I am in that sweet time phase, when I made my research and ordered the parts. ETA is on Monday. I am building my home server on
Modecom mini ITX case with external power adaptor (96w, $70)
DualCore Intel Atom 330 in Intel D945GCLF2 (90$) – which has 1 IDE, 2 SATA connectors, Gigabit NIC
2GB RAM ($25)
500GB 2.5” laptop hard drive ($100)
and I will reuse my 1TB Barracuda 3.5” SATA from my old server.
Going for a laptop hard drive was a tough decision. I had to consider that laptop drives have limited capacity, that they are 2 more expensive than 3.5” drives, and the fact that 2*3.5 drives do not fit into mini ITX case (at least the cases that I could find in Latvia) because most of MINI-ITX cases support only one 3.5” drive and a slim CD/DVD. An alternative was to go with micro-ATX case, but then I would have to deal with the problem of finding the low-power PSU, which are not available in Latvia at all. Buying those online is possible from mini-box.com or minipc.de, but it costs an arm and a leg (upward of $100), negating any savings on purchasing a larger hard drive.
Moreover, I had to give up any idea of toying with the RAID for data protection. I will backup my personal data, which includes about 30GB of documents, photos and music, between server and my gaming pc hard drive, but for the movies, there will be no backup in this setup. I think that movies are not a critical information, because you can restore most of them from internet. At the same time, I am happy with the setup, because my space requirements will be met for another year. (I managed to fill about 700GB during 1 year). Only the small drive will be running 24x7 for torrents. It consumes less energy than larger drive and make less noise too. By the way, noise was not a consideration in this build, since I have a separate technical room for my computers. If I had to build a completely calm pc (for use on the table or in a living room) I’d had to take more expensive fanless MSI board with SSD drive, which cost too much to my taste anyway.
As for OS, I will be choosing between WHS and FreeNAS. I have seen FreeNAS, and I have yet to try WHS for the first time. And of course, there always is W7 and Ubuntu, but I do not see a benefits to running those on a headless server.