Help with choosing the right media server

Gareth82

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Mar 13, 2011
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Hi everyone, i am in the process of putting together a media server and need a little help and guidance choosing the right media server software and choosing the best way to run it. I need the server to stream music (FLAC/320kps) and movies (upto720p) to 3 modded Apple TV's, a modded iPad 2 and my Onkyo TX8050 receiver. The Apple TV's and iPad 2 all have got XBMC and Plex installed onto them for media playback.

(1) Which is the best Media Server to use to get all of my media to my devices?

I don't really need to use the transcode option on a server as XBMC and Plex pritty much should play anything i throw at them. I have done a trial run with PS3 Media Server on an old netbook and it seems pritty good but some FLAC files did stutter time to time but SD movies have seemed to be fine. One thing i was worried about was that you can't block devices from accessing your folders like other media servers so i was a little worried that other people may be able to see and play my files.

(2) Which would be the thing to run the server on?

I was thinking of using a Mac Mini or something similar but wasn't sure which spec i would need. I have noticed that most media software developers suggest having 2GB RAM and and a Dual Core 2.4ghz processor minimum to run their server. Would this still be the case if i don't need to transcode media on the fly? If all i need is a server to simply push my media to my devices then would i get away with using a lower spec PC or Laptop?

I have done a few trial runs with an old netbook which has only 1GB RAM and a N450 intel Atom 1.6ghz and that has done a pritty capable job of music and SD movies so far with the only hiccup being with FLAC files now and again, although this could maybe be due to my router or internet connection.

I currently have got a Virgin Media Super Hub with 30mb (soon to be 60mb) internet connection, would adding an Airport Express Extreme and using the super Hub in modem mode increase the performance and reliability of my internet connection?

Thanks for reading my post
 
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Anonymous

Guest
re 2) I'm running Minidlna on a QNAP TS-419P. That machine has an 800MHz ARM processor with 512MB ram and it works fine, I'm using it to stream content up to 1080i and haven't had any problems. I don't think you need to worry about the specs of your server.

Can't help you with the rest, no experience with Apple products.
 

Gareth82

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Mar 13, 2011
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Thanks for the reply tremon.

I was thinking that maybe the spec shouldn't matter too much. it may be best to do abit more testing with my netbook first before i shell out on a apple mac mini.

do you ever get any problems with buffering or music files stuttering?

thanks.
 

spockfish

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Jan 18, 2011
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Just by a Synology NAS. I'm using that for stream (HD) Audio to a Squeezebox Touch, and HD Video to a Boxee Box (which is basically XBMC).

No problem at all, minimal power usage, and your data is safely stored (RAID1).
 

Gareth82

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Mar 13, 2011
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Thanks for the reply spockfish.

Is there any model synology you would recommend to use?

Do any of the NAS's have a usb port so you can add more storage to them?

which server are you using, is it one that came pre installed on the synology or is it one you downloded?
 

Xanderzdad

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Jun 25, 2008
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Hi

I'm using a Synology ds212J as a server. It has itunes and squeezebox servers built in.

Even better you can get iPhone apps to control any of these servers.

This model has a USB for attaching external drives or even a pair of USB speakers directly to the NAS.
 
A

Anonymous

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Gareth82 said:
do you ever get any problems with buffering or music files stuttering?
No problems, even when streaming music to my desktop and a hd movie to the tv at the same time.
 

Amadeus1756

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Jan 4, 2011
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I recently bought a Mac mini - 2.5Ghz, 4Gb RAM and run XBMC (Eden RC2).

I am using it to play movies, TV shows and a little music.

It's brilliant. Very easy to use (tho not without some changes I'd like). Personally, I'd keep it as simple as you can - decide on either XBMC or Plex. XBMC isn't great at scraping music data for classical music tho.

Problem with the Mac mini running Lion is that the Apple remote won't wake up the monitor so I have to have a keyboard plugged in. I've only just started investigating the options here but it seems like a lot of people are complaining (I believe it's a change introduced with Lion), unfortunately Apple think that it's progress rather than a bug.
 

Gareth82

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Mar 13, 2011
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

It seems like i have got a choice between either a Synology NAS or the Apple Mac Mini.

I was looking at the earlier G4 mac minis as they can be picked up quiet cheap and as i would only be using it to serve my media to my devices i would hope it would be able to handle it quiet well.

I would prefer a pc/mac based server as it could be used for other duties as well like ripping cd's etc but a NAS does seem to be a simpler solution so i guess it would come down to cost and reliability issues.
 

Amadeus1756

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Jan 4, 2011
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I went for the Mac Mini because I thought I'd use other features. On the down side, you're limited in terms of disk space (750Gb).

But the Mac solution is considerably more expensive than a NAS.
 

moon

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Nov 10, 2011
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Amadeus1756 said:
I went for the Mac Mini because I thought I'd use other features. On the down side, you're limited in terms of disk space (750Gb).

But the Mac solution is considerably more expensive than a NAS.
Mac mini for me next to.
 

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