I’ve been wanting to setup a media server for a while now. I was strongly considering the Synology DS1515+, but ended up going with a Mac mini Server (2010) I got for CAD 200. I upgraded it to 16 GB RAM, and replaced the two 500 GB hard drives with two 2TB Samsung Spinpoint M9Ts striped in RAID 0 (for a total of 4 TB). The hard drives were CAD 150 each. So for a total of about CAD 500 (~ USD 350), I setup a media server.
The Synology would have cost CAD 1200 + 200 for a single 4 TB HD, meaning CAD 1400. The downsides are that the Synology has 4 link-aggregated ethernet ports versus the Mac mini’s single port, and of course I can add more hard drives to the Synology and put it in RAID 10. That said, I can just add a cheap external RAID enclosure with a few hard drives to the mini for backup purposes. I figure the mini’s Core 2 Duo is almost as powerful as the Synology’s Atom.
Software-wise, the mini is running OS X Server, and Plex. So far it’s all pretty simple. If I needed much more storage, redundancy, and speed, I would have gone with the Synology. But for my purposes, the souped-up mini is just fine. Besides, I’ve always wanted to try out OS X Server.