Intel i3-8100 with UHD630 - The Plex Transcoding Beast


mgutt

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Many people on Reddit ask my how good the 8th/9th/10th Gen Intel iGPU performs and most of them do not believe, when I say "better than a Quadro P2000". Next time I will link to this screenshots ;)

 

Settings

- Enabled Hardware Acceleration (requires Plex Pass)

- Transcoding to 8GB Ramdisk (4GB was not sufficient for more than 3x 4K streams, didn't tested 6GB)

- Enabled direct disk access for Plex Config

 

Results

 

Transcoding 4x 4K Streams without judder:

2139213883_2020-10-0711_13_10.thumb.png.7208907614121eeec1d33cc3ca5b5498.png

589000539_2020-10-0711_13_16.thumb.png.5a63212a80a0b94f0245d53577b0d1f6.png

 

If I transcode 5x 4K it judders from time to time in one stream (randomly):

1521252748_2020-10-0711_26_47.thumb.png.72f4bc39bbc194ae3f672429bd2d86e4.png

311444557_2020-10-0711_21_45.thumb.png.190ceae41a7e9e850725754e8f131290.png

 

For my next benchmark I will copy some 4K Movies to my SSD cache. Test results follow...

 

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Ok as expected, I was able to transcode even more.

 

Settings

- Enabled Hardware Acceleration (requires Plex Pass)

- Transcoding to 8GB Ramdisk (4GB was not sufficient for more than 3x 4K streams, didn't tested 6GB)

- Direct disk access for Plex Config

- Direct disk access to 4K Movies located on NVMe:

456820115_2020-10-0712_18_50.png.da95b5bf68524c68d351bfb1318c977a.png

 

Results

Transcoding 5x 4K Streams without judder:

1028660322_2020-10-0713_17_28.thumb.png.b5115ef6a7f3ce7fa6f05cface1d1d6b.png

1511020668_2020-10-0713_17_40.thumb.png.6d5a2558586c0d7d0714e5d5153a067d.png

 

I'm not sure if even 6x 4K would be possible. The only limitation seems to be I/O wait:

314999424_2020-10-0713_20_50.png.0a575d31af02509ead1ab070a4f54bf2.png

1941839776_2020-10-0713_21_04.png.0281b7e313eca184c68456d1e820a291.png

 

EDIT: Ok I think its not really an I/O wait, instead the iGPU reached its limit. This output is generated through the Intel GPU Tools:

 

5x 4K streams = 100% video core load

505369383_2020-10-0713_57_22.thumb.png.95a6cfbbf2029e672e34e8100313f1ec.png

 

4x 4K streams = 99% video core load

1956789932_2020-10-0713_57_52.thumb.png.5b9c032631b73c6b00f8f02aa1fd3f19.png

 

3x 4K streams = 74% video core load

765428551_2020-10-0713_58_15.thumb.png.6e3bc1261ab458afba358b499d9f86c1.png

 

2x 4K streams = 35% video core load

557667884_2020-10-0713_58_54.thumb.png.b056fa63a94a31112bd4058ab630c3d8.png

 

1x 4K stream = 24% video core load

1281985189_2020-10-0713_59_28.thumb.png.7ba0df33c8bd0897161af9f1985709cb.png

 

As you can see the Plex CPU dashboard isn't useful for hardware transcoding as it shows only the CPU load and not the video core load.

 

But hey, we were able to transcode 5x 4K streams parallel. Should be enough I think ;)

 

I think it would be possible to get even 6x 4K streams if the iGPU maximum frequency would be 1.150 Mhz as it is with the i3-8300. Or with the 1.200 Mhz of the i5-10600 and many 8th to 10th gen i7 CPUs.

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36 minutes ago, ChatNoir said:

Are you sure the iGPU load is visible in those charts ?

Did you mean the screenshot of the Unraid Dashboard? No, of course not. This was only to show the high CPU load and i/o wait. But you are right. This could be confusing. I removed it from my first post.

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  • 2 months later...

@mgutt I followed this guide to a T and I'm shocked at how well my Plex is running. Performance is already 100x better, and that's on a Celeron 4900 - so who knows what would happen if I upgraded to a better CPU. Most videos, even 4k rips, load within 1-2 seconds - and those are coming from an rclone remote. The cache trick especially helped the speed on an NVMe - but 8GB RAM transcoding has improved the experience for my other users as well. 

 

Thank you for this guide - it has transformed my Plex experience!

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4 hours ago, drogg said:

so who knows what would happen if I upgraded to a better CPU

I don't think that there is a huge difference between the UHD610 and UHD630 regarding the video processing unit. The iGPU 3D unit is not used while transcoding (as long HDR tone mapping isn't used).

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/11/2021 at 5:18 PM, DrUseless said:

Would you expect much better performance using a 9th or 10th, or is the 8th the "sweet spot"?

No, they all have the same iGPU. Some have a little bit more Mhz GPU frequency. Check Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_i3_microprocessors

 

I recommend 8th/9th as you don't need to use Unraid Beta and because the 10th gen does not support ECC RAM. And there are not as many boards available. As an example there is no W480 mITX board on the market, but multiple C246 mITX (if they aren't sold out ;) )

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/12/2021 at 11:58 PM, mgutt said:

No, they all have the same iGPU. Some have a little bit more Mhz GPU frequency. Check Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_i3_microprocessors

 

I recommend 8th/9th as you don't need to use Unraid Beta and because the 10th gen does not support ECC RAM. And there are not as many boards available. As an example there is no W480 mITX board on the market, but multiple C246 mITX (if they aren't sold out ;) )

 

Great guide @mgutt !

I am in the process of upgrading my hardware and this thread has been really enlightening.

