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  • File/Game Server (Budget / Repurposed)

    Hi all. I've recently been gifted a computer and I was thinking of finally setting up a NAS type deal, at least until I can finally afford something a bit more permanent.
    I've been given an old dell. Its got an i3-2100 @ 3.10ghz, 8GB of ram, and a 250GB HDD

    So, I'd like to be able to stream audio and video from the DELL to other computers in the house, it would also be nice to run game servers on (just for local games, kids love ye old minecraft)
    It would be nice to not have to have a monitor connected to the NAS and access it via RD or browser.
    I don't have any clue as to how I would stream from a linux or windows machine to a tv.... Could you do that with Chromecast or something?? This would be useful af for the living room.

    I was thinking I could just grab a couple of big HDD's, possibly add more ram. What I'm most curious to know however, is what would be the best software to run on it?

    At first I was thinking I could just stick on some random linux distro. Set up a shared folder for streaming. (Seems a bit basic)

    FreeNAS. Seems like the most advanced way to go. Not sure if the hardware is up to the task though. Plus I would need to buy a another flash drive. (Rarely use em, don't have a 16GB one)


    Anything else worth considering??


    So yeah, just looking for general opinions and suggestions.

    Thanks a lot all!

  • #2
    Ummm no idea or the game server stuff but for video look into plex. Run the plex media server on the DELL PC and just download the app on to phone/tablet and then stream it with chromecast. Very easy to use with a nice UI.
    i7 2600K @ 4.5| Asrock Z68 Extreme4| 16GB 1866Mhz Crucial Ballistix |AMD R9 290| 120GB SSD |Win7 64bit

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    • #3
      Yeah I'd recommend plex too. You might run in to issues though, if you're planning on running game servers at the same time as transcoding video..



      Originally posted by coiler
      Stomach was rumbling like a fatman landing on Sanctuary

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      • #4
        Your machine isn't under spec'ed for FreeNAS (ignore that the guys tell you on the FreeNAS forum, they're terrible for over spec'ing hardware!!) however you would limit your options on games since FreeNAS is based on FreeBSD rather than Linux. Minecraft should still run on it though. If you do go down the FreeNAS route anyway, then make sure you use ZFS rather than UFS as the file system for your storage. However I'd recommend you install Linux if you're not already familiar with the command line way of managing computers.

        If you're thinking Linux and you're new to Linux, then just install Ubuntu Desktop. Normally I'd advocate installing a command line based OS like Ubuntu Server or FreeBSD, but in this instance a GUI might be easier for you. So you can have a monitor plugged in while your first install Linux and then install OpenSSH-server and/or VNC and manage everything remotely from the command line in Putty / or via the GUI using VNC afterwards.

        You can just share a folder via SMB if you want, folder shares are how I do all my streaming inside my home network. However Plex Media Server (as mentioned above) is another good option. Plex is easier to manage and prettier than using folder shares, so it might be a better fit for your needs. It also runs on FreeBSD (FreeNAS), Linux (eg Ubuntu Desktop and Server) and Windows, so you can enable it on any of your short listed OSs.

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        • #5
          I do something similar with on old dell reconditioned pc and roku boxes.Roku boxes have the client preinstalled for plex. . Very easy to setup and the pc is hidden away in a wardrobe.

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          • #6
            game servers are simple to do but how well it would work will depend on the game.

            some games do not have linux servers, which might be something to look into if it is a reason for you doing it
            "Those able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses."
            Plato

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            • #7
              Originally posted by luke22 View Post
              game servers are simple to do but how well it would work will depend on the game.

              some games do not have linux servers, which might be something to look into if it is a reason for you doing it
              Most do though AFAIK. Minecraft game servers are predominantly Linux based. Plus Linux is free so costs nothing to try.

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              • #8
                Cheers all for the suggestions. Apologies for the delayed response!

                Just looking at my options. Mainly concerning streaming to a TV that doesnt have a computer connected.

                So, I was wondering If it would be possible to stream from FreeNAS or Linux to something like an Amazon Fire Stick.

                Anyone know of any way to do that?


                Cheers all!

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                • #9
                  Chrome on any pc on the same network will stream youtube and netflix to my smart TV. Have a look at Plex. It will stream to most things and can be shared pretty easily. There are a few subreddits where people will share for share content if thats what your looking for?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mordynak View Post
                    Cheers all for the suggestions. Apologies for the delayed response!

