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Picking the right CPU and GPU for FreeNAS with Plex plugin

mhweb
  • 8 months ago

I'm trying build a FreeNAS server with the Plex plugin, but I can't figure out how the CPU and GPU requirements. I known that for a file server no a lot of CPU power is needed, but if I'm going to be installing the Plex plugin, and I need the server to handle at least two high-definition video streaming. So, I don't know how to pick the CPU and GPU for this project.

Anyone have any suggestions? Does it matter the GPU? If yes, which should do the job well for a least two video transcoding simultaneously? Which CPU should I get for this server? I'm leaning toward Intel, because it's more stable with FreeNAS or at least is what the official requirements say. Thanks,

Comments

  • 8 months ago
  • 2 points

If you're planning to use the server itself to perform transcoding of the video you're putting on the server, and then perform transcoding in real-time to deliver more-compressed versions of video for playback, then having more CPU power is a good idea.

What sort of budget are you looking at?

A refurbished machine with a 6+ core E5 xeon from a few years back could be the ticket to this.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh, there's no need for graphics card for transcoding video? Do the Xeon CPUs run hot? I'm trying to build a quiet box, because I'll be in office. I'm budgeting $1700 tops, mostly because I want at least 4 10TB drives.

Thanks,

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

How would this work?

PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU Intel - Core i5-9400F 2.9 GHz 6-Core Processor $149.89 @ OutletPC
Motherboard ASRock - B365 Pro4 ATX LGA1151 Motherboard $94.02 @ OutletPC
Memory Team - Vulcan 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-2666 Memory $59.99 @ Newegg
Storage Crucial - BX500 120 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $19.95 @ Amazon
Storage Western Digital - Red 10 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive $269.99 @ Amazon
Storage Western Digital - Red 10 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive $269.99 @ Amazon
Storage Western Digital - Red 10 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive $269.99 @ Amazon
Storage Western Digital - Red 10 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive $269.99 @ Amazon
Video Card MSI - GeForce GT 710 1 GB Video Card $42.99 @ Amazon
Case Phanteks - Enthoo Pro M ATX Mid Tower Case $89.99 @ Amazon
Power Supply Corsair - CX (2017) 450 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply $57.98 @ Newegg
Operating System Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit $99.49 @ SuperBiiz
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $1694.26
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-06-18 21:32 EDT-0400

9400F is 6 cores

16GB RAM

4 10TB Reds

Use the small SSD to boot up windows 10

cheap GPU

case that can hold more later if wanted

cheap PSU since it won't be pushed too hard, still from a good brand

Windows 10

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh, there's no need for graphics card for transcoding video?

Well, you're going to need a GPU in the machine to perform configuration/setup/maintenance.

Some trans-coding operations can be accelerated with a GPU using openCL, especially resize operations, though I'm not sure if plex will exploit this capability.

Trans-coding using the fixed function video decode/encode capabilities on modern GPU's is a possibility, but not something I would expect Plex to utilize due to lower quality results and the fact that it likely would not scale well to multiple streams.

So... You do need a GPU for this machine, but I would not expect the GPU to play a significant role in the video trans-coding, and even if it could, you may not want it to for a variety of reasons. Traditional CPU based trans-coding is often preferred.

Do the Xeon CPUs run hot?

Too broad a category to answer. Some are clocked high, some low, some run warmer than others depending on which model and what sort of cooling is implemented. Compute efficiency of an Ivy Bridge or newer CPU is pretty respectable, however, modern CPU's are better. Something like a Ryzen 7 1700 offers about double the compute efficiency of some of these older E5 xeons with similar computing power.

With that said...

My initial thoughts here, for maximizing the value of such a deployment, is to pick up a refurbished 2U server with a bunch of 3.5" drive bays up front:

https://www.newegg.com/dell-poweredge-r520-rack/p/2NS-0008-4RZY4?Item=9SIA8SZ97E3003

Dell PowerEdge R520 Server 2x 2.50Ghz E5-2430v2 6C 16GB 8X3.5" ~$460

The hope would be that you could tuck it away in a closet somewhere. Servers like this are not silent, but once configured properly the fans do spin down to a reasonable level. The "gpu" in a machine like this is a very basic VGA controller integrated on the motherboard designed for basic video output required for initial setup of servers.


If you wanted to build something.... I would be very tempted to do some research on how the Ryzen 2700 and 1700 are doing for these sorts of deployments. This would give you far more compute for the money than Intel in the same price range.

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