After reading everyone’s input (thanks) and doing a few days of eye bleeding research, I’ve decided to give Mike’s Freenas suggestion a try. Since Freenas is linux based, I had to spend some time lurking around forums trying to decide what component options people have had the best luck with. Then I had to figure out which motherboard has a NIC and SATA controller that is on the supported parts list.  After all of the research here are the components I’ve decided to try.

I say “try” because the Atheros AR8151 LAN Chip says it’s supported by FreeBSD (linux build Freenas is based on), but I didn’t find anything on the Freenas page that would confirm the info. All together the parts list without hard drives came to $233, which is ruffly a 3rd the price of the 4 bay Synology NAS I was considering. The specs for this DIY NAS also seem to be much better then Synology’s 2.13GHz Atom processor and 1GB of ram, plus i’ll have the option to upgrade to 8 or 16GB of ram and add another 4 port SATA controller to one of the PCIe slots in the future if everything works out.

I have four 300gb SATA drives laying around, so I’ve held off on ordering drives until I’ve done some speed tests with with this setup. I’m 80% confident that I’ve made the right choice, but if all else fails I’ll have a pretty good list of parts to build a nice XBMC box for the living room. I’m going to try and start documenting the build in about 3 weeks once I’ve finished all of those flash battery tests, but first it’s off to Atlanta for some more paying work.

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