I have a few questions about a home server / backup / HTPC solution and I would really appreciate some help. Details inside.
Overall, I'm attempting to create a home network where I have the following major requirements:
1. Windows 7 laptop primary machine
2. a centralized data repository (server) on some piece of hardware (music, movies, pictures, documents in one location; currently predicting 4TB in size)
3. audio is streamed from this repository to desk speakers in bedroom
4. HD movies streamed from this server to bedroom HD TV
5. HD movies streamed from this server to living room HD TV
6. all data is backed up onsite
7. torrents will constantly seed on the server (since the laptop will be in sleep mode overnight)
I also have a few minor requirements:
8. Blu-Ray ripping ability (would probably have to happen on the server due to how long it takes)
9. some secondary computing capability in case laptop breaks
I've been hashing this out for weeks and I really need some help from someone who has actually done something like this before.
With all of the above requirements in mind, I have a few questions:
A. Is a Windows 7 desktop machine with 4 TB of storage a good solution for this server and requirements 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7? Or is a full Win7 installation overkill? Power consumption and heat are of some interest to me. A Win7 box would also satisfy requirements 8 and 9.
B. If Win7 happens to be overkill for processor, power, or heat reasons, will some sort of pre-built NAS have enough processing power to pull off requirements 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7?
C. What type of processor would I need for this server in order to serve HD movies to my TV (via some client) and audio to my speakers (via either laptop client or Squeebox client)? How processor intensive is this type of thing on the server and client? Which does the most work? The box pushing the Blu-Ray rip or the box catching the Blu-Ray rip?
D. What type of issues might I run into with pushing audio and video around on a home Wireless-N network? Is HD video possible over wireless? There will be 2 other roommates connected to this network, as well, so it won't just be my traffic. I currently have a FiOS router but an upgrade might be in order to satisfy my requirements.
E. When looking for something to be the "client" for the streamed HD video, how to set top boxes and custom-built HTPCs compare? I suppose a Blu-Ray player / set top box combo could have the same capabilities as a custom HTPC with Blu-Ray drive. Which would you create? I would imagine HTPCs are MUCH more flexible than set top boxes when it comes to codecs and types of streaming Internet video.
F. If I were to have uTorrent running on a central Win7 server, would I have to "log into" this server via my laptop to set up the torrents and file save locations? Or is there some other way? If I had dual monitors attached to my laptop, could one be my laptop's view and the other be what's going on on my Win7 server? I don't quite understand how 2 Win7 machines would interact with only the laptop having a monitor.
G. Does anyone out there have any experience with Squeezeboxes or simliar devices? How easy is it to play audio from my server on speakers that are not connected to anything but Squeezebox "client" hardware?
Any help would be absolutely fantastic.
I have a PDF of a potential network setup here
anyone is interested. Next to each hardware location, I have the requirements it satisfies lit up in green.