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Dravinian

Would old Threadripper be a good platform for a Plex / NAS?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I have noticed that the price of Threadripper 1900-1920x have plummeted.  You can pick them up really cheap.

 

It is a multicore CPU model, and while the speeds aren't great and it was never that good for gaming, I was thinking, for a Plex server would it be sufficient?  It has a score between 20,000 and 22,000 on CPU Bench Mark - depending on 1900x or 1920x.  I seem to remember a calculation from Plex of (roughly) 2,000 bench mark score per 1080p stream  Which would give you 10 streams at 1080p or thereabouts (dependent on your bandwidth I suppose)?

 

However, I do have a couple of concerns, does the lack of speed on the first gen TR platform impact transcoding performance? In benchmarks from the time they came out, I seem to remember them being quite a bit behind, but I am not sure whether that has any impact on transcoding, and since that will be the only heavy task it would face, not sure it would make a difference.

 

Is the first generation early adaptor problems following the 1900s, or is it simply a matter of some teething problems that were ironed out over time, but now with updated bios and windows (BSD/FreeNAS/Linux) it works just fine?

 

Anyone used it before for this purpose have any insight?

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Id say it entirely depends on what price you have to pay for a board. Bonus is of tr the boards are quite good loaded in terms of features


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Any HEDT CPU will be ideal for a 'work' use case... throw enough RAM & a decent encoder at it and you'll be OK.


Did you test boot it, before you built in into the case?

WHY NOT...?!

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Those benchmarks aren't really that useful. First gen TR is fine and has much greater performance than many other devices that run Plex servers or come with that capability.

 

Also just make sure your content in your Plex library is in a format/codec that all your devices can play natively then you won't be doing any transcoding so the only limit you'll have is your network connection.

 

My Plex server runs as a VM with 6 vCPUs on a dual L5630 server, really damn old. Even then that's more CPU power than most pre-built NAS's that have Plex.

 

Main thing to check is if there isn't a better option on the used market for the same price.

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First question: what do you want your Plex box to do? Dozens of clients streaming at 4k or 1-2 people streaming 1080p?

 

From what I see a "cheap" TR system would spend about 500 bucks on the MoBo and CPU combo. For that you can also get a plex pass lifetime subscription (120), a gtx 1050 (75-100 bucks), a ryzen 6 core (120-160) and an 8 sata port x570 board (150). That will serve you better in terms of encoding streanms for a handful of people using it (nvenc is amazing), you have a little more flexible hardware and you have a plex pass...

 

If you want your box to run multiple servers though or many vms, then TR might be a good fit

 

My Plex server is running on 2 cores of an Intel 6 core i5 with a 1050ti and even when I eliminate the network as a bottleneck, the HDD read spead becomes an issue way before the transcoding does. But the 10th gen GPU was needed, when I didnt have it, it was having trouble transcoding the 4k Blue Ray rips I keep on there. You can work around that by converting them to a different format though.

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NAS pc should be 100w or less, over than that it's a waste of energy for such a simple workload.

A dedicated NAS hardware only takes 10-30w of power.

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4 minutes ago, SupaKomputa said:

NAS pc should be 100w or less, over than that it's a waste of energy for such a simple workload.

A dedicated NAS hardware only takes 10-30w of power.

depends a lot on what your NAS does. For plenty people here their "NAS" is more their multi purpose home server. There higher power hardware is sometimes needed. Plus, even for pure NAS systems, once they get high performance enough some high end hardware is needed

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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, leadeater said:

Those benchmarks aren't really that useful. First gen TR is fine and has much greater performance than many other devices that run Plex servers or come with that capability.

 

Also just make sure your content in your Plex library is in a format/codec that all your devices can play natively then you won't be doing any transcoding so the only limit you'll have is your network connection.

 

My Plex server runs as a VM with 6 vCPUs on a dual L5630 server, really damn old. Even then that's more CPU power than most pre-built NAS's that have Plex.

 

Main thing to check is if there isn't a better option on the used market for the same price.

I can't do that as it is a family server, serving various individuals both at home and away, all using different devices - including 3 different models of TV, on MAC and Windows. 

 

Plus, we are talking about a considerable amount of data here, even if it were possible to have it all encoded the same, the amount of time to transform it all into a single format would be far beyond the time I would want to spend doing it.

 

For the same sort of price, I would be looking at a Ryzen 5 3600 which is 6c12t but a healthy 18k score on CPU benchmark, or a Xeon CPU which is roughly the same price for 12c24t, but appear even slower in terms of clock speed than TR and have a far lower score on CPU benchmark (16k vs 20k) for the same price.  I mean, it is lower than the 3600.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
8 minutes ago, ChalkChalkson said:

First question: what do you want your Plex box to do? Dozens of clients streaming at 4k or 1-2 people streaming 1080p?

