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marklings
2009-01-19, 01:28
I have been having my Squeezebox for about one month now and I am totally in awe of that. I listen mainly to Internet streams but I also have a respectable collection of some 5.000 Mp3 collected over the years. My server is a big powerful noisy machine running XP Pro. My next logical step would be getting a dedicated Squeezecenter server. Also I would love the ability of going 7/24 P2P with a silent / low electrical power consuming machine.

Browsing through the forum I have seen that many, probably most, of the people with same requirements came up with a NAS of sorts, QNAP, Synology, Netgera or the similar.

It strucks that for about the same money (say 300 to 400 Euros) you can buy a dedicated low power silent or quasi silent PC. TranquilPC and many others. Wouldn't that be a far superior choiche from any stand point ?

- Same low power
- Same low noise
- Same money (ballpark)

BUT

- Way more processing powerful
- Way more applications
- Way more open

It would seem to me an automatic choice; one that would out all NASes out of the market. I think I am missing something here. Could anyone advise ?

Thanks, Mark

peter
2009-01-19, 01:49
marklings wrote:
> It would seem to me an automatic choice; one that would out all NASes
> out of the market. I think I am missing something here. Could anyone
> advise ?
>

You're absolutely correct.
Don't buy a NAS, buy a low* PC instead.

Regards,
Peter

socistep
2009-01-19, 06:31
marklings wrote:
> It would seem to me an automatic choice; one that would out all NASes
> out of the market. I think I am missing something here. Could anyone
> advise ?
>

You're absolutely correct.
Don't buy a NAS, buy a low* PC instead.

Regards,
Peter

I've been debating this for months, I've decided to go for a low power unit over a NAS for pretty much the reasons stated above - I'm going for a Tranquil PC T7 (barebones)

Ian

Jonnio
2009-01-19, 07:41
I think you pretty well have it figure out. IMO a home NAS is just a very overpriced VERY slow PC. It has a market because they are quick and easy to set up out of the box, but in order to get that your paying about 2x what it's really worth.

socistep
2009-01-19, 08:23
I think you pretty well have it figure out. IMO a home NAS is just a very overpriced VERY slow PC. It has a market because they are quick and easy to set up out of the box, but in order to get that your paying about 2x what it's really worth.

One of the main con's I could see with a NAS was that I was started off now with something that was low spec for the price, people have mentioned that the web interface is sluggish - I interact a lot with the web interface and wouldn't really want to have a starting position of a slow server for some tasks (sure it performs very well in others)

aubuti
2009-01-19, 09:02
It strucks that for about the same money (say 300 to 400 Euros) you can buy a dedicated low power silent or quasi silent PC. TranquilPC and many others. Wouldn't that be a far superior choiche from any stand point ?
Like a lot of things, it depends. First of all, you shouldn't assume that a "green" pc has both higher processing power *and* equal-or-better energy use specs. More processing power usually requires more energy. It can be done, but you should be wary of making (or accepting) any blanket claims on the subject.

For example, I ran my SC for about 3 years on a LinkStation HG NAS. It consumes 14 watts when running, and does not support suspending to RAM (S3) or hibernating. I recently switched to a low-power pc (MSI Wind barebones desktop). It is much zippier than the LinkStation, and having an x86 processor (instead of the LS's PowerPC) makes SC upgrades a lot easier. With the OS installed on a CompactFlash card and the music on a quiet 2.5" 500GB laptop hard drive the MSI is quieter than the LS, but it's not completely silent.

Also, the MSI consumes 22w when running, or 50% more than the LS. A big advantage of the MSI, however, is that it supports ACPI power saving, so when set up to automatically suspend when my SBs are off the average electricity usage is less than the NAS. But getting the suspend to work under Ubuntu has been a bit fiddly.

In short, it all depends on the specific hardware and what you do with it, but I've come around to seeing that an energy-efficient PC can be far superior to a NAS for about equal cost.

pfarrell
2009-01-19, 11:44
marklings wrote:
> It strucks that for about the same money (say 300 to 400 Euros) you can
> buy a dedicated low power silent or quasi silent PC. TranquilPC and many
> others. Wouldn't that be a far superior choiche from any stand point ?

Actually, there are a fair number of PCs that are low, or even very low
AC power, and silent and much more powerful and useful than a NAS.

All the NAS has (other than marketing) is that it is more plug and play,
and setting up a silent PC takes a bit of effort.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

Gazjam
2009-01-19, 11:51
Getting one of these to replace my power hungry quad core 4gb work machine...

http://www.mini-itx.com/store/?c=44

Under 150 delivered, transplant my 1TB media drive into it and I'm laughing.

Its leaving my PC on overnight Bittorrenting (ISO's etc) thats hitting my fuel bills the most.
Can leave the little Atom PC on 24/7 ad not worry about it.

erland
2009-01-19, 12:14
It strucks that for about the same money (say 300 to 400 Euros) you can buy a dedicated low power silent or quasi silent PC. TranquilPC and many others. Wouldn't that be a far superior choiche from any stand point ?

