• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."
  • Community Question: What makes a good motherboard?

Replacing my old HTPC: Recommendations for SSD/NAS

dirtyreyes

Junior Member
Jun 17, 2013
7
0
0
I've been using an old PC as both a home server and HTPC for a few years now and it finally crapped out on me so I've decided to replace it. I had it hooked up to some external HDDs for storing my media and use Windows 7 to browse the internet, pull up Netflix/Hulu, and run torrents. This worked pretty well for allowing us to watch stuff on the TV or to access it from our laptops. I've got it set up in my office which happens to be on the other side of my TV so I can just pass the HDMI and USB cables through the wall to my living room and don't have to worry too much about noise or aesthetics. I don't really do any video transcoding or capture or play any games on it, so I'm hoping I can get away with not having a dedicated GPU.

Went ahead and ordered the following components...
Case: SilverStone GD06B Micro-ATX - http://amzn.to/1bMRqrn
Mobo: ASRock H77M - http://amzn.to/17SuGsJ
CPU: Intel Core i3 3225 @ 3.3GHz - http://amzn.to/17fROSK
Memory: G. Skill Ripjaws 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600 - http://amzn.to/11K49X3
PS: Antec EA-380D - http://amzn.to/19d8l70

I plan to start out by just using my existing 500GB HDD and connecting the same external USB drives to get it up and running. However, shortly after this I am hoping to upgrade to an SSD for the OS and few programs it runs (VLC, browser, sickbeard) and getting a dedicated NAS to handle storing my media as well as hopefully doing some local backups for our family photos/videos and the files on our laptops.

Does anyone have any recommendations for what SSDs might go well with this setup? I figure a max of 128GB would give me the headroom I need but I've never used an SSD so I don't know what to look for.

Any recommendations on the NAS? I have a friend who raves about a Synology device... are these generally good enough for doubling up as a media server and backup repository?

Finally, any and all feedback on my setup would be very appreciated. This is my first time building an HTPC specifically (though I have experience building my own PCs in the past) so any advice would be welcomed.

Thanks!
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,214
38
91
Any decent SSD would be a good choice... you can pick any of the mainstream choices like Samsung, Crucial, Intel or Plextor. There are others that are probably just as good, I'm not familiar with them and, personally, I'd just spend the extra few dollars to get known reliability.

I don't think with that processor and Intel CPU fan you will have problems with the tall heatsinks on your Ripjaws RAM, but in a tighter case it may be an issue.

The CPU is probably overkill for your purposes, but it is certainly adequate as is the iGPU.

Can't help you on the NAS stuff, though....
 

dirtyreyes

Junior Member
Jun 17, 2013
7
0
0
Thanks, Charlie98. I based my components off of Assassin's stickied guide, so I'm hoping that means everything will fit without a problem. I'm definitely willing to spend a bit more for a known name as I'm not really on a tight budget here.
 

spencers

Senior member
Aug 21, 2003
459
0
76
The HTPC specs look great since you plan to separate HTPC from NAS.

Get a NAS that can run sickbeard so you can pull that stuff off your HTPC. Leave the HTPC for viewing, and the NAS for serving.
 

thestrangebrew1

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2011
3,050
175
106
A 128gb ssd would work fine with your setup, especially if you're not going to be gaming on it. I have a 128gb samsung 840 in both my htpcs and they work really well. A thing to note, at least for me, for an htpc I don't see any performance increase switching from an hd to an ssd. Sure it boots up a lot faster, enough of a justification for me to switch to an ssd (my wife's impatient when it comes to tech) so it works out, but if you're happy with the 500gb hd for just some small programs and the OS, it'd work well too. I don't run anything on my htpcs except for xbmc, so 128gb is plenty of space.
 

dirtyreyes

Junior Member
Jun 17, 2013
7
0
0
Thanks for the replies. I went a little nuts and ordered a bunch of upgrades...
* 128gb 840 Pro SSD (for the HTPC)
* Synology DS1512+ and 2x WD RED 3TB drives
* RT-N66U and 8-port Gigabit Switch (was not on gigabit wired on my old router)

Going to be a fun weekend assuming it all gets here in time!
 

thestrangebrew1

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2011
3,050
175
106
Thanks for the replies. I went a little nuts and ordered a bunch of upgrades...
* 128gb 840 Pro SSD (for the HTPC)
* Synology DS1512+ and 2x WD RED 3TB drives
* RT-N66U and 8-port Gigabit Switch (was not on gigabit wired on my old router)

Going to be a fun weekend assuming it all gets here in time!
Nice! Yea you'll have a good time this weekend putting all your toys together!
 

