* Mail-In Rebates:
Well I use this as a media centre (XBMC) at home but I also use it to surf the web and watch tv. I am still figuring out all the things I can do with it. I also use it as a NAS and have copies of all my data there, but I've been having issues with data transfer speeds over the network.
Building the machine was fairly simple. Figuring out how to route the cables is another story!
So I wanted something robust, expandable and versatile. Energy efficient and cheap. As you all know those variants don't mix very well so I compromised on some things.
The TV tuner doesn't work as of yet. Neither does the bluray for blurays. The TV tuner I received is the version 3 and the components are not compatible with Linux. The issue with the BD is more or less similar. Something to do with disc encryption. I'm not in a hurry about it so it's not an issue.
The PC is pretty decent, I had no problems with my Linux installation (on the SSD) recognizing the RAID drive. Everything worked at once. I consider myself very lucky and obviously thanks to pcpartpicker.com all the parts work pretty well together. I initially went with 4 GB of RAM but after a week or so the system would start writing to SWAP and I'm not a ok with that since the partition is on the SSD. I changed the swappiness to 0 and got more RAM. I can have open pretty much every program I have installed without a hiccup. I am very pleased with this so far.
The fakeraid controller from the motherboard doesn't like linux or vice versa, let me explain... creating the volume is fine. The problem is when you try to change a drive. The intel raid is designed to work with windows only, so don't expect it to work with anything else. So I gave up on the idea and got Windows 7 Pro. Will finish update and post some pics once things are installed and running. I ditched the Idea of having RAID5 in this, mainly because the write speeds were horrendous with Windows, (in linux it is crazy quick), some people get it to work but I'd rather move on, it's not worth the trouble for me.
I got Windows on a 3TB WD Green and I also orderer a mesh front panel for the case. With the new fan I realized that the airflow is pretty much non existent with the original panel. I also changed some of the wiring. I'll update everything accordingly once I get all the parts.
Final Update SEPT 2013: So the ssd is doing caching. The 3TB disk doesn't get along with Windows when you change the mobo setting from sata whatever to RAID. So it only sees 2TB. I decided to use the 3 TB disk for external storage and backup and I put OS and everything on a 2TB disk I had laying around. I plan to put another 2TB volume to RAID 1 in a year or so. The front panel is great, it finally lets the machine breathe from the front. No more air and dust getting sucked from the side panel. There's a pic uploaded with the latest look inside as well. Energy consumption is fairly low, at idle it 40W, under load I managed to get it to 65W. Typical use: 52~58 Watts. This thing is on all the time. Streaming media to all machines and music to the Xbox360 when I get a chance to play every now and then. I'm thinking about adding a display to have in another room and use it as a family desktop as well. But that's far ahead. For now this is it.