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hey guys, i have read lots and have a few quick questions:

I would like to build an efficient server that can handle up to 8 HDD to serve hi def 1080 mkvs to 3 client pcs (each client will be an HTPC). at most the server will distribute mkvs to 2 clients at any given time. House all wired with Cat5e.

I was thinking of this mobo - Gigabyte - GA-EP45-UD3P
4 gigs ram
2 - 1Tb HDD to start off with, then add in the near future

CPU - E5300 or similar
CPU cooler - ???
Memory - 4GB
Case - Budget is 100-140ish (I really would like a case that is very quiet, has excellent air filters to minimize dust over time, and PSU placement at the bottom of the case)
PSU - ??? Something highly efficient (24 x 7 setup) and that can handle at least 8-10 HDD in time - Seasonic or ??
Router with 8 Gibit ports?

I was thinking about a dual core ATOM setup - but i dont think that will be enough -any thoughts - also, if i were to go with a atom setup - then how much to add a sata card with 6 more ports? without spending too much on the card?

thanks all.
Dual-core atom boards may not be as energy-efficient as they could have been because of the chipset they commonly come with. Since you want 8 HDDs, you don't need a mini-ITX form-factor board, which will come with a price premium. Most likely you will get an ATX or mATX board.

Here's my post about a file server I recently built in another thread. Its energy consumption is great and should be more capable than the Atom CPU too.

I'm not sure about case choices for 8 HDDs though. There should be plenty out there if you are not aesthetically demanding.

Update: I could not stand the "high" 48-50W idle power consumption of this NAS box once I put two 750GB drives in. So I passed the KPC to the in-laws as a perfectly capable PC for their everyday use. Then, inspired by this silentpcreview article, I built the following box as my new NAS:

$55 CPU: AMD 64 X2 2.6GHz 5050e 45W
$46 Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2, AMD 740G, 6 SATA 3Gb/s ports
$80 Case: Antec NSK1380 mATX
PSU: Antec AR-350 80+ certified 350W (comes with the case)
RAM: 2x1 GB Corsair DD2-800 SDRAM (already had some spare)
HDDs: 2 x WD Green Power 750GB (old drives from the KPC)

I'm seriously impressed that this box draws 30W at full idle; that's a 40% reduction from the KPC while packing more firepower should I need it.
Depending on how long it would take you to put together all 8 HDs, you could add a cheap ($20-$25) 4 -SATA card and hope to swap for a better/cheaper motherboard or card later.
For a quiet and sturdy case I highly recommend Antec Solo - very happy with mine.
You did not specify the server OS - beware of 3G limits on 32-bit Windows.
Atom board should draw under 50 watts, so you would not need more than 200 watts even if all the HD are spinning simultaneously. Check Anand for a recent review of low-powered PSUs. Just remember that the higher powered PSU might be quieter depending on the fan speed levels.
Please keep in mind that you are unlikely to design a totally perfect optimal configuration. Be prepared for some surprises and enjoy the process.
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