UnRAID Plex and File Server Build

mason736

Member
Mar 17, 2013
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Hello. I’m looking at building a new UnRAID server, to replace my current SAN, an old HP P4300g2, that I have outgrown. The box will mainly handle Plex streams, 3-5 at a time, and ideally be able to handle 4K transcodes as well. Additionally, it will host a file server as well. I have another server currently acting as a hypervisor for my Windows and Linux VMs, so I don’t need to host any VMs on it.

I would like something commercial grade, vs a self build with consumer grade parts. I’m thinking a used Supermicro or Dell box, but I’m looking for advice on what would work the best.

Thank you.
 

rubylaser

Active Member
Jan 4, 2013
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Michigan, USA
You will need to provide a proposed budget, number of disks, and size of those disks (2.5" or 3.5") you be using to help people narrow down their suggestions :)
 

mason736

Member
Mar 17, 2013
109
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You will need to provide a proposed budget, number of disks, and size of those disks (2.5" or 3.5") you be using to help people narrow down their suggestions :)
Yeah, that would be helpful.

Chassis Style: Rackmount
Proposed Budget: ~ $2000 not including disks
Spinning Disks: 6-8 WD Red Pro 6 TB drives, with ability to expand over time
SSDs: 2x 512GB SSD for Cache

Currently I have ~ 8TB of media (movies, music, pictures) and files, looking to grow that quite a bit over the next few years, as I now have little ones, and want to rip all my old disney DVDs and Pixar movies to the server, as well as other media.

Also, noise is not an issue, as I have a separate utility area in the basement that is set aside for my server equipment, and is away from everything.
 

mason736

Member
Mar 17, 2013
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vl1969

Active Member
Feb 5, 2014
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I am not sure. But the last one is a descent setup for most needs.
Especially for unfair.

If I hade the budget I would get it for Proxmox node. If I am right, it should have enough ummph to run several plex VMs.

You have 20 3.0ghz cores and 128gb ram. Plenty of power.

I do not run plex. I run emby server in a VM under Proxmox , on a machine not even close to this and it works well.
I am in the process of swapping some innards on my box. But except for getting a newer Xeon CPUs most specs stay the same.
 

kapone

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2015
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Question - Are you really talking about 4k transcodes as far as Plex is concerned, or just streaming 4K (Direct play)
 

mason736

Member
Mar 17, 2013
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Question - Are you really talking about 4k transcodes as far as Plex is concerned, or just streaming 4K (Direct play)
Both actually. I have a 4K projector and 150 inch screen in the basement, and a couple 4K TVs throughout the house. I'd like to be able to Direct Play to the 4K devices, but then transcode the h.265 streams to 1080 or 720 for other devices, or when I'm travelling and in a hotel.
 

kapone

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2015
717
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Both actually. I have a 4K projector and 150 inch screen in the basement, and a couple 4K TVs throughout the house. I'd like to be able to Direct Play to the 4K devices, but then transcode the h.265 streams to 1080 or 720 for other devices, or when I'm travelling and in a hotel.
Got it. A system than can support 3-5 4k transcodes will need to be fairly beefy, unless you wanna go down the rabbit hole of hardware transcodes (GPU/QuickSync etc). The quality of hardware transcoding is subjectively (and hotly debated) lower than a pure CPU transcode. But to do 3-5 of them purely by CPU at the same time...
 

mason736

Member
Mar 17, 2013
109
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Got it. A system than can support 3-5 4k transcodes will need to be fairly beefy, unless you wanna go down the rabbit hole of hardware transcodes (GPU/QuickSync etc). The quality of hardware transcoding is subjectively (and hotly debated) lower than a pure CPU transcode. But to do 3-5 of them purely by CPU at the same time...
So in that case, With the above mentioned e5 v2 system be sufficient?
 

kapone

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2015
717
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So in that case, With the above mentioned e5 v2 system be sufficient?
That's a 20 core 3GHz system. If that can't do it, very few systems can.

That said, keep in mind, that while your storage needs probably require 1/10th of that system, you'll be running that big ass, power hungry system, 24x7, just because of Plex.
 

mason736

Member
Mar 17, 2013
109
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That's a 20 core 3GHz system. If that can't do it, very few systems can.

That said, keep in mind, that while your storage needs probably require 1/10th of that system, you'll be running that big ass, power hungry system, 24x7, just because of Plex.
Very true, but I can’t imagine the hp p4300 is very power efficient either, and it runs non stop as well.
 

kapone

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2015
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Very true, but I can’t imagine the hp p4300 is very power efficient either, and it runs non stop as well.
My point was, maybe rethink the architecture. An Nvidia Shield can easily do Plex transcoding for a single 4K stream, beyond that it struggles. Consumes ~5-7w while idling. It can access media from whatever storage setup you have.

In theory, 3-5 Shields could easily handle one stream each, giving you what you want. But that does mean, that you'll have 3-5 Plex "servers" on your network, and you kind of have to know which one to use, if one of them is already busy.

That said, sometimes the answer is, screw the power consumption, I need my convenience, life is short. :) Your call.
 

KC8FLB

Member
Aug 12, 2018
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My unRAID build:
2x Xeon E5-2670 V1 (thanks to this site a few years back)
Asus Z9PE-d16 mainboard
64GB ECC RAM
2x 8TB WD RED (Easystore shucks) for Parity Drives
3x 8TB WD RED (Easystore shucks) for Data Drives
2x Samsung 850 EVO 256GB for mirrored cache drives
Huge old Cosmos V1 case

I use it for household data storage (Datahoarding/Media storage), run PLEX and a handful of other dockers, and a Ubuntu VM.

I serve the PLEX outside my network and have 5 or six intermitent users (friends/family). Never had a issue with concurrent usage. Only serve up to 1080p content, haven't made the jump to 4k content. When I move to 4k, will use Nvidia Shields (as clients, currently using Roku Ultras) to avoid transcoding on the server.

I also use the PLEX DVR functionality and have a 4 tuner OTA HD HomeRun Quatro networked tuner that works wonderfully. We DVR a bunch on content and have process to remove commercials. No issues, works great with everything going on at once.

Also check out the unRAID, Plex and JDMWAAT site for build suggestions.

I plan on replacing the Samsung Evo SSD with better enterprise grade drives, add 10G networking and move the build into a 4U case and rack it.

Hope this helps