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I want to build a home NAS and with my Raspberry Pi 2 and also have XBMC installed on it and need some advice on the route to go. The storage will be used to stream movies from (via XMBC) and also to store photos etc.

Should I use the RPi2 as the NAS server with power direct from the mains & use 2 USB powered hd directly connected to the Pi. Or Buy a purpose built NAS device with electricity & connect the RPi2 to that device to obtain power + storage. Or another method I have not thought of.

I plan to switch the devices off (mains timer) while I'm at work and the quieter the solution the better

thanks

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I plan to switch the devices off (mains timer)

As with any other normal computer running a general purpose operating system, the pi's should be shut down properly. If you make a habit of cutting the power arbitrarily, sooner or later you will run into problems including filesystem corruption. However, you could have a timed shutdown synchronized to (e.g.) 15 minutes before the power is cut.

Should I use the RPi2 as the NAS server with power direct from the mains & use 2 USB powered hd directly connected to the Pi. Or Buy a purpose built NAS device...

That's up to you. Subjective/opinion based questions of this sort are off-topic. Note that using two HDs won't benefit you anything in terms of throughput since the bottleneck is the network.

the quieter the solution the better

The pi is completely silent and does not require or benefit from fans, etc.

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