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222 posts

Master Geek


#175238 22-Jun-2015 17:59
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I have severeal home computing 'needs' which I'd like to solve in one out of the box purchase

-HTPC
-NAS like storage
-Remote desktop access

Motivation:
1. Current streaming from my single 1 TB (slow?) WDMybooklive NAS to hacked appleTV 2 with Kodi is struggling and stuttering with HD content.
1a. 1TB is full
2. my surface RT hasn't justified it's purchace during the height of the tablet craze, (if only it was a surface3! Adopted that one too early). My final attempt at making it useful is as a remote desktop client to a powerful windows 8/10 machine
3. Only full windows left in the house is an 8 year old laptop (Windows 10 Preview!) (wife's macbooc pro is self-imposed off limits for windows booting)

I haven't looked at home desktops in years mostly because of travelling. More settled now, and with advances in tech and the growing collection of harddrives lying around that I'm keen to 'consolidate'... I'm thinking I'll go for a NUC and plug in a usb hub full of drives?

Alternatives I should consider?

If NUC, which configuration, to balance power consumption and heat/noise with raw power/future proofing?


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2566 posts

Uber Geek


  #1329426 22-Jun-2015 18:06
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With needing reasonable levels of storage, I'd probably look at an HP Microserver, as having a bunch of USB drives hanging off a USB hub just seems too problematic for my liking. To each his own, though.

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  #1329445 22-Jun-2015 18:47
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Synology NAS streaming to the apple tv or directly tto TV depending on the tv.

QNAP do a nas with hdmi output ?

The software you want to run on htpc could limit you.


A.

 
 
 
 


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  #1329449 22-Jun-2015 18:53
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Firstly, I'm not sure that a "slow MybookLive" is the cause of the stuttering. I have one and it's plenty fast enough to keep up with streaming - it can serve the data at a much higher bitrate than my media players need. I suspect that the problem is more your network connection. If you are trying to stream over WiFi, I would be doubly suspicious of this. So, firstly, try an actual wired ethernet cable to see if it fixes the problem, as if it's network related then no amount of speeding up the server will solve the issue. I had the same issue, and moved to ethernet over powerline, which fixed it.

For NAS like storage, I would just get an actual NAS and configure it for RAID to reduce exposure to drive failures. 4-bay models aren't that expensive (circa $500 plus drives) and will work just fine. A NUC with a hub full of drives is unlikely to be cheaper, will be clunky to manage and navigate, and seems a recipe for disaster and lost files when one of the drives inevitably fails.

For a HTPC it's kind of hard to have an opinion based on your post. The answer is "it depends", and what it depends on is what you are trying to accomplish. If it's just to play media then a NUC is an expensive overkill - a small android player, WD TV Live, Roku or similar will be cheaper and easier to manage and use. On the other hand f you want to run a full setup, including recording of terrestrial and satellite, capture hi-def streams run comskip to strip commercials, play optical disks etc then it may be inadequate - as you will likely want to install tuner cards and an optical drive etc. So, if you want useful advice, you need to say more about what the budget is and what you want to accomplish with it...

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  #1329469 22-Jun-2015 19:12
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The NUC is a great little unit, but is limited by the size of its (single) 2.5 inch internal HDD (1TB or possibly 2TB soon).
A remarkably good desktop PC alternative.

Synology NAS units are the best "NAS like storage" that I know.
You can have as much or as little storage as you like.
Worth every cent of their high price.

I would suggest either: a Synology NAS or: a Synology NAS plus an NUC.

[Disclosure: I use 3 x Synology NAS units (30TB each) and one i5 5th-Gen NUC*  - plus assorted PCs and switches etc.]

EDIT:  If you take the NUC plus NAS option, put a SSD in the NUC.




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cisconz
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  #1329502 22-Jun-2015 20:11
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I have a NUC with a 2 bay QNAP NAS as an iSCSI Target. The NUC has HDMI and will show HD content no worries.
I also use it as a NVR for cameras.




Hmmmm


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  #1329553 22-Jun-2015 21:26
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cisconz: I have a NUC with a 2 bay QNAP NAS as an iSCSI Target. The NUC has HDMI and will show HD content no worries.
I also use it as a NVR for cameras.


