HD movies storage for home network

I need to store 1080p videos and access them on my home network. Should I buy NAS (seagate or western digital) or buy used P-4 computer attach hard drive. How many hard drives can be installed on P-4 computer or NAS?

Unraid http://lime-technology.com/ is also a good option.

NAS is more expensive, but if you have the money, then it's probably a better option to go for. I used a much cheaper alternative which was to get a Welland Tera external drive bay, which can support 2x2TB SATA drives. Set it up as RAID 0 or 1 if you prefer and connect via eSata. The amount of desk space or clutter may be something you want to avoid though, for which you could setup a NAS.

This here is an interesting read if you want to consider going the NAS way http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/storage/2010/07/23/how-to-build-a-nas-box/1

Probably its a bit too late but I have just setup a home storage server using an old celeron processor and an even older via chipset board.

I wouldn't recommend you to buy a drive bay or similar product due to cost / updatability reasons. If you are only going to house 2 harddisks at most and not a very tech savy guy, an hard drive enclosure would be a plug n play option.

But just use any old desktop lying around to build your self your own server. Mine has 4 sata ports, out of which I am using 2 at the moment. I installed ubuntu on it.

You may also be interested in something called DLNA protocol. Google it. I use a DLNA freeware mediatomb. It streams movies on my computer to my android mobile just like youtube using my home wifi network. You can autoconfigure torrents to be downloaded. You can access this server from work / mobile using a ton of software. If you have an older PC lying around you may probably build it for almost no cost like me or buying an old celeron board with processor would usually be cheaper than a drive bay in anycase. :)

Cheers.

Joji

For the sake of argument, I use a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo with 2 x 1 TB hard drives for movie streaming to all my HD media players (3 in total) plus my wife's iPhone/iPad and my own Android. I had someone bring it for me from the US, cost me around $120 three years back. Have never had an issue with it, just takes a bit of trivial know-how for initial setup but then its pretty much self-reliant. You can set it up for RAID redundancy or JBOD (which is what I have chosen). It also offers an FTP server for hosting files for online access, built-in torrent downloader and various streaming protocols.

You may actually enjoy building a home media server yourself and may even save some money overall, but obviously nothing beats the convenience or reliability of an off-the-shelf good product.

@joji & @dark-man

Thanks for your guidance.

Well I am not very tech savvy. I want a cheaper and reliable(don't have to configure again and again). In the local market (online) I have not found any NAS for less than 20K. I think NAS is very convenient but expensive solution although it is my first choice if i can find cheaper price. I will search the price of second hand computer also two 1TB hard drives. Also is Celeron computer is enough for streaming Full HD contents. I have installed windows but is Linux easy to install (including drivers).

Thanks again guys.

If watching movies is your target (not high demand file/database server) then it's easy, secure and inexpensive, only if you don't go for big shopping:

1) Get a second-hand used PC. Pentium 4 will be good. You can even use P4 Celeron processor too but genuine Pentium 4 of at least 2.53Mhz or more gives more better results (at least in my experience).

2) If motherboard doesn't support SATA version of your target HDD then get a PCI card for SATA. (if you are using SATA II HDD then get SATA II card).

3) Get ordinary HDD of one size. But at least 3 of them. 4 or 5 will be more better (but be sure that your SATA card can attach all those HDDs). For example, at least three 1 TB HDD.

4) Get a small HDD for your OS. A 120GB or even 80GB will be large enough for any future software that you may add. I have even used 20GB and was pretty satisfied. If you are using Pentium 4 machine then this OS HDD can be PATA (it can be a second-hand used HDD).

5) Install FreeNAS (http://freenas.org/) in that computer. If you are unconformable/inexperience with Linux get Windows 2008 Server.

6) Prepare software RAID 5 using those 3 large SATA HDDs.

7) Allow network access to that RAID 5 so that anyone on your network (LAN) can read/write to that RAID 5. (on Windows, create a folder and share it to everyone with full access).

8) Enjoy your RAID 5.

9) If in future any of the HDD fails then you can easily replace that HDD and reconstruct RAID 5 without loosing any data.

10) Preferably, dedicate this machine to RAID 5 only. Do not do anything else. But I have even ran a small HTTP/FTP server on it and even a small database server, just for fun (after all it was on my private LAN).

11) Remember to put an UPS on this machine.

Read more information about RAID 5, FreeNAS and software RAID on wikipedia and google.

I always recommend Software RAID 5 because it is much cheaper than hardware RAID and less hardware dependent. A Pentium 4 machine can easily handle all the necessary calculation for RAID 5. Don't go for RAID 0 or RAID 1 because RAID 5 gives you best results for your money (and HDDs).

The WD NAS may be an option worth considering as well, minimal hassle and not too pricey as well.