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Okay I don't know much about network drives or what to do here but I want some network storage capable of handaling second hand (pata) (or new sata) hard drives.

My drive needs to meet the following needs

-Mac/Pc accsses for file sharing.

-Stream video and music files to Mac/Pc.

-Wireless and Wired Accsses across a 2 story 2500sq foot house.

Not sure if i should look at a Drobo or a small Pc with widnows server but any comprehensive guides or help would be great

Also price is a BIG issue and while i will look at ideas that cost 500+ anything that is DIY or cheap would be great

Sorry for the lack of knowledge on my part just need help and have always gotten it from here.

Thanks again!


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closed as too localized by Mark Henderson Jan 15 '12 at 5:27

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I am a huge fan of the ReadyNAS product line. The software is super easy and robust and offers secure backup to the cloud. The ReadyNAS Duo may be at the upper point of your price but you can get it empty and load in your own SATA disks if you want

Some advantages over DIY:

  • Lower power consumption (about 35W w/2 disks!)
  • Quiet
  • Really easy to use UI
  • 3 year warranty
  • streaming (video, music) software built-in
  • simple backup to USB device (RAID is not a backup!!)

Vantec has some interesting products:

I have a NexStar LX personally. Basically its just a USB drive that plugs into the network and doubles as a NAS.

It uses any standard IDE hard drive. Easy interface, easy to store files, easy to share.

I use mine for movies, music, and as a backup for some of my PCs and laptop.

I don't know if they have anything for SATA drives but I bought mine 2-3yrs ago so I'd think they probably would by now.


Personally I prefer a PC mainly for more usability and flexibility in upgrading them, and also "changing" the inside if you ever need it for other uses (or for better performance).

For the PC:

  • Decent motherboard to ensure you can expand and add new HDD as needed (or cheap one)
  • HDD with good cache and RPM (the standard ones are good, if you want to pay extra for the higher RPM HDD for faster read/write access, feel free)
  • Low-end CPU is fine, streaming doesn't use all that much CPU power.
  • 2GB+ of RAM is good :)
  • A good network card to ensure it will handle the traffic
  • Windows XP Pro is good (Simply creating share folders) - No need for Windows Server. My friend once recommended to use Linux as a file server, but since I have no hands-on experience on setting one as a network storage, I have no recommendations.
  • Monitor + KB + Mouse is required only for initial set up (setting up user access, setting up folder shares, etc) but once its up and running, you can leave it monitorless and then control it using Remote Desktop (or VNC)

For the router, considering the size of the house, you might want to consider having 2 or more Wireless Routers to ensure you can cover the entirety of your house. (Currently using Linksys WRT54G (yes its an older model) and been a lot happy with it streaming movies from my main PC to play on my laptop).

Note: My current home set up is 1 PC, 1 router, 2 laptops, and its working perfectly fine streaming movies (both laptops streaming). If you have more users in the house that will be streaming and copying movies over the wireless, you might want to consider Wired solutions to ensure more stability.

I can't recommend any pricing, but I have heard stories from my friends who reused his old PC like an old Pentium 3, with 512MB RAM and used it as a network storage... but then again, I'm assuming he is using it purely for himself so that might not affect him all that much. So my current guess, its cheap :)

I hope this helps


If you don't mind scrounging for used gear on eBay and want to go cheak, the LinkSys NSLU2 ("slug") might be a good device. It was a little Linux box to which you could attach two (2) USB-based disks. It "shares" these disks via the Microsoft "File and Print Sharing" (SMB) protocol (which is readily usable by Windows and Mac clients). They're discontinued now, but are readily available on the used market for under $50.00. You can put your disks into USB-to-SATA / PATA enclosures and attach them to this device. Because it's Linux-based there are a number of "hacks" and some alternative firmware images available for the device.

If you're into DIY, grab a low-end PC that has both SATA and PATA controllers (or use external enclosures as with the NSLU2) and grab a copy of OpenFiler. It's pretty user friendly and has fairly low hardware requirements. You may well have a PC laying around that'll do what you need w/ OpenFiler already.

There are plenty of articles out there about DIY NAS boxes with Linux, Windows, and embedded solutions. Do some Gooooogling and you're likely to find a lot of ideas.