I had been dipping my toes into Usenet, SABnzbd, and CouchPotato the last few days. (Also SickRage, but not very successfully) They are really a great way to manage personal media files, and together with Plex can be a very powerful combination.
But these are all services that have to be running 24/7, which means my desktop cannot be turned off and it is consuming about 250Wh all the time.
This, and the fact my puny QNAP is running RAID 0 and is running out of space, led to the idea of building a powerful home-built FreeNAS box that manages the media end-to-end, including storing and serving them up to the 2 Rokus and iPad/Android running Plex clients.
The only branded NAS box I can find that might be able to transcode multiple (2-3) HD stream is QNAP TVS-471 with i3 processor . But wow, that thing is expensive at $1,089 without drives!
After some research, I am concluding in the following build, which a local shop is getting assembled. Of these, the motherboard is the most exotic and hard to find. (Not many server boards in retail shops, and certainly not Mini ITX ones)
Excluding the drives, this build come down to about $700. This is a substantial savings on the QNAP box, and is also a lot more powerful and flexible. This is the stuffs that put smiles on the face of system builders.
- Xeon E3-1231v3 (Passmark: 9600) vs the QNAP’s Core i3-4150 3.5 GHz (Passmark: 4900)
- 16GB ECC RAM vs 4GB Non-ECC
- 6 drives support vs 4
- FreeNAS vs QTS
- PDMI (courtesy of the ASRock E3C226D2I motherboard)
I wanted to sound smart and say RAID-Z2 vs RAID6 as another benefit. But I don’t really understand them enough. (An interesting read on this topic here.
The QNAP TVS-471 does have several advantage over my above build, including 4 Ethernet ports (What for?), HDMI out (This will sit in a closet), hot-swappable drive bays, and it will consume less power than the Xeon build without a question. It is also smaller at 7.5 litre vs 19.5 litre of the Node 304 case.