hey guys,

wanted to get some advice here on a NAS box.

Planning on converting an old unused PC into a media box, backup box, and general server. Specs are P4 2.4Ghz, Radeon 9550/X1050, 100MB ethernet and 4-6 USB plugs (2 need fixing). More than powerful enough :)

Original Plan was to keep the PC's original 80GB hard drive, and add my external 500GB 3.5 inch drive along with an new (enroute) 500GB drive, and boot FreeNAS either from the 80GB drive or from a small old USB drive. Router functions not needed (as I use a WRT54g) though.

This would allow standard access to all the files from any computer on the network

However, I want to beable to stream media from this box, as well as possibly use the box as a stand-alone media player (by plugging in screen/speakers when needed) and I understand that FreeNAS cant do either of these.

Sooooo seems like I'm going to have to go for a Linux Distro which is geared towards doing these things. My question is which one does all these things? have seen different distros aimed at being a printer server, NAS, and media SEPERATELY, but unsure what can deal with all of these requests without having to go too hardcore (im a linux newbie really). Prefer something which works like freeNAS - with remote web based access etc.

Other question is whether I should go for RAID config.... I kinda like the idea of a 1TB server (500Gb + 500GB) , but if I go RAID, i can only have 500GB (+ 80GB).

 Is RAID a real advantage? I kinda value my data but most of it can be recovered from original media discs etc .. .. just a REAL hassle. If dont go RAID, how would I back up the server?

Any advice appreciated here.

Thanks for your time