Torn between Intel or AMD for UNRAID build


mikeyosm

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Hi

 

Having been a previous (last year) Xeon, AM4 and TR4 UNRAID user I am now looking at building a new system for gaming and Plex.

My experience with TR4 was great (so it seemed) but I'm curious what optimisations (if any) are included in UNRAID and the KVM kernel whilst running a Ryzen system today? The fact that AMD has a signifcant chipset driver package for Windows bare metal that should be installed begs the question whether us UNRAID users are losing out on perfomance when running Windows 10 Virtual Machines since we cannot install the chipset driver package. This leads me to think that Intel Gen10 processors may the best way forward since the Linux Kernel had long supported the Intel micro architecture and there is no need to install any Intel CPU/SMB related drivers inside a Windows 10 VM.

 

So for this reason, If you had a choice, is it Intel or AMD and why?

 

Thanks for your time.

Edited by mikeyosm
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You raise a good point.  On the surface, it would seem on this basis intel may be better, particularly given how long it took to solve issues with Ryzen and the Linux Kernel.  Probably a good way to find out would be to ask the question in a linux kernel mailing list i.e. are there any official AMD developers on the list contributing to the code, because if that is happening who needs a 'driver package' in linux anyway.

 

I would say without a doubt it would be worth waiting for the Zen 2 Threadrippers to come out in November though.  Apparently they're going to start at 24 cores.  And I assume will include all the extra's that come with Zen 2 you can read about.

 

There's also the Ryzen Zen 2 with 16 cores which is already available and don't forget AMD is the only one with PCIe 4.0 (I believe in the works with Intel, but not yet available - suspect they got a shock when AMD announced it to be honest - so will be a while).

 

For me, I just love the high core count, memory capacity, power management and price of the Ryzen range (including threadripper).  Some of the current range of threadrippers are not very nice on power, but suspect that will change a lot with Zen 2.  Also, because of the funky memory setup, often the 16 core version is faster than the 32 core version, perhaps this will change with Zen 2 threadripper.

 

So I'm currently still in the AMD camp.

 

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Hi, 

 

I currently run two servers - A primary On an i7-7700k (Ex photoshop workstation) and a secondary on a ryzen 2200g (literally the cheapest thing i could find at short notice when my athlon mb died)

 

  • The primary has a 24tb array with dual parity, it hosts plex and crashplan, and with that level of load has a pretty easy life
  • The secondary has a 14tb array, it runs sickrage, couchpotato, headphones, and a windows VM that runs syncback every night to copy the mission critical shares from the primary

So - the secondary has the bigger workload

 

Both have been solid, the ryzen has had less love, and does more with less

 

I am looking at transitioning the i7 to become the secondary - and creating a new prime with a Ryzen 2700x and Asrock mainboard - but here's the trick - the ryzen supports ecc ram if you get the right mainboard and memory combination - googling suggests that asrock provides the most support for this.

 

So for that reason i'd vote for Ryzen.  Unless you can afford a threadripper because dayum look at all those cores

Edited by 10meghalfduplex
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I have a Ryzen 2700X on an Asrock x470 with 32GB ECC.  The Asrock handles the ECC wonderfully, and I was even able to OC it to a respectable 3133 MHz(I am a little crazy).  I use it as a media server and Win 10 gaming VM with a 2070 Super passed through to a Win 10 VM.  I also have it configured to dual boot to Win 10 (see aforementioned note on crazy), and honestly playing demanding titles like BFV, its hard to notice the difference in performance between VM and bare metal.  I can really only measure a difference if I run benchmarks like Fire Strike or Cinebench.  I give Unraid 2C/4T on the first CCX, and pass through the rest of the CPU to the Win 10 VM, or split it up between various other lab VMs I am running.  That gives Unraid plenty to handle all my docker containers, file requests, parity checks, etc.  I do not use Plex, so YMMV on that front.

 

In general, Intel will win out the gaming benchmark battle, so if pure gaming performance is your concern, go Intel.  I went AMD for performance/$ value, as the Intel offering with the same number of cores was far more expensive.  Hope this helps.

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6 hours ago, hammsandwich said:

I have a Ryzen 2700X on an Asrock x470 with 32GB ECC.  The Asrock handles the ECC wonderfully, and I was even able to OC it to a respectable 3133 MHz(I am a little crazy).  I use it as a media server and Win 10 gaming VM with a 2070 Super passed through to a Win 10 VM.  I also have it configured to dual boot to Win 10 (see aforementioned note on crazy), and honestly playing demanding titles like BFV, its hard to notice the difference in performance between VM and bare metal.  I can really only measure a difference if I run benchmarks like Fire Strike or Cinebench.  I give Unraid 2C/4T on the first CCX, and pass through the rest of the CPU to the Win 10 VM, or split it up between various other lab VMs I am running.  That gives Unraid plenty to handle all my docker containers, file requests, parity checks, etc.  I do not use Plex, so YMMV on that front.

