CPU Choice for HTPC/Plex Server

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs & Equipment' started by AceCurby32, Oct 4, 2019.

  1. AceCurby32

    AceCurby32 n00b

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    I have two old processors laying around - a i5 2500k and an i5 3570k.

    I know the 3570k is the newer and *slightly* faster chip, but would I be better off dropping in the 2500k and overclocking it?

    Also, and this maybe the wrong forum to ask, but when using Plex for a 4k UHD video playback, the video buffers often and it maxes out all the cores on the 2500. I'm not using a transcoder like HandBrake, but should I be?

    Thanks for the tips.
     
  2. qbanb8582

    qbanb8582 2[H]4U

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    If its for playback you're better off getting a GPU with HEVC decoding. Something like a GT1030 or RX550 will do it. As far as the 2500k or 3570k, I don't think its going to matter you'll most likely get similar results in performance when it comes to 4k video.

    I've paired a GT1030 and RX460 with Pentium G2020 and a very slow quad core APU and I get smooth playback on my 4k videos.
     
  3. defaultluser

    defaultluser [H]ardForum Junkie

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    the 3570k has support for 4k h.264 playback. The 2500k only supports h.264 1080p accelerated playback.

    Neither has the horsepower to playback h.265 or VP9 4k (without a dedicated GTX 960 or later graphics card). You need at least 8-12 threads to pull that off smoothly.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  4. Vengance_01

    Vengance_01 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I would sell both and get yourself a nice cheap current gen dual or quad core but add a GPU mentioned in the thread. As long as you don't need to transcode you won't need alot of cores.
     
  5. AceCurby32

    AceCurby32 n00b

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    Thanks for the tips. I swapped to the 3570k and it's working well. Still won't play the UHD 4k content, but I figured that would be the case based upon what you guys said.

    If I did throw in a GT1030 or something older like a GTX 960, that should clear up the "buffering" I get with those titles, correct?

    I'm also assuming that would only work for local playback, and that if I'm streaming it to my Samsung TV, I'm going to have to update the 3570k to get it to playback without any issues. Is my logic correct there as well?
     
  6. Vengance_01

    Vengance_01 [H]ardness Supreme

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    so if you want to handle 4k playback native then yes all of your endpoints need to support it. If not that's where a GPU can help with transcoding but you will need to have a Plex pass to enable this feature.
     
  7. lightsout

    lightsout Gawd

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    Are you playing media from the server? Is that what you mean by local? Local usually means on the same network. If so you need a GPU that can handle UHD properly. As stated above the 1030 (or more) can handle simple playback. I would think that would be the cheaper option than a platform change.

    As far as playing to other clients like your samsung TV it might actually work better if the TV is 4k and can direct play the content. Which is what you want, if plex has to transcode its going to be too much for that system. But you don't want to transcode UHD anyways, Plex doesn't have proper tonemapping,
    so if you try to transcode 4k it won't do the HDR==>SDR conversion correctly, colors will be washed out.
     
  8. AceCurby32

    AceCurby32 n00b

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    First, yes, I mean the network when I refer to "local". Looks like I may have keep my eyes open for a 1030 or better for that 4k and see if I can sneak a Plex Pass into the budget somehow.
    I didn't know Plex did that with HDR. I guess I'll wait on those HDR titles for now then.

    Thanks again!
     
  9. lightsout

    lightsout Gawd

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    If your client (pc, Tv, etc) can accept HDR then you are OK, but the main problem is when you try to watch those files on something like a 1080p tv, not worth it right now.

    I am still a bit confused as to what exactly you are trying to play media on. The 1030 will allow direct playback of UHD files on a PC. But you probably don't want that 1030 in the server, it is a bit underpowered.

    https://developer.nvidia.com/video-encode-decode-gpu-support-matrix
     
  10. AceCurby32

    AceCurby32 n00b

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    Let me break it down - something I should have done in the first post. I'm ripping my media (DVD, Blu-ray, 4k blu-ray) using MakeMKV and setting up a Plex Server on the following PC:

    Asus P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3
    Intel i5 3570k
    16gm Ram
    180gb SSD (Boot drive)
    2x Seagate Iron Wolf 8tb drives (Movie storage)
    WD Blue 1tb drive (Music, Picture storage)

    The plan is to stick this PC in my PC closet and leave it running, hooked up to my home network via a 1gb wired connection. It will be used to stream to the following devices - not all at once of course:

    Samsung UN65JS8500 TV (Via Plex app on the TV - wireless connection)
    Xbox One X hooked up to smaller 4K TV in the bedroom (Wired connection)
    Xbox One S hooked up to a 1080p TV in the office (Wireless)
    A PC hooked up to a 27" 1080p monitor (Wired)
    Two laptops, both 1080p, one MSI, and Apple (Wireless)
    Two phones, an iPhone 10 and an Pixel 2 XL (Wireless)

    Remote access is possible, but not utilized at this time.

    The DVDs and Blu-ray have no problem running on any of the devices. The 4k content though runs for a few, then acts as if it is "buffering", which I'm assuming is Plex transcoding it.
     
  11. schlitzbull

    schlitzbull Limp Gawd

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    4k transcoding is brutal. If your clients can Direct Play the 3570 is fine. I would expect all the devices except the TV can direct play your content. The xboxs will transcode the audio to a new container i believe but that isnt cpu intensive.

    I use something called Tautulli to monitor my streams. It will show you if audio or video is being transcoded. 4k transcoding on my 2700x puts my cpu utilization in the 90s so it will crush either CPUs. Plex says 1080p transcoding takes roughly 2000 points on the passmark. The 3rd gen has a 7100 passmark so if youre only transcoding 1080p to one device, either CPU will work.

    Ultimately we need to know which decices can direct play. If any device transcodes 4k either processors is out of the picture. If 2-3 devices are transcoding 1080p at the same time, your 3000 series should be ok.
     
  12. AceCurby32

    AceCurby32 n00b

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    Yeah, that's the ticket. The TV can't direct play the 4k, even though it gives me an option to. The One X plays it just fine though. I can swap the consoles so I can play 4k stuff on the big TV. The 3570k handled two streams just fine - there's only two of us in the house so we won't ever use more than that.

    I think I'll keep my eyes open for a 1030 in the future just in case, but for now the setup I have works for the house. Thanks for all the tips and help.
     
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  13. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    If you are serious about needing h265 to multiple clients without direct play you will need to look at something like the quadro p2000. So nvidia is kind of sneaky in consumer gpus, locking down the encoder to 2 streams, where the quadros are unlocked. I think there is a hack if you use ubuntu or docker to unlock these but looks like a pain.

    I personally would just create a 4k movies library and a regular library and just have a version of each, so the user could play what works.
     
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  14. schlitzbull

    schlitzbull Limp Gawd

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    "I personally would just create a 4k movies library and a regular library and just have a version of each, so the user could play what works."

    This is what I do as well. Ill reencode the 1080p version to h265 to get the file size down and keep the 4k version as is.
     
  15. Morphes

    Morphes 2[H]4U

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    You have 1 4k device, it seems like a lot of hassle to even have 4k content if you cant enjoy it fully. Why not scale it back to 1080? Still looks awesome on my bedroom 43" 4k tv, but I also understand wanting the best copy.