[advice] homeserver / lab with plex

Discussion in 'Processors and Motherboards' started by ChrHansen, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. ChrHansen

    ChrHansen New Member

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    Hi guys,

    Hope you can give me some advice, first post in here

    To be clear, I don't expect you to give me an exact build, but the different Xeon models and boards are a jungle and not sure how much power i need.

    Looking for a server to have at home, I do a little website development and looking to understand more of what is going on behind the scene + play with virtual machines. (so hopefully virtulize it all)

    The most important is the webserver, being able to do FTP backup of my client’s websites and PLEX, the rest is more for test and learning purpose.

    Initially I was looking at Xeon D-1500 series, but so far the Asrock boards are not in the shops and I would prefer more than one PCI slot (like X10SDV-TLN4F). Thinking a raid card makes sense(?)

    So it would run:

    Pfsense/vpn

    Webserver

    Storage (10+tb)

    VM (linux and windows for testing)

    Sql database (not that heavy load)

    PLEX (2-3 clients simultaneously)

    Since it will be running multiple VM’s and also do some calculations, it should be as powerfull as the d-1500 series but preferably also reasonably low power when idle.

    Full budget is not really determined, but do not see an issue in using the ~2k for the supermicro without disks.

    Ps. I’m curious and like playing with this stuff, but my knowledge is limited.

    Pps. Should preferable be available in Europe.

    Please ask if you need more information and thank you for your time

    Chris
     
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  2. rubylaser

    rubylaser Active Member

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    You need ~2,000 Passmark per 1080p streamed. I use an i5-4590 for my Plex server and it has no problem steaming to 3+ clients at the same time. My CPU has a Passmark of 7,200, the D-1540 is over 10,000. The good news is you have lots of options and getting 10,000+ Passmark in an energy efficient package should be pretty easy and doesn't have to cost a ton (unless you want it to).
     
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  3. gigatexal

    gigatexal I'm here to learn

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    2k? that should buy you a hell of a lot. scour the used market, grab as much ram as possible, a 6-core xeon should be doable with that budget. then you can do pretty much everything with ubuntu or fedora and virt-manager (kvm under the covers).
     
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  4. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    @rubylaser did they change that? I didn't think it was 2,000 some reason I have 1200-1500 stuck in my head, but maybe that's dated?
     
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  5. ChrHansen

    ChrHansen New Member

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    @rubylaser
    Perfect, that mean i was right to around the D-1540 or above - I would like to be able to have some power to spare when streaming :)

    @gigatexal I agree, that i could pick up quite a bit used, but I would prefer new - especially CPU and motherboard, since the new gen also uses less power. In your example a 6 core Xeon, do you mean like a E5-2603 v4?

    Thank you for inputs so far.
     
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  6. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    You can get older 6 cores for cheap cheap, but they idle at higher power... L5640.

    Or, used, but within last few years. E5-2670 8 Cores $110 or less.
     
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  7. rubylaser

    rubylaser Active Member

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    Good question (you just made me double check my off the top of my head claim). It looks like 2,000 is still the recommended number per 1080p transcode (obviously, direct steaming uses almost no resources).

    What kind of CPU do I need for my Server computer?
     
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  8. Scott Laird

    Scott Laird Active Member

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    Transcoding 1080p h264 is easy, but I have a bunch of VC1 BRs that I've ripped, and transcoding *those* in realtime is a pain in the neck, largely because the codec isn't multithreaded. Or at least it didn't used to be. I ended up throwing a E3-1240v2 at it and haven't looked back.
     
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  9. gigatexal

    gigatexal I'm here to learn

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    I agree. But I don't know what the OP's plex-files-to-be-transcoded-on-the-fly are made of? Fully uncompressed BD rips? H264 1080P MP4's transcoded down to a few iPads? if the former, then you'd probably need more clock cycles than threads, if the latter then I think threads over clock cycles might be beneficial. I really don't know. What I do know, is that the transcoding is multithreaded.

    I run plex via a docker container and when I fire up a movie I can see flex use all of my 2.6Ghz Vishera opteron's cores.

    Personally, if I was going fully converged on a single host (you have multiple uses aside from your plex stuff) I would go with more cores and thereby more threads than the better clocked e3 chips, so an E5 2670 would be better and then you could drop in a V2 version of it when those drop in price in a year or two on e-bay.

    That being said what is your power consumption needs? an older intel X56xx series chip would get you 6-cores, 12 threads, and be wicked fast. Westernere, I think they were based on, was pretty fast. And they'd be > 3ghz too. They can be found on eBay but going that route has you spending/looking for older hardware when you could be building around a newer platform with the e5.

    PassMark - Intel Xeon E5-2670 @ 2.60GHz - Price performance comparison

    PassMark - Intel Xeon E3-1240 @ 3.30GHz - Price performance comparison

    PassMark - Intel Xeon X5660 @ 2.80GHz - Price performance comparison

    PassMark - Intel Xeon X5680 @ 3.33GHz - Price performance comparison
     
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    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
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  10. ChrHansen

    ChrHansen New Member

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    Thank you all for replying so far!

