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wolfboytech

Plex buffering issues

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hey all, so I have an up-to-date Plex server with Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Gen2 installed. It has 72GB of RAM (~50GB of which is being used as a cache system with PrimoCache), 2x Xeon E5620 CPU's, and a bridged NIC (I have tried with and without bridged NIC's and the bridged one has the least buffering time). The server is DMZ'ed from the outside and the ports are forwarded. Firewall is allowing Plex and all its services to send and receive data on the server and the client. This  issue happens across multiple clients and hasn't happened before on previous Plex servers on my network. Transcoding is set to "Prefer higher speed encoding". No GPU acceleration is being used due to no GPU being installed.

 

If this is an issue with Windows, I will gladly switch to a Linux distro but I just want to make sure that it isn't something I have done to mess with the configuration before I make the switch to the Linux distro and have the same issues. Any help is much appreciated.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
9 minutes ago, Mayaa said:

So what is the problem exactly? is buffering just slow or does it not do it at all?

Thats a very good question, I'm sorry I didn't include the information to begin with. The streams will buffer for several minutes and then play for a few seconds and then go back to buffering.


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3 hours ago, wolfboytech said:

Thats a very good question, I'm sorry I didn't include the information to begin with. The streams will buffer for several minutes and then play for a few seconds and then go back to buffering.

A couple of things to test:

 

Start a stream, and then check CPU usage on the server.

 

Also check how much bandwidth is being used and RAM usage.

 

After that, I would run some tests between your clients and the server and find out what kind of bandwidth your connections are even capable of putting out.

 

Why are you using DMZ if you're also port forwarding?


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Posted · Original PosterOP
19 minutes ago, dalekphalm said:

A couple of things to test:

 

Start a stream, and then check CPU usage on the server.

CPU is sitting between 3-5% across 4 of the 16 threads

19 minutes ago, dalekphalm said:

Also check how much bandwidth is being used and RAM usage.

Bandwidth and ram doesn't move.

19 minutes ago, dalekphalm said:

After that, I would run some tests between your clients and the server and find out what kind of bandwidth your connections are even capable of putting out.

Same across all clients including mobile.

19 minutes ago, dalekphalm said:

Why are you using DMZ if you're also port forwarding?

Plex didn't detect the port forwarding when I dmz'ed the system


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11 hours ago, wolfboytech said:

CPU is sitting between 3-5% across 4 of the 16 threads

Bandwidth and ram doesn't move.

Same across all clients including mobile.

So by checking this, it looks like the issue is not CPU getting maxed, nor a network bottleneck.

 

You might want to try a fresh install of Plex at this point - uninstall, manually delete any remaining Plex folders, reboot, reinstall, try again.

11 hours ago, wolfboytech said:

Plex didn't detect the port forwarding when I dmz'ed the system

You shouldn't be DMZ'ing the system at all. DMZ (at least, assuming it's a "proper" DMZ and not the fake bs a lot of consumer routers rock) puts the entire system on the outside of the firewall.

 

All you need to do is assign a static IP to the system, and port forward - no DMZ required, period. In fact, it's an added security risk so I highly recommend you change that particular setup.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 hour ago, Mikensan said:

How is the plex server accessing the movies, over SMB/iSCSI/local-storage?

SMB is fine now after removing the software JBoD, files play great locally on the server.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 hours ago, dalekphalm said:

So by checking this, it looks like the issue is not CPU getting maxed, nor a network bottleneck.

Unfortunately that's what it seems like

2 hours ago, dalekphalm said:

You might want to try a fresh install of Plex at this point - uninstall, manually delete any remaining Plex folders, reboot, reinstall, try again.

Uninstalled and deleted the folders I found but it still re-added to my account after reinstallation. Am I missing some file somewhere?

2 hours ago, dalekphalm said:

You shouldn't be DMZ'ing the system at all. DMZ (at least, assuming it's a "proper" DMZ and not the fake bs a lot of consumer routers rock) puts the entire system on the outside of the firewall.

 

All you need to do is assign a static IP to the system, and port forward - no DMZ required, period. In fact, it's an added security risk so I highly recommend you change that particular setup.

When I just port forward it Plex is unaccessable from outside the network. I'm actually wondering if it is because of my security cameras because of their bandwidth requirement. I'll do some more tests and get back to yall


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Posted (edited) · Original PosterOP

Update:

 

So I had a 64GB SSD laying about and plugged it in, flashed WinServ2016 Datacenter again and updated it. Installed plex, same thing. I have a C1100 from Dell as the server so could that be the issue? the drive bay is simply too slow to keep up with Plex? If so, then why could my friend use plex with smaller drives (same speed) and no issues? Why doesn't the Primo Cache program help AT ALL with these issues?

Edited by wolfboytech
Incorrect model number, corrected from CS1100 to C1100

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Because I figure some people will ask for it, below is the speeds of the drives

 

image.png.2a457dae347fc1f62573de40ac850437.png

 

Testing with Ubuntu Serv 18 to see if it is an OS thing


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Those write speeds are pretty terrible, I would get rid of whatever that cache software is. Plex buffers transcode by default under c:\ and you're getting 30mbps which is pretty bad.

 

Your C drive SSD might be dying if those are the real numbers.

