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Best config available with existing hardware?

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Looking to step up my server setup a bit without investing too much in new equipment. Currently have:

 

- A Plex server running on an older Windows 10 PC (3rd gen i5). All the devices in our house support direct play so it's actually performing fine even with 4K Movies and TV, but the case is physically out of room for more HDDs and I'm nearly out of storage. I have a large supply of 4tb HDDs so would prefer to use these rather than spend hundreds on larger drives.

- A newer PC with an 8th gen i5 running ProxMox. Using this as an application server. Runs a few containers and Linux servers as well as a couple virtual appliances. Still has plenty of overhead. This one is in a really small case, only has room for 1 SSD and 1 HDD.

- A 3rd PC which was my gaming PC until a few weeks ago. 6th gen i5/GTX 960. The case has room for 9 drives + an SSD.

 

My initial thought is add a PCI SATA card to the old gaming PC & fill that with drives. From there, either run it solely as a Plex server, or run something like unraid. Use the application server to run the actual Plex server and effectively turn the old PC into a NAS. Sell the GTX960 since at that point I wouldn't have much use for it. Decommission the existing Plex server.

 

What would you do?

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48 minutes ago, WesTech said:

Looking to step up my server setup a bit without investing too much in new equipment. Currently have:

 

- A Plex server running on an older Windows 10 PC (3rd gen i5). All the devices in our house support direct play so it's actually performing fine even with 4K Movies and TV, but the case is physically out of room for more HDDs and I'm nearly out of storage. I have a large supply of 4tb HDDs so would prefer to use these rather than spend hundreds on larger drives.

- A newer PC with an 8th gen i5 running ProxMox. Using this as an application server. Runs a few containers and Linux servers as well as a couple virtual appliances. Still has plenty of overhead. This one is in a really small case, only has room for 1 SSD and 1 HDD.

- A 3rd PC which was my gaming PC until a few weeks ago. 6th gen i5/GTX 960. The case has room for 9 drives + an SSD.

 

My initial thought is add a PCI SATA card to the old gaming PC & fill that with drives. From there, either run it solely as a Plex server, or run something like unraid. Use the application server to run the actual Plex server and effectively turn the old PC into a NAS. Sell the GTX960 since at that point I wouldn't have much use for it. Decommission the existing Plex server.

 

What would you do?

I would probably decommission the plex machine and setup the old gaming machine with truenas scale for the storage and run plex on that since it sounds like you don't need encode ability that would save you on energy consumption. 

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Agreed, turning the old gaming PC into the new home server makes the most sense. If you need support for more drives, pick up a cheap SAS HBA (they'll support SATA drives). If you want to save a little power, pull the graphics card if the CPU has integrated graphics.

 

If you make any purchases for it, I'd recommend getting an SSD to store the Plex database on. That should make the clients feel quicker.

Dell owns my soul.

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Sounds like you've got it pretty well sorted. 

Since you have 3 x i5's, looking at your requirements, have you considered selling two sets of hardware and all the CPU's and with some of the $$ getting an i7 8700?

Consolidating would cut down your power use and noise, and amount of hardware  and operating systems you have to maintain. 

 

Just a thought

 

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3 hours ago, Needfuldoer said:

Agreed, turning the old gaming PC into the new home server makes the most sense. If you need support for more drives, pick up a cheap SAS HBA (they'll support SATA drives). If you want to save a little power, pull the graphics card if the CPU has integrated graphics.

 

If you make any purchases for it, I'd recommend getting an SSD to store the Plex database on. That should make the clients feel quicker.

Thanks! Would I see any significant benefits from the HBA card vs. a normal SATA expansion card?

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12 minutes ago, WesTech said:

Thanks! Would I see any significant benefits from the HBA card vs. a normal SATA expansion card?

You'd have the option to use ex-enterprise SAS drives, which are usually cheaper than SATA drives of equivalent capacity. (They've probably been running constantly for 5 years, but that's not as strenuous as tens of thousands of spin up / spin down cycles. They're cheap, buy cold spares.)

 

You'll get more ports for the buck that way, too. 8-port LSI cards generally go for around $30 on eBay.

Dell owns my soul.

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19 hours ago, Needfuldoer said:

You'd have the option to use ex-enterprise SAS drives, which are usually cheaper than SATA drives of equivalent capacity. (They've probably been running constantly for 5 years, but that's not as strenuous as tens of thousands of spin up / spin down cycles. They're cheap, buy cold spares.)

 

You'll get more ports for the buck that way, too. 8-port LSI cards generally go for around $30 on eBay.

Is something like this what I'd be after?

 

LSI SAS 9211-8i IT P20 6Gb/s 8-Port PCI-E HBA Controller Card From US Ship | eBay

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