 

From what I see a "cheap" TR system would spend about 500 bucks on the MoBo and CPU combo. For that you can also get a plex pass lifetime subscription (120), a gtx 1050 (75-100 bucks), a ryzen 6 core (120-160) and an 8 sata port x570 board (150). That will serve you better in terms of encoding (nvenc is amazing), you have a little more flexible hardware and you have a plex pass...

 

If you want your box to run multiple servers though or many vms, then TR might be a good fit

 

My Plex server is running on 2 cores of an Intel 6 core i5 with a 1050ti and even when I eliminate the network as a bottleneck, the HDD read spead becomes an issue way before the transcoding does. But the 10th gen GPU was needed, when I didnt have it, it was having trouble transcoding the 4k Blue Ray rips I keep on there. You can work around that by converting them to a different format though.

I do have a GTX 970 laying around, not sure whether that can be utilised (in fact I have 2, but I think only one can be used).

 

The NAS does run two VMs, and I would like the system to handle more than 4 concurrent streams, 6 to 8 ideally; though that will be quite rare.

 

For information, I am already running an i7-4790k on 14tb Enterprise drives, and I don't seem to have any issue with read speeds across the 2 drives which I think are set up as a mirror currently.

 

What I do see though, is a lot of (Transcoding: throttled) when people are connected and watching.  I also note that my CPU is reaching 80% on just 2 concurrent streams.

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9 minutes ago, Dravinian said:

I can't do that as it is a family server, serving various individuals both at home and away, all using different devices - including 3 different models of TV, on MAC and Windows. 

 

Plus, we are talking about a considerable amount of data here, even if it were possible to have it all encoded the same, the amount of time to transform it all into a single format would be far beyond the time I would want to spend doing it.

 

For the same sort of price, I would be looking at a Ryzen 5 3600 which is 6c12t but a healthy 18k score on CPU benchmark, or a Xeon CPU which is roughly the same price for 12c24t, but appear even slower in terms of clock speed than TR and have a far lower score on CPU benchmark (16k vs 20k) for the same price.  I mean, it is lower than the 3600.

How much would you get a 1920x + motherboard for? Usually this is 500$+. For that price you can easily get a used 8 core ryzen 2700 which would perform a little better and be far cheaper off as even new that would only be around 300 for that cpu + board.

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3 minutes ago, Dravinian said:

I can't do that as it is a family server, serving various individuals both at home and away, all using different devices - including 3 different models of TV, on MAC and Windows. 

That's actually not too bad to do, just mark everything in Plex, click optimize and do one for TV universal and one for PC. The conversion does take a long time and lot of storage though. But for a couple of people GPU encoding is much more efficient.

3 minutes ago, Dravinian said:

For the same sort of price, I would be looking at a Ryzen 5 3600 which is 6c12t but a healthy 18k score on CPU benchmark, or a Xeon CPU which is roughly the same price for 12c24t, but appear even slower in terms of clock speed than TR and have a far lower score on CPU benchmark (16k vs 20k) for the same price.  I mean, it is lower than the 3600.

How much would you spend on a TR? PC partpicker tells me what I'd consider a pretty overkill setup for MB CPU and GPU for Plex + 1-2 VMs should be in the 330$ range while MoBo + CPU for TR should be in the 450 range, enough to pay for the Plex pass to unlock GPU transcode

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7 minutes ago, Dravinian said:

I can't do that as it is a family server, serving various individuals both at home and away, all using different devices - including 3 different models of TV, on MAC and Windows. 

 

Plus, we are talking about a considerable amount of data here, even if it were possible to have it all encoded the same, the amount of time to transform it all into a single format would be far beyond the time I would want to spend doing it.

 

For the same sort of price, I would be looking at a Ryzen 5 3600 which is 6c12t but a healthy 18k score on CPU benchmark, or a Xeon CPU which is roughly the same price for 12c24t, but appear even slower in terms of clock speed than TR and have a far lower score on CPU benchmark (16k vs 20k) for the same price.  I mean, it is lower than the 3600.

Serving Up videos to 10 person is not a huge workload really. Most video players already support multiple resolution / codec, so you probably won't need to transcode at all.

If you really wanna dig in, price to perfomance, you might wanna check out some used Xeon X79 / x99 platform, the chips are dirt cheap, 6 - 8 cores for less than $30. The memory also cheap, you can use ECC registered (server) DDR3, half the price of current DDR4. 

