backups and archiving.

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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    They might be gigabit boxes, but you are connecting to them at 100mbit.

    With protocal overhead etc, 8MB is about right.

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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    I run a linux based webserver which is on 24x7 so it makes sense to double that up as a file server (not ideal from an sy perspective - it took some careful configuration and risk assessment).

    It takes about 100W without the monitor, but is very fast - particularly since I upgraded to a core Gigabit lan - and considerably more versatile than a NAS box (at the moment it is also running a mailserver, although that may move to a dedicated machine at some point) It uses RAID one and is backed up to a tape drive. It also has the capability of doing media streaming, although that isn't implemented at the moment. (Sound is streamed off a hacked NSLU2)

    Perhaps the device that would come near it is the HP home server, which runs a cut down version of MS server 2003. But it costs around £460 from Amazon - far more than a simple linux box.
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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    Setting up a linux server is an idea I had toyed with, but I just don't have the time on inclination to learn linux and spent the time messing about with the configuration. I wish I did

    Oh and I also thought of using Server 2003 as I have lincenes for that, but again, I don't really have the time for it. And being PC based would mean I would want to fiddle with it, a NAS box doesn't have the flexability, so I leave it alone

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    Jay
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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    Funkstar once you have your server setup and running as you want you won't want to mess with it.

    I built my serverusing parts from the for sale forum on here, must have cost about £300 and it has 2 x 500GB RAID 0, 2 x 320GB RAID 0 and 1 x 80GB, Server 2003, TVersity, FileZilla, Utorrent, phpSysInfo.

    It streams media to my MediaCenter in the Living room, to my Xbox 360, hosts Linux Torrents, gives me full access to a remote desktop via terminal services, holds all my CCTV recordings, stores all my general downloads, drivers, system images and saves me messing up the hard drives in my gaming system. It even streams my pictures to my Digital picture frame.
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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    Jay - how much was server 03 for you?

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    Jay
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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    Its retail standard with 5 COAs and it was about £800 at the time but I would buy home server If I was you as you don't really need 2003 server, it just that I had it from a server build that has been chenged over to Linux.
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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    What extra features does a server edition of windows give you btw?

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    Jay
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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    Active Directory, DHCP, DNS, unlimited connections, no uPNP and loads of other features
    Last edited by Jay; 08-03-2008 at 05:08 PM.
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    Re: NAS vs PC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    Active Directory, DHCP, DNS, unlimited connections, no uPNP and loads of other features
    Useful for a small-medium office, but a bit OTT for a home file server eh?

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