I've done this and now find it TOO EXPENSIVE to run such 24x7. Today I suggest any NAS even if you have to run Linux to get there. Look for any NAS but tell more why you want to burn 200 Watts when a NAS could come in under 20.
I would like to build a home file server that could also handle print server duties and, if possible, host some games that my son and I like to play. I have some minor exposure to Unix from a previous job and would like to try my hand at Linux. I would like some help, please, with determining some minimum specs for the machine.
Right now, I have 2 XP machines that would connect to it via a Belkin 4-port/wireless that I already have and I will be adding at least 2 other new machines down the road. It doesn't need to be web-accessible for now although, if I ever get high speed, I would like to have that option. I would also like to institute RAID for redundancy, not necessarily speed, as all of my photos/mp3s/etc. will be on it.
I have considered 4 options so far:
1. Buying a brand new PC with Windows so that I can play the games that we have and installing 3 ~500GB drives with RAID5(?) and installing Linux. Depending on the specs that you provide, it seems that this might be prohibitively expensive and I'm not sure if you can set up dual-boot on a machine that is already set up with Windows.
2. Buying a barebones machine, putting in the same drives and running Linux only. The problem is hosting the Windows games.
3. I have a lot of spare parts and have thought about seeing if I have enough to scavenge a machine together.
4. I have another Gateway machine currently with Win98 that I have considered converting, but I'm not sure that it would support the large drives that I am talking about using. Also, getting XP on it would be another expense. I believe that it has a 733MHz Pentium.
Also, can you suggest a distribution. From what I have read, Ubuntu seems to be popularly suggested for newbies.
I'm sure that I left out details that could be useful; let me know and I can add anything that you might want to know. I would really appreciate some guidance. Thanks in advance.