Building a Home Server/HTPC – Part 1 (Hardware)

When it comes to your digital life things are different.  These days , we use smartphone , notebooks , tablets , desktop computers. Our lives are revolving around digital stuff and part of that is making sure all of your digital stuff is kept safe and sound, but along with that is making it equally easy to access.

 

HTPC - makes your dumb TV into a smart TV  Picture taken from pablotron.org
HTPC – makes your dumb TV into a smart TV Picture taken from pablotron.org

This is where the home server comes it . Frankly , it is  is nothing new – you might be running one already,(without you know). Home server is a PC that is going to run 24/7 , keeping all of your data , files , flims , music , photos (and even porn :P) .This PC would be running 24/7, so it is always going to be on. Don’t worry about power consumption , we would be going green That’s besides providing any network capabilities or streaming servers you might like to add such as streaming to your iPhone wirelessly , PS3  etc.

 

Initially , I thought of writing on how to build a home server ,but I am going to tweak it slightly for people who are going to build a HTPC or a hybrid. In this part , basically we would be spilling out the requirement and roughly estimate the cost that needed to build one of these beasts

Requirements

Firstly you would be needing a computer. If you have old motherboard , processor laying around you could probably use it to build your own server. Again it boils down to your requirements on what you plan to do with your server. If it is just a simple file server that backs up your important documents , picture probably your old Pentium 4/Pentium 3 computer could do the job. If you want to do streaming of movies that you have downloaded to your PS3 or your iPad , you would probably need a modern computer.

 

Anyway , I have spelled out and calculated on how much it would cost. We are talking about a decent home server which allows us to stream music/photos/movies ,back up and a decent HTPC

The first one is people who are looking for pure servers , it would not be connected to HDTV , so we are not focusing on graphics card

 

Roughly you would be needing around MYR/RM 1200-MYR/RM 2000 to build your own file server/HTPC or a hybrid. We will also make an assumption that for pure home servers that there is no need for DVD drive and the installation of OS can be done via USB

 

Price is obtained from this site  . This is a rough guide feel free to tweak based on your requirements


pure home server

Purpose : backing up/centralized storage/streaming server

  • Intel Core G465 – RM108
  • ASROCK B75M-DGS – RM199
  • Corsair DDR3 4GB PC1333 – RM94
  • WD SATA 3 1TB drive X 2 = RM 376 (RM 188 each)
  • 500GB SATA 3 SEAGATE – RM159 – OS Drive
  • Silverstone Strider 600W – RM279
  • Simple casing – RM 60/RM 50 (you could get an expensive casing if you wish)

TOTAL COST : RM 1285.00

Additional Information : You may swap the processor for Intel Core i3 (if you plan to do media streaming , aka stream your downloaded shows to your PS3) , that would inccur an additional RM 300. If you want to save further you may remove one of the hard disk  (either the OS drive or the additional 1GB).

It boils down to your requirement , feel free to adjust or you may even consult me by leaving a comment or sending me a tweet !

 

PURE HTPC

Purpose : Connecting it to HDTV , watching your favorite shows (in HD or not HD) /pictures with family members or friends , streaming online content , reading news in the big screen.

To know more about my HTPC experience , click here to read

 

  • Intel Core i3 3220-  RM345
  • ASROCK B75M-DGS – RM199
  • Corsair DDR3 4GB PC1333 – RM94
  • WD SATA 3 1TB drive = RM 188 (media drive)
  • Crucial SSD  – RM229- (OS Drive)
  • Silverstone Strider 600W – RM279
  • Simple casing – RM 60/RM 50 (you could get an expensive casing HTPC casing)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT610 – RM 159
  • Windows Media Centre Remote – RM 69 (you may grab it from here)
  • Logitech K400r Keyboard – RM 122 (Wireless Keyboard with trackpad , you can sit back in the couch and navigate)
  • HP Blu-Ray Drive – RM 200

TOTAL : RM 1715 (add RM 270 if you plan to purchase Windows 7 Home Premium)

 

Additional Information : To cut down further you may remove SSD or remove the need for Remote Control or get a cheaper Wireless Keyboard as well. The remote control helps when you want to pause/play/rewind quickly. Alternatively you may opt for AMD if you wish to cut down on graphics card cost and processor cost or replace the blu-ray with a DVD ROM drive

 

HYBRID

Purpose : Best of both worlds

 

  • Intel Core i3 3220-  RM345
  • ASROCK B75M-DGS – RM199
  • Corsair DDR3 2X 4GB PC1333 – RM188 (RM 94 each)
  • WD SATA 3 1TB drive X 2 = RM 376 (RM 188 each)
  • Crucial SSD  – RM229- (OS Drive)
  • Silverstone Strider 600W – RM279
  • Simple casing – RM 60/RM 50 (you could get an expensive casing HTPC casing)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT610 – RM 159
  • Logitech K400r Keyboard – RM 122 (Wireless Keyboard with trackpad , you can sit back in the couch and navigate)
  • HP Blu-Ray Drive – RM 200

TOTAL : RM 2157 (add RM 270 if you plan to purchase Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 8 )

 

Additional Information : To cut down further on your budget  you may want to replace SSD with a normal HD or get a different wireless keyboard. You may also many want to reduce your RAM or replace blu-ray drive with dvd-writer

 

NAS vs HTPC/Home Server vs Media Streamer/Player 

A NAS is a network area storage generally you could grab one for RM 500 and add hard disks. It allows you to torrent , act as a file streamer , music streamer . There are lots of downsides , for instance your support is limited. You can’t do much , in other words you can’t expand. With a Home server aka PC you can expand. As your home network grows you can add more memory or get a larger disk for your server and it would cost cheaper in the long run.

 

As for Media streamer , it is only great if you have a NAS or a home server whereby you could stream your content. However you are still limited in a way that you can’t stream Spotify or Hulu without getting a premium account. With a HTPC , you could load up Spotify and stream for full. Plus with a full blown PC , you got a lot of options to tweak on the audio or video.

If you are looking for something simple but don’t mind the limited functionality , you may go for Media streamer or NAS. If you want full power

 

Oh one more thing….

Do read my next segment on Operating Systems for your HTPC/Home Server

 

Alternatively feel free to post a comment or tweet me

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