So with the holiday I'm considering building a file/media server that I'll mount in a picture frame or shadow box and mount on the wall. Problem is I have no idea what I should actually build, what OS or software to put on it, or what specific purposes It should be used for. We'll start with what I want to do with it.

Here are the various things I've been wanting another machine for in no particular order:
  • File Server - These uses make me lean toward a Linux server so I could ssh into it and do everything and some programming via the command line regardless of the local machine I'm using.
    - Small files like programs I'm writing
    - SVN repository
    - Any other random files that aren't media but could be used remotely
  • Media Server - Mainly feeding to Windows machines, but needs to handle a Linux device, Mac, iPad, XBox 360, PS3. Pretty much anything out there.
    - Photos
    - Blu-ray (720p possibly 1080p) and DVD Rips
    - Random family videos
  • NAS Box for mass storage and network backups.
  • Low Power and Heat machine that's always on!
  • Shared libraries for photos, videos, music. (more of a software question)
  • HTPC to replace my cable box.
  • Roaming windows profiles/logins??? this is a recent thought that I probably wont try till I have complete control over all the hardware in my home.


These are just the thoughts I've had. Because I'm a college Student I have access to a free copy of Windows server 2008 R2 so pretty much no OS is out of the question. (yeah and I've hackintoshed my current i7 machine).

Whats your thoughts on these things. I'd like to take care of as many things as possible. Cross platform support is vital. I plan on doing all the maintenance remotely via my network so I wasn't planning on using a graphics card or having much plugged into it.

So with all that said I open up to discuss both hardware options and more importantly software to handle these things. How many of the above goals could I handle with a single machine. I was aiming for an i3 build but not opposed to bumping it up to an i5 if I would be able to handle more (5 or so) users, or more of the above goals. Oh and sorry about my thoughts being a bit scattered.