Monday, March 2, 2015

OMG The Plot Thickens

As I said in a recent post, I've recently gotten a Chromecast.  It's okay, except or the part where it doesn't support mkv and kind of made me re-evaluate my current home server setup.  Hey, I thought, why don't I replace my file server with a Raspberry PI that's plugged into my tv, that also has a samba share.  I can drag files over to the PI's network folder to play them on my tv.  Of course it would work, why wouldn't it?

Oh David, you simple fool.  Here's why. Benchmark tests of the Raspberry Pi B+, the Pi 2 B, and a Banana Pi.  The BPi has a gigabit ethernet port and a Sata hard drive port for much faster speeds.  However, even a USB drive on the BPi was seeing twice the transfer speeds over a network then the Pi 2.  So its settled, right?  Buy a BPi, set up a file server, plug it inso my tv and play media off the network folder it hosts.

Hahahahaha, nice try though!
The Banana Pi and Banana Pro do not have proper hardware acceleration because of the Mali GPU chipset’s lack of documentation so it is unknown if its full graphics potential will ever be unlocked for media center tasks.
Wah-wah.  So where does that leave us?  A few people chime in to say that the Banana Pi is good for media serving, and the Raspberry Pi 2 is good for media streaming.  In other words, the BPi is a good file host, and the Pi2 is a good player.

It occurs to me that it's not too ridiculous to do this setup:

-BPi with external hard drive attached, plugged directly into my router.  Network share all set up.
-Pi2 set up and plugged into television, streaming media off of the BPi.

Seems a bit ridiculous, like overkill, but look at it this way:  My Alienware uses 10-27 Watts, depending on what it's doing.  A Pi2 and a BPi would use around 4 watts apiece (depending on what you're doing and what's plugged in).  So 8 watts, that's still a large drop in power consumption  Ordered online they'd both be about $40 with shipping and everything.  I already have HDMI cables and 2 amp USB chargers and all that.  So $80 to have a small, quiet and efficient media server/media streamer?

I'm thinking about it.  I am.


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