Feedback? - File Server / HTPC Build with 8 HDDs


Junior Member
Feb 25, 2013

I've never built a Tower before but am going whole hog into a server/HTPC combo, with 8 sata drives. My goal is to have at least 10 TBs of backed up and useable space, and to play 20gb bluray rips and battlefield 3 on medium settings at 1080p. I'm planning on using Windows 8's storage pooling for software RAID. I'm not sure if i will use RAID 1 or RAID 5 yet, but i'm sure that i want 8 trays for 3.5 HDDs. At the same time i'm trying to keep costs down. I'd like to get advice in case i'm missing something obvious with compatibility, wasting money on something, or if it doesn't make sense in any way.

Approximate Purchase Date: next week
Budget Range: $400-$800 without HDDs
System Usage from Most to Least Important: file server, HTPC, gaming
Are you buying a monitor: no
OS: Windows 8 System builder, already purchased
Preferred Website(s) for Parts:, but any is fine
Location: Los Angeles California
Parts Preferences: none
Overclocking: no
SLI or Crossfire: no
Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Here's the parts i've picked so far

NZXT Source 220, $50 [...] 6811146083
ASRock Z77 Extreme6 LGA 1155 Intel Z77, com’es with free CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB 240-Pin DDR3, $160 [...] 6813157295
Intel Core i5-2500S, $155 [...] -p-60.html
ASUS EAH6670/DIS/1GD5 Radeon HD 6670, $90 [...] 6814121442
CORSAIR HX Series HX750 750W, $140 [...] 6817139010
Samsung MMCRE28G5DXP 128GB 2.5-inch MLC Solid State SSD, $72 [...] b6tbmjqn92
Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB, $128 each, x8 is $1024 [...] DOvPAptTp0
StarTech BRACKET Metal 3.5" to 5.25" and IO Crest 2 Port SATA III PCI-Express x1 Card (to fit an extra 9th drive in the external bay), $20 [...] 7xdodnur7z [...] B005B0A6ZS

Total before HDDs (before tax and shipping): $687
Total after all HDDs (before tax and shipping): $1711

Yeesh. It's definitely more than i was hoping, but i'll just start with less than 8 harddrives and expand later. I'll start with 4 HDDs, giving me 6 TBs at RAID 1:

Total with 4 HDDs: $1199

So what do you think? Am i an idiot?


Senior member
May 8, 2012
Why the S series CPU? If you want a low thermal/power solution, the 2320 listed from StarMicro is a touch faster for the same price. The TDP might be listed as lower, but real world power draw is hardly any more under full load. Unless you are constrained by trying to go with a passive CPU cooler, there is no reason to go with S or T series processors. Also, for about the same price, you can get a 7750 video card with better performance and lower power draw.


Elite Member
Oct 13, 1999
Do you care about noise? Because all those 7200RPM HDDs in that case will be pretty noisy.

Being an HTPC as well, do you care how that case looks next to your HDTV?

I agree on the curious choice of the S series CPU.

A Radeon 6670 will disappoint if you were hoping to play Battlefield 3 on medium 1080p settings. Would be an okay framerate in an RTS or MMO, but 35FPS in a FPS isn't that great.

I would suggest at least Radeon 7850 or GeForce GTX 660 for a reasonable Battlefield 3 experience.

PSU is way overkill. If you keep the configuration as it is, your proposed system probably wouldn't use over 200W. Even with the graphics cards I recommended and a normal wattage CPU, you probably won't go over 350W. Any decent 450W PSU would be sufficient, with some headroom for however many drives you can cram in there. Look at the XFX 450W, Rosewill Capstone 450W or a SeaSonic S12II 430W or SSR-450RM 450W. They are all decent quality at reasonable prices, ranging from 80Plus Bronze to Gold. Just get whatever is cheapest at the time you are purchasing.

