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I am looking to setup a home server that will act as a media server. This will include both video (possibly HD) and audio. The clients will be a fun mix of hardware but that is a different question.

What I want to know is what is the minimum throughput for streaming video without hitches?

Is there a "sweet" spot for throughput (price vs. throughput)?

I am determining my budget for this "upgrade" and I need to evaluate wether or not upgrading to a 1 Gbps home LAN is required. Sure, it would be sweet and easily handle the traffic but I don't want to do it unless it is necesary.

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well to understand if you need it we will check the throughput for both systems, IE 100MBit and 1000Mbit. a 100Mbit system can transfer 12.5 MegaBytes per second which is more then enough to stream Media and HD media to maybe 5 devices. Now the 1000MBit system can transfer 125 MegaBytes per second giving you the ability to stream LARGE amounts of Media at once . Another thing that you can consider is that with the 1000MBit system movies or streamed media will be streamed much faster therefor freeing up the network Much faster. on a 100Mbit system, if you were streaming a 4 Gig movie it can take nearly 22 mins to transfer everything, yet with a 1000Mbit system you would have transfered the movie in under 5 mins. So the advantage of a faster network system is that you have More resource to get things done faster AND in less time. So if you truly are Streaming 5-8 gig Files To more then 5-8 computers then a 1000Mbit system is a must. Now remember that you need all the Nic cards to be gigbit network cards so that there is no bottle necking.

thanks

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You can't just divide by 8 for TCP/IP, it has about a 20% overhead. You'll likely see closer to ~10MB/s and 100MB/s for 100Mbps and GigE respectively. –  MDMarra Dec 7 '09 at 16:14
    
sorry to say that the ACUALTAL white paper for a 100Mbit system IS 12.5, NOT considering the overhead. Yet with my fast ethernet switch i HAVE transfered computer to computer at 12 MB/s. thank you. –  mike Dec 7 '09 at 16:24
    
mike - without jumbo frames and absolutely minimal headers you're maxing out at 11.25. With headers associated with normal traffic it's below 11. It's simple math, the data segment of a packet is only so big with the default MTU size, the rest is headers which account for the overhead. –  MDMarra Dec 8 '09 at 1:55
    
you do have merit in what your saying. and when i looked at how windows was dividing the transfer(vista) it was not giving me the right numbers it was close to 11 MB. thank you for pointing that out to me. yes i worked on it today to sustain a 12MB transfer and when i did calculations myself it was closer to 11 MB so thanks! yet i still think that if he was streaming HD videos to several computers at the same time, gigbit is the way to go. –  mike Dec 8 '09 at 5:55
    
you also have to consider the bandwidth your disk controller can manage. I have just recently built a new server using Windows Server 2008 R2, which uses SMB2 and with a reasonable RAID controller (as opposed to the motherboard disk controller on the old server). The old server would transfer at around 40-50 MB/s, whereas the new one transfers at 100-120 MB/s –  Antony Scott Apr 2 '10 at 20:10

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