Which upgrade from G4560 with B250m MB

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I built a NAS server a couple of years back, but have been using it more now that I have switch from FreeNAS to Unraid.  I currently am running 5 Drive with one as parity for a total of 19TB usable storage.  Also have a 1TB ssd for cache.  

I have a MSI B250M VDH motherboard and a G4560 CPU and 16GB of RAM.  WIth the increased Plex usage, I am seeing the CPU being a bottleneck.  I was wondering from a price to performance ratio, what the best upgrade would be at the moment with keeping the motherboard.  My open would be no more than $150 and am not afraid of used.


My uses: Time Machine Backup, Plex, source drive for Lightroom/PS editing.  



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33 minutes ago, rkane said:

 I was wondering from a price to performance ratio, what the best upgrade would be at the moment with keeping the motherboard.

The most powerful processor your motherboard can support is an i7-6700K or and i7-7700K.  Either of those is a big step up from the G4560 but you have to decide if an i3, i5 or i7 is what you need.  An i3 will give you the same 2c/4t as the Pentium but at a higher clock speed.  The i5 is 4c/4t (no hyperthreading) and the i7s are 4c/8t.


You need to decide how much extra oomph you need for what you are doing and then evaluate the CPU options based on their ability to do what is needed.


If your current CPU is a bottleneck for Plex, is it because you are not using the iGPU hardware transcoding, or, even with that it is a bottleneck? 


Are you even using transcoding or are you just direct playing content locally? If you are doing transcoding, letting the iGPU do it will take a big load off the CPU. 


Optimizing your Plex Library so that content is in a format all you local clients can handle without transcoding is something you could do as well. Remote streamed content is likely to be transcoded regardless of content format and client capabilities.


If you are not doing hardware transocoding (assuming transcoding is needed) you need to evaluate processors based on passmark scores. 


Your G4560 has a fairly low passmark score of 3596.  That's barely enough to do one Plex transcoded stream while maintaining basic unRAID functions.  You need 2000 passmarks per 1080p stream.


The i7-7700K has a passmark score of 9788 so, up to four streams.  You can check out passmark scores of other CPU options as well to see how they compare.  Even if not transcoding, it gives you a good relative measurement of the power of one processor vs. another for lots of tasks.

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Thanks Hoopster for the detailed response.  It is definitely the 1080P streaming with hardware transcoding.  I am seeing CPU rise to 80% when testing a stream.  I do have a spare RX580.  Will popping that in help in anyway or is all the transcoding handled mainly by the CPU?  


The i7 looks pricy, but I will be checkout Passmark for cheaper options that will give a boost.  The i7-6700 looks interesting as well.

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1 hour ago, rkane said:

I am seeing CPU rise to 80% when testing a stream

That would indicate that the CPU is doing the transcoding and not the iGPU.  There is no way a single 1080p iGPU transcoded stream is going to hit the CPU that hard. It should be less than 10% CPU usage, although perhaps a bit more on a Pentium.


When transcoding, do you see the (hw) indicators in the Video section in Plex like this example?  My CPU usage when a hw transcoding is happening is less than 5%




1 hour ago, rkane said:

I do have a spare RX580.  Will popping that in help in anyway

No.  Plex on Linux only supports hardware transcoding with Intel iGPU or Nvidia GPUs.  AMD GPUs are supported only on Windows.

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Not sure Pentiums have QuickSync.  If they do, there's some limitations. 


Personally, I'd pick up a low-end nVidia card and fire that in.  I use a GTX1050 in my unRAID box - it does my Emby transcoding, and currently it's also doing [email protected] for COVID-19. 


The GTX1050 transcodes quite quickly - to transcode a 60 minute H265 to H264 for my AppleTV to play, Emby was transcoding at around 360fps.  It had the whole file transcoded in a few minutes.  I use the GTX1050 as my server has a Xeon with no iGPU (E3-1271v3).

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