Looking to upgrade - video transcoding questions


Kash76

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Hey all, I'm looking to upgrade from my old AMD 8350 which has onboard video to a AMD 3900XT which does not have onboard video. I understand that only the Intel chips are currently supported for offloading video transcoding for things containers such as Plex.

 

My questions

1. Can I successfully transcode video for Plex using the 3900x?

2. Are there any limitations to running headless or running something simple like this - https://www.microcenter.com/product/462020/visiontek-radeon-hd-5450-low-profile-passive-cooled-1gb-ddr3-pcie-21-graphics-card

3. Is there any value to getting something like a 8GB RX 580?

 

I run many dockers including NextCloud, Plex, and others. I only run a single Windows VM but not for gaming.

 

Thanks for any help you can offer!

Edited by Kash76
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36 minutes ago, Kash76 said:

1. Can I successfully transcode video for Plex using the 3900x?

As you stated, the 3900x CPU has no video capabilities so you will need a discrete GPU if you want hardware transcoding.  If you are fine with CPU (software) transcoding, the 3900x has a whopping 32000+ passmark score so it can do up to 15 1080p transcoding streams as 2000 per stream is recommended with 2000 in reserve for unRAID overhead.  You'll only get one 4k/UHD stream as that requires 17000 passmarks.

 

Software transcoding (regardless of number of streams) will give the CPU a workout, but, yes, a 3900x can handle it well.

 

Plex does not officially support AMD GPUs.  Some claim they have got them to work, but Plex officially supports Nvidia GPUs and Intel iGPU on Linux.  You could probably use it in a Windows VM with Plex, but, not in docker containers.

 

Headless is not generally an issue as long as you can boot successfully that way.

 

AMD GPUs are also much more problematic when it comes to passing through to VMs.  YMMV.

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Simple question, why do you need to transcode? Can your clients not handle direct play? It may be far simpler to upgrade your client hardware than your server. That can enable direct play and eliminate the need for transcoding completely. But it depends on the circumstances.

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20 minutes ago, Kash76 said:

Thoughts on using the $35 card for the sake of having video for setting up? It shouldn’t cause any issues right?

Unless you boot in GUI mode, access to the GUI and the setup and configuration process of unRAID is done via a browser from any network connected device.

 

For configuring the BIOS and watching the boot process you would need an attached monitor and keyboard. Throwing in the cheap video card is a good idea in this case even if you intend to run headless.

 

Both of my servers have IPMI, so, I can run them completely headless and still have access to the boot process, BIOS, etc. without a monitor.

 

I see Brit responding while I was typing and he is correct. Hopefully, you can avoid transcoding completely except for remote or mobile client situations.  All my content direct plays locally and transcoding is only for remote clients (if they cannot direct play or have bandwidth limitations) or mobile devices.  I have an integrated Intel iGPU and it does have to transcode ocassionally, but, not often.

 

Transcoding should not be an "every time you stream a movie/video" situation.

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Simple question, why do you need to transcode? Can your clients not handle direct play? It may be far simpler to upgrade your client hardware than your server. That can enable direct play and eliminate the need for transcoding completely. But it depends on the circumstances.



I use Roku units so I don’t have to transcode today. I think my concern lies in the 4K ATSC 3.0 capabilities that my new HD homerun has and not knowing if I can play those streams native.


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Ah yeah, though I wonder if it'll be any different considering many stations only broadcast in 720p. I'm expecting some ATSC 3 features to be used but the picture still being no better than 720p or 1080i for the next 3 years.

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