 

I was wondering if you had any experience yet with HDR to SDR tonemapping now that the feature has been added to Plex server?

Are you seeing similar performance with your i3-8100 with tonemapping enabled for 4k content (ie. being able to transcode a few 4k movies with HDR tonemapping)?

 

Thanks in advance.

Edited by gustomucho
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18 hours ago, gustomucho said:

 

Great guide @mgutt !

I am in the process of upgrading my hardware and this thread has been really enlightening.

 

I was wondering if you had any experience yet with HDR to SDR tonemapping now that the feature has been added to Plex server?

Are you seeing similar performance with your i3-8100 with tonemapping enabled for 4k content (ie. being able to transcode a few 4k movies with HDR tonemapping)?

 

Thanks in advance.

Plex and tonemapping work without issue for me, I'm using HW transcode as I wanted to shift away from using CPU when its needed for other work.

I know most QS CPUs are ok with TM but if your HW then only Pascal+ support tonemapping.

Edited by ados
Typos
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On 1/24/2021 at 4:40 PM, gustomucho said:

Are you seeing similar performance with your i3-8100 with tonemapping enabled for 4k content (ie. being able to transcode a few 4k movies with HDR tonemapping)?

 

Full test results:

 

4K to 1080p without Tone Mapping

- 3D and Video Load spikes constantly between 0% and the maximum (50/70%) seen in this screenshot

- screenshot shows load while transcoding 1 movie, tested 2 movies without problems

2115051776_2021-01-3002_40_48.png.9483cbe99956152ee306b1c92179a709.png

 

4K to 1080p with Tone Mapping:

- 3D and Video Load spikes constantly between 0% and the maximum (70/70%) seen in this screenshot

- screenshot shows load while transcoding 1 movie, tested 2 movies without problems

- its a little bit more 3D load, but shouldn't be really relevant as long you don't 

1272295607_2021-01-3002_41_55.png.baf5bba5e2e0bf70dfb892374e1f180f.png

 

 

And someone asked me to test the i3-8100 with PGS subtitle burn in, so I tested this scenario, too.

 

4K to 1080p with PGS subtitle burn in, but without Tone Mapping

- 3D and Video Load stays so low

- CPU stays at 120%

- tested only 1 movie, judder every 40 seconds

250108526_2021-01-3002_39_26.png.0abfdf17ba795bccd4bc5eddbc2fd203.png

 

 

4K to 1080p with PGS subtitle burn in and with Tone Mapping

- 3D and Video Load stays so low

- CPU stays at 180%

- tested only 1 movie, judders every 20 seconds

1748715181_2021-01-3002_38_12.png.c2f48063dabc83ae01f7329832ca6a21.png

 

Just for fun:

 

4K to 1080p without PGS, without Tone Mapping

- HW transcoding disabled

- CPU stays at 390%

- tested only 1 movie, very rare judders every 5 to 10 minutes (depends on movie content)

610694201_2021-01-3002_53_35.png.b2eec7e98d4d7f9c8436337fc7a63c67.png

 

 

Conclusion:

Plex has still serious problem with subtitle burn-in. I recommend SRT subtitles.

 

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Thanks for the results guys.

This has pretty much convinced me. I should only have 1 or maybe 2 simultaneous 4k transcodes, so an i3 should be perfect for me.

I think I will pull the trigger pretty soon on a i3-9100 with a C246 motherboard.

Cheers!

Edited by gustomucho
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I upgraded my CPU to i3-9350K. Exactly the same result as with the i3-8100, which does not make really sense to me:

 

4K to 1080p with PGS subtitle burn in, but without Tone Mapping

- 3D and Video Load stays low

- CPU stays at 120%

- tested only 1 movie, judder every 40 seconds

1450514560_2021-02-0715_38_59.png.4ad11ab60e2ef7a80ae08043d6c7b464.png

 

Plex really needs to optimize their software.

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21 minutes ago, ChatNoir said:

Why would you think the i3-9350K be faster using the iGPU ?

Correct, but Transcoding with Subtitle Burn-In produces more CPU than iGPU load. Compare my last screenshot with this 4K to 1080P transcoding incl Tone Mapping but without PGS Burn In:

1272295607_2021-01-3002_41_55.png.baf5bba5e2e0bf70dfb892374e1f180f.png.9ac764ff1e0cb7c307a10fa7ec0c1af2.png

 

As you can see the CPU load dropped from ~120% to ~20% and the GPU load raised from ~10% to ~60%.

 

So I thought I could realize PGS Burn In Support by using a CPU with more Single Thread performance, but suprisingly it's exactly the same low performance.

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Do you believe a xeon E-2176G would do significantly better than the i3-8100 or i3-9100?

The iGPU has a max clock of 1.2 GHz compared to the 1.1 GHz of the i3-9100.

I presume a 0.1 GHz wouldn't really matter that much, since it's only less than a 10% increase?

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On 12/28/2020 at 12:59 AM, mgutt said:

The iGPU 3D unit is not used while transcoding (as long HDR tone mapping isn't used).

 

Just a question: Where can i switch on/off the HDR tone mapping? Is this a Plex-feature?

Edited by Zonediver
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25 minutes ago, gustomucho said:

Yes this is a Plex feature (although I am not sure if it is a Plex pass only feature).
You can disable it in your Plex settings -> Transcoder -> Enable HDR tone mapping. 

 

Thanks for this hint - i can remember, that "there was something" 🤣

Anyway - it is active on my server, but... the old client on my Raspberry cant work with this setting. But Kodi with Plex on the Pi can 👍

So it's not server related, it was a client problem 😉

Edited by Zonediver
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  • 1 month later...

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