HTPC - Media / Plex server rec

Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
3,222
Swapping out my current HTPC, which also serves as Media/Plex server for myself and a few family members at a time. I got a couple of deals on refurb Dell machines, so trying to choose between them.

Current setup is a full-size desktop with an i5-2500 (4 core, no HT, ~6000 CPU passmark), 6gb RAM, 1TB 7200rpm HDD. New system will allow me to substitute in a SFF PC that fits the entertainment center better, but also hoping to have something that can handle ~5 1080p streams without having to worry about bogging anything down.

Option 1: Optiplex 9020 Micro - was about $420 pre-tax
- About the size of a Mac Mini (maybe a tad smaller)
- Intel Core i7-4785T (~7500 passmark)
- 128gb SSD (my media storage is all external to server)
- 8gb RAM, (currently 1 stick, likely upgrade to 16gb with matching stick for ~$50)
uf2X8PKm.jpg


Option 2: Optiplex 9020 SFF - was about $460 pre-tax
- Slightly larger, still fits in entertainment center nicely
- Intel Core i7-4790 (~10000 passmark)
- 500GB 7200rpm HDD
- 8gb dual channel RAM (Potentially swap in 2x8gb sticks I have to up to 16gb)
- 1gb low-mid range discrete AMD graphics (AMD RDNHD R5 240, 1GB, HH :confused:)
tz1QXCTm.jpg


Comparison (not super relevant, since both will fit where I want to put them and look OK in entertainment center):
Yk6rdOYm.jpg


Both have Win8, which works fine for this. Both are 4core w/ HT. Option 1 way more power efficient, but option 2 likely more noticeable upgrade in terms of performance. Leaning option 2, but looking for opinions.

Or if [H] thinks I'd be better off building, let me know. But given prices of the systems vs standalone ~$300 for just CPU, seems like these were priced pretty well. They're also both covered by 3yr NBD warranty, which is nice. Thanks. :)
 

xLokiX

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 10, 2007
Messages
263
Definitely option 2, the extra core speed will be very useful especially if you are going to be transcoding any of those streams. Power difference will be negligible. I would swap out that HDD for a SSD though. They are getting very cheap now, and you shouldn't need much capacity.

I'm actually surprised that your i5 2500 is chugging with that workload. I have a 3570 in my htpc and it handles 5 streams just fine. It's not much faster than your 2500.

Another option would be to get a Itx motherboard and case for your current setup.
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
3,222
Definitely option 2, the extra core speed will be very useful especially if you are going to be transcoding any of those streams. Power difference will be negligible. I would swap out that HDD for a SSD though. They are getting very cheap now, and you shouldn't need much capacity.

I'm actually surprised that your i5 2500 is chugging with that workload. I have a 3570 in my htpc and it handles 5 streams just fine. It's not much faster than your 2500.

Another option would be to get a Itx motherboard and case for your current setup.

Thanks. That's what I'm going with... my Plex library is rebuilding right now. I'm going to add the 2x8gb sticks I have, rather than swap, and run with 24gb. Was just shopping for an SSD to run as boot drive. I like that you can get a good 250gb SSD for under $100 these days.

Honestly I think you're right and that the i5 could handle it, but I had the upgrade bug and didn't feel like buying a new case to swap everything into to make it fit under my living room TV. :p

I'll give the i5 a clean install and either use it as a desktop for a bit or move it to the bedroom to drive other TV. So I'll still make use of it. :)
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
3,222
It's just a cheap HP I picked up a couple years back, so that would require a new mobo. If/when I ever swap this into a proper HTPC case, I may change the motherboard to allow that, but otherwise it will just have to run stock.
 

DaPayne

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 28, 2015
Messages
180
I have been many different ways about the Plex/HTPC's over the years and I like my current setup the best.

Disclaimer I do own my own company and my office backups from all of the servers from my offices to my home, so some of mine is overkill.

In a safe downstairs I have an i7-4790 that has a total of 60TB(I just brought 36 more TB online recently) of storage all on FreeNas and with ZFS as the file system. I have a 14 jails running various things, including a AD controller and backup exchange system. I have 32GB of ram in the system. I only do incremental backups from the office to the house. Other than 4K video I use Roku, Raspberry PI's, Google Chromecasts and then my new Vizio and LG TV's I just play directly to the Plex app. My wife's son and daughter each have a XBox one after that we have 6 TV's in the house and since making the Wifi bulletproof throughout the house, we don't have problems. We don't have Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu. ALL of our entertainment comes through our Plex system I run Sonarr and SickRage to download TV shows and rip movies off of blueray. Yes it did take me a while to tweak it but that was a lot of the fun. For me, I like having pretty standard remotes such as Roku and TV remotes so that we don't have to have a keyboard in the living room. I don't ever play games but if I was going to I would just use my desk.
 
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