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mcalphax

Server noob's first build (Plex media server)

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Hi everyone,


I was planning on building my first home server which should be low-cost, low-noise (since it'll have to find place in my bedroom) and easy to use, as I'm a total network novice. Its purpose will be a Plex media hub for me and my friends, storing mostly movies and TV shows in 1080p, encoded in x265 10-bit. 4k HDR movies won't be shared directly, but will be pre-transcoded for others to avoid heavy transcoding that the machine can't handle. I will direct-play those via an NVIDIA Shield.
I expect no more than two transcodes at the same time, so I probably won't need a very powerful machine. I'll also probably start off with two hard drives, one for storage, the other for parity, and add more to the array later (which is why I'm choosing Unraid for this project in the first place - makes sense, eh? 🤪).

My current parts lists looks like this: https://de.pcpartpicker.com/list/vTf3gJ
 

  • AMD Athlon 3000G - Low-power beast, PassMark score of 5332, might slap an aftermarket cooler on it later
  • MSI A320M-A PRO MAX - cheapest mobo that's compatible with the 3000G ootb, has 4 SATA ports, might add SATA card later, also mATX
  • Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 8GB DDR4-3200 - fast, cheap and reliable RAM, CL16, not sure if I need more and if yes, what for?

  • Silicon Power A60 512GB - fast and cheap NVMe SSD, will function as cache

  • Silicon Power A55 256GB - cheap SATA SSD, will function as storage for my Plex metadata (apparently boosts Plex performance immensely), not sure if it has to be part of the array or can be unassigned for that

  • Nanoxia Deep Silence 4 - mATX mini tower, 6 internal 3.5" bays, 1 external 3.5" bay, can - with an 5.25"-to-3.5" bay adapter - house up to 8 HDDs

  • BitFenix Formula Gold 450W 80+ Gold - high-quality, low-cost, low-noise PSU, non-modular, but who cares?

  • ARCTIC P12 PWM - great price/performance static pressure fan

For hard drives I will probably shuck a few WD My Books. The 10TB models are roughly €200 here right now, WD Reds are €320.

 

So, please let me know if I'm missing something here and feel free to correct me if I'm having massive brainfarts and also feel free make me suggestions for what I should be doing. I would appreciate any help, thanks!


EDIT: Realized I'm in the wrong subforum. Please move to Hardware. 😁
 

Edited by mcalphax

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Dual core AMD CPU will struggle under transcode. Intel with iGPU far better at this price point and a slightly better motherboard gives options later.

 

For a budget

 

Pentium Gold G5400

B365 motherboard. 6 SATA, good PCI-E connectivity. Dual NVME etc.

 

PLEX should point to appdata folder which should sit on the cache SSD so no need for a second SSD.

 

Just avoid M2 SATA drives which may share a port with the chipset SATA ports.

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4 hours ago, Decto said:

Dual core AMD CPU will struggle under transcode. Intel with iGPU far better at this price point and a slightly better motherboard gives options later.

I wanted to try Plex without a Plex Pass first, so I won't be able to use the iGPU for transcoding anyway. And even if I bought a Plex pass, the Vega chip can be used for hardware transcoding too, it's just not officially supported by Plex.

4 hours ago, Decto said:

Pentium Gold G5400

B365 motherboard. 6 SATA

Was considering that setup too. Seems to have about the same performance at a somewhat higher power consumption, though B365 boards seem to have much better quality and connectivity than A320. AMD B450 boards could be an alternative too.

4 hours ago, Decto said:

PLEX should point to appdata folder which should sit on the cache SSD so no need for a second SSD.

So I guess I should get a bigger cache drive? Plex metadata can become quite large.

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2 minutes ago, mcalphax said:

So I guess I should get a bigger cache drive?

Or don't cache user shares as much. Caching user shares are not required and not done by default. Consider whether and what you want to cache. Most of my user share writes are scheduled backups, queued downloads, and other unattended processes so I don't care if they take slightly longer. And the other writes I do aren't large so I just don't bother with caching them.

 

You definitely don't want to cache the initial data load, cache just gets in the way for that since data can't be moved from cache as quickly as it can be written. Mover is intended for idle time.

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