Go to aliexpress and search for X79 or X99. You'll have plenty of offering from cpu, memory and motherboard (new).

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1 minute ago, Dravinian said:

I can't do that as it is a family server, serving various individuals both at home and away, all using different devices - including 3 different models of TV, on MAC and Windows. 

You'll likely find you can, most devices support the most popular codecs so not having an overlap should be unlikely. My Plex server is used on a Samsung TV, PC Web Browser and Windows App, Mobile, PS4 and I only ever use native.

 

3 minutes ago, Dravinian said:

Plus, we are talking about a considerable amount of data here, even if it were possible to have it all encoded the same, the amount of time to transform it all into a single format would be far beyond the time I would want to spend doing it.

Automate it? Just have an ingest/processing folder and a watcher that looks for files that appear in there that then automatically kicks off a re-encode and moves the file in to your Plex library folder structure. Rare do I ever login to my Plex server VM as the whole thing it automated so actually unnecessary to do so.

 

7 minutes ago, Dravinian said:

For the same sort of price, I would be looking at a Ryzen 5 3600 which is 6c12t but a healthy 18k score on CPU benchmark, or a Xeon CPU which is roughly the same price for 12c24t, but appear even slower in terms of clock speed than TR and have a far lower score on CPU benchmark (16k vs 20k) for the same price.  I mean, it is lower than the 3600.

All vastly more powerful and more power efficient that my decrepit L5630s, even then the 6 cores allocated to the VM can happily transcode down to 1080p 6Mbps if I'm stuck in a crap connection and need to, I've tested two concurrently and it's just enough to do it.

 

More cores you have the more streams you can transcode, benchmark scores like I said are not any good in reality. Too easy for a low core count high clock CPU to score highly and actually be worse than a higher core count CPU with lower clocks which would actually handle more concurrent streams.

 

Pick a platform that has good but also cheap upgrade path for the CPU in case what you get isn't enough, the prices of used Xeons on ebay is extremely good and you can use them in their counterpart HEDT motherboards if you want to or go with a server one.

 

There are 4 people that regularly use my Plex server but it's actually rare to have more than 2 concurrent streams going, native anyway so it does mostly nothing load wise.

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6 minutes ago, Dravinian said:

I do have a GTX 970 laying around, not sure whether that can be utilised (in fact I have 2, but I think only one can be used).

the new encoder in only available on 10th gen cards (except for the 1030).

6 minutes ago, Dravinian said:

The NAS does run two VMs, and I would like the system to handle more than 4 concurrent streams, 6 to 8 ideally; though that will be quite rare.

what do the vms do? is dual core enough for them?  NVIDIA GPUs are limited to 2 streams per card, but unless 3 people streams 4k at the same time it's not really an issue as 1080p can be handled fine on the CPU

6 minutes ago, Dravinian said:

For information, I am already running an i7-4790k on 14tb Enterprise drives, and I don't seem to have any issue with read speeds across the 2 drives which I think are set up as a mirror currently.

 

What I do see though, is a lot of (Transcoding: throttled) when people are connected and watching.  I also note that my CPU is reaching 80% on just 2 concurrent streams.

Yeah CPU encoding is very inefficient. But that CPU is pretty fine, maybe just try the Plexpass for a month and throw a 1050 in, see that does the trick (very likely)

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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 minutes ago, ChalkChalkson said:

That's actually not too bad to do, just mark everything in Plex, click optimize and do one for TV universal and one for PC. The conversion does take a long time and lot of storage though. But for a couple of people GPU encoding is much more efficient.

I will look into this...not sure I have the storage capacity to convert everything (12tb of material right now and not a lot of free space).

 

5 minutes ago, jaslion said:

How much would you get a 1920x + motherboard for? Usually this is 500$+. For that price you can easily get a used 8 core ryzen 2700 which would perform a little better and be far cheaper off as even new that would only be around 300 for that cpu + board.

I think about $500 would be right.  I am not sure the 2700 would perform better? less cores, lower CPU benchmark score? 15k vs 20k?

 

4 minutes ago, leadeater said:

Automate it? Just have an ingest/processing folder and a watcher that looks for files that appear in there that then automatically kicks off a re-encode and moves the file in to your Plex library folder structure. Rare do I ever login to my Plex server VM as the whole thing it automated so actually unnecessary to do so.

 

Well I just saw above that Plex does it too....so going to look into that.  My knowledge in running things in VM/Linux is growing, but it is still extremely limited.