                    Just looking at my options. Mainly concerning streaming to a TV that doesnt have a computer connected.

                    So, I was wondering If it would be possible to stream from FreeNAS or Linux to something like an Amazon Fire Stick.

                    Anyone know of any way to do that?


                    Cheers all!
                    A bit of background because there's several different method of streaming, each with their own pros and cons. So understanding the differences is key to picking a solution:
                    1. Network share. CIFS / SMB (Windows File and Printer sharing) and NFS (Linux / UNIX network shares) are the popular two.
                    2. uPnP DLNA - which is a media streaming and discovery protocol for local networks.
                    3. HTTP. While the HTTP protocol is an open spec, the way your client navigates and requests videos can be proprietary. eg Netflix, Amazon, Youtube, etc.
                    4. Other proprietary


                    First of all, lets just ignore anything that only implements #4.

                    In terms of #1 network shares, NFS is a leaner protocol, but Windows cannot natively access NFS. Whereas SMB is can be supported in Linux and UNIX, but Windows sometimes throws a hissyfit connecting to non-Windows SMB servers. Basically Windows is just an uncooperative git. The upshot is XBMC / Kodi works really well with SMB.

                    #2 uPnP DLNA is probably your best bet as most media centres support it, you can get apps for phones / tablets as well. The downside is that there's a lot of very bad DLNA servers out there and your laptops wouldn't have native support for DLNA so you'd need to run XBMC / Kodi to watch any streams.

                    #3 HTTP offers one big win over the others in that you can watch streams when away from home as well if you port forward the HTTP server on your home router. The downside is that any media centres would need an app / plugin / whatever to support your HTTP service.

                    On balance, the best option would be Plex. It's got a HTTP server so you can watch content when away from home but it also supports uPnP DLNA so you can stream content from home as well. It's easy to install (there are builds available for FreeBSD / FreeNAS) and there are special plugins for many media centres as well. The HTTP UI is nice to use as well, which is a massive bonus. This will cover the best parts of both #2 and #3. And while Plex is a commercial solution, you can legally install and run it for free if you don't want to use their cloud services.
                    Last edited by cold fusion; 31-08-16, 09:27.

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                    • #11
                      Sorry for the delay all.

                      So, using Plex, I can stream to Chromecast or Amazon fire. (Fire looking to be the best option) I can just install Plex on the fire stick and stream directly to that?

                      Does either Plex or the fire TV require an internet connection? Obviously it does for streaming video and probably first time setup. But can I stream from Linux Plex to Amazon fire just using LAN?

                      We have next to no internet out here. I use my android phone for tethering. 30gb limit per month.

                      Again. Cheers for the help all! Much appreciated!

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                      • #12
                        So, finally got round to trying out freenas. I've got a couple of CIFS shares up and running with differing permissions and what not.

                        I remembered today that my blue ray player posts downstairs has DNLA network support. Sooo.... My next task is to get Plex installed on freenas without an internet connection.

                        I may be wrong. But, can't I download the plugin then transfer it to the freenas machine to then install it?

                        Cheers all.

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                        • #13
                          So... After trying out freenas. I've discovered that it's near impossible to use in an offline system.

                          So, I decided to try Linux with Plex. Took me very little to get it running. It was super easy.

                          I was able to access my videos from all my devices just from a browser.

                          But for some obscure reason, it now doesn't ****ing work. For no reason...

                          The machine the damn server is on, can't access the server...
                          Plex is not reachable...

                          How in the **** is this even possible???

                          Any ideas?

                          Cheers all

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                          • #14
                            plex cant access the folders?
                            "Those able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses."
                            Plato

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                            • #15
                              <technical spiel> DNLA (or rather the uPnP specification DNLA uses for transport) uses an ethernet protocol called "multicast" which operates a little differently from the normal TCP/IP network traffic. </technical spiel>

                              What this actually means in Layman's terms is that your router and any other networking gear needs to support uPnP (pretty much all of them do - so this is a non-issue) as well as any firewalls you may have set on your Linux server and Windows desktops.

                              Sometimes though, even with all the networking set up correctly, it can take a while for some devices to "discover" your DNLA server. My TV takes about 5 minutes to find one of my two Plex servers.

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