CPU upgrade from Xeon D-1541 for Media Server

jahsoul

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Dec 13, 2013
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War Eagle Country
I totally feel where you are coming from. I've been in the process of deciding what I wanted to do with my network for the past 2 months. If I were you, I would just say screw all of this until your wife has the baby and life has adjusted to the new addition. It will still be around. It will honestly probably give you more time to plot things out and figure out what you really need.

All in all, if you figure a iGPU will work best for you, you could probably return the motherboard and puchase a new MB plus have some money set to the side for a CPU.
 

IamSpartacus

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Mar 14, 2016
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I totally feel where you are coming from. I've been in the process of deciding what I wanted to do with my network for the past 2 months. If I were you, I would just say screw all of this until your wife has the baby and life has adjusted to the new addition. It will still be around. It will honestly probably give you more time to plot things out and figure out what you really need.

All in all, if you figure a iGPU will work best for you, you could probably return the motherboard and puchase a new MB plus have some money set to the side for a CPU.
Yea I'm not worried about returning the MoBo, that's definitely an option. As for tabling everything until the baby is here, yes I could do that but I could also just continue with this process wherever it takes me and then just pause once the baby is here. Even if I don't purchase anything, just knowing in my head where I want things to go with this project will give me piece of mind.
 

IamSpartacus

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Mar 14, 2016
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X11SSH-CTF + E3-1275v5
So with that E3, have you done any kind of testing of max transcodes you can handle and at what point the CPU starts to really become taxed? I'm trying to determine how much headroom I might have with the CPU if I decided to go Xeon E-2176G with iGPU.
 

K D

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Dec 24, 2016
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I have only 4 users who connect to my server. Max I've seen is 4 streams - 1 direct stream (me watching something local), two 4k h265 and one 1080p h264 Being transcoded in parallel . CPU at around 20%. Tautulli showed all 3 transcodes as throttled.
 

IamSpartacus

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Mar 14, 2016
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I have only 4 users who connect to my server. Max I've seen is 4 streams - 1 direct stream (me watching something local), two 4k h265 and one 1080p h264 Being transcoded in parallel . CPU at around 20%. Tautulli showed all 3 transcodes as throttled.
Thanks for the info. I usually have 6-10 streams going each night and I'd say about 60% of those are transcodes (usually just 1080p to 720p transcodes). I think the Xeon E-2176G would be a great option for me. The only issue is I need 10Gb Networking, storage space for at least 8 SATA disks (would love the option for more as I'm at 8 disks now), at least one M.2 slot, and a PCIe slot for my Optane 900P. Can't seem to find any boards that offer all that in MicroATX. Closest I'm finding is something like this ASRock but the descriptions of the boards say the M.2 slot is shared with one of the 8 SATA Ports and I need all 8 SATA ports PLUS M.2.
 

Ixian

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Oct 26, 2018
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I routinely see 4 simultaneous 1080p transcodes to remote clients on my D-1541 server that's currently running Unraid/Plex (and a lot of other dockers besides) with no issues. I think people overthink GPU transcoding. Yes, it can lower CPU utilization but...so? Unless you are already in an actual situation where your CPU is bottlenecking your entire setup due to Plex streams it's easy to overthink how bad the problem will actually be.

Also, with Unraid, you can set up a small Linux VM - Debian server minimal works well for this, it's tiny - install GPU drivers on it, then run Plex in the VM. Not any more difficult to manage/update than Docker, really, unless you are just in love with the little Unraid icons you can click for Dockers, and you can do a lot more with it. Including easily passthrough a GPU like a P2000 which will turn the Plex in to a streaming king. And no Windows to deal with.
 

K D

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Dec 24, 2016
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3-4 1080p h264 transcoding with CPU is fine. You will start seeing performance issues when you consume 2160p h265 or do more than that, especially if you run other services on the same box.

You will have to actually use the igpu transcoding to realize it's potential. For me, it was a game changer. I stopped maintaining streamable versions of my 4k content.
 

IamSpartacus

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Mar 14, 2016
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I routinely see 4 simultaneous 1080p transcodes to remote clients on my D-1541 server that's currently running Unraid/Plex (and a lot of other dockers besides) with no issues. I think people overthink GPU transcoding. Yes, it can lower CPU utilization but...so? Unless you are already in an actual situation where your CPU is bottlenecking your entire setup due to Plex streams it's easy to overthink how bad the problem will actually be.

Also, with Unraid, you can set up a small Linux VM - Debian server minimal works well for this, it's tiny - install GPU drivers on it, then run Plex in the VM. Not any more difficult to manage/update than Docker, really, unless you are just in love with the little Unraid icons you can click for Dockers, and you can do a lot more with it. Including easily passthrough a GPU like a P2000 which will turn the Plex in to a streaming king. And no Windows to deal with.
My current server also has a Xeon D-1541. I often have more than 4 transcodes going and while my system handles it find, I want the extra headroom. Sometimes it affects the performance of my "home production" VMs.

As for running Plex in a linux VM in Unraid, yes I could do that but the p2000 can't do both encoding and decoding in Plex in Linux. That will probably change with a future update but to change my setup for a yet to be supported feature doesn't make sense at this point.
 

jahsoul

Active Member
Dec 13, 2013
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War Eagle Country
Yea I'm not worried about returning the MoBo, that's definitely an option. As for tabling everything until the baby is here, yes I could do that but I could also just continue with this process wherever it takes me and then just pause once the baby is here. Even if I don't purchase anything, just knowing in my head where I want things to go with this project will give me piece of mind.
Oh yeah, no doubt plan and plot. I only mentioned that because you were talking about reconsidering the entire setup, which would SUCK. Thanks to this thread, I'm reconsidering my setup now. LOL

But I use Emby, so I'm debating just installing Emby Server on the Shield and see how it does with transcoding since I won't be doing, at most, 2 streams tops.
 