- Same low power
- Same low noise
- Same money (ballpark)

BUT

- Way more processing powerful
- Way more applications
- Way more open

It would seem to me an automatic choice; one that would out all NASes out of the market. I think I am missing something here. Could anyone advise ?

If you want a networked file storage, buy a NAS.
If you want a low power server to run server applications, buy a low power PC.

NAS boxes are optimized for storage and that's their primary functionality even though it's possible to other server applications on some of them. A NAS can be a lot better if you really are looking for networked storage, especially if you like things like raid support, stability and possibility to have several hard drives. Finally, don't make the mistake and presume that a NAS is silent, my QNAP 409 NAS sounds more than my HTPC in the living room.

Bryan Jan
2009-01-19, 19:54
I agreed with Erland, the NAS is not only only a network storage, but with raid ability to protect your valuable data from harddisk failure. I have a personal experience that a harddisk died on me, if without the raid I will be doomed!

Bryan

Jonnio
2009-01-19, 20:04
I agreed with Erland, the NAS is not only only a network storage, but with raid ability to protect your valuable data from harddisk failure. I have a personal experience that a harddisk died on me, if without the raid I will be doomed!

Bryan

RAID is a long way from being NAS specific though - any computer running linux with 2 hard drives can have a RAID

pfarrell
2009-01-19, 20:27
Jonnio wrote:
>> with raid ability to protect your valuable data from harddisk failure.
>
> RAID is a long way from being NAS specific though - any computer
> running linux with 2 hard drives can have a RAID

RAID is not backup.

And its not a "I want RAID, so I need a NAS" as any pc with nearly any
OS can do RAID.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

mherger
2009-01-19, 23:49
> I have a personal experience that a harddisk died on me, if without the
> raid I will be doomed!

And without a backup you'll be doomed next time you accidentally format the wrong disk, some virus plays havoc etc. Raid doesn't replace the backup. Hence it's a waste of money if you can afford a few hours to restore the lost data from your backup. Most home users would fall into that category.

--

Michael

JadeMonkee
2009-01-20, 00:01
I agree with the low power PC route.
I'm getting rather sick of the slow response in SqueezeCenter due to running it from my ReadyNAS Duo.
I've even considered putting the original 500GB drive back into the ReadyNAS and selling it so I can buy a low-power PC as a replacement...

marklings
2009-01-20, 01:44
Guys
thank you all for your insight
I'll go with a low PC and see what come out of it
Thanks again, Mark

Letten
2009-01-20, 01:45
We just use our regular PC (a laptop in our case) as it is powered on most of the time when we are at home anyway. So running SC on this is practically free.

Why waste more power on yet another PC, be it NAS, Silent PC or any other lowpower PC? I would only go that route if
1) I really would save power because all other PC's wouldn't be running when I'm listening to music.
or 2) I had other needs to warrent a NAS like the need for filesharing, webhosting etc.

socistep
2009-01-20, 03:40
We just use our regular PC (a laptop in our case) as it is powered on most of the time when we are at home anyway. So running SC on this is practically free.

Why waste more power on yet another PC, be it NAS, Silent PC or any other lowpower PC? I would only go that route if
1) I really would save power because all other PC's wouldn't be running when I'm listening to music.
or 2) I had other needs to warrent a NAS like the need for filesharing, webhosting etc.

The main reasons to go for a low power box for me are -

A) Quick access to music when I get home, rather then having to wait to switch laptop on etc.

B) 24hr access - For listening late night/early morning without having to have laptop on

C) Use laptop less - I tend to use my iPhone for a quick browse/emails in the evening so no real reason to run laptop except for SC

badbob
2009-01-20, 04:03
You could have a computer with WOL (Wake on Lan) with standby enabled

Husted
2009-01-20, 04:28
I faced the same issue a while ago and I went with a Mac Mini. Yes, it's a bit overpowered for Slimserver only and it's a bit expensive.
I exchanged the internal harddisk with a 320GB version and now have a almost silent PC running that looks good enough to sit out in the open.

Plus I've connected it to the TV and use it as my DVD/HTPC.

SJobson
2009-01-20, 06:10
I bought a second hand Intel Mac Mini (1.5GHz Core Solo) on eBay for about 200 a year ago. Although I've upgraded the processor and memory subsequently, that's for other purposes; it was fine for Squeezecentre in its base state.

Music is stored on two external drives, one 2.5" which is USB powered, the other (usually off) 3.5" and mains powered as a duplicate backup.

I don't think I could have done it any cheaper by using a NAS or building my own Mini ITX thing, though I'd prefer not to be using external drives all the time because I'm sure they'll fail. So maybe a NAS as well, next... ;)

Dogberry2
2009-01-20, 08:54
This question comes up so often it should probably have its own forum, and every time it does, comments that focus solely on Slim/Squeeze miss the point of when and why a NAS makes sense. If the only thing of interest to a user is running SqueezeCenter and serving up a few thousand music tracks, a NAS probably isn't really necessary.