    I think my knowledge of CPU's is going to be clear in my question, because the debate has clearly taken a turn towards the PLEX part of it - it the PLEX CPU usage so much higher than all the other things mentioned? (streaming will be BD rips to mainly tv, sometimes ipads)

    I think i'm almost getting more confused by all your advise, but i'm doing my best to learn more on google and this forum.

    My powerconsumption was only mentioned, as i would prefer not having a 200W server ideling 24/7

    So far the choice is either going back to d-1540 or looking for a e5 2670 as recommended by gigatexal.

    Chris
     
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  11. gigatexal

    gigatexal I'm here to learn

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    • Pfsense/vpn - VPN can use a lot of a cpu, but openVPN is single threaded, so only allocate the VM that runs this 2 cores and you should be fine - most likely scenario - 2 cores with 1 pegged?
    • Webserver - Depends on the load and how popular your site is etc, too many variables here to really know - say 2 cores unknown if any "pegged"
    • Storage (10+tb) - ZFS in my experience doesn't use much in the way of cpu cycles - 2 or so cores, light load
    • VM (linux and windows for testing) - depends on what your VMs are doing, they'd likely benefit from their storage having some SSDs in them than cores, then again if it's a F@H vm (think computationally sensitive scientific modeling etc) cpu load is high
    • Sql database (not that heavy load) - I'm a DBA but I would defer to @dba on this but depending on load most SQL servers idle in the sub 50% cpu usage area
    • PLEX (2-3 clients simultaneously) - nothing is worse than stuttering video playback so allocate 4 or more cores here and just assume they'll be pegged when serving content
    all of that said I figure at any one time you'll only have 10 cores "pegged" at any one time? So a D-1561 with a good controller for ZFS would do well and keep idle consumption down, but for the money, if you can get one, the 2670 is a big plus, and you can always move to a 2 socket system later if you like

    edit: I know ESXi will handle the resources as needed, so manually carving up resources like I have is probably silly as you can over provision cores to VMs but this is how I template out my VMs so FWIW
     
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  12. ChrHansen

    ChrHansen New Member

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    @gigatexal
    Thank you so much for explaining - I'm hooked and found a seller of the CPU on amazon at a fair price.

    But i'm also as mentioned before out of my comfort zone, can you recommend a motherboard to go? (maybe even a dual socket :)
    If you do not have a receomendation, is there anything i need to make sure it has?

    Also - and i know i'm asking a lot, what is a good controller for ZFS?

    Appreciate you time on helping me
     
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  13. gigatexal

    gigatexal I'm here to learn

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    ZFS - controller - hmm, ZFS likes dummy controllers. People have been taking LSI 2008's found on ebay for about 80 - 150 and flashing them to remove the firmware that handles the raid onboard. That then makes them a SAS controller with all the necessary hardware for JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks). Then ZFS takes care of all the raid and such. That being said I've used ZFS successfully without flashing my controllers.

    How many disks do you plan on using? SSDs? if so how many? We'll get back to that one in a bit.

    As for the mobo, did you get a 2670? I tend to rely soley on supermicro for motherboards. Let me see what I can find:

    I like this one: it has SAS onboard Super Micro Computer X9DR3-LN4F+, LGA 2011/Socket R, Intel...
     
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  14. gea

    gea Well-Known Member

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  15. gigatexal

    gigatexal I'm here to learn

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    Those are nice, except I think he already bought a 2011 chip so the socket 1151 board won't work, though he could always sell the chip. @ChrHansen spring for 16GB modules, more ram the merrier.
     
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  16. gea

    gea Well-Known Member

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  17. ChrHansen

    ChrHansen New Member

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    @gigatexal
    Sorry - was jusst away for a bit - On SSD i'm thinking enough to run the VM on them, so a couple 2 (to 3). normal disks about 5-6.

    I didn't buy the 2670 yet, but found a company who sells them from new (or it looks that way). Plan is to call him tomorrow and have a talk.


    @gea
    The advantage of 1151 is that it is a newer model right`?
     
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  18. gigatexal

    gigatexal I'm here to learn

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    yeah 1151 will get you a skylake xeon, I think. Super low power and efficient there. 4 cores, 8 threads not bad. And the board @gea linked to will support 64GB of DDR4 so that's nice.
     
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  19. ChrHansen

    ChrHansen New Member

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    @gigatexal
    Not going that route.
    Just looked and i need min. 64gig memory, but limits me to 32 on each right (they dont share?)

    Might need to source some used, because new is 235 euro pr 16 gig....
     
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  20. ChrHansen

    ChrHansen New Member

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    Sorry - my bad, found them wayyy cheaper.
     
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