YAFT: Motherboard advice, but general feedback appreciated!

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So I've been reading and watching and reading some more about the wonders of Unraid, and I'm planning a project build to keep me busy over the next few months.
I currently have a Win10 box that is also running Plex, and was considering splitting it into two, when I discovered Unraid and the idea of running it all together. Sounds far more interesting than just having two machines!

The idea is to have a functioning Windows 10 VM that I can use day-to-day as well as game on, whilst running Plex on Ubuntu for direct play (internally), transcoding (externally), and get down & dirty with containers to make things interesting.


Current Scenario: ~16TB (4x4TB WD Red SATA) Windows Storage Spaces 'array' with Plex data (not close to full), a 2x1TB WD Blue SATA for Windows 10 'Data' drive (games, docs, etc.) and a 500GB NVMe for Windows itself. Machine is running a Core i7-9700K, 64GB RAM (4x16GB) of DDR4 2133Mhz, and has a GeForce GTX 1070 Ti,

Plan is to build a new machine with some storage, migrate the Plex data, then cannibalize the 4TBs into the new machine to complete a disk array.
The rest of the machine is going to Frankenstein together with hardware in my SO's current machine to upgrade her to an overall faster device.


I'm fairly confident I have a configuration here which will last a long time, do everything I need, and offer room for expansion (in terms of data growth as well as doing more things with VMs & containers).


New Box: 

PC Part Picker List of Everything


CPU: Intel Core i9-10850K 2.6Ghz 10-Core (plenty of cores to pin to VMs)

Motherboard: ASRock Z490 Taichi (lots of onboard SATA and M.2, and I've seen ASRock mentioned a lot around these parts)

RAM: Scavenged from existing machine (32GB to start, 64GB once completely migrated over)

Plex Array: I plan to add 3x4TB drives to start. One for parity, the other two as an initial array so I can start migrating the data over. Once done, the remaining drives will follow.

M.2: 1x Samsung 970 Evo 1TB NVme. Carved into two halves, one for Windows 10, the other for Ubuntu.

1x Samsung 970 Evo 500GB NVMe. This will be the cache disk for Plex to use.

SSD: 2x WD Blue 1TB. These will be for the 'data' partition for Windows 10. I could re-use the existing SATA drives but if I'm going new, why not upgrade.


Some advice needed

Overall, how does that look? Specifically, is that a decent motherboard to go with?
I'm overall concerned with compatibility, but specifically being able to group and pin hardware to the right VMs. I've seen a few posts with people using AMD-compatible boards where their USB devices present as four different groups, giving great flexibility, and others where everything just appears as one controller which is less than ideal.


I was also intending on putting two graphics cards in here, one for the Windows VM and another for Plex transcoding. After doing some more reading around here I'm wondering if that's total overkill. It seems like the Intel CPU + iGPU should be enough for a handful of streams of 1080p material (I have no 4k and would restrict that to direct play anyway).


Appreciate any thoughts or advice! I've been out of the hardware game a long time (save for the build of my current machine in 2018) and honestly looking at the 7 different variations of each motherboard and so on has got me to the stage where it's probably better to just ask some actual humans :)



Obviously the PC Part List is more extensive than what I'd actually be buying, as it includes hardware I already have. I just put it all in there to see a complete list and to make sure nothing was missed.

Edited by MorsePacific
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  • 9 months later...
On 8/18/2021 at 6:56 PM, hunter69 said:

So did you end up buying this setup?  If so how did it go?


I did. It's been working, overall, very well. The UnRaid + Docker stuff has been working a treat. Occasionally Plex will throw a hissy fit and stop working but usually a reboot or an update will resolve that.

I'm running a Windows 10 VM for my gaming rig and the performance is excellent - as if I'm running a native Windows installation. With the update to 6.9.2 things have destabilized a little - if I have to restart the VM it gets hung up on the TianoCore boot screen unless I boot the machine without the attached monitor (weird), but I haven't had time to try to work out why that's started happening.

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