Ixian

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Oct 26, 2018
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How do you folks deal with 4k HDR? Most of my 4k stuff is also HDR because I have HDR tvs and a PJ, but I currently keep it in a separate library that isn't shared because even if it can be transcoded and streamed, tone-mapping isn't supported, so the image looks washed out. In other words, there's little point in streaming it remotely, so I don't, which in turn means I don't worry much about HEVC hardware acceleration. Inside the house all my clients direct play.

No doubt it'd be easier if I could just get the best possible source once and let my server (Emby in my case) figure out the best way to deliver it like it works now with all my other content, but I feel like this is a bigger problem than having the right GPU/iGPU.
 

K D

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Dec 24, 2016
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I used to maintain 720p 4MBPs versions of all my 4k content. 3 of my 4 users are tech savvy enough to manually play the low res version when they see a 4k title.

I still maintain a low res version of HDR content due to the tone mapping issue.
 

IamSpartacus

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Mar 14, 2016
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I also have a separate library that is only for myself as I know both my Shield TV's can direct play HDR and one friend who has a shield and I've tested with him to ensure he has his settings setup for Original Quality/Direct Play.
 

Ixian

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Oct 26, 2018
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Right, but in that case, why worry about transcoding that high 4k stuff, is my point? My server can handle transcoding even high bitrate h.264 BD rips from my personal collection down to, say, an 8mb 1080p stream. It only struggles with the 4k stuff, but as there's no point in transcoding it (since remote clients will just get a bad, washed out image, and local clients direct play) that doesn't matter.

Now, if/when ffmpeg supports proper tone-mapping, or Plex/Emby modify their versions to do so - which, believe me, is no easy task - then the situation would be different, but if there's one thing I've learned over the years it's don't try too hard to future proof every possible scenario when it comes to PCs. You could spend a lot of money now trying to aim for a 5-7 year solution and then the various bits of tech you use zig instead of zag and you end up rebuilding anyway.

Not judging anyone or saying it's "wrong" - do what's best for you - just trying to understand in case I'm missing something.
 

IamSpartacus

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Mar 14, 2016
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Alright, I think I've decided to go in the direction of the Xeon E-2176G + this board. I'll add an HBA and Dual SFP+ NIC and still have a PCIe x16 slot left for an add-on GPU down the line if Plex/Linux ever support something like the P2000.

Of course the vendor that I bought the 3647 board from has a 15% restocking fee on even unopend items so I'll have to put that board up for sale.
 

IamSpartacus

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Mar 14, 2016
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Right, but in that case, why worry about transcoding that high 4k stuff, is my point? My server can handle transcoding even high bitrate h.264 BD rips from my personal collection down to, say, an 8mb 1080p stream. It only struggles with the 4k stuff, but as there's no point in transcoding it (since remote clients will just get a bad, washed out image, and local clients direct play) that doesn't matter.

Now, if/when ffmpeg supports proper tone-mapping, or Plex/Emby modify their versions to do so - which, believe me, is no easy task - then the situation would be different, but if there's one thing I've learned over the years it's don't try too hard to future proof every possible scenario when it comes to PCs. You could spend a lot of money now trying to aim for a 5-7 year solution and then the various bits of tech you use zig instead of zag and you end up rebuilding anyway.

Not judging anyone or saying it's "wrong" - do what's best for you - just trying to understand in case I'm missing something.
I don't have any intention of supporting the the transcoding of any 4k content. My goal here is to be able to support a lot of simultaneous x264 trancodes + mobile sync conversions.
 

Ixian

Member
Oct 26, 2018
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Looks like a nice board. I wish they were more generally available (same with the CPU).

Appears SM finally got the message about slot layout and put the x16 PCI slot above the m.2 adapter, so you can use a double-slot GPU without blocking the other two x8 slots. That's been a problem with their boards for some time now.

If your server is primarily for Plex duty + media storage and a handful of lightweight Docker apps I'd say that looks like a good set of choices given the number of transcode streams you want to support.
 

jahsoul

Active Member
Dec 13, 2013
254
28
28
War Eagle Country
Alright, I think I've decided to go in the direction of the Xeon E-2176G + this board. I'll add an HBA and Dual SFP+ NIC and still have a PCIe x16 slot left for an add-on GPU down the line if Plex/Linux ever support something like the P2000.

Of course the vendor that I bought the 3647 board from has a 15% restocking fee on even unopend items so I'll have to put that board up for sale.
Nice!!!

Now I'll just wait on the sideline to see how you sell the board for and if you are looking for trades. ;)

lol
 

jingram

Member
Oct 21, 2018
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Alright, I think I've decided to go in the direction of the Xeon E-2176G + this board. I'll add an HBA and Dual SFP+ NIC and still have a PCIe x16 slot left for an add-on GPU down the line if Plex/Linux ever support something like the P2000.

Of course the vendor that I bought the 3647 board from has a 15% restocking fee on even unopend items so I'll have to put that board up for sale.
What prompted you to choose that board out of curiosity? Only 5 x SATA Ports, only 1 x M2 port. Seems like they have newer, more fully featured options than that board, which would give you 8 x SATA ports, 2 x M2 ports, etc.

In my mind either X11SCH-F or X11SCH-LN4F make the most sense. Same form factor, more options. Only thing needed at that point would be 10Gb ethernet, which you need anyway. Frankly, I'm not sure why you would bother with the P2000. Emby seems to have the tightest integration with the Intel iGPU and the one in the e-2100 series is the fastest.

I chose the X11SCH-LN4F, but am still waiting for delivery. Tiger Direct finally kicked it off to SM for drop shipment.