New Plex Server

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs & Equipment' started by calikool, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. calikool

    calikool [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'm thinking of updating my Plex Media Server. (Rasperry Pi 3) to either a Dell Optiplex mini or going with the intel nuc.
    Blu-Ray playing from the Raspberry pi locally sucks and not watchable.

    I found this the other day Dell OptiPlex 7000 7050 Desktop Computer
    • Intel Core i7 (7th Gen) i7-7700T 2.90 GHz
    • 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM
    • 128 GB SSD
    • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (English/French/Spanish)
    • Micro PC
    $820.99



    The only thing I don't need is the Windows OS. I plan on using Ubuntu. It's hard to find a Dell with no operating system. The i7 will probably perform better than the i5 processor. Transcoding may occur and stream of no more than 3 at any one time would need to be supported.

    The Intel Nuc kits seem to be around the similar prices with similar parts or a variations for a bit more $$.

    My media is on external USB 3.0 hard drives. Most of my library is DVDs but Blu-Ray collection is growing and for now I just put them on a USB drive connected to the Blu-Ray player USB drive.

    Is i7 over kill over the i5 intel 7th gen ?
    I've been looking for some refurbished Dells too to save a bit of money.
     
  2. Kaos_Drem

    Kaos_Drem Gawd

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    Also worth exploring is if you want to use Quicksync off the igpu because the NUCs have higher end iGPU parts than desktops. Might be worth looking at.
     
  3. warderkeeju

    warderkeeju n00bie

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    IMHO -- lean towards the refurbished Dells on www.dellrefurbished.com -- You can find no OS computers pretty commonly on there, and good specs for what you're trying to do. I don't think you NEED a 7th gen to properly do a Plex server (unless you're specifically looking for CPU only based transcoding), but sufficient RAM would help quite a bit.

    Also -- stay away from the micro PCs, they're nice for small places and footprints, but they tend to overheat and throttle fairly quick from what I've seen. We've used them for point of sales machines at work a few times, and even set on top of a desk and running average-low loads, they overheat and throttle.
    I would stick with the SFF over the USFF if you are looking to squeeze it into your home theater.
     
    Wild1 likes this.
  4. calikool

    calikool [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'll check out that website. However, I see they just have 4th Gen.

    I was reading that Plex was a 32 bit program so even though a 64 bit Ubuntu could use more ram the process isn't going to benefit from anything more than 4GB. With RAM being expensive as it is I supppose anything more than 16GB would be overkill AND Im probably not going to do anything else on this Dell Plex server.

    Any CPU 6th Generation or greater is going to have hardware H.264 support in case transcoding is needed. I will have the server plugged into a switch in my office. From there my Amazon Fire TV plex client accesses it from downstaris. It is using a D-link Powerline device which gives almost near speed as being plugged into the upstairs netgear switch.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
  5. warderkeeju

    warderkeeju n00bie

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    Correct -- Plex is a 32bit program -- however, depending on what you're using for an OS, it's going to snack on quite a bit of that from bootup, and not leave a ton of headroom for multiple streams being transcoded (if needed). I have seen the transcoder program itself peg upwards of 2 to 3 gigs of ram during a single transcode, but then I have it on "murder my CPU" mode in the transcoding options. That being said -- I ran it for quite some time on Optiplex 980 SFF with an I5 second generation and 16 gigs of DDR3 and it ran pretty solid, even with my dad streaming to his house and my box transcoding down to something that didn't hammer his junk 3 meg internet.

    Happy streaming!
     
  6. Wild1

    Wild1 n00bie

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    no one has mentioned the bitrate of what he is trying to play.

    If most of the movies are 50,000kbps bitrate then yes get nice hardware, but if they are like 1,000-15,000kbps or so, which most of mine are, I would think you could get by with something less.

    I have a very old core2duo desktop with serviio and the highest bitrate movie I own is probably not 20,000kbps.

    I use Serviio because I have found plex to be too burdensome on my ancient hardware, and serviio does the job flawlessly, but I have no 4k video or any "fancy stuff".

    Mine is also of the optiplex line and has been bullet proof, has good airflow and its on 24/7.

    Good luck, maybe give serviio or anyother dlna server a whirl with the pi or whatever you already have.

    My 2 cents, could be wrong, my point of view is usually cost based not performance base but my tvs are old and my bluray and chromeasts are cheap and old.
     
  7. Vengance_01

    Vengance_01 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Are you only use Plex as a front end. If so save some money and get an i5 for sure.
     