 

3 minutes ago, ChalkChalkson said:

NVIDIA GPUs are limited to 2 streams per card

I looked at Plex and it seems to indicate you need a QNAP device to utilise Nvidia's NVENC encoding?

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2 minutes ago, Dravinian said:

I will look into this...not sure I have the storage capacity to convert everything (12tb of material right now and not a lot of free space).

 

I think about $500 would be right.  I am not sure the 2700 would perform better? less cores, lower CPU benchmark score? 15k vs 20k?

 

Well I just saw above that Plex does it too....so going to look into that.  My knowledge in running things in VM/Linux is growing, but it is still extremely limited.

 

I looked at Plex and it seems to indicate you need a QNAP device to utilise Nvidia's NVENC encoding?

That is my bad I misread and got the results of the 8core 1900x. Still I would very much so go for am4 as well an 8 core will do what needs to be done for now and you can actually upgrade to cpu's for a reasonable price. The first and second gen threadrippers kinda sorta do not have good prices on the used market and I don't see them going down soon as there are a very limited amount of them.

 

Up to you tho but for a plexbox I'd just start with a cheap ryzen am4 setup as that will also consume a lot less power.

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11 minutes ago, Dravinian said:

Well I just saw above that Plex does it too....so going to look into that.

Learn something every day, didn't know that was a thing now either.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 minutes ago, jaslion said:

That is my bad I misread and got the results of the 8core 1900x. Still I would very much so go for am4 as well an 8 core will do what needs to be done for now and you can actually upgrade to cpu's for a reasonable price. The first and second gen threadrippers kinda sorta do not have good prices on the used market and I don't see them going down soon as there are a very limited amount of them.

 

Up to you tho but for a plexbox I'd just start with a cheap ryzen am4 setup as that will also consume a lot less power.

I do see sense in the 3600 - for the price, 6c12t, I am not sure it will actually do much more than the i7 at 4c8t.  It seems like it isn't much of an upgrade for the same money - for this particular use case...clearly the 3600 is a better CPU for all around work, but for the single purpose of transcoding plex...is there a significant difference? 

 

Admittedly, the MB would likely push the TR higher in terms of overall cost.  Though, the TR4 boards do generally tend to have better onboard capabilities than AM4, unless you go high-end AM4, in which case the price difference is not so great. So there is balance there?

 

The TR goes to 12c24t....that is double the capacity of the 3600, for just the extra cost of the MB?

 

From my understanding, at a simplistic level, more cores = more streams.

 

As long as you not buying a 10 core 0.5ghz CPU, and we are not talking about that here.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

See in the UK those Xeons are £120 - or about $150.

 

Threadripper 1920x is about £100-£150.  Depending on how lucky you are and how many are around at any given moment.

 

So pricing is pretty close.  Can pick up an x79 from the UK (rather than from China) for about £100.  Which is going to be cheaper than the TR4 motherboard by a fair whack.


Definitely something to look into, my only issue with the Xeon CPUs is there are so damn many of the blasted things, and the performance difference between one Xeon and another can be absolutely huge - these things shouldn't all be named Xeon quite frankly, because some of them are worse than a 10 year old i3 and some are up there with TR.

 

21 minutes ago, SupaKomputa said:

$16 for 8gb ddr3 ecc

 

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Well xeon's have many purposes, those low clock speed are meant for power efficiency, may not perform as the high clocked one, but in the server space, power consumption is king. Those slow xeons usually used for high-threads, low computation usage such as file serving.

 

And FYI what got them qualified as Xeons are: support registered ECC memory, ability to use multiple CPU and larger memory capacity. This is what separates Xeons from regular desktop core processors.

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1 hour ago, Dravinian said:

Anyone used it before for this purpose have any insight?

 

Standalone Plex Server, its completely overkill.

Get an i3-9100 for $100 and it will destroy the Threadripper for Plex because of its hardware enc/dec support (QuickSync).

 

Already gone over this in many recent threads, but the only load really placed on the CPU by Plex is for transcoding the audio stream (which doesn't take much power). You really only need grunt when it comes to transcoding the video, and a i3-9100 will easily do ~20 concurrent transcode streams. The HD600 series on the 7th-9th gen Intel are basically the widest support for hardware transcoding, offering the widest support (second only to Nvidia RTX & 10th Gen Intel) for 4K content. 

 

You're thinking to much about 'raw power' rather than required features for Plex to perform at it's best. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Are you saying that a 4c/4t CPU can handle more concurrent streams than a 12c/24t CPU?

 

Can you point me to anything that would verify this because that is hard to believe and I would like to do more reading.

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