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gregleo

NAS config & set-up questions for Plex Media Server and media storage.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hi everyone,

 

I've been reading my fair share of posts and can't seem to find existing advice that works for me. Being a NAS/Server noob it might also be my lack of understanding. 

 

To offer some context, I recently bought a LG 55C8 with the idea to be enjoy & stream 4k content using Plex Media Server. I currently own a Nvidia Shield Pro and I have to admit it's a strong disappointment. It does it job with 1080p content if you get passed the bugs, freezes, laggy android interface and if Plex doesn't crash as well. However, when it comes to 4k content, it's like playing russian roulette. One piece of content might work one day and the same content will make Plex and the whole Shield crash the next day. Very frustrating. FYI, I only use my Shield for Plex.

 

Overall I feel I'm better off building a dedicated and more stable config that would store and manage my media and can be controlled by my laptop through WiFi (storage mgmt, file transfer etc...). I mainly stream video content (file size between 2gb and 20gb) as well as high res lossless audio. FYI, I don't require to stream multiple files at the same time. Transcoding one 2160p or 1080p at the time.

 

NAS configs seem to be ideal when it comes to storage, I'm however doubtful for 4K transcoding without spending my money on a premium set.

 

Below my questions,

  • Can I find something below $500 ?
  • What brand do I need to look at?
  • A lot of NAS have dual or quad-core Intel Celeron processors. Is that good enough?
  • Do NAS with GPU exist?
  • If my NAS is used for storage, is it better to run PMS on it or through a 3rd party? Knowing that I will probably use the Plex App on AppleTV or LG WebOs to stream the content.
  • If my TV, Apple TV and NAS are all connected directly to a smart switch I suppose I will be able to use to full extend of an internal Gigabit speed?

 

Looking forward for getting help and advice on this.

 

 

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Depending on how comfortable around PC hardware and building your own PC you may be better off building something rather than buying. I built my first Plex server for about £250. There are some advantages to buying a NAS but unless you spend a little more you will be missing out on the more advanced features. 

 

I started off with a pentium dual core and 8GB RAM (RAM was cheap when I built my machine) The idea was that I could scale up various parts as and when my needs grew. And since then I have gone from a small 4TB tower PC to a rackmount beast with 52TB (40 usable). You just don't have that scalability with a store bought NAS

 

Also, unless you are spending money on a very good CPU, you should get the idea of transcoding 4K footage out of your mind. You can optimise the media ahead of time, but I - as well as most people I think - have found that it is generally best to have both a 4K version as well as a 1080p version. Then if you do need to transcode, you can do so from the 1080p copy and have a much better time. 

 

Also most 4K files have HDR colour toning, and as soon as you transcode this you will loose it and your file will look very washed out and flat. 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
29 minutes ago, jkirkcaldy said:

Depending on how comfortable around PC hardware and building your own PC you may be better off building something rather than buying. I built my first Plex server for about £250. There are some advantages to buying a NAS but unless you spend a little more you will be missing out on the more advanced features. 

 

I started off with a pentium dual core and 8GB RAM (RAM was cheap when I built my machine) The idea was that I could scale up various parts as and when my needs grew. And since then I have gone from a small 4TB tower PC to a rackmount beast with 52TB (40 usable). You just don't have that scalability with a store bought NAS

I'm actually happy to build my own server, especially if I'm paying half the price. The issue is more regarding size and discretion. There are not many places I could store a tower let alone with wired connection to my TV. Reason why I was thinking to buy a NAS as like of Raspberry PI are underpowered. Any guidance on my options here?

 

I could also buy something like a MacMini or PC config with similar size and add a NAS to my network.

 

29 minutes ago, jkirkcaldy said:

Also, unless you are spending money on a very good CPU, you should get the idea of transcoding 4K footage out of your mind. You can optimise the media ahead of time, but I - as well as most people I think - have found that it is generally best to have both a 4K version as well as a 1080p version. Then if you do need to transcode, you can do so from the 1080p copy and have a much better time. 

 

Also most 4K files have HDR colour toning, and as soon as you transcode this you will loose it and your file will look very washed out and flat. 

 

I'm happy you brought this up as this is exactly what happened the other day with a 4k file of 21Gb. Plex transcoded it through my laptop (Shield couldn't do it and crashed many times trying) but colors were, as you say, flat and washed out. There was no option to direct play. The awkward thing is that my TV can actually direct play that file with no issue in 4K, HDR etc...

 

What I don't understand is why this files needs to be transcoded given that, Shield outputs 4k, HDR etc... and my TV is 4K, HDR capable. Why would I need to transcode to 1080p?

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