  8. calikool

    calikool [H]ard|Gawd

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    Most of my Library is sourced from DVDs. I use handbrake to encode and on the video tab i use H.264, MKV container, Same as source variable framerate, Constant Quality is 18. So, I am not sure the bitrate for all the films. The biggest problem is that Bluray content can not play on my current setup using the Rasperry Pi. Just too much data to process. I figured a 6th generation intel chip would help since it has h.264 support in hardware. When I look at bitrate in windows file explorer it says 64kbps. When use MKV to rip a DVD the bitrate is at 448kbps.

    My Blu-ray rips are either 640kbps, 1560kbps, 1952kbps, or 2642kbps. That's just how they come on the disc with no manipulation on my part.
     
  9. calikool

    calikool [H]ard|Gawd

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    I suppose I am. I'm just using it as library that can pull down all the movie info, present it to the user in a good looking format and then play. The Raspberry Pi can't handle multiple streams very well. Most of the Optiplexes for cheap are using the Intel Core i5-7500T. It's PassMark is 7168.
     
  10. calikool

    calikool [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'll look into it.
     
  11. warderkeeju

    warderkeeju n00bie

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    Here's the fun part -- the Raspberry Pi is anemic as hell in terms of decoding any video without the use of that OMX-Player that leverages its built in hardware h264 decoding. Unfortunately, MOST applications for the Pi do not leverage that ability, and rely on software based decoding.
     
  12. calikool

    calikool [H]ard|Gawd

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    I didn't realize that this player was on the pi. I have a 2nd Pi B+ that has a 1GB ethernet port. I wonder when Plex will be operational for this version. At least the network wouldn't be one of many bottlenecks with the pi.
     
  13. Budwise

    Budwise [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yea, that is quite overkill honestly unless you'll be transcoding 5+ streams at the same time. I built my Plex box for around $300, with a low power i5, 8GB of ram, itx board and case, etc. I spent more on spinning disks than I did on the rest of the parts.
     
  14. TeleFragger

    TeleFragger Gawd

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    I was using an hp elite 8200 small form. i7-2600, 8gb ram and 500gb wd black drive for Plex. Storage was on a remote box. Worked fine.. bought it off CL for $60... started acting up and I landed a great deal for a Lenovo i7-6700/16gb ram and I put 3x128gb ssd in raid 0 as I don't keep anything other than plex on it. works great.
    clients connecting are
    apple 4k tv
    Roku ultra
    xbox 360
    xbox one
    ipad
    laptop

    and they all work great but no 4k content...
     
  15. calikool

    calikool [H]ard|Gawd

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    I saw this on newegg the other day for $700.
    Lenovo ThinkCentre M900 Tiny Desktop, Intel Quad-Core i7-6700T Upto 3.6GHz, 16GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Wifi, Bluetooth, Windows 10 Professional 64Bit
     
  16. TeleFragger

    TeleFragger Gawd

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    we have them at work and they are awesome... we even have the 24" monitors that they slide into so clean.

    since they are new.. don't have much history but were starting to see the Lenovo M93 tiny hard drives going bad.... out of warranty..
     
  17. Wild1

    Wild1 n00bie

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    Use mediainfo on one of the movies it gives you all the stats for the files to be absolutely sure, but if the highest overall bitrate you list is so low, then you don't need $700 worth of computer to do what you're doing. Mine has 2 core and 2gb ram and doing fine. One problem and thing I don't like about plex when I ran it (may have improved since) it transcodes whether the client needs it or not. With Serviio and some others if the player can handle it there is no transcoding.

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/mediainfo/
     
  18. calikool

    calikool [H]ard|Gawd

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    I had an old laptop in the closet that I recently put windows 10 on it. The laptop was dead for a year or two until I could put in a spare SSD drive from another upgraded desktop. Anyway, I checked the passmark score for the processor and it was 2006. So barely useful to be a Plex server.
    ACER 5506G-7809 with a AMD Quad-Core A6-3420M 1.5GHz.

    I cheap i5 skylake laptop could make a good server and probably available for not too much as well. Just flip the laptop upside down.
     
  19. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Question for Plex are you trying to serve up multiple clients? If you have a microcenter around they have the ryzen 1700 for 160AR which would be a beast for transcoding, maybe to 5 or more clients concurrently. As for players really all you need is something that can direct play or transcode to something acceptable for quality. Maybe a Roku 4, or a shield. Honestly in my limited testing on a hardwired pi 2 the playback was pretty good too.

    Just my 2c.