Saturday 31 May 2014

Current Build

Over two years ago, I wrote a blog entry that outlined my objectives in embarking on the MediaServer8 project;

- Centralised storage for media files
- Time Machine Backup Server
- Work File Storage
- Snatching
- Media Playback
- Whole House Audio
- Live TV Distribution / PVR

At the time, I had an unRAID  NAS system for file storage and Plex serving and was contemplating a move to Windows Server 8. Now, I've got pretty much all of the above set up in a single machine, and more.

I've been interested in whole-house a/v since we started planning our renovation over 12 years ago and I've been through system after system, technology after technology. Some worked well, some not at all. However, all were defined by a lack of unity. I could have a great HTPC system but it wouldn't integrate well with whole house audio or lighting control or mass storage or whatever.

Friday 30 May 2014

If I was building again...

If I was re-building my unified whole house media server today, I think I would be using the following core components;

Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7 Motherboard
This is a step up from the UD5 currently in my system but crucially replaces the PCIe x1 slot with a full-length slot. This would allow me add an additional PCIe graphics card and therefore a 3rd client system with GPU passthrough.

AMD FX8350 Black Edition 8 Core Processor (4.0/4.2G)
This is the CPU I have right now and have no problems with it whatsoever. It's running the base unRAID / Xen OS plus multiple guest VMs with ease. Very impressed.

Monday 19 May 2014

A Productive Weekend

I got some more time this weekend to play with the MediaServer8 box and to address a few issues;

I expanded my array from 6TB storage to 11TB with the addition of a 4TB parity drive (Seagate NAS), a 4TB data drive (HGST) and an additional 1TB WD Green. My case is now full with 12 drives, 10 dedicated to the array and 2 for TV timeshiftimg and storage.

With 4TB in place as parity, I'm set to gradually replace all my 1TB drives meaning I'll be able to get up to 32TB with my current set up.

I transferred the replaced 1TB parity to act as parity in my old 32 bit Xeon unRAID server which is now packed with 500GB drives. It's acting as a backup of critical data such as work files etc.

While I had the system out on the bench, I took the opportunity to do a spot of re-cabling, tidying up some unsightly runs and fixing an issue I had with power intermittently failing to my satellite tuner cards. (turned out that it was a poor molex adapter where pins were not seated correctly - what a crappy standard that is!