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Old 09-11-2008, 05:19 AM
jeroen020 jeroen020 is offline
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SageTV & WHS - storage only or recording too?

I'm a MCE veteran and fed up with the lack of HD and codec support on that platform. I also have WHS, primarily as the backup solution for various PC's around the house but that server is noisy, power hungry and bulky (too many internal/external hard disks).

I'm thinking of combining my shift to SageTV with getting a new WHS. Now my main question is if I should make my WHS machine the hub for both recording and serving or for storage only. I have gigabit ethernet throughout the house. The two scenario's I have in mind:

1) Get a WHS machine that's big and powerful enough for SageTV recording, placeshifting HD and encoding/decoding. This would mean a server-like machine with not just tons of disk space (I was thinking 4 x 1 TB to start with internally, and eSATA to expand over time) but also PCI slots for tuner cards etcetera. I'm in Europe and my primary source of TV is satellite (SD and HD via DVB-S, DVB-S2) via FireDTV but I have a PVR-150 and DVB-T card lying around as well so I'll probably add those to for simultaneous recording purposes). I would then get extenders for my 3 TV's in the house (living, kitchen, bedroom), thereby savming me from the need of running an HTPC in the living room 24/7.

2) Get a backup & storage-only WHS, e.g. one from TranquilPC in the UK. These are Atom-based, very frugal, compact and quiet WHS machines. On the flipside, they have limited processing power and probably can't take tuner cards so this means running SageTV off of them is not really an option. In this scenario I would turn my current Vista MC PC in the living room (a 2,4 Ghz Core2Duo) into a multi-tuner SageTV hub that stores all recordings and movies on the WHS. Then this PC would also connect to the TV in the living room so I need an extender less. The two extenders elsewhere in the house would connect to the living room PC which in its turn retrieves the stored video from the WHS. Another benefit for this scenario is that the antenna's terminate in the living room, bringing them to the ground floor where the WHS resides would be a bit of work.

Any tips/ideas on how you'd set up a WHS/SageTV/HTPC/extender system is much appreciated for this SageNewbie!
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:19 AM
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Djc208 Djc208 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SE Virginia
Posts: 674
Personally I'd run the mega-server and use extenders at the TVs. Less trouble to set up vice two new machines, one of which will need to handle playback as well. Less clutter/noise around the TV. The HD extenders really are good, and much less intimidating to non-HTPC people. But then I'm biased since that's how I set mine up.

You could easily use the current living room CPU as your server CPU. The only really CPU intensive things are commercial skipping and transcoding. Transcoding isn't necessary with the HD extenders, and commercial skipping (at least on MPEG2 files) should easily be handled by a C2D.

The downsides are WHS doesn't like Sage recording to the "pool", so you need to add recording only drives that are part of but no managed by WHS (see the hardware section on this, lots of info), which defeats some of the benefits of WHS. And as you stated you'd have to run the cable lines down to the server closet.

The power savings of an Atom server are probably minor compared to the HDD requirements and then the HTPC would still have to run 24/7 anyway vice an extender that's only on when you're using it. Set up your power saving options properly and the server should easily be able to spin down and sleep when not needed.

However, if you want to use your HTPC as a BD player, or to surf the web/play games/etc. then you're naturally going to have to keep the PC there, so you might as well put it to work.
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Server: Core 2 Duo E4200 2 GB RAM, nVidia 6200LE, 480 GB in pool, 500GB WHS backup drive, 1x750 GB & 1x1TB Sage drives, Hauppage HVR-1600, HD PVR, Windows Home Server SP2
Media center: 46" Samsung DLP, HD-100 extender.
Gaming: Intel Core2 Duo E7300, 4GB RAM, ATI HD3870, Intel X-25M G2 80GB SSD, 200 & 120 GB HDD, 23" Dell LCD, Windows 7 Home Premium.
Laptop: HP dm3z, AMD (1.6 GHz) 4 GB RAM, 60 GB OCZ SSD, AMD HD3200 graphics, 13.3" widescreen LCD, Windows 7 x64/Sage placeshifter.
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