But to those who have other things going on in their lives, a NAS can, and often does, make sense. I have yet to see a small, low-power PC that has four (or more) hot-swap drive bays and a footprint of less than 70 square inches (450 square cm). With five full-time PCs in the house, plus occasional come-and-go laptops, a central networked file server that has plenty of capacity and is painlessly expandable makes sense for accessible, redundant storage of data, including massive amounts of not only music, but photos, video, business and financial documents, software, and everything else. It can host nightly backups of all the computers, and then itself be backed up either on- or offsite, weekly (or whatever other schedule is suitable). The fact that it can also do duty as a music server is a side benefit, not its primary function. It's primarily a storage server (hence the name), and when not viewed through the narrow lens of SqueezeCenter-only it can, for some households, be an excellent option. For others, of course, it is completely unnecessary. But just saying "a NAS is stupid" doesn't really do justice to the topic. It's like saying "a pickup truck is stupid" just because you happen to live in a condo in the city. Not everybody has the same needs, interests, skills or experience, and what makes no sense for some might make very good sense for others.

Jonnio
2009-01-24, 08:02
This question comes up so often it should probably have its own forum, and every time it does, comments that focus solely on Slim/Squeeze miss the point of when and why a NAS makes sense. If the only thing of interest to a user is running SqueezeCenter and serving up a few thousand music tracks, a NAS probably isn't really necessary.

But to those who have other things going on in their lives, a NAS can, and often does, make sense. I have yet to see a small, low-power PC that has four (or more) hot-swap drive bays and a footprint of less than 70 square inches (450 square cm). With five full-time PCs in the house, plus occasional come-and-go laptops, a central networked file server that has plenty of capacity and is painlessly expandable makes sense for accessible, redundant storage of data, including massive amounts of not only music, but photos, video, business and financial documents, software, and everything else. It can host nightly backups of all the computers, and then itself be backed up either on- or offsite, weekly (or whatever other schedule is suitable). The fact that it can also do duty as a music server is a side benefit, not its primary function. It's primarily a storage server (hence the name), and when not viewed through the narrow lens of SqueezeCenter-only it can, for some households, be an excellent option. For others, of course, it is completely unnecessary. But just saying "a NAS is stupid" doesn't really do justice to the topic. It's like saying "a pickup truck is stupid" just because you happen to live in a condo in the city. Not everybody has the same needs, interests, skills or experience, and what makes no sense for some might make very good sense for others.

Dogberry, again, not one thing that you said is NAS specific. Your description is exactly what I have said before where you have a very limited subset of server functionality running on a slow PC. My whole point of a small pc being able to do so much more than a NAS was the exact opposite of your squeezecenter narrow lens thought. You can set up a small microATX computer with nearly the same footprint and more than four hard drives easily. Granted, only two or three will usually be hot swappable, but who really cares about that at home?

Also, a server at home can do everything you described and more. It can also be your primary DHCP server if you want more power than your router gives you, be a web proxy so that you can control your kids and your guests internet access, run a webserver to host files for your friends and family to download and more. The sky is pretty much the limit with a small linux or windows home server, the hardware and built in firmware is the limit with a NAS. Your situation is actually the exact scenario I would recommend someone build a more beefy server with either WHS (if you don't want to learn linux) or Ubuntu/Debian.

Dogberry2
2009-01-24, 08:23
Granted, only two or three will usually be hot swappable, but who really cares about that at home?I do. You don't, and that's fine. But I do, and so do some other people.


Your situation is actually the exact scenario I would recommend someone build a more beefy server with either WHS (if you don't want to learn linux) or Ubuntu/Debian.And there again is the difference: you want people to build their own systems. Not everybody is into buying motherboards and components and spending their time building a system. If someone wants a small, efficient car for gadding around town, do you tell them to build their own? Hey, sure, motorheads are into that kind of thing; it's fun for them, and they get all gooey-eyed about dropping in a custom tranny and all that. But for the majority, the answer "build it yourself" isn't something that makes them get all excited ("Oh boy! I can actually build it for myself!"), anymore than building their own car, or building their own house. Buying a pre-built, easy-to-install, easy-to-set-up, reasonably priced file server can for a lot of people make sense. Okay, it ain't right for you: nobody denies that, and you're free to do as you like. But your point of view isn't everybody's. It's called personal preference, and there's nothing wrong with it. It's why there are companies selling pre-built NASes, and companies selling bare-bones motherboards, and everything in between. Having choices is a good thing.

Jonnio
2009-01-24, 08:30
And there again is the difference: you want people to build their own systems. Not everybody is into buying motherboards and components and spending their time building a system.

Yeah, bad choice of words -- Build a linux box or buy a WHS is more along what I was thinking.

Anyway, we will agree to disagree on this, but the main point I was trying to make is that there is NOTHING that a NAS can do that a small power efficient server can't do. I am sure if I dug hard enough I could even find one with 10 hot-swappable hard drives for you.

Dogberry2
2009-01-24, 08:33
Anyway, we will agree to disagree on this, but the main point I was trying to make is that there is NOTHING that a NAS can do that a small power efficient server can't do.No argument about that; it's just different strokes. :-)