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Question HTPC all in one, or media server / NAS + client?


Jun 27, 2015
I'm looking to build a media server storing nothing more than movies and tv series. My current arrangement means that all devices would be in one room including the client / TV. Ideally I am looking for something that suits my current needs but can also be upgraded or expandable as of when it comes to buying my own place.

I've been looking at building a tower server with Freenas, ECC ram, server grade motherboard and Xeon CPU, using ZFS RAID. This would be located on a 10 gigabit network along with my PC and client with Kodi. I've also considered going down the cheaper route of building a media server using non server grade components (consumer mobo, i3 non-ECC ram etc). To add to my confusion I've toyed with the idea of an all-in-one HTPC (as I'm only going to be watching the media on one tv). This HTPC would house a RAID array, be low powered, and operate as both a media server and a client. To help make my decision a little easier I have some questions:
  1. Is using Freenas, ECC ram and ZFS RAID really essential for a media server OR would a RAID array on lower grade consumer components be suffice?
  2. Could I have a Freenas server and Kodi client all-in-one, which I switch on and off as of when I want to watch media?
  3. If I was to opt for a HTPC with consumer grade parts and a standard RAID setup, would this cause problems if at a later point I wanted to move those discs into a ZFS Freenas setup?
Because I'm the only one needing access at this time, and all devices (will currently) be just in one room, I am concerned that having two devices (one that's always on) as being a bit overkill. That said whatever route I choose needs to have the scope to expand without the need to start a fresh. BTW budget will be between £1000 - £2000. I have already purchased 40TB of discs.

* by devices I mean server, client etc, not ipads, phones etc
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