Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 8th Jan 2007 23:34 UTC
Windows As part of his keynote address on Sunday at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, Gates showed off Windows Home Server (more info at Ars) - a consumer device to serve as a central storage place for digital photos, music and other media. The first products are due out later this year from HP and others. The goal is to get devices that can cost less than USD 500. In the first of a two-part interview, Microsoft's chairman talks about why the average person wants a server, why they won't need a degree in computer science to run it and what hurdles remain before consumers reach the true digital home.
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already done that
by misterdirk on Tue 9th Jan 2007 12:56 UTC
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A few weeks back I bought a dual P111 tower server on ebay Australia for the equavalent of USD90 plus another USD10 for a 5.1 soundcard and a cheap Nvidia AGP video card.

I simply inserted The Ubuntu dapper disk and restarted. All my hardware was automatically detected. The only likely issue is buying a supported wireless card. The RAID array appears as a single disk "sda1" and you simply follow a normal installation with a separate "home" folder . It is a simple matter of going to and following the multimedia installation howtos. Mint Linux, a multimedia-enabled Ubuntu fork, is also available as a download.

Linux also supports mirrored software RAID if you have a couple of ATA disks.

Proper servers are far better than regular desktops for media servers because the components (ECC ram, fans, power supplies, motherboards, SCSI disks) used are designed for continuous use and are far better quality than in mainstream desktops. No cheap ATA/SATA disk will survive long with continuous use. A passively cooled $2 Geforce 2 is quite adequate as video card.

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