The major upgrade that you’ll need for your older to computer to make it a media server is to improve the hard drive. You need a lot of memory if you plan on backing up your entire library. Shoot for at least 500 GB of memory if your computer can handle it.
Before you make any upgrades, however, examine the components that are already in it. Generally, you need to get the same types of components that are already installed on the computer. For example, if you have a SATA hard drive, then invest in another type of SATA hard drive. Do not install an IDE hard drive. Your computer won’t work properly, and you run the risk of completely crashing it.
Besides the hard drive, invest in better memory. Again, you have the option of DDR2 and DDR RAM. If you are unsure what type of RAM or hard drive that you have, simply remove the part, and take it to your local computer store. They can immediately tell you what type it is. Or, input the serial number into a Google search.
For most people, changing out the hard drive and RAM is going to be enough to satisfy their home media server. Some people, however, may want to run a home website business via their home server. In this case, you want to upgrade the graphics card to handle the additional graphics demands.
Don’t worry about the look of the computer because it doesn’t have to be pretty. Most servers are installed where people don’t see them anyway. There’s no need to spend money changing the case when no one’s going to see it. Also, don’t worry about purchasing a monitor or keyboard for the server. Servers usually don’t require either.