Originally Posted by yogurt_21
based on the amount of data it seems hard disk performance is far more important cpu/mobo/memory performance.
personally i'd look into some cheaper perhaps older spec server hardware for the longevity. Then throw most of the money into hard drives.
specifically if you could find a used Dell PowerEdge 2900 it would have everything you would need while being a bit slow by today's standards in cpu/memory.
The chasis supports 8 hotswap disks and a couple more internal as well as a few 5.25's fro whatever your i/o needs are.
it has dual psu's for redundancy and should be very reliable (but again not the fastest thing in the world)
The only upgrade needed would likely be 2 tb drives for the hot swaps and a gpu upgrade for any playback needs. The raid controllers should still be fine.
They currently go for 600-1000$ on the used market, compared with psu/tower that supports enough hard disks, mobo/memory/cpu, and a raid controller it would be hard to beat and Way, Way, Way more reliable than desktop hardware. Remember desktop hardware is only designed to be on 8 hours a day and typically 3 years longevity (longer for cpu's/memory on average though) but that means in 1 year under 24/7 use you will have used up the full life of most of the hardware.
Used stuff is pretty much out of the question. If I have to assemble a server, that's what I'll do. But does, say, a Xeon CPU really outlive a standard i7? My plan was just to wait until Ivy Bridge and build them that with a server or platinum PSU and good hard drives and plenty of fans (so that if a few fans fail it won't change much). I was also just going to go with a big full tower case. Should I do it differently?