Hi There,

I'm looking at setting up a file server or NAS for my home/office.

At the moment I'm using an Apple Airport Extreme with two USB HD's plugged in for time machine backups and as a media/file server.

The system works well but the USB 2.0 is a real bottleneck as far as speed is concerned.

I'm looking for advice as to what hardware I should invest in to achieve the following :

  • Relatively fast file serving for work files (approx 70GB now but will grow to 200GBish). These will also be backed up to cloud or another drive eventually.
  • Media serving of up to 1TB of my Video backups for XBMC through my Apple TV.
  • Backup two Macbook Pro Laptops regularly. One is 628GB Data, the other is 256GB Data.

My Available Equipment :

  • 1.5TB WD Elements USB HD
  • 500GB WD Elements USB HD
  • 1TB Seagate 7200RPM 3.5" Sata
  • 500GB Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 7200RPM 3.5"
  • 320GB Seagate 7200RPM 3.5" Sata
  • Old desktop PC - AMD Athlon 64 X@ 5200+, 1GB Ram, Asus M2N board (raid 0,1,0+1,5)
  • Apple Airport Extreme (Dual band, Gigabit, Wireless-N)

I'd like to reuse existing gear if I can. My budget would be around $500 max for new equipment at this stage.

Is it worth going down the route of Raid 1 or Raid 5 for my purposes? Uptime and performance will not be a huge concern and I can always get another External HD for backup purposes.

So far I'm thinking :

  • Keep the external hard drives and Airport Extreme for backing up laptops.
  • Use my 1TB drive for media
  • Use my 500GB drive for work files
  • Purchase either an additional external drive for backing up the server, or additional internal drives.
For software I was thinking Ubuntu or perhaps FreeNAS.

Any thoughts, opinions, recommendations would be very much appreciated.