X79 storage server processor rec?

sphinx99

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I've been turning my old X79 system (Asus X79 Deluxe, Intel i7-4930k) into a file sharing & Plex server. It's replacing a ~dual core Intel 5th gen that was quite sluggish so the 4930k is a nice boost. I'm also moving to teamed 10GbE so the X79 platform provides some nice I/O breathing room.

I plan to dismantle, clean and re-apply TIM to the CPU, and got to thinking whether there might be a cost effective upgrade for this socket since I was opening up the system anyway--either more horsepower, or equivalent horsepower with lower power draw, or less horsepower with a dramatically lower power draw. What I've seen:

1) E5-2687W v2 - more compute but 2 additional cores likely wasted on this application and power demand goes even higher. Also, just too expensive on the aftermarket.

2) E5-2695 v2 - Lots of cores and huge L3 cache, slightly lower TDP but again it's expensive and I can't convince myself this is well suited to a storage / transcoding platform, even with the big L3 cache. Seems like too much $ to throw at such an old platform.

3) E5-2643 v2 - This is a little more interesting... about the same clock/cores as the 4930k but double the L3. Same TDP and it's not too expensive.

4) E5-2630L v2 - 3.4GHz drops to 2.4GHz but TDP is cut in half... this would be a cool running machine. The processor is dirt cheap too. Almost worth getting just to try it out.

5) If I'm worried about power, can I undervolt/underclock the 4930k to see what the experience is like, and not deal with some new hardware?

For the most part I think I should stick with the 4930K and just plan to get a couple more years of life out of it but open to feedback and ideas.
 

Aegir

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Yeah, that's a good one.
The only upgrade could be a cheaper, but *slightly better* Xeon, but even that seems unnecessary to be honest.
If you still had Sandy Bridge, I'd totally recommend an upgrade, but as it is, a six core with those specs is basically good enough for anything, especially just storage and Plex.

You could spend the money on better stuff like 2.5 gigabit PCIe nics for real speed increases, or even some good SSDs. NVMe is an option too, if you use an adapter.. ;)

(Well, I recommended a 2.5gbe NIC before I carefully read your post. So yeah, you already know what to do. Focus on useful upgrades. Check for bottlenecks, and upgrade only if you see a problem.)
 

M76

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I have an E5-2670 and it does everything I throw at it with plenty of overhead.
 

cyclone3d

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The TDP is for when the CPU is running full-tilt.

If you want to lower TDP with your current chip, just disable some of the cores in the BIOS or in Windows Configuration Manager for that matter.

Your low-usage power usage will not really differ that much at all.
 

German Muscle

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1) E5-2687W v2 - 8C/16T 3.4GHz and is going for about 200 on ebay.

2) E5-2695 v2 - 12C/24T 3.2GHz and is going for sub 180-190 on ebay.

3) E5-2643 v2 - 8C/16T 3.4GHz and is going for about 200 on ebay

4) E5-2630L v2 6C/12T 2.4GHz and is going for 35-70 on ebay.

2630L doesnt make sense cause it would be a downgrade from the 4930k. 1 and 3 are essentially the same and more expensive then the 12C. I would pick up the 2695 and run it
 

sphinx99

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1) E5-2687W v2 - 8C/16T 3.4GHz and is going for about 200 on ebay.

2) E5-2695 v2 - 12C/24T 3.2GHz and is going for sub 180-190 on ebay.

3) E5-2643 v2 - 8C/16T 3.4GHz and is going for about 200 on ebay

4) E5-2630L v2 6C/12T 2.4GHz and is going for 35-70 on ebay.

2630L doesnt make sense cause it would be a downgrade from the 4930k. 1 and 3 are essentially the same and more expensive then the 12C. I would pick up the 2695 and run it

E5-2695 v2 is 2.4 GHz like the 2630L which is why I wasn't seriously considering it.
 

atp1916

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I've got a retail 2690v2 chip lying here i'd sell to ya. Never got it to break 135w TDP even full tilt on Prime95.

Its runs 3.0 all-core base and 3.6 turbo. 10/20 core/thread. Nice little beast.

