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Debating the QNAP TS-209 II vs building a PC

Filed Under Gadgets & Hardware, Geek on 2008-06-04, 00:42

So I’m at a point where I feel like I need a good solid server in my apartment again. Something that I can use for the following:
– Media storage for serving to PS3/xbox
– Backup storage for photos, files, and whatnot
– Version control system for website development
– ssh server for tunneling back through my network connection
– Download machine for large files and torrents
– General Windows machine for video conversions and and other CPU/harddrive demanding tasks

I have basically two options to go with in my eyes: Build a solution or buy a prebuilt one.

Build a solution:
– Completely customizable
– Upgradeable
– Limited only in price
– Can reuse existing IDE drives
– My choice of operating system (dual boot?)
– Significant time investment
– If it breaks I have to troubleshoot
– Possibly overkill for what I need
– It’s been awhile (5 years?) since I built a machine

Buy a solution:
– No building and only minor configuration needed
– Technical support available
– Minimal time investment
– Cheaper
– Limited in hardware
– Not customizable
– Probably stuck with a custom linux distro

As far as building a solution, I quickly spec’d out this setup.
– It has both IDE and SATA ports so I can use old harddrives and new ones
– It’s a pretty decent system as far as CPU is concerned
– It will be large and probably loud
– It will consume a significant amount of power

And for buying, I was thinking of going with the QNAP TS 209 II (feature lists)
– It’s preconfigured with just about everything I need (except version control) and has ipkg to install whatever else I need
– It’s small, quiet, and consumes very little power
– It’s a wimpy machine under the hood
– It seems to do everything I think I’d need and then some, and I don’t have to set everything up manually

For those not following along, my life right now is kind of busy as I juggle a job, a web business, a relationship, and a fire arts group. At this point I’m more willing to spend money than time configuring something, so the QNAP is looking enticing. But the thought of paying a few hundred more, putting in a bunch of hours, and having a much more powerful machine is tempting.

Thoughts/opinions/criticisms? Any other suggestions?

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