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Want to set up some sort of NAS for file sharing

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NiteSmoker17

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Right now i have about 3Tb of movies and tv shows on my main rig. what i would like to do is set up something in the way of a NAS or external HD/router for the various ppl in the house to have access to the stuff. I dont know crap about the network aspect of this. what im looking for are recommendations or ideas for a low cost way to do this. i know the router i have atm is a cheap TP-LINK TL-WR841N. https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833704039 . can i just by a external HD and a new router with USB 3.0 or do i get a NAS system? I will Say that at my current residence we dont have internet.

On a side thought to build a cheap pc that could handle as a NAS any min specs ne1 can think of?
 
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trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
I think you will be very disappointed with the performance if you are using an external hard drive connected to a router via USB. Anyone I know who has tried this arrangement found it unsatisfactory for any kind of real time file transferring. I think you would be wiser to dedicate a PC to this. Even then, unless the entire network is gigabit bandwidth class it may be pretty poky. Are the PCs on the network connected via ethernet or WiFi?
 

Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
You can get away with a pretty low spec system for a file server. I am currently using an I3-530 underclocked to 2.4ghz with the hyperthreading turned off and 2gb of ram to run a file/plex server that is hooked to my network. I have run 2 plex streams to my wireless devices and watched a third video using direct play on my computer without any noticeable issues.
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
NiteSmoker17,

I have some concrete data to share that contradicts some of what I posted earlier. I actually experimented with what your are asking about.

I have a 5tb usb external hard drive attached to a TP_Link AC1900 router via the USB 3.0 port (the router also has a USB 2.0 port). I normally just use this drive for backups which are scheduled in the wee hours when no one is using the network.

I happened to have an mp4 file created from a commercial DVD movie whose length was 180 minutes. This mp4 file was 1.45 gb size. I moved the file from my laptop via a 5 ghz WiFi connection to the external hard drive connected to the TP-Link router. The file transfer rate was like 8 mbps. Certainly not smoking but only took a few minutes.

I then played the mp4 file over the network and it played flawlessly. I did not notice any lags, pauses or stuttering. I did watch the external drive activity LED and it would blink a few times about every 10-15 seconds so there was some buffering going on. I also copied the mp4 file back to the laptop from the networked external hard drive and got a little more than twice the transfer rate I got copying it from the laptop to the external drive in the first place.

I also moved a 10 gb text file between my main PC and the networked external hard drive on the router. I got around 34 mbps upload and about 40 mbps download. This was over ethernet. Of course, a text file is much more compressable than an mp4 media file so you would expect some of that difference and some might have also been due to the fact that it was a wired connection.

So my take away from all this is that to use an external USB drive connected to a router for media file storage and playback would certainly be feasible, once you got it all moved over. It may not be a good solution for moving large data bases on a frequent basis but that is not what you are trying to do. It also may not be feasible if several people are trying to access the external drive simultaneously to play movies but that is not likely to happen in a household.

Transfer rates may also depend on the processing power of the router. My router is a higher end jobber so a cheap one may not do and you definitely want to move up to one with USB 3.0.
 
OP
NiteSmoker17

NiteSmoker17

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Tents what router are you running? If I go router route I'll have to get a new one anyway. I was on pc parts picker and /w a 3tb hd I was looking $300 and that's if I build the case. So I'm gonna guess $300 gonna be my ballpark budget.
 

1.21_gigawatts

Registered
Joined
Jan 1, 2017
My current NAS setup is a second hand HP netbook that I got for, well, free :p Specs are nothing to write home about, but I just wanted something simple. It's low power consumption and stays on 24/7, even has it's own battery backup in case of a power outage or flicker ;) and it's dead silent. I have Win7 installed on it, two 1tb WD Blue drives in an external enclosure connected via USB (only 2.0), both drives shared separately, one for just movies (accessed routinely with Kodi on a Raspberry Pi system in the living room and bedroom), the other is just file backup and storage (everything from music, pictures, and just a place to keep downloaded software and a few other misc backups). The two drives are shared over Windows home network and are accessible with any device connected to the home network either through WiFi or hard line, which makes it convenient because I can save to or read from the drives from any device; desktop, laptop, phone, etc.

Maybe not the most secure, DEFINITELY not the fastest, but it works for my needs... I tried FreeNAS and even Linux on the netbook, and I couldn't get either to function as well as just a simple Windows network with shared drives...

The whole setup lives on a shelve in the spare bedroom, out of sight, out of mind. I even have the netbook set up to reboot every day at 3:00am to "refresh". Before I configured that I noticed for some reason it would lock up and not allow reading from the drives every other day. Have had no issues since setting up the auto reboot. I can also remote in the netbook from any PC on the network and configure settings without ever flipping the screen up on it ;)