Hit me up on the DMs if you're so inclined sphinx99
 

sphinx99

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Thanks all. I have concluded that the 4930k I already have is more than fine. Should I ever need more horsepower for transcoding, it would be better to swap the platform or add an efficient GPU, than turn X79 into a space heater. And, I played a bit with under-volting and down-clocking as well as energy state optimization, and there are options to further drop power consumption in the platform I have.

When I began experimenting with upgrading my X58 i7-920 a couple of years ago to see how much additional breathing room I would enjoy, I was amazed by the improvement to be had and how little it cost. It seems that with the X79 platform, if you're starting with a 4930k (which I feel was in a ~similar price class to the i7-920) there isn't quite as much headroom... and what there is will cost a fair bit.
 

cagoblex

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It actually depends on how many hard drives you are using and weather you are using a HBA card. To be honest 4930K is already a overkill for a server like this. Most NAS, with 4-8 bays and has real time transcoding, would use something like a Celeron J processor or Pentium processor. The V2 chips are way overpriced on eBay IMO. For the same price you could get a V3 or even some V4 models. I understand you needs the extra PCI-E lanes for this, but just talking about raw CPU performance, any i series desktop chip you can buy around that price range on eBay would perform better than those V2 chips in your application. A NAS isn't as demanding as you may think.
 

zandor

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I'm in the process of a wholesale upgrade. So far I've built a little Linux file server with an i3-10100 and I'm pretty sure it kicks the crap out of the i7-3820 in my desktop. The desktop upgrade is slowly moving along. So far I have a case and a PSU. I looked at the Pentiums and the Celerons for the file server but they tend to not come with a CPU cooler which takes a chunk out of the already not so big price difference. Since my file server lives in the basement next to my cable modem and switch sitting on a couple of chunks of 2x4 just in case the basement leaks a little (never gets bad but I get a dribble if it rains really hard) I don't really care about a little noise so I just used the stock Intel cooler on the i3. I can't hear it over the case fans, and I can't hear the case fans unless I'm in the utility/laundry room and the furnace isn't running, so it's all good.

If you change your mind about swapping that proc out I might be interested depending on the price. I have an Asus X79 board with 64GB of ram and plan on keeping it around as a second machine for a little client-server programming fun.
 
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sphinx99

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I'm in the process of a wholesale upgrade. So far I've built a little Linux file server with an i3-10100 and I'm pretty sure it kicks the crap out of the i7-3820 in my desktop. The desktop upgrade is slowly moving along. So far I have a case and a PSU. I looked at the Pentiums and the Celerons for the file server but they tend to not come with a CPU cooler which takes a chunk out of the already not so big price difference. Since my file server lives in the basement next to my cable modem and switch sitting on a couple of chunks of 2x4 just in case the basement leaks a little (never gets bad but I get a dribble if it rains really hard) I don't really care about a little noise so I just used the stock Intel cooler on the i3. I can't hear it over the case fans, and I can't hear the case fans unless I'm in the utility/laundry room and the furnace isn't running, so it's all good.

If you change your mind about swapping that proc out I might be interested depending on the price. I have an Asus X79 board with 64GB of ram and plan on keeping it around as a second machine for a little client-server programming fun.
Overall the 4930k is now running a 90TB home server quite nicely. It's Windows, Drivepool and Plex predominantly, so it's somewhat overkill for this application. I was able to under-volt the CPU a decent amount (would need to reboot and check BIOS to see exactly where I landed) and the net result was, well, a fairly big improvement over the space-heater profile it had when I used it as my main desktop PC. I think this will work fine for a couple of years until I transition to whatever comes next.

I think the most intensive transcoding this system does are of 4k ~63Mbps bitrate clips from my phone and it seems capable of that with limited buffering, delays etc. I wish the Plex client apps had a host CPU utilization metric that could be displayed during streaming/playback to a device so I had an idea how hard the system is working w/o having to go RDP into it.
 

lopoetve

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Overall the 4930k is now running a 90TB home server quite nicely. It's Windows, Drivepool and Plex predominantly, so it's somewhat overkill for this application. I was able to under-volt the CPU a decent amount (would need to reboot and check BIOS to see exactly where I landed) and the net result was, well, a fairly big improvement over the space-heater profile it had when I used it as my main desktop PC. I think this will work fine for a couple of years until I transition to whatever comes next.