 

In general, Intel will win out the gaming benchmark battle, so if pure gaming performance is your concern, go Intel.  I went AMD for performance/$ value, as the Intel offering with the same number of cores was far more expensive.  Hope this helps.

Wow that's a cool setup - do you mind me asking what brand of Ram you are running please?  4x8 or 2x16?

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I'm pretty sure the gaming performance was only to do with the default cpu settings in windows not being set to performance on AMD while were being set to performance on windows.  None of that is going to affect what's in a VM.  And if there WAS any kind of performance issue for gaming, that has most definitely been resolved in the latest gen Ryzen.

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Thanks for the replies thus far. I think I'll be purchasing a new system in Jan 2020 once the Intel/AMD competition has settled down a bit.

Very keen on the Gen10 Intel but Zen2 TR also tempting. So much choice but unltimately I want to buld the best dual gfx gaming UNRAID with some Plex thrown in for good measure.

Edited by mikeyosm
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4 hours ago, mikeyosm said:

in Jan 2020 once the Intel/AMD competition has settled down a bit.

Don't count on that. The competition will continue for several years and the winner will be the consumer.

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Given the Threadripper 3rd Gen is only a little way off, I'd probably wait too, but I wouldn't wait longer than that.  The release of Gen 3 should bring down prices of other TR's which is another decent option.  I was reading somewhere intel's dropping their prices by 50%, because they have more cash in the bank than AMD and are hoping to wash them out.  But the thing is AMD are making the better processors right now in my opinion - and they're future proofed too - I have x399 gen 1 board and can put gen 2 chip in it - which I might just do when people are upgrading to gen 3 and those second hand parts are on the market.  Threadripper also goes to 128GB RAM vs 64 I think it is on Ryzen.  i7 is 64 too, i9 128.  That's something else to consider that many people don't.  After that it's Xeon and Epyc I suppose.  The new Epyc's sound pretty crazy too, so some old TR's and Epyc's probably going to hit the streets too.

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2 hours ago, Marshalleq said:

The new Epyc's sound pretty crazy too, so some old TR's and Epyc's probably going to hit the streets too.

There are some nice Epyc motherboards from Gigabyte and ASRock that would fit in a regular tower case. I was hoping that first gen Epyc (Naples) prices would come down when Rome launched and they started to appear on Amazon but they seem to be holding pretty well.

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On 10/9/2019 at 2:47 PM, 10meghalfduplex said:

Wow that's a cool setup - do you mind me asking what brand of Ram you are running please?  4x8 or 2x16?

I bought 2x SAMSUNG M391A2K43BB1-CTD 16GB from Server Supply.  I am still dialing the timings an trying to keep voltage under 1.35v since its running 24/7.  The nice thing about OC'ing ECC RAM is it gives you plenty of warnings (single-bit recoverable errors) that its not fully stable.

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  • 3 weeks later...
So much choice but unltimately I want to buld the best dual gfx gaming UNRAID with some Plex thrown in for good measure.


I may be misinterpreting what you are saying and also definitely double check this but I thought I read you can’t run sli in a VM on unRAID.
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  • 8 months later...
2 hours ago, gacpac said:

how good is plex with ryzen. I'm currently using intel quicksinc I don't know what's ryzen uses or if it works as good. 

Define "good".

Plex + Ryzen = software transcode so it depends a lot on the actual Ryzen CPU.

Generally, Quicksync hw transcode will beat consumer Ryzen sw transcode on the same generation.

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Well, nothing specific.

 

I currently have an i5-6400 that works great with intel quicksync. But I want to upgrade soon to have more cores for VMs, so I don't know how Ryzen works with hardware transcoding. I don't want to buy additional video cards and that stuff. Also I don't want to break my head doing extra configuration because I have ryzen for example. 

 

If I choose Intel I probably do the i5 10gen

 

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If you want quick sync I believe that requires additional ‘config and stuff’ being that it’s still hardware compression and needs to be made visible to a cm or a docker. Someone correct me if I’m wrong. If you have more cores it doesn’t require additional config, plus you can share them amongst everything. I have about 30 dockers running and a number of vms including 24x7 handbrake encoding one 75% of the cores. Plex never misses a beat. I’d go for cores and memory hands down every time. 