I've never found iSCSI that good on consumer grade kit, to many parts of the setup can have a little glitch and all of sudden you have a filesystem offline needing to be checked.  Much safer to use CIFS or NFS to export a filesystem handled by the NAS.



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Master Geek


  #1329931 23-Jun-2015 14:45
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JimmyH: Firstly, I'm not sure that a "slow MybookLive" is the cause of the stuttering. I have one and it's plenty fast enough to keep up with streaming - it can serve the data at a much higher bitrate than my media players need. I suspect that the problem is more your network connection. If you are trying to stream over WiFi, I would be doubly suspicious of this. So, firstly, try an actual wired ethernet cable to see if it fixes the problem, as if it's network related then no amount of speeding up the server will solve the issue. I had the same issue, and moved to ethernet over powerline, which fixed it.

For NAS like storage, I would just get an actual NAS and configure it for RAID to reduce exposure to drive failures. 4-bay models aren't that expensive (circa $500 plus drives) and will work just fine. A NUC with a hub full of drives is unlikely to be cheaper, will be clunky to manage and navigate, and seems a recipe for disaster and lost files when one of the drives inevitably fails.

For a HTPC it's kind of hard to have an opinion based on your post. The answer is "it depends", and what it depends on is what you are trying to accomplish. If it's just to play media then a NUC is an expensive overkill - a small android player, WD TV Live, Roku or similar will be cheaper and easier to manage and use. On the other hand f you want to run a full setup, including recording of terrestrial and satellite, capture hi-def streams run comskip to strip commercials, play optical disks etc then it may be inadequate - as you will likely want to install tuner cards and an optical drive etc. So, if you want useful advice, you need to say more about what the budget is and what you want to accomplish with it...


Think you are right on the network, it is wifi of course, don't have time to dig into at the moment though and am looking to blindly buy my way around it :).

Which leads to budget... cop out sorry, but as little as possible! Any purchase adds to my interest free debt I want to pay down.
I'm justifying it through needing to replace the surface rt/7year old laptop, and avoiding wasting the extra hard drives with something decent to plug into (i.e. not my router :s )

Based on reading through most replies I'm best off with three proper devices. NAS (synolgy most popular) desktop/server/HTPC (NUC has the tick/50% for HTPC) and a dedicated streaming dongle box (FireTV based on my reading 2 months ago)
But my budget is best described as 'one device'.

To answer one of your points: 'HTPC' usage I had in mind is not quite the full on beast with everything, but to fill the need of new services that don't have platform specific apps straight away, if at all (e.g. AppleTV!, but even roku etc could fall out of favour). A PC always has the browser for things like lightbox, prem league pass, neon, and is therfore able to avoid plugging in a in laptop or stuttering airplay.
Also as a free bonus: a bit of experimenting with windows apps like plex, kodi. Basically having windows's versatility, due to being generally first in line for new app dev.

I will look at improving my network set up and freeing space on the MybookLive, unfortunately this will take time and effort. ATV2-Kodi and mybooklive don't really need replacing so I'm left looking at home server/desktop with potential positioning at TV.
Thinking I might need to consider an IT rack next to the TV in the lounge and just put everything there! WAF alert...

Network over power might be worth considering, the current router/nas to lounge distance isn't huge but requires an 10m blue lan cable across the wooden floor to be tidied away after every use. (renting, so don't suggest wall cabling (hang on, I have underflor access... might actually look at that))

Additional info, my TV is 720p, not smart. Soundbar with HDMI throughput for attached devices. Logitech smart remote.

Rambling on again sorry but thanks for replies so far.

So, what model NUC? Home server/remote desktop for primary useage, audio video playback for secondary usage. Budget = $200-$700 depending on justifiable value.
Upgraded NAS will have to wait.

 
 
 
 


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  #1330276 23-Jun-2015 22:17
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Get an i3 NUC with 4GB RAM and a 120GB or larger SSD if you can afford it (everything happens MUCH faster with an SSD)
The SSD does not need to be large, because you have a NAS.
Install Win 7 or Win 8 and update to Win 10 on 29 July.




