Sunday, September 20, 2009

computer stuff

So I've been thinking about my ideal network setup and I think I've arrived at it. It would use three or four computers for fairly dedicated tasks each, which is exactly what I want.

File Server

This one would be where I store all of my actual files. With the ease of setting up network mounts (network drives on windows), dealing with files on it will be just like moving files around locally, except the OS goes "hey this path is on the network" and moves things across the network transparently.

This computer would run a torrent client (probably rtorrent) with a web ui that enables RSS downloading, as well as a configured torrent dropbox where I can put torrent files and it'll automatically start them up, and a separate configured directory that it moves finished files to so I can get at them when they're done. It would ideally seed to my usual ratio of 6.0 and then automatically remove the torrent from the client. I could live with manually removing them, but having the dropbox/finished directories would be essential. Both of these directories would be network shares.

Also stored in a directory structure shared on the network would be, well, everything else. General documents, images (including wallpapers), videos (including anime), music, everything.

To store all this data and keep it safe the machine would need several large hard drives (and what ho, terabyte drives are prevalent now) and configured to run one or another RAID so if a drive fails I'm not fucked.

Since it's a server, it would run without a graphics card or sound card. All it really needs is a network card and a bunch of hard drives. I'll probably still get it a motherboard with onboard graphics, just so I can set it up (kind of important, at least until I get ssh installed).

To get this one set up right (specifically, the torrentbox portion) I'd need to do some research and see exactly how much hacking I have to do to get it all strung together and working properly. It would also be running a web server for general web development purposes, so any web ui for the torrents would have to be able to co-operate (and by this I mean it would have to run on a port other than 80). I kind of wanted to write my own system for wallpapers.

Gaming Computer

This one will be a fairly powerful computer and hold nothing but games and their various utilities. It doesn't need a ton of storage space, but at the same time, games these days are huge, so it needs to be able to hold everything I have and still have room for new stuff. This means it will probably be the only computer other than the file server that will have multiple hard drives. I'll have my usual setup of a separate partition for the OS and then everything else is files, that way I can reformat that partition and reinstall the OS and not lose everything.

General Use Computer

This one is just for web browsing (which includes Flash), email, IMs, IRC, etc. It'll be the one I use the most, and needs a fair amount of power for Flash but doesn't need to be anywhere near bleeding edge. It'll also more than likely run ArchLinux, just because even though Ubuntu is easy, it's a little too easy, since it does its very best to hide the inner workings of the operating system from you. I guess I've levelled up in Linuxmancy.

This one doesn't need a terribly large hard drive since the files I download on it would go straight to the appropriate directory on the file server. I'll probably just save downloads directly to the file server anyway.

Media Computer

The only one I'm still on the fence about. It would need a capture card and some fairly decent specs. It would sit there connected to a monitor and a TV. I would use it to watch stuff (DVDs, anime, etc.) on the TV. I'd probably go the extra mile and install Flash so YouTube and flash games on the TV become a reality. It would also need a remote of some sort (either a dedicated device that I overpay for or a setup with a wiimote). A wireless keyboard and mouse are a definite must for this thing. If they're bluetooth then the wiimote idea would work brilliantly.

This is completely ignoring any and all video game consoles. I haven't yet figured those into the equation, but thankfully I don't really need to think about them much since both hardware and software are already completely obvious. The media computer needs a capture card just so I can capture gameplay videos. To do so without imposing lag means I need splitters out the ass.

The TV is also a point of contention. I want something high definition, but at the same time I don't want to have to worry about lag in video games. The plasma TV we have has lag that's so bad I haven't yet been able to calibrate it properly in Guitar Hero, and I've tried very many times. Furthermore, now that I think about it, do the current gen consoles have a global lag calibration setting that gets applied to all games? If not, why the fuck not? It's not like lag just magically isn't present if you're not playing a rhythm game.

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