That SSD is an oddball and looks like an older OEM model. Samsung SSDs didn't get exciting until they hit SATA 6Gb/s. Funny how the web site states that MLC drives are not suitable for use as an OS drive.

Have you considered higher capacity 4TB HDDs? I know the $/GB is a bit higher at $205 for a Seagate similar to your 3TB choice, but you will need fewer HDDs so you won't have to buy the extra SATA controller or the 5¼" drive bay adapters, plus your power needs will be even less. Seagate specifies that their HDDs use up to 8W each on average, no matter if it is a 3TB or 4TB drive. Note that this isn't spin-up wattage, which can be up to double when you first power up the machine. However, your GPU won't be loaded when you first power up the machine, so it is a wash. It will cost you $1230 for six 4TB HDDs, or $206 more, minus the drive bay and SATA card stuff. It would also leave you more room for expansion. If you are willing to shop at places other than Newegg (as evidenced by your SSD choice) you can get the 4TB HDD for as low as $185 or so, making it $1110 or $106 more before SATA card/drive bay.


Junior Member
Feb 25, 2013
Thanks for all the awesome comments!

I hear you on the CPU and the GPU. For the GPU now i was thinking about the GTX 650 Ti. Would that work okay? And i was reading about budget gaming machines and i'm thinking that the CPU is a bit overkill. Would the Intel Pentium G850 (Sandy Bridge): 2.9 GHz work? And how do we feel about Planetside 2 in this scenario?

I only picked that PSU because it has more than 9 sata power connectors. With the SSD and the 8 HDDs that makes 9, and i might use another external tray for 10 even. This sata problem has actually derailed my original plans of more budget build and opting for a touch of gaming. The reason I chose that motherboard and that PSU is purely for the sata connectors, then i figured i should rock up the rest. If there is a cheaper solution for the sata connectors then i'll happily bump the whole thing down and leave the gaming for another day with a proper build.

Which brings us to the Case and heating issue. I've gotten a bit smitten with that tower and it's price. I actually really like the way it looks. The snowballing affect i mentioned above leads me to light gaming, so if this is a thermal issue with my plans then hell, i'll get a full tower. Hopefully there is one at that price point that i like the look of. I'd rather add tons of fans to the existing case, though, if that would be adequate. Is it? And noise...well, you can't have it all...I've slowly been accepting noise as my one flexpoint, but if there is a simple solution for not tons more money, then i'm down.


Sep 20, 2003
one thing - windows 8 storage spaces in parity mode are excruciatingly slow for writes. i'm talking 15-20mb/s here. not a dealbreaker but not fun when you're trying to copy over a 20gb bluray rip either. i switched my bluray storage to a simple space (much faster) that is backed up offsite.


Junior Member
Feb 25, 2013
Right on. I actually got into the whole RAID array issue on another forum, and i think im gonna just not RAID at all and do a regular backup using a nightly push, with some simple software. RAIDs sound bad when it comes to system failure recovery.


Senior member
Feb 17, 2010
I would definitely try to get a quad core because the turbo will help out in many cases where you're not loaded up on threads and as a general rule of thumb since you're exploring gaming. You definitely don't need more than a 380-450W PSU as long as it's good quality. Consider finding a Radeon 7750 since they'll be about the same price but quite a bit faster while drawing comparable power.

See if you can wait for the 3TB Caviar Reds to go on sale. I have a 3TB Red and a 3TB Barracuda and while I'm happy with the Barracuda (it's not that loud and I consider myself pretty picky), the Caviar Red is definitely quieter. I paid $89 for the Barracuda and $119 for the Red (should have maybe gotten two).

My media PC is more power hungry than yours (older 95W quad core, Radeon 4830) and with 6 hard drives and an SSD, I don't think I've gotten my kill-a-watt to increase by more than 150W from idle - more like 50W for movies etc.


Feb 6, 2002
If you have raid that large you need a backup. If one dive gives out then what?

The more drives you have in a raid, the more likely it will have a problem.