Thanks JJ and 40hz, very helpful as usual.
40, you've warned me several times about the consumer RAID controllers, so I'm going to avoid those. I actually don't intend to use RAID at all, even with 10-15 drives installed. I'd rather have a software or OS way of combining directories and drives (volume spanning is the term, I believe?). I just don't think I have the stomach to deal with RAID, so I'll be really trying hard not to need it.
Since the DS units from Norco are just for storage, perhaps the best thing I can do is buy the server box (I don't know what to call it, but it's the part that has the mobo, cards, and all that stuff) and buy a DS unit for just the storage.
For the server, this is going to be hard for me to shop for, so I'm asking for help on it. What specs do I want or need? I can spend a decent amount, but I don't want to spend way more than I have to. Like, if a shitty server costs $500 and a decent one costs $2000, I'll get the expensive one. But if a shitty one costs $1000, and the decent one costs $7000, I'll probably stick with the cheap one. If I can build it myself and avoid some brand name prices and restrictions, I'd like that also.