Next Project – Media Server

So after I managed to upgrade to my ssd I was thinking to myself what should I make my next project.

Well after a bit of thought I had the idea of creating a media server for all my entertainment needs Music, video, photos etc

Not only would this save me hdd space but would allow easier access to all computer in the house and would reduce duplication. so I got to thinking of what I need

It needs to be small and quiet but I want the components to be normal size and I want to stick with air cooling. I need it to be quiet as it will be kept where I sleep. Oh and I want it to not cost the earth.

 

Next i listed the component parts I would need

 

Case – small but normal form factor

Processor – power but cool and cheap to run

Motherboard – cheap but with as many extras as possible prehaps a decent onboard card?

Ram at least 4 gigs

Graphics – might not be needed if onboard. saw and advert for a £15 dx11 card which may be worth looking at if can’t get an onboard

HDD – 2 x 1tb in raid at very least

Wifi card – Bit awkward to get a wired connection upstairs so may be worth a look at.

Cooling – stock fans probably wont keep it quiet enough

Operating system –  probably linux based as its free. need to look into specialty os’s

 

And that’s as far as I have got so far.

 

Now i need to just have a think about what actual parts will be needed and how powerful the system will need to be. I will want it to do some on the fly encoding to a ps3 so will need some proscing power.

 

If you have any suggestions or ideas or if you have built one or have any information that you think would be useful i would be interested to know. Leave a comment below.

 

 

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SSD And My Experiance.

So I made the jump and forked out for a shiny new SSD hard drive as I was getting increasing frustrated with the amount of time that windows was taking to startup and I thought that the decrease in-game loading times would be nice.
So after doing some research on a couple of websites mainly SSDReview.com. I finally settled on the 120gb ocz Vertex 3 Which I purchased from Ebuyer.com now this ssd is sata 3 compatible and although I don’t at this time have a sata 3 port on my motherboard the price and performance the disk was showing was good and its also fully compatible with sata 2.

 

One of the Important things to rember about SSD’s contrary to more traditional hard drives is that the larger the storage capacity the faster they tend to be. There are cheaper options around with smaller capacity but the general consensus seems to be to go for no lower than 120GB.

 

Installation

Now this particular ssd is a 2.5″ drive but thankfully comes with an adaptor that allows it to fit into desktop cases. The drive just screws in to the adaptor with the screws that are provided and that adaptor is screwed into the case.

This is where I hit a slight snag.

The drive fitted into the adaptor absolutely fine as you would expect however, I have a Antec Nine Hundred Two and the screws to fit the adaptor to the case were too small for the thick walls of the drive bay. The adaptor has rather small bolt holes that have a fine thread and I was unable to find any that were over an inch long that were thin enough and had the correct thread.

I ended up screwing a couple of the screws from the inside out and for the ones that were too tight using some sandwich bag ties to make sure it was secure. Not ideal but it works and because the ties are plastic coated perfectly insulated.

That minor problem out-of-the-way the rest of the installation of the SSD went fine and it was onto installing windows and restoring backups.

 

Performance Tweaking AKA Getting The Best From The SSD

Thankfully installation of windows went pretty well as did the restoration of backups the next job on the list of things to do was to see what the windows experience score was the first run was  7.1 up from its previous 5.9 however the score was still limited by the hard drive score. So I googled to see if I could optimise the windows installation a bit more and prehaps clear some space off my already filling SSD.

I came across this Guide [Click Here]  From a forum post at this website surreystore.com

The first step was to turn on ahci mode on as i had installed windows already the first thing i had to do was to make some registry changes and then change the setting the bios Next parts were reasonably simple and consisted of;

Disabling System restore,

Disabling Drive Indexing,

Disabling Defragmentaion,

Turning off / moving  the page file to save space,

turning of hibernation again to save space,

Enabling faster booting and adjusting power settings.

Now I actually discovered that windows had actually done some of these steps itself which was nice, but I would suggest going through them anyway to check. I also skipped some of the steps listed on the website as I didn’t think that they met my requirements, for instance disabling recycle bin don’t be afraid to use your own judgements of your needs

I reran the windows experience test and received a new score of 7.3 the lowest score now being my graphics card the hard drive score had actually move to 7.4 so by just doing those steps id increased performance by .3 who knows what that actually means in real terms but an improvement is an improvement.

My final job was to move My Documents off of the SSD and onto the other Hard Drive another google search and a couple of rather complicated solutions later I actually found this [Click Here] posted by a guy called Headstrongfarm And discovered that its much easier than you would have thought. Windows does all the hard work for you all you have to do is tell it where you want to move the files too and it will move them to the folder you specify.

 

Conclusion

So overall the installation and setting up was pretty simple and problem free. Windows definitely starts faster and the computer is more responsive, Time will tell how worthwhile it was and we will see if the speed keeps up especially as the windows install gets older.

If your thinking about going the route of SSD I would definitely recommend it spend what you can afford but don’t go lower than a 120gb and as a friend of mine suggested don’t go by the specs the manufacture says go by what the benchmarks have to say a quick google search will bring up lots of review sites and most retail sites now also have a review system in place.

Good luck

 

 

 

50 Years of Building And Still Going Strong

Lego is celebrating its 50th anniversary today.

lego birthday cake

And as with any important event google is celebrating with a Lego google sign.

lego google sign

Now as a kid and infact as an adult I love Lego it is a brilliant toy and tool. Over the years i have used it for all sorts of things some of which were intended i.e.various models and the such. and some that weren’t so much Its very versatile stuff you know and can really help in a bind.

It seems to me that its one of those toys that will never really go away and Ii for one am glad of that. lets hear it for another 50 years and for many more!