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Posted by on Aug 6, 2012 in Hardware Articles |

This need to know when buying a PC: Media Server

This need to know when buying a PC: Media Server

Christophe Delaere – Flickr (CC)

Remember when we talked about Plex ? Over there I got a suggestion if I could do an article like above but thinking of a media server. A mini-computer made to your media library is always in one place. No problem.

Serve me half please

I remember that during the past decade was the dream of many build (or buy) a set-top box to place next to the television. View other media directly on television regardless of the format and with only a couple of moves is a thing of the past, now and connectivity capabilities that TVs are now the least you have to do these magic boxes is becoming in a media server: a device for delivering multimedia to all devices on the LAN.

A clear example is the Nexus Q , or nas that abound in the market with some decent streaming capabilities. The idea of these devices is the same: to store something and have it available to everyone simultaneously. But it’s much better to buy arming fact, as we have the advantage of adapting to our needs, improve the processing power if you want, and put our election software.

Yes, those media servers are usually made by a good idea when there is much content you want to play on multiple devices at once and not live the ties of a design product owner. Given today’s fashion, this media center not being the best sellers, as many multimedia devices allow interconnection without need this link, but taken out of trouble when, for example, want to see Internet on your TV or connect the keyboard. Or tell me that the browsers of televisions “Smart” compete with Chrome?

This need to know when buying a PC: Media Server image 2

Ray Dehler – Flickr (CC)

Therefore it is much better to create a that allows saving all the media under the sun, in addition to functioning as a normal computer. In aesthetic terms, it is best to pass unnoticed as possible, therefore we need good housing. Already more or less know what we want.

Team profile:

  • Able to store large multimedia data. There are films that surround the 12GB with good sound.
  • Ready to receive a Blu-Ray, pendrive alien or a recorded video on your mobile.
  • Great performance to native format transcoding to multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Great connectivity and little space. Be overlooked.
  • Of course, should not be a second microwave.

Much hard drive

If the office storage equipment was relatively important depending on the scenario, the Media Server is the cornerstone. Maybe a 500GB disk now appear adequate, but far better a small disk of 60GB SSD – which are fairly cheap – to store critical data such as operating system and some essential programs. The other larger capacity 500GB ~ 1TB like, will aim to support all media. You could even make a RAID-0 to two hard drives if money allows it.

Excellent processor

Because the server must be able to handle transcoding and in multiple instances, a good quad cores or more should be sufficient. Finding one of many cores is not a problem today, and computing power will be more than enough to move multiple files. Otherwise, if you plan to watch movies in high definition on an iPhone while someone sees a number on his mobile phone, this component can be passed as a basic model dual core.

As investment in the processor is relatively strong, it is advisable to go with the best you can the budget – is the least think about changing the future. Here’s an A6 or A8 AMD might fall “knobs”, but personally I would go for the raw power of a Core i3 for transcoding.

Ad-hoc housing

This need to know when buying a PC: Media Server image 3

Espen Klem – Flickr (CC)

This is a great point that many say is virtually impossible to complete by 100% at least to think about buying one in gringolandia . For Housing (or Cabinet) ad-hoc model we refer to a landscape to store all other components so tight. It is hard to find outside the U.S. for a good price, and if you get to find usually is not cheap. The only thing that should be taken into account would be the expansion slots – many of them only accept 2.5-inch drives, motherboards and graphics cards small.

Others prefer a wooden modify, create your own aluminum with a friend or send one to do. Say costs are lowered enough to shore to wait a little longer. The rest is not worried about the space you occupy may well buy a cabinet of the ordinary, get everything and hide somewhere for your guests who do not believe they are in a factory.


Here the choice is up to each one, some people are fine with Windows Media Center and others have XMBC straight. Many recommend install the latter, a free media player quite well positioned, after installing Windows or some distribution. Other, more purists, rightfully recommend installing a Linux distribution as OpenELEC, which is made to run natively XMBC. The rest without putting on much knowledge would be between Windows or with Plex.


This team probably already have a port to arm RH45 local network through a cable. If you connect directly to a decent WiFi router, we should not worry much about whether or not a WiFi card to communicate with other wireless devices, but if not it would be best to buy a separate and current drivers for Linux.

Some cases have no more than a pair of front USB ports and nothing more, leaving the rest to the front of the computer. Depending on what you plan to do with the Media Server, it would be advisable to think in one of those slots for expansion with more USB ports. Others think of something crazy with Bluetooth you can save to your computer (without hair) videos that you record the phone.

In summary

Bottom line: Hard Drive
Consider: Good processor, good housing.
Cost: Relatively low rate $400 ~ 500

Note: this article there as he told me why not recommend a nettop? It would be another option if the variety in nettops was not in decline, so does the use of Intel Atom. Therefore I can only head a Mac Mini and similar equipment except through the thorn in the media server: transcode.

Note 2: On the Blu-Ray, I think it depends more on the type of user. If anyone has various means in this format, you may want to add a Blu-Ray to the equation, but only a DVD-RW should be sufficient.

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