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Plex Cache doesn't need super fast storage - even a standard HDD is good enough. Faster cache storage means that initial buffering will simply be faster, but once playback starts, it should be plenty fast enough to keep up. I use an SSD as a cache for my Plex install - this is purely for convenience sake.

 

24 minutes ago, Mikensan said:

Those write speeds are pretty terrible, I would get rid of whatever that cache software is. Plex buffers transcode by default under c:\ and you're getting 30mbps which is pretty bad.

 

Your C drive SSD might be dying if those are the real numbers.

I agree - something's definitely up.

 

@wolfboytech what exactly are you using that Cache (PrimoCache?) for?


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Posted · Original PosterOP
28 minutes ago, Mikensan said:

Those write speeds are pretty terrible, I would get rid of whatever that cache software is. Plex buffers transcode by default under c:\ and you're getting 30mbps which is pretty bad.

 

Your C drive SSD might be dying if those are the real numbers.

It's a cheap $15 sandisk SSD. I couldn't afford anything else.


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Just now, wolfboytech said:

It's a cheap $15 sandisk SSD. I couldn't afford anything else.

It's performing worse than a $20 hard drive, something is wrong with it, or your caching software.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
3 minutes ago, dalekphalm said:

Plex Cache doesn't need super fast storage - even a standard HDD is good enough. Faster cache storage means that initial buffering will simply be faster, but once playback starts, it should be plenty fast enough to keep up. I use an SSD as a cache for my Plex install - this is purely for convenience sake.

 

I agree - something's definitely up.

 

@wolfboytech what exactly are you using that Cache (PrimoCache?) for?

I'm using it because I figured it would pull the data to that instead of read it off the disks. I honestly wonder if it is the backplane that's causing this, or because of the slower SATA2 because when using my R410 with my PERC7 RAID card I have no transfer issues


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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, Mikensan said:

It's performing worse than a $20 hard drive, something is wrong with it, or your caching software.

Those results were with no caching. It's how it performs. There's no noticeable lag when doing anything on the system meaning the SSD is fine. I have a few others just like it with the same speeds that I use everyday for my HTPC kodi boxes and my laptop.


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4 minutes ago, wolfboytech said:

I'm using it because I figured it would pull the data to that instead of read it off the disks. I honestly wonder if it is the backplane that's causing this, or because of the slower SATA2 because when using my R410 with my PERC7 RAID card I have no transfer issues

SATA2 can sustain 3Gbps - that's 375 MB/s - which is faster than any HDD can even come close to reaching. Only SSD's will saturate a SATA2 link, and even then, in most regular situations, they probably won't.

 

So I doubt it's a SATA2 vs SATA3 issue. Could well be a defective backplane.

 

Here's what I would try first: totally remove your Cache software solution. Try again with no RAM cache.


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5 minutes ago, wolfboytech said:

Those results were with no caching. It's how it performs. There's no noticeable lag when doing anything on the system meaning the SSD is fine. I have a few others just like it with the same speeds that I use everyday for my HTPC kodi boxes and my laptop.

Didn't catch this.

 

Can you check and post the SMART stats of the SSD?


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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, dalekphalm said:

SATA2 can sustain 3Gbps - that's 375 MB/s - which is faster than any HDD can even come close to reaching. Only SSD's will saturate a SATA2 link, and even then, in most regular situations, they probably won't.

 

So I doubt it's a SATA2 vs SATA3 issue. Could well be a defective backplane.

 

Here's what I would try first: totally remove your Cache software solution. Try again with no RAM cache.

I just installed a clean version of windows and will post the results here shortly


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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, dalekphalm said:

Didn't catch this.

 

Can you check and post the SMART stats of the SSD?

SMART checks through the Dell BIOS read OK.


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Just now, wolfboytech said:

SMART checks through the Dell BIOS read OK.

Did it give you actual stats, or did it just run a test and say "passed"?

 

Download and run CrystalDiskInfo, and post a screenshot of the SMART stats here. We just want to confirm that the drive is in good health. Even if standard operation seems "smooth and fine", issues can show themselves in odd ways you wouldn't expect.


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* Intel i7-4770K * ASRock Z97 Anniversary * 16GB RAM * 750w Seasonic Modular PSU *

* Crucial M4 128GB SSD (Primary) * Hitachi 500GB HDD (Secondary) *

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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, dalekphalm said:

Did it give you actual stats, or did it just run a test and say "passed"?

 

Download and run CrystalDiskInfo, and post a screenshot of the SMART stats here. We just want to confirm that the drive is in good health. Even if standard operation seems "smooth and fine", issues can show themselves in odd ways you wouldn't expect.

I'll post the info as soon as windows gets done updating because windows is garbage but I want a GUI and Ubuntu Server 18 is hot garbage that can't even use DHCP correctly.


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1 hour ago, wolfboytech said:

Those results were with no caching. It's how it performs. There's no noticeable lag when doing anything on the system meaning the SSD is fine. I have a few others just like it with the same speeds that I use everyday for my HTPC kodi boxes and my laptop.

Absolutely no way, initial read speeds of 2-3gbit/s = cache, so your software is standing between you and your r/w.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 hour ago, Mikensan said:

Absolutely no way, initial read speeds of 2-3gbit/s = cache, so your software is standing between you and your r/w.

Probably windows


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