I think the most intensive transcoding this system does are of 4k ~63Mbps bitrate clips from my phone and it seems capable of that with limited buffering, delays etc. I wish the Plex client apps had a host CPU utilization metric that could be displayed during streaming/playback to a device so I had an idea how hard the system is working w/o having to go RDP into it.
Chuck an Nvidia video card in there to use NVENC and it'll get rid of the delays and buffering. And any host CPU utilization of note too.
 

sphinx99

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Chuck an Nvidia video card in there to use NVENC and it'll get rid of the delays and buffering. And any host CPU utilization of note too.
Good idea. Unfortunately the only cards I have sitting around are a GTX580 and GTX780 both of which simply make the power consumption problem worse.
 

lopoetve

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Good idea. Unfortunately the only cards I have sitting around are a GTX580 and GTX780 both of which simply make the power consumption problem worse.

Hmm. I might have a 970 for sale soon cheap if you're interested - it does 264 fine, just not H.265.
 

sphinx99

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Hmm. I might have a 970 for sale soon cheap if you're interested - it does 264 fine, just not H.265.
It seems to me the long term goal would be to move to an x86 processor with on-die, power-efficient H.265 decode, and any interim action other than that is contributing to global warming in exchange for a second or two of reduced buffering time... :(

These days a LOT of the video I am uploading to the storage server comes from family recorded footage on iPhone 11s and 12s. I'm not sure what CPU or GPU enabled acceleration exists for this footage. Any ideas as to whether x86 CPUs (AMD or Intel) or nVidia/AMD GPUs (GTX970 or otherwise...) provides accelerated decode of such footage, particularly 4k60 files from recent mobile devices? My 10 year old niece alone is generating ~100GB/month of video as she goes through the motions of aspiring social media influencer with her phone.
 

lopoetve

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Decode is easy. Almost anything has hardware decode now, even base Intel integrated graphics. Encode at a different but rate or bandwidth, on the fly? That’s hard. That’s where NVENC comes in :).
 

kirbyrj

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I moved a similar storage server/Plex server to a Synology NAS and haven't looked back. Was previously running an i5-8400/z370 setup. Synology just uses QuickSync to encode on the fly like NVENC.
 

Mylex

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I moved back and forth between a ds916+ and an I5 8500 build for plex plus other stuff. I would still be using the synology if it had more bays internal, I just didnt want to use up the space with expansion drives. Its sitting in the garage now. I will say that little thing was able to do 6 transcodes without hiccup or buffer using quicksync.
 

kirbyrj

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I moved back and forth between a ds916+ and an I5 8500 build for plex plus other stuff. I would still be using the synology if it had more bays internal, I just didnt want to use up the space with expansion drives. Its sitting in the garage now. I will say that little thing was able to do 6 transcodes without hiccup or buffer using quicksync.

That's definitely the downside. The Synology boxes with many bays are far more expensive than a purpose built computer. It might be a wash on lower end (4-5 bay) devices. The expansion unit (DX517) is expensive for no reason. There's no hardware in it compared to the main box, but it costs just as much.
 

Mylex

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That's definitely the downside. The Synology boxes with many bays are far more expensive than a purpose built computer. It might be a wash on lower end (4-5 bay) devices. The expansion unit (DX517) is expensive for no reason. There's no hardware in it compared to the main box, but it costs just as much.
Overpriced compared to even Qnap devices but their software just works. It's damn near the closest thing to apple of the nas market.
 

lopoetve

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Yep. I use a real HTPC for a couple of reasons - powers a TV for fun, backup gaming system, NVENC is good (quicksync is good too, mind you, but NVENC has more things you can fiddle with if you need to, and I have a lot of experience with it from the enterprise space), and you can put more in it without buying an expensive expander, but Synology just bloody works.
 
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