Plex Server

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Soldato
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You could buy something equally capable for £100 upwards used. Plex doing hardware transcoding (requires a Plex Pass) uses almost no CPU as it’s only audio transcodes that are done in software. Also 4TB is a strange choice in this day and age, especially on a case with a low number of drive bays. Consider if you will that if you have a reasonable internet connection, then GSuite Enterprise is effectively cheap and unlimited storage. I generally prefer to run Plex and associated things on Ubuntu in docker as Plex and hardware transcoding under windows doesn’t scale that well.
 
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Can you explain what the difference is with transcoding with and without a plex pass? What is hardware transcoding? doesn't the name "hardware transcoding" imply that it depends on the hardware? i.e having a good cpu will make it better?
 
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You could buy something equally capable for £100 upwards used. Plex doing hardware transcoding (requires a Plex Pass) uses almost no CPU as it’s only audio transcodes that are done in software. Also 4TB is a strange choice in this day and age, especially on a case with a low number of drive bays. Consider if you will that if you have a reasonable internet connection, then GSuite Enterprise is effectively cheap and unlimited storage. I generally prefer to run Plex and associated things on Ubuntu in docker as Plex and hardware transcoding under windows doesn’t scale that well.
are you saying 4TB is not enough? i can't really find a micro atx case with many more drive bays. additionally, my library isn't that big so i think 4tb should be fine for now.
 
Don
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Can you explain what the difference is with transcoding with and without a plex pass? What is hardware transcoding? doesn't the name "hardware transcoding" imply that it depends on the hardware? i.e having a good cpu will make it better?

Hardware transcoding should really be hardware accelerated transcoding. I.e. it uses either a GPU or integrated Graphics hardware to accelerate the transcoding process, rather than doing it entirely in software on the CPU.
 
Soldato
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Can you explain what the difference is with transcoding with and without a plex pass? What is hardware transcoding? doesn't the name "hardware transcoding" imply that it depends on the hardware? i.e having a good cpu will make it better?
A plex pass is required to enable hardware transcoding, without it you have to do it all in software. Hardware transcoding uses the iGPU or NVEnc to do the transcoding work in hardware with near zero CPU usage rather than software transcoding which is all done with CPU and can quickly ramp up load/fan noise. The bigger question should be why people are transcoding on a local server/client set-up - you either have crappy clients, crappy connectivity or crappy encoding settings.
are you saying 4TB is not enough? i can't really find a micro atx case with many more drive bays. additionally, my library isn't that big so i think 4tb should be fine for now.
'Now'... I wouldn't personally waste the money on anything that small drive wise, heck I wouldn't have bought anything smaller than 8TB 5 years ago, let alone today.
 
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A plex pass is required to enable hardware transcoding, without it you have to do it all in software. Hardware transcoding uses the iGPU or NVEnc to do the transcoding work in hardware with near zero CPU usage rather than software transcoding which is all done with CPU and can quickly ramp up load/fan noise. The bigger question should be why people are transcoding on a local server/client set-up - you either have crappy clients, crappy connectivity or crappy encoding settings.

'Now'... I wouldn't personally waste the money on anything that small drive wise, heck I wouldn't have bought anything smaller than 8TB 5 years ago, let alone today.
as to why i'm transcoding, my samsung tv's will need transcoding, and i don't really wanna invest in a shield per tv.
 
Soldato
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as to why i'm transcoding, my samsung tv's will need transcoding, and i don't really wanna invest in a shield per tv.

They will only need to transcode if you feed them unsuitable formats (eg you made poor choices in encoding) or connect them to the server using something silly like power line or Wi-Fi. Also we live in a world where a FireTV or Roku wipes the floor with most ‘smart’ TV’s. In transcoding terms a modern Celeron will do 20+ transcodes in hardware, you don’t need an i5, even an i3 is significant overkill.
 
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They will only need to transcode if you feed them unsuitable formats (eg you made poor choices in encoding) or connect them to the server using something silly like power line or Wi-Fi. Also we live in a world where a FireTV or Roku wipes the floor with most ‘smart’ TV’s. In transcoding terms a modern Celeron will do 20+ transcodes in hardware, you don’t need an i5, even an i3 is significant overkill.
yeah, but then i need to worry about setting up handbrake to spit out files for all of my different devices right?
 
Soldato
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yeah, but then i need to worry about setting up handbrake to spit out files for all of my different devices right?

Honestly transcoding isn't bad if you have a Plex Pass. I run a 9th gen i5 which is total overkill, but it was second hand and cheap, and it will happily transcode 4k. I don't transcode much, but for the odd time I watch something away from home or a family member wants to watch something it's handy.
 
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Honestly transcoding isn't bad if you have a Plex Pass. I run a 9th gen i5 which is total overkill, but it was second hand and cheap, and it will happily transcode 4k. I don't transcode much, but for the odd time I watch something away from home or a family member wants to watch something it's handy.
interesting, i'll test it out on my machine with a 4690k...but from what i've read, hardware transcoding isn't as good quality wise.
 
Soldato
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yeah, but then i need to worry about setting up handbrake to spit out files for all of my different devices right?

No. You should be using a format that pretty much any client will direct play anyway, possible exceptions being HDR (now tone mapping is more or less OK) and exotic audio formats if you have/intend to use a decent AV amp/set-up.

interesting, i'll test it out on my machine with a 4690k...but from what i've read, hardware transcoding isn't as good quality wise.

If you’re the kind of person who gets a hard on doing screen grabs and comparing edge detail and background scene definition, you won’t be transcoding anything. Do you have a PlexPass? If not you can’t do hardware transcoding. The 4690K is generally a poor choice for hardware transcoding, it’s ancient in iGPU terms and lacks modern capabilities. Hardware transcoding on something 7th or 8th gen you’re unlikely to notice anything significant unless you choose to really constrain bandwidth.
 
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interesting, i'll test it out on my machine with a 4690k...but from what i've read, hardware transcoding isn't as good quality wise.

As above, you'd need a 7th gen or newer to get full Quick Sync support but quality wise, I've used hardware transcoding to watch things when I've been away, in hotels etc and it's absolutely fine.
 
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No. You should be using a format that pretty much any client will direct play anyway, possible exceptions being HDR (now tone mapping is more or less OK) and exotic audio formats if you have/intend to use a decent AV amp/set-up.
Yes i have a plex pass.
As above, you'd need a 7th gen or newer to get full Quick Sync support but quality wise, I've used hardware transcoding to watch things when I've been away, in hotels etc and it's absolutely fine.
ok cool, so i'm getting quite confused now.
i just want to be able to play stuff, don't care whether its transcoded or direct played, and i don't want to have to manage reencoding my stuff that i get from torrents or usenet.can i do that with a celeron?

if so, i would appreciate a build.
thank you
 
Soldato
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If you transcode or direct play is down to the client you use. If you use something like an Apple TV or Nvidia TV you can pretty much direct play everything. If you use lesser hardware (built in TV app for example), they don't support all codecs so will need to be transcoded. Also, if you want remote access, you'll be limited to the bandwidth of your upload. So for example mine is set to 1080p for remote access. If I want to play 4K media or 7.1 TrueHD, plex will transcode it.

See here for examples of what is required for CPU Passmark scores https://support.plex.tv/articles/201774043-what-kind-of-cpu-do-i-need-for-my-server/

For info I use an old 3770 and 16gb DDR3. It works good enough for me. The CPU is pretty low on the Passmark score, but has Quicksync and works with PlexPass nicely. I use a Nvidia Shield TV Pro - so actually found flaws with my home network with bandwidth issue with high bitrate files rather then codec/playback issues.
I do allow a few external users access, they are limited to bandwidth/speed so do have occasional issues with high quality files, but usually everything is good.

It also depends on what media you plan on keeping - the 4tb drive suggests your file sizes are low. Another example - I have files that are almost 50gb in size. Try transcoding that to view on a phone or old 720p TV and it'll soon struggle!

Just to note, I'm using Unraid, so I expect system resources are lower than a Windows system.
 
Soldato
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If you transcode or direct play is down to the client you use. If you use something like an Apple TV or Nvidia TV you can pretty much direct play everything. If you use lesser hardware (built in TV app for example), they don't support all codecs so will need to be transcoded. Also, if you want remote access, you'll be limited to the bandwidth of your upload. So for example mine is set to 1080p for remote access. If I want to play 4K media or 7.1 TrueHD, plex will transcode it.

