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Is it worth upgrading my home server?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I have a Haswell based home server that I use as a NAS, a Plex server, and a Blue Iris DVR.  I recently upgraded my gaming PC's CPU/mobo/RAM and I am debating if I should use the left over parts and upgrade my server.


Current server CPU/mobo/RAM:

Intel Xeon E3-1271 v3 CPU (basically a 4c8t Haswell i7)

Asus P9D C226 WS mobo

32GB(4x8GB) Crucial DDR3-1600 ECC RAM


Parts left over from gaming PC upgrade:

Intel i7-7700K CPU

Asus TUF Z170 Sabertooth-S mobo

32GB(2x16GB) Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3000 RAM


Benefits of upgrade:

7700K CPU has built-in H.265/HEVC hardware encoding and all my Plex media files are that format.  Current CPU doesn't have any H.265/HEVC hardware encoding and just uses software encoding.

Skylake/Ivy Bridge hardware is more power efficient than 4th generation Haswell and the unlocked 7700K can be underclocked/undervolted it to make it even more power efficient.

RAM is much faster and is also expandable to 64GB if I ever that.

Asus's TUF series of motherboards from this generation are built with WS demands in mind.


Downsides/concerns of upgrade:

I am replacing actual WS/Server hardware with general consumer hardware, including losing EEC RAM functionality.

7700K CPU was overclocked to 5.0Ghz@1.38v for the past 2 years, not sure if that might impact its longevity.

Won't get as much money for old server hardware vs selling the gaming hardware and would have to purchase another Windows Server license key.

Current hardware is meeting my needs, but doesn't have much room left if my needs increase.


Thoughts, opinions, suggestions?

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2 minutes ago, Gerr said:

Thoughts, opinions, suggestions?

IMHO, ECC RAM is pretty much useless at home. I wouldn't worry about that. As for everything else...well, it'd be a lot more power-efficient, especially since Plex could use the GPU for transcoding instead of the CPU. Personally, I'd toss the Haswell.

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What is your CPU usage like on the server, especially when watching videos from Plex? That I think is the first question to ask before you take on the downtime that'll go with the upgrade. If all your Plex files are H.265, then the CPU encoding is useless since Plex shouldn't be re-encoding the files when serving them up on your home network unless it's serving the files to a device that doesn't support H.265, in which case it'll encode to a supported format, again making the hardware encoding useless.

If you're watching them remotely, then it'll probably remaster the file to a smaller bitrate and resolution, but then the question is what CPU usage looks like. If the existing CPU can keep up without issue and CPU usage isn't looking insane when doing so, then the upgrade isn't all that necessary. Even then, your CPU usage is likely to not change much with the upgrade, and if your existing hardware can keep up without issue, why upgrade?


Same with memory usage. If you had another 32GB at the ready to install into the new mainboard, then I'd say to do the upgrade to get the extra RAM. Neither processor supports quad-channel, or that'd sway me to say "upgrade" without hesitation. As others have mentioned, having ECC in a home environment isn't critical. But since you're going from 32GB DDR3 to 32GB DDR4, you're not seeing a significant gain here.


My suggestion would be to set the 7700K aside and use it as a virtualization server or some other role instead. Replacing your existing server with the 7700k would net better performance, but is it performance you'd actually notice given your current server's roles? Not likely. Instead use the 7700k hardware as a virtualization server or an experimental system. You could even use it to offload Plex or the DVR onto a separate system. Then only if you get the extra RAM to max out what the board allows should you make it a primary server.

Wife's build: Amethyst - Intel i7-5820k, 16GB EVGA DDR4, ASUS X99-PRO/USB 3.1, EVGA GTX 1080 SC, Corsair Obsidian 750D, Corsair RM1000

My build: Mira - Intel i7-5820k, 16GB EVGA DDR4, ASUS Sabertooth X99, EVGA GTX 1070 SC Black Edition, NZXT H440, EVGA Supernova 1050 GS

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The 7700K's iGPU should be better for hardware transcoding. 

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