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caribpapi

First Plex/NAS server build

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Posted · Original PosterOP

So I was hoping to get some basic help with setting up a FreeNAS/Plex server. I don't have all the components yet, but thats why I'm here. My intention is to upload a bunch of 4K content, playing locally at home on a 4K TV and let a few of my friends view my media. I've read a bunch of forums and I need help to confirm I'm on the right track or if I'm missing anything:

 

Right now I have:

  • AMD Ryzen 5 1600
  • 16GB DDR4 3000 memory

My questions are:

  1. Would I need to invest in something like a Nvidia 1050 or 1060 card to assist with 4K transcoding since my processor doesn't seem like it would do the job and I would like to attempt to stream 1-2 4K streams?
  2. Although I want to setup FreeNAS, I want to focus primarily on using the server for movie storage. Would it be better if I just run Windows instead with Plex server? If Windows, should version 10 be fine?
  3. I wanted to get 2 8TB drives and 1 SSD. The 8TB drives would be in a RAID and be for movie storage while the SSD would run FreeNAS or Windows. Would the SSD be overkill in terms of FreeNAS?
  4. To avoid my server from processing too much in case multiple streams are playing, any specific settings in Plex or FreeNAS that can help such?
  5. Any recommendations to editing movie files for better playback? I usually avoid keeping ATMOS audio streams in my files since I don't have the hardware to support playback and it makes files ways smaller.
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1 hour ago, caribpapi said:

So I was hoping to get some basic help with setting up a FreeNAS/Plex server. I don't have all the components yet, but thats why I'm here. My intention is to upload a bunch of 4K content, playing locally at home on a 4K TV and let a few of my friends view my media. I've read a bunch of forums and I need help to confirm I'm on the right track or if I'm missing anything:

 

Right now I have:

  • AMD Ryzen 5 1600
  • 16GB DDR4 3000 memory

My questions are:

  1. Would I need to invest in something like a Nvidia 1050 or 1060 card to assist with 4K transcoding since my processor doesn't seem like it would do the job and I would like to attempt to stream 1-2 4K streams?
  2. Although I want to setup FreeNAS, I want to focus primarily on using the server for movie storage. Would it be better if I just run Windows instead with Plex server? If Windows, should version 10 be fine?
  3. I wanted to get 2 8TB drives and 1 SSD. The 8TB drives would be in a RAID and be for movie storage while the SSD would run FreeNAS or Windows. Would the SSD be overkill in terms of FreeNAS?
  4. To avoid my server from processing too much in case multiple streams are playing, any specific settings in Plex or FreeNAS that can help such?
  5. Any recommendations to editing movie files for better playback? I usually avoid keeping ATMOS audio streams in my files since I don't have the hardware to support playback and it makes files ways smaller.

I don't have any experience with FreeNAS but I can give you some insight for Windows.

Nvidia limits to 2 transcoding streams simultaneous. This doesn't limit you to 2 streams it just means if you have more than 2 streams that need transcoding the gpu will only handle 2 of them and the CPU must transcode the rest.

 

I have a Nvidia rtx 2070 which i use for Plex transcoding and Gaming ect. When Plex is running a 15Mbps H265 video my gpu usage is about 10% and CPU is about 6-10% per stream. Now this ill depend on the format and container your content is in. All my content is transcoded to MKV H265 using NVEnc with Variable Framerate for smaller files. Audio is set AAC Stereo. I use Same as source for Framerate. So all my content streaming to certain players will get transcoded on the fly. I have had 4 streams going at once all needing transcoded without any issue.

Windows 10 would be perfect.

Are you wanting to run Raid 0 or raid 1? SSD with windows installed would work the best and you can even use it to store plex local application data(thumbnails, previews, ect) It help when browsing content on the players thumbnails will load alot faster then being on the hard dirve. This path can be specified in General Settings.

No real specific settings in Plex need to be enabled I have transcoded quailty set to Automatic with a 60 sec throttle buffer and have maximum simultaneous video transcode set to unlimited.

 

If you got anymore questions on windows based setup just quote me so I see your reply.

 


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Thanks for the feedback @ddennis002

 

I've put in around $300+ (memory and mobo as well) so far just to experiment and now I'm thinking I could have gone with just a Synology bay.

 

I'll do more research, but it definitely seems like I'm going to require a solid GPU for some kind of transcoding. I will look into getting a cheap M.2 in case I go the Windows route unless I can find better details on a pure NAS solution that I can run with my current hardware that supports HW transcoding.

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8 hours ago, caribpapi said:
  • Although I want to setup FreeNAS, I want to focus primarily on using the server for movie storage. Would it be better if I just run Windows instead with Plex server? If Windows, should version 10 be fine?
  • I wanted to get 2 8TB drives and 1 SSD. The 8TB drives would be in a RAID and be for movie storage while the SSD would run FreeNAS or Windows. Would the SSD be overkill in terms of FreeNAS?

1. I'm not entirely sure about alternatives, but I have been using a FreeNAS box with Plex for the past years and it has been working perfectly for me. The Plex plugin will be installed in a jail, so it's technically fenced off from the other files on the server. It's also very easy to set up remote access which lets you watch your movies anywhere.

 

2. FreeNAS doesn't do RAID in the traditional sense, but uses ZFS volumes. Although the idea is generally similar, there are differences. I suggest reading up on ZFS and it's capabilities before deciding. As for your bootdrive, I have a 8(?)GB USB stick as an OS drive. My motherboard came with an USB port inside the case and it's been living there happily. I think the FreeNAS installation manual even suggests using this method.


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6 hours ago, caribpapi said:

Thanks for the feedback @ddennis002

 

I've put in around $300+ (memory and mobo as well) so far just to experiment and now I'm thinking I could have gone with just a Synology bay.

 

I'll do more research, but it definitely seems like I'm going to require a solid GPU for some kind of transcoding. I will look into getting a cheap M.2 in case I go the Windows route unless I can find better details on a pure NAS solution that I can run with my current hardware that supports HW transcoding.

Your cpu will probably be fine for transcoding, but really don't transcode 4k, just get it in a format that the clients can play with. What format is your media now?

 

Id personally look unto unraid here, easy to expand and use for a use like this.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
6 hours ago, Wauthar said:

1. I'm not entirely sure about alternatives, but I have been using a FreeNAS box with Plex for the past years and it has been working perfectly for me. The Plex plugin will be installed in a jail, so it's technically fenced off from the other files on the server. It's also very easy to set up remote access which lets you watch your movies anywhere.

 

2. FreeNAS doesn't do RAID in the traditional sense, but uses ZFS volumes. Although the idea is generally similar, there are differences. I suggest reading up on ZFS and it's capabilities before deciding. As for your bootdrive, I have a 8(?)GB USB stick as an OS drive. My motherboard came with an USB port inside the case and it's been living there happily. I think the FreeNAS installation manual even suggests using this method.

 

Thanks for the input @Wauthar

 

I'm assuming you're on an Intel build for FreeNAS? Just curious since I haven't read anything about FreeNAS supporting hardware transcoding.

 

9 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Your cpu will probably be fine for transcoding, but really don't transcode 4k, just get it in a format that the clients can play with. What format is your media now?

 

Id personally look unto unraid here, easy to expand and use for a use like this.

 

@Electronics Wizardy

 

This is why I should have gone the standard NAS route, but I would still have to get a GPU I'm assuming since my Ryzen doesn't have integrated graphics to do transcoding?

 

Right now, my files are in X264 format with AAC or DTS audio.

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1 minute ago, caribpapi said:

 

This is why I should have gone the standard NAS route, but I would still have to get a GPU I'm assuming since my Ryzen doesn't have integrated graphics to do transcoding?

 

Right now, my files are in X264 format with AAC or DTS audio.

What are your clients?

 

You probalby don't need transcoding for 4k clients, and the cpu should handle the transcoding down to 720p fine for things like phones.

 

Id just get a gpu like a 710, your cpu can do all the transcoding here.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
7 hours ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

What are your clients?

 

You probalby don't need transcoding for 4k clients, and the cpu should handle the transcoding down to 720p fine for things like phones.

 

Id just get a gpu like a 710, your cpu can do all the transcoding here.

@Electronics Wizardy

 

At home, I have 2 4K TVs, but I would want to aim for 5-6 streams total for some of my family members. They would primarily be using their iPads or mobile phones to view from my Plex server.

 

And you seriously think a 710 will do? I have a 970 that I was going to put in my build, but didn't bother since I read so many people sticking to Nvidia 10 series cards.

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1 minute ago, caribpapi said:

@Electronics Wizardy

 

At home, I have 2 4K TVs, but I would want to aim for 5-6 streams total for some of my family members. They would primarily be using their iPads or mobile phones to view from my Plex server.

 

And you seriously think a 710 will do? I have a 970 that I was going to put in my build, but didn't bother since I read so many people sticking to Nvidia 10 series cards.

The 710 is just there for managemnet and so the board can post. I woudln't use the gpu for transcoding.

 

Let the tvs directly play and the rest of the streams should be fine. Give it a shot.

 

Id also run linux here due to the better gpu support if you want a gpu.

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9 hours ago, caribpapi said:

I'm assuming you're on an Intel build for FreeNAS? Just curious since I haven't read anything about FreeNAS supporting hardware transcoding.

Yes, I have a Pentium G2020 in my machine. Not the best (by a stretch :P), but it does the job well. I have the full specs of my NAS box on my profile somewhere, should you be curious.

 

A quick Google search resulted that Plex on FreeNAS doesn't support hardware transcoding at all, so it's all CPU
https://www.ixsystems.com/community/threads/using-quicksync-for-transcoding-in-plex.69016/

 

Good luck!


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FreeNAS is great for Plex.  Here's a picture of my setup.

 

image.png.ff4144064108c2c3b59092ec661ae4f6.png

 

 

Check out the FreeNAS forum and read up on hardware requirements.  You really want to use Intel and ECC memory.

 

AMD doesn't always play nice with FreeNAS.  What's your system budget?  ZFS isn't cheap for maintaining storage.

 

 

Old Xeon hardware is great if you're looking for multiple streams and E5-26xx V2 chips are inexpensive now.


"A promise is a promise"

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