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I never got the notification. I currently use quicksync with an i5-6400. I want to do most likely same as you with hanbrake encoding my library to h265 all the time. The only need for upgrading is my current CPU, that runs great on plex, but it lacks to power couple VMs. Also I don't want to buy graphics card, I don't need it. 

 

And I do the numbers Intel CPU + quicksync vs AMD + Graphics card. Intel comes cheaper in this particular case. 

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A friend of mine uses Nvidia 1660 card, because it supports b frames.  He swears by it.  And you can do your whole library in days.  But I still like the CPU encoding, it takes longer, but better quality at smaller sizes (not neccessarily better quality at larges sizes FYI).  I use tdarr which has worked out great so far.

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A friend of mine uses Nvidia 1660 card, because it supports b frames.  He swears by it.  And you can do your whole library in days.  But I still like the CPU encoding, it takes longer, but better quality at smaller sizes (not neccessarily better quality at larges sizes FYI).  I use tdarr which has worked out great so far.
I tried Tdarr. Found confusing or maybe didn't spend to much time tweaking and what not, currently using h265ize.

I don't game and I agree with you. CPU encoding takes longer but you get better quality. What I'm not so sure yet about going for AMD as Plex doesn't list it anywhere else. I know it will work but good bye quicksync.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

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There's no GPU on most AMD's so no hardware acceleration built in - so yeah.  There are some CPU's (I don't know which) by AMD that do, those are relatively new.  But - Plex uses not a lot of CPU really.  Unless you're doing 4k, really you don't need a lot.  I mostly have plex using the scraps of whatever I've got left after 24x7 encoding and it handles multiple simultaneous streams quite easily, 6, 8 whatever.  Also remember, a lot of the time it doesn't actually need to use the CPU for it - depends on your clients.

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There's no GPU on most AMD's so no hardware acceleration built in - so yeah.  There are some CPU's (I don't know which) by AMD that do, those are relatively new.  But - Plex uses not a lot of CPU really.  Unless you're doing 4k, really you don't need a lot.  I mostly have plex using the scraps of whatever I've got left after 24x7 encoding and it handles multiple simultaneous streams quite easily, 6, 8 whatever.  Also remember, a lot of the time it doesn't actually need to use the CPU for it - depends on your clients.
I didn't know that for AMD. I just searched a little bit, I guess it makes sense if whoever is going to buy one is going to get discrete graphics for gaming anyway.

Also you make it sound like I get a plex server running flawless with a raspberry pi. But then you go the plex website and CPU encoding for 1080 and 2 or 3 streams requires an i7.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

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Actually yes you can run quite well on a raspberry pi.  However, if you have to transcode (and you don't always have to transcode) that's where the problems start.  Have you seen the direct play option?

 

For most peoples setups, a minor processor is fine.  Most people would only transcode maybe one stream at a time and direct play the rest (that would be my observation anyway, and is true for many cases - yours may not be the same).

 

If you're looking at buying a new CPU though - I would be very surprised if it has less than 8 threads accessible - which is actually more than I have assigned to my plex docker container because it doesn't need a lot.

 

Basically any AMD Ryzen would work I think, but to get some room for other unraid things I'd go Ryzen 7 or 9 or a threadripper.

 

The point is, you don't really need to be considering GPU encoding for plex with most processors today and if you end up requiring it - you can add it later.

 

If you want to do encoding and don't want to do GPU encoding AMD is where it's at.  More cores at a lower price point = more capability.  Intel is not something people are really buying much of at the moment and for your use case it sounds like AMD would be great.  Your call though!

Edited by Marshalleq
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Actually yes you can run quite well on a raspberry pi.  However, if you have to transcode (and you don't always have to transcode) that's where the problems start.  Have you seen the direct play option?
 
For most peoples setups, a minor processor is fine.  Most people would only transcode maybe one stream at a time and direct play the rest (that would be my observation anyway, and is true for many cases - yours may not be the same).
 
If you're looking at buying a new CPU though - I would be very surprised if it has less than 8 threads accessible - which is actually more than I have assigned to my plex docker container because it doesn't need a lot.
 
Basically any AMD Ryzen would work I think, but to get some room for other unraid things I'd go Ryzen 7 or 9 or a threadripper.
 
The point is, you don't really need to be considering GPU encoding for plex with most processors today and if you end up requiring it - you can add it later.
 
If you want to do encoding and don't want to do GPU encoding AMD is where it's at.  More cores at a lower price point = more capability.  Intel is not something people are really buying much of at the moment and for your use case it sounds like AMD would be great.  Your call though!
Awesome insight bro!

Maybe I'm overthinking cause I've never jumped to the AMD side. And a lot of times I try to work around it. I already bought 32gb ram that's plenty for VMs.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

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