LoveMachine

Senior member
May 8, 2012
491
3
81
A thing to note, at least for me, for an htpc I don't see any performance increase switching from an hd to an ssd. Sure it boots up a lot faster, enough of a justification for me to switch to an ssd (my wife's impatient when it comes to tech) so it works out, but if you're happy with the 500gb hd for just some small programs and the OS, it'd work well too. I don't run anything on my htpcs except for xbmc, so 128gb is plenty of space.
Depending on the situation, SSDs do have advantages beyond boot speed. If the HTPC is near your viewing position, even a quiet HDD emits a bit of that scratchy disk noise. SSDs have no moving parts, so normal OS operations make for a silent experience. Even if there is a media storage HDD in the system, streaming a movie would just make an occasional blip. I had to switch to a mechanical drive (WD green which is fairly quiet) for a bit during an RMA, and background OS task noise drove me bonkers. But I'm also easily annoyed, so perhaps all this is moot.
 

dirtyreyes

Junior Member
Jun 17, 2013
7
0
0
Thankfully my living room and office share a wall (which is where my TV is mounted) so I was able to put a hole between them which is how I keep my HTPC in the office and run the HDMI to the receiver and the USB for keyboard/mouse, so noise shouldn't be much of an issue.

Went with the SSD anyway because with the NAS doing all the big storage I figure 128gb SSD plus the 500gb HDD is plenty of onboard for the HTPC.
 

dirtyreyes

Junior Member
Jun 17, 2013
7
0
0
spencers, you'd mentioned I should get a NAS that can run sickbeard to move that off the HTPC. One thing I've been considering is setting up Plex and I was aiming to run the Plex Media Server on the HTPC itself because I'd be hard-pressed to find a NAS with a CPU capable of transcoding 1080p, much less transcoding multiple high-def streams at once, where I think this HTPC should be able to perform better. Any input?
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
spencers, you'd mentioned I should get a NAS that can run sickbeard to move that off the HTPC. One thing I've been considering is setting up Plex and I was aiming to run the Plex Media Server on the HTPC itself because I'd be hard-pressed to find a NAS with a CPU capable of transcoding 1080p, much less transcoding multiple high-def streams at once, where I think this HTPC should be able to perform better. Any input?
Build a NAS and swap out the CPU to the NAS and put something a little cheaper in the HTPC?
 

dirtyreyes

Junior Member
Jun 17, 2013
7
0
0
I'm much more comfortable building an HTPC (entertainment) than a NAS (my primary backups repository), so I decided to buy a Synology DS1512+. It can run Plex Media Server, but the CPU isn't powerful enough to do 1080p transcoding. I'm wondering if I need to beef up the CPU in the HTPC (Core i3 3225 @ 3.3GHz) for it to do the transcoding or if the integrated HD4000 is enough.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Don't confuse playback and transcoding.

Your HTPC will playback without transcoding and decoding the file will be handled by the HD4000. Plex will use the CPU to transcode for your other devices that don't support the original files codec/container. The i3 should be fine for that.

It'll be a little less efficient since you'll have to run the HTPC 24/7 or at least have it on when you wanna view from other locations but it should work fine.
 

dirtyreyes

Junior Member
Jun 17, 2013
7
0
0
Awesome. One last thing... If I need Plex to transcode two 1080p streams simultaneously (ie. two people on my wifi streaming to their ipads) while I am playing back to the TV, would the i3 3225 be sufficient? (2 transcodes and 1 decode, if I understand you)
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
You'll certainly be able to playback and stream at the same time.

The ability to do mulitple streams can be dependent on the media and the playback device. A 40GB Blu-Ray Rip that has to be transcoded for a 1080p television is a lot more CPU intensive than 320p .flv file from your cell phone. The actual content makes a difference, too. High action is much tougher than simple animation.

You'll probably be OK but YMMV.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY