Plex Server

Soldato
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29 Dec 2002
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ah yes, totally forgot about sata slots. have changed to an 804 case but not in stock anywhere :(

They were being sold off very cheaply a few weeks back, but are now showing OOS, the problem is if you go ITX and run out of SATA ports, you need an HBA which blocks your only PCIe, if you want to throw a tuner in, another HBA, 10Gb NIC or some PCIe NVME you're stuck. Whatever case/board you go with, i'd suggest at least a minimum of MATX and ideally ATX - its a server you won't see that'll be hidden out the way, it's size/looks is largely irrelevant surely?
 
Soldato
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What was the consensus on CPU/Mobo combos for Plex chaps?

I have two OptiPlex work horses at the moment, an i3-3240 and an i5-4590. Both were dirt cheap and have been outfitted with an SSD and one largish (small by Avalon's standard :)) drives.

I am considering an upgrade to the main one, the i5-490, and can therefore budget a fair amount. It'll just be Plex use/home media PC. Silence/no vibration is important.

Edit: I have a Xeon1230v2 if that is of any use :(
 
Soldato
Joined
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6,962
What was the consensus on CPU/Mobo combos for Plex chaps?

I have two OptiPlex work horses at the moment, an i3-3240 and an i5-4590. Both were dirt cheap and have been outfitted with an SSD and one largish (small by Avalon's standard :)) drives.

I am considering an upgrade to the main one, the i5-490, and can therefore budget a fair amount. It'll just be Plex use/home media PC. Silence/no vibration is important.

Edit: I have a Xeon1230v2 if that is of any use :(

I like small SSD's - my router still has a 240GB SATA SSD... admittedly after that everything is 2TB-3.2TB, but thats just because I get them cheap.

Do you have PlexPass? If so then the 4590 has a 4xxx iGPU and it's Haswell, so not awful (I still run a Skylake as my main Plex box despite having much more capable hardware available), as long as you understand it's iGPU limitations and curate your media accordingly. If you don't have a PlexPass then software transcoding is going to be the same on the 4590 as my default answer to most things which is an i3-8100, ironically the 1230v2 is actually more capable than the 4590:

CPU Mark
i3 8100 6.2K
i5 4590 5.3K
Xeon 1230v2 6.2K

Plex's published metric is 2K of CPU Mark per 1080p H264 SDR transcode, it's a tad conservative and used to be 1.8K which is a little more realistic imo, so from my testing you're looking at scraping 3 concurrent transcodes in software out of the 4590 at a push depending on OS and bit-rate and the same out of the others easily. If you don't have PlexPass, then consider JellyFin, it's a fork of emby that has made significant progress in recent years and includes hardware transcoding as a free feature, the down side is client support isn't as good as emby, let alone Plex.
 
Soldato
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12,854
I do not have a Plex Pass but I am on the look out for one. I see they come up at 20% off every now and then for Lifetime which is what I'd go for. I've been a solid user for as long as I can remember so it is about time I paid it forward.

I'll keep the 4590 for a bit longer then before I bite the bullet on a sizeable upgrade.

Thanks.
 
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OP
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You’ve confused your terminology - CPU transcoding is software transcoding, QuickSync and NVEnc are hardware transcoding, if it says ‘(HW)’ next to the Transcoding lable on the dashboard, it’s using either iGPU or NVEnc, I would imagine you have disabled iGPU if you have installed a GPU. You haven’t mentioned your OS, and if it’s something horrible like Windows, then best of luck As it sucks for transcoding in general compared to *nix, also you will need to patch the 970 to enable additional streams if required, a 960 actually has a later NVEnc engine that the 97/980, the differences may or may not be relevant to your media curation standards.
what's better for transcoding? the gtx970 or the igpu in the 4690k?
 
Soldato
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what's better for transcoding? the gtx970 or the igpu in the 4690k?

I'm not sure you understand what you are asking as you've provided no context for 'better' which makes it pretty much impossible to answer, quality? Concurrent streams? CODEC support? Frankly neither is a good choice. The 9xx series is limited to 3 concurrent transcodes without patching, it'll do roughly 12 H264 transcodes if patched (depends on BR), but it's a first gen Maxwell and therefore has no H265 support, this is why the 960/M2000 are better cards as they're 2nd Gen Maxwell and do support H265 decode despite what Nvidia will tell you, but nothing of that gen will cope with HDR properly from memory. The 4690k has no H265 decode support but the quality was a lot better than the *brdge iGPU's which were really horrible transcoding to low BR, I honestly can't remember ever benchmarking the HD4600 iGPU, it's not something that I would consider worthwhile, it's just not a good candidate for a modern media server and hasn't been in a good few years.

Now you can work around both of those issues at a price (more storage because you're using H264 rather than H265), and perhaps they aren't relevant to you today (no 4K/HDR screen?), but sooner or later it'll be a problem and sooner or later you're going to be re-ripping content which is the most labour consuming part of the process. Personally given the price and abundance of cheap modern hardware that's vastly more capable, I don't see why you would choose either of the options you present. The last i3-8100 board/CPU I grabbed cost me £40, a full HP 290 G2 with same chip, 8GB RAM and a 1TB HDD is just over £110 used, the UHD6xx iGPU will take pretty much anything you are likely to throw at it and spit out compatible and watchable 1080p/720p H264 without breaking a sweat, even from 4K H265 HDR source and do so with working tone mapping so it doesn't look like a washed out mess.

Of course the bigger question is why would local clients have to transcode anything other than audio anyway, but i'll leave that one till another time.
 
Soldato
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I just run my plex server on a pi device

Slightly late to the party?

For offline set-up’s, I have done similar, but it’s only really practical with a small library and no transcoding - my application was a bunch of ‘wet weather’ entertainment where it was better to have it easily available with a nice UI than have kids leaving physical media out/it getting damaged. For that specific scenario it worked perfectly, as I controlled the server, media, connectivity and client end to end. If you don’t have full end to end control, it tends to get messy as soon as something can’t be direct played. It really falls into the list of things a Pi can do, but isn’t ideally suited to doing. You can compensate by throwing a Shield or similar in as a client, but realistically you could do better on the server end and use cheaper clients with same budget.
 
Soldato
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Slightly late to the party?

For offline set-up’s, I have done similar, but it’s only really practical with a small library and no transcoding - my application was a bunch of ‘wet weather’ entertainment where it was better to have it easily available with a nice UI than have kids leaving physical media out/it getting damaged. For that specific scenario it worked perfectly, as I controlled the server, media, connectivity and client end to end. If you don’t have full end to end control, it tends to get messy as soon as something can’t be direct played. It really falls into the list of things a Pi can do, but isn’t ideally suited to doing. You can compensate by throwing a Shield or similar in as a client, but realistically you could do better on the server end and use cheaper clients with same budget.
Yes of course it depends on the library and setu.

I stream 1000 of stuff stored on my pi devices ext hdd and it streams and works great!

I have a proper ubuntu server mate. 6 core, 32gb ram, 100+tb hdd's etc all the ells and whistles but i dont leave that on 24/7 due to the rise of energy costs and global warming.

A pi runing plex 24/7 is a hit i am willing to take
 
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