A few weeks ago I was looking into buying a NAS box for my home network. I looked at a number of models on the market before deciding on the Linksys NAS200 – it has space for two internal hard-drives plus the ability to add two more external drives via USB. When I started looking for somewhere I could purchase the NAS200, I found out that none of the local retailers stocked it and that I would have to order it online and pay for shipping and handling. This would drive the cost up to about $220, and thats before I even add hard-drives into it.
So I started scoping out prices for a low-end computer that would allow me to install Linux to it, and use Samba to share the drive-space with the other systems on the network. In the end the machine cost me about $250 without the hard-drives – its an ASUS M2A-VM HDMI /AMD Semperon 1900 with 1 GB RAM (that means I can have four internal SATA drives, two internal PATA drives, and upto ten external USB drives, and the HDMI expansion board allows me to use the machine as a Media Centre if I want to).
I bought a 750 GB SATA Seagate hard-drive, salvaged an old 40 GB PATA hard-drive and a DVD drive from an unused machine. The 40 GB hard-drive is for the operating system and any other software I need to install, while the 750 GB drive is purely for shared storage.
Now I can watch all my movies on my xbox media centre without having to get up and swap the DVD, and I don’t have to turn on my main machine – using my main machine to store the movies was a problem because the CPU fan was so loud it almost drowned out the audio of the movie I was watching.
Next thing I have planned is to purchase a dual digital tuner TV card, a higher end CPU, another 3 GB of RAM, and another 750 GB (or three) so I can use the machine as a full-featured PVR.
And the operating system currently on the machine is Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty) although I plan on changing that to Kubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy) in the next few days simply because it has more of the software I am after available for it.