See here for examples of what is required for CPU Passmark scores https://support.plex.tv/articles/201774043-what-kind-of-cpu-do-i-need-for-my-server/

For info I use an old 3770 and 16gb DDR3. It works good enough for me. The CPU is pretty low on the Passmark score, but has Quicksync and works with PlexPass nicely. I use a Nvidia Shield TV Pro - so actually found flaws with my home network with bandwidth issue with high bitrate files rather then codec/playback issues.
I do allow a few external users access, they are limited to bandwidth/speed so do have occasional issues with high quality files, but usually everything is good.

It also depends on what media you plan on keeping - the 4tb drive suggests your file sizes are low. Another example - I have files that are almost 50gb in size. Try transcoding that to view on a phone or old 720p TV and it'll soon struggle!

Just to note, I'm using Unraid, so I expect system resources are lower than a Windows system.

Passmark is largely irrelevant if using HW transcoding, you state transcoding is down to the client, as already stated it’s down to the media, bandwidth and client. They are equally important, if you get any of those wrong, you will transcode. Also the oft quoted 2K/1080p H264 metric is largely irrelevant if using HW transcoding, H265, HDR and 4K make software transcoding largely pointless, it doesn’t scale well, a 4K H265 HDR remux transcoded in software is painful, compare that to a budget Celeron doing the same job without breaking a sweat.

Yes i have a plex pass.

ok cool, so i'm getting quite confused now.
i just want to be able to play stuff, don't care whether its transcoded or direct played, and i don't want to have to manage reencoding my stuff that i get from torrents or usenet.can i do that with a celeron?

if so, i would appreciate a build.
thank you

You don’t need a ‘build’, literally almost any £100ish 7th/8th gen Celeron or i3 ex corp box with iGPU enabled is more than adequate here, spend the rest on a larger drive because you will need it sooner rather than later. I can’t comment on what you get from torrents or usenet and in what format it comes in, but it seems like you need to learn what you can play on your clients and make appropriate choices, but I don’t recall many legitimate studios releasing content that way though, so you’re on your own with that.
 
Soldato
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thanks that makes more sense. i'll go for a cheaper cpu.
back to storage question, am i correct in thinking the motherboard here has support for 4 3.5 sata drives? https://www.overclockers.co.uk/giga...lga-1200-micro-atx-motherboard-mb-59p-gi.html

That board has 6x SATA ports and m.2 you can use for cache purposes. I personally use an HBA card, so the only SATA port I use is for the SSD cache. - That's mainly due to me using more drives than ports available on the board.

Have you decided on an operating system? Are you having any sort of drive redundancy planned?
 
Soldato
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thanks that makes more sense. i'll go for a cheaper cpu.
back to storage question, am i correct in thinking the motherboard here has support for 4 3.5 sata drives? https://www.overclockers.co.uk/giga...lga-1200-micro-atx-motherboard-mb-59p-gi.html

Your spec above is more than enough CPU wise, however would be pretty lacking storage wise. Personally, I'd go for a cheaper second hand 8th or 9th gen CPU and board and throw more money at a bigger hard drive and SSD cache. I'd also go for UnRAID for the OS as it makes setting up the various dockers for Plex pretty seamless. Just having a quick look on eBay and a few i3-8100, board and RAM combos have gone for around £80. Add a case, two 8TB hard drives (one for parity to give you redundancy) and an NVMe drive for cache should be around your budget.
 
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Your spec above is more than enough CPU wise, however would be pretty lacking storage wise. Personally, I'd go for a cheaper second hand 8th or 9th gen CPU and board and throw more money at a bigger hard drive and SSD cache. I'd also go for UnRAID for the OS as it makes setting up the various dockers for Plex pretty seamless. Just having a quick look on eBay and a few i3-8100, board and RAM combos have gone for around £80. Add a case, two 8TB hard drives (one for parity to give you redundancy) and an NVMe drive for cache should be around your budget.
been hearing a lot about nvme drives for cache...how is this setup/how does this work?

is the os installed on the nvme drive?
 
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