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222 posts

Master Geek


  #1331193 25-Jun-2015 10:15
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Sideface: Get an i3 NUC with 4GB RAM and a 120GB or larger SSD if you can afford it (everything happens MUCH faster with an SSD)
The SSD does not need to be large, because you have a NAS.
Install Win 7 or Win 8 and update to Win 10 on 29 July.


Thanks. Tempted to go i7 for future longevity but that may be a falacy? and i3 suits the pocket better probably
I happen to have a 120gb SSD I can use. it's in that old laptop in an attempt to extend that, but... that didn't work... so I can swap it back out.

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Ultimate Geek

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  #1331199 25-Jun-2015 10:18
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Got a 16bay rackmount storage device if you are interested...
kinda ready for Freenas too...has an IBM 1015 card...




cisconz
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  #1331203 25-Jun-2015 10:26
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BinaryLimited: Got a 16bay rackmount storage device if you are interested...
kinda ready for Freenas too...has an IBM 1015 card...


That would consume a lot of power would it not?




Hmmmm


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  #1331210 25-Jun-2015 10:32
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cisconz:
BinaryLimited: Got a 16bay rackmount storage device if you are interested...
kinda ready for Freenas too...has an IBM 1015 card...


That would consume a lot of power would it not?


my powerbill at home is 299/month max!....1 x 42u rack..2 x servers....2 x 16bay storage devices and all the other rubbish turned on at home...3 of us living at home.

I beleive that to be quite cheap compared to some people...




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  #1331243 25-Jun-2015 11:02
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groynk:
Sideface: Get an i3 NUC with 4GB RAM and a 120GB or larger SSD if you can afford it (everything happens MUCH faster with an SSD)
The SSD does not need to be large, because you have a NAS.
Install Win 7 or Win 8 and update to Win 10 on 29 July.


Thanks. Tempted to go i7 for future longevity but that may be a falacy? and i3 suits the pocket better probably
I happen to have a 120gb SSD I can use. it's in that old laptop in an attempt to extend that, but... that didn't work... so I can swap it back out.


i7 would be overkill.
i3 or i5 would be more suitable. An i3 works fine with video streaming.
The 120 GB SSD would be ideal.  (assuming that you have external data storage).

Remember that you need to install the OS from an external CDROM drive (borrow one) or a USB stick.

Please keep us posted wink




Sideface




222 posts

Master Geek


  #1331290 25-Jun-2015 12:01
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BinaryLimited:
cisconz:
BinaryLimited: Got a 16bay rackmount storage device if you are interested...
kinda ready for Freenas too...has an IBM 1015 card...


That would consume a lot of power would it not?


my powerbill at home is 299/month max!....1 x 42u rack..2 x servers....2 x 16bay storage devices and all the other rubbish turned on at home...3 of us living at home.

I beleive that to be quite cheap compared to some people...


Agree, many people seem to go nuts, but that seems a lot to me... For me last month power and gas together went up 40% to 199. 4ppl

Back on topic.
That 16 bay sounds great.. but overkill in a modest home. Are you offering it free? :P



222 posts

Master Geek


  #1331542 25-Jun-2015 16:59
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Sideface:
groynk:
Sideface: Get an i3 NUC with 4GB RAM and a 120GB or larger SSD if you can afford it (everything happens MUCH faster with an SSD)
The SSD does not need to be large, because you have a NAS.
Install Win 7 or Win 8 and update to Win 10 on 29 July.


Thanks. Tempted to go i7 for future longevity but that may be a falacy? and i3 suits the pocket better probably
I happen to have a 120gb SSD I can use. it's in that old laptop in an attempt to extend that, but... that didn't work... so I can swap it back out.


i7 would be overkill.
i3 or i5 would be more suitable. An i3 works fine with video streaming.
The 120 GB SSD would be ideal.  (assuming that you have external data storage).

Remember that you need to install the OS from an external CDROM drive (borrow one) or a USB stick.

Please keep us posted wink


Will do.

Wondering if I have suitable RAM I can salvage out of the laptop... probably an old Win Vista key too, but think the sticker faded off!

Regarding OS, is the W10 free upgrade dependant on flavour i.e W7 home vs pro vs ultimate?
Might stick to W10 preview and bide my time...

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