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Build Advice Plex Server Hardware

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Dr. Coin, 5 Nov 2017.

  1. Dr. Coin

    Dr. Coin Multimodder

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    I am planning a dedicated Plex media server. My goal is to build a reasonably cheap but powerful computer capable of a handling 2 1080p transcoding streams. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact way to know if the computer will meet these need as it all depends upon the source media. Using Plex’s guidelines I will require a CPU that scores 4000 (2x2000/1080 transcode stream) on Passmark’s benchmark. As this computer shall be on 24/6 I want to keep the power consumption down.

    PCPartPicker part list
    • CPU: $ 85 Intel - Pentium G4560 3.5GHz Dual-Core Processor
    • Motherbaord: $ 71 MSI - H110M PRO-VD PLUS Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
      I am wondering if I'd do better to pair the CPU with a B250 motherboard
    • RAM: $190 Team - Vulcan 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory
    • PSU: $ 55 SeaSonic - S12II 430W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply
    • Case: $ 95 Fractal Design - Define Mini C MicroATX Mid Tower Case
      I don't have a lot experience with cases and selected this one becuase I really like the Define R5
    • Hard drives: Existing
    • Cost $ 496 (all prices in Canadian Dollars)
    Comments, suggestions, or compatibility errors?

    Note I have limited my selection to those that are available from NewEgg.ca as I my experience is that once shipping for multiple vendors is included there is very little savings when sourcing from multiple sources.
    If anyone is feeling ambitious you may review the other builds I considered from here.
     
  2. samkiller42

    samkiller42 For i AM Cheesecake!!

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    Not sure that CPU will be enough. My Xeon E3 1220 v2 seems to struggles with a single 1080p stream to my PC. Before that, my Athlon X6 used to manage 3 1080p streams to PC's, Xbox One's and TV's without a hitch.

    That's my millage and what i've experienced, others may have more experience.

    Sam
     
  3. Zoon

    Zoon Hunting Wabbits since the 80s

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    I’m running a Microserver gen 8 although in fairness I’m still getting it set up so I dunno yet if the cpu will have enough grunt (currently an i3 3220). I’m going to put in a Xeon 1265Lv2 when I find one cheap enough.
     
  4. Dr. Coin

    Dr. Coin Multimodder

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    On paper the i3-3220 looks similar to theG4560 (Intel and Passmark compares). The notable difference is DDR3 vs DDR4. If you have a raw Blu-ray rip to test with I'd appreciate the feedback.
     
  5. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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    Doesn't plex rely heavily on Intel's QSV for hardware acceleration of transcoding? Do the Pentiums support it or is that one of the corners cut to get the price down a smidge?
     
  6. Zoon

    Zoon Hunting Wabbits since the 80s

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    Only got a DVD drive sorry. I’ll probably do all my ripping on my main rig which is a 4790k anyway. The Plex CPU for me is just so I’ve got enough resources for on demand transcoding to mobile devices etc.
     
  7. loftie

    loftie Modder

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    I believe they have introduced hardware transcoding, not sure if it's a plex pass feature only at the moment or not.

    @OP, why are you transcoding and outputting 2 1080p streams? Where are they going to? What's the source material quality?

    IMO, if you're keen on keeping the source material, I'd transcode a separate copy of your videos specifically for streaming if quality is important. Handbrake will do a better job than plex transcoder will, and then stream with no transcoding to the devices. Obviously costs storage space. Also is 1080p required? In all honesty, nearly all my videos are 720p because, luckily, when I'm watching a film/tv show the quality difference is small enough that I don't notice it on our TV because I'm not specifically looking for it, and everyone else can't tell a difference even if they are! If people can't tell the difference, then I'd drop it to 720p.

    If you CBA to faff about with handbrake, but like the idea of having a pre transcoded copy, I believe plex has this option under the setting 'Optimise'.
     
  8. Ramble

    Ramble Ginger Nut

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    Have you considered just getting a PC (a raspberry pi does nicely) running kodi and connecting it to your TV? No need to waste electricity transcoding, and it's open source to boot.
     
  9. Dr. Coin

    Dr. Coin Multimodder

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    This server is meant as a gift and I am trying to limit how much time it will take me to set up. I have already spent a year transcoding my own personal library with handbrake. Thus I was only planing on ripping the material from the DVD and Blu-rays with MakeMKV. So some content will range from 480i to 1080p. The recipients are not tech savvy and I want to make sure the server works without issue under all conditions which could include two 1080p streams.

    Thanks for jogging my memory loftie, I vaguely recall the optimise option, I'll need to look in to that further. As that might cover my needs for minimal setup.

    As for QVS I just look this up, yes Plex supports it but will require Plex Pass. Also the G4560 supports QVS but the issue is mote as I am not planning on purchasing a Plex Pass for this account.

    Setting aside the discussion on if transcoding is required or not, any comments on the hardware?
     
  10. loftie

    loftie Modder

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    No comment on the hardware, I have no idea, glad I could jog your memory though :happy:
     
  11. Byron C

    Byron C Official Necromancer

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    IIRC when you're streaming a file locally on the same network then it won't need to transcode - as long as the client supports the file format it'll opt for direct playback instead of transcoding. I get away with an old Xeon X3323 for Plex duties; my streaming client is usually either a Roku 3 or an Android tablet, and most of my files are in formats which those devices can play natively. On the rare occasion that I need to stream to a remote device then CPU the does the job just fine for one client. It might lag a bit on startup, but I can deal with that. More than 1 remote stream client however and it'll probably struggle.

    Transcoding aside... Your hardware looks fine on paper. Do you have any machines you can run some tests with? If you have a spare box you can do some testing with, and you know the passmark of the CPU in use, then it might give you a little more to go on than an "on paper" estimate.
     
  12. Dr. Coin

    Dr. Coin Multimodder

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    Update: Ordered hardware, with some modifications due to availability and sales, parts list. Managed to catch just about every part on sale and threw in a bonus part, all for $500 CAD (~£290, or ~$390 USD) before taxes and shipping (excluding the 2 TB hard drive as I already had it).

    I once I have all the parts I think I might temporary install Windows and benchmark this computer... it might give my primary computer (AMD A10) a run for the money...
     
  13. Guinevere

    Guinevere Mega Mom

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    I'm running plex server on OSX on a 2009 MBP, 8GB RAM which has a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. It will more than happily live transcode 1080p + 5.1 Audio. Will probably struggle with doing more than one mind...

    You won't have any issues with the hardware you've ordered!
     
  14. Dr. Coin

    Dr. Coin Multimodder

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    All the hardware has arrived and is not installed in the case. No modding planned for this case :( . Have to say I continue to be impressed with Fractal Design's cases. I have all the hardware in and cables neat (not tidy, but acceptably neat) in under 30 minutes. The semi modular power supply really helps. Managed to get a temporary copy of Windows 10 installed for bench marking, after which I'll install linux. Still debating between Ubutnu just going to the source and using Debian.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Zoon

    Zoon Hunting Wabbits since the 80s

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    I’m running two media sources off a single 5900 green drive and an i3-3220t and 8gb and it’s not even working a sweat.

    I’m sure you’ll be ok.
     

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