Latest Computer build: RAID fileserver and media center

Had the idea in my head for a while now about doing a fileserver build to put all my media in one place. This includes years of movies, music and TV shows along with about 100GB of music rips. The goals of this were pretty simple:

  • Have some form of redundancy, most likely in a RAID 1 or RAID 5 format
  • Have enough horsepower to stream movies/videos on the fly, including conversions
  • Have enough storage for all my current collection (~1.5TB) and future

At this point, I had some extra components lying around and got a sweet deal on an ASUS 990X motherboard and a set of 6 hard drives. Let’s get to the specs:

  • ASUS 990X Sabertooth motherboard
  • Corsaid 500W PSU
  • Mushkin 240GB SSD
  • (6) 750GB WD Black hard drives
  • AMD 3.5GHz 8-Core CPU
  • Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler
  • AMD 7770 GPU card with 2GB GDDR5 RAM
  • Rosewill Stealth tower
  • (2) Inline SATA power cords
  • (6) 90 Degree SATA cables

The biggest issue in this build was finding either a card or motherboard that could support 6+ hard drives in RAID. This motherboard supports 6 total in RAID0/1/5 and also has two additional slots. The case has 8 3.5″ hard drive slots as well along with two 120MM fans up front to keep things cool. The system runs like a champ with very little noise.

The hardware is all set up and running without issue with RAID5 for a total storage of 3.4TB for the drives and booting from the SSD. It runs cool even when streaming full HD movies over my home network in multiple file formats.

Now, software. I had a little bit of decision making to do here. The goal at its truest form is to set up an easy to use fileserver and user accounts for this. I’ve used Samba for some basic servers but user accounts quickly become a pain to maintain and set up. I went to Server 2008 R2 for this instead. The fun came when I had to get video and ethernet drives for the motherboard on this, along with the USB3 adaptors. It took some leg work but worked out well.

For streaming: I use Plex server, simple to use and maintain and accessible from anywhere. I stepped up and for the $5/month PlexPass account to stream from my phone and iPod touch to my Chromecasts at home as well and everything works beautifully, even at full HD over Wifi or over the internet. All in all: I’d say this worked out pretty well!

Here’s some links for additional information: