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Should I put a GPU in my Plex server?

airborne spoon
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I built a 80tb plex server earlier this year and it works great running off TrueNAS very smoothly. I've heard some people say they have a discrete GPU in their plex servers, but i don't see why. I don't remember which CPU i have but its AMD new'ish and has built-in graphics which is nice for setup and whatnot. I have a 6600xt lying around that i could toss in there but i don't get why it should be put in there or if there is some random settings that would have to be changed if i did.

 

Also i don't have the space for a graphics card because the MSI board only has 2 of the 16x slots and they are both filled with 8x cards (SAS to SATA for all the drives, and the 10GB fiber NIC). There are 2 open 1x slots and i could use a mining card riser to populate one of them, but which card should get put in the 1x slot through a riser?

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12 minutes ago, airborne spoon said:

Should I put a GPU in my Plex server?

Generally, no.

 

TrueNAS Core doesn't support HW passthrough (Scale does reportedly, not sure which you're using). Even then, Plex only supports Nvidia NVENC or Intel QuickSync, not AMD VCE.

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Network:

Spoiler
(500Mbps↑/500Mbps↓)        ┌─────────────── Office/Rack ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┐
Google Fiber Webpass ────── UniFi Security Gateway ─── UniFi Switch Flex XG ═╦╤╦═ Veda (general traffic)
╔════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════╝│╚═ Narrative (Asus 2.5G USB NIC)
║ ┌────── Closet ──────┐   ┌─────────────── Bedroom ─────────────────┐        └── UniFi Switch 8-60W ─┬─ Veda (management)
╚═ UniFi Switch Flex XG ═╤═ UniFi Switch Flex XG ═══╦═ Byarlant                                       └─ UniFi CloudKey Gen2 (PoE)
   (PoE)                 │                          ╚═ Jesta Cannon*
                         │ ┌─────────────── Media Center ──────────────────────────────────────────┐
Notes:                   └─ UniFi Switch 8 ─────────┬─ UniFi Access Point nanoHD (PoE)
═══ is Multi-Gigabit                                ├─ Sony Playstation 4 
─── is Gigabit                                      ├─ Pioneer VSX-S520
* = cable passed to Bedroom from Media Center       ├─ Narrative** (Belkin USB-PD Ethernet Dongle)
** = cable passed from Media Center to Bedroom      └─ Work Laptop** (Startech USB-PD Dock)

Retired/Other:

Spoiler

Laptop (Rozen-Zulu): Sony VAIO VPCF13WFX | Core i7-740QM | 8GB Patriot DDR3 | GT 425M | Kingston 120GB SSD | Blu-ray Drive | Intel 7260 Wifi (lived a good life, retired with honor)

 

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2 minutes ago, AbydosOne said:

Generally, no.

 

TrueNAS Core doesn't support HW passthrough (Scale does reportedly, not sure which you're using). Even then, Plex only supports Nvidia NVENC or Intel QuickSync, not AMD VCE.

ok that works I'll never buy team green anyway. But what is the point for folks that do put a card in their plex server?

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Just now, airborne spoon said:

ok that works I'll never buy team green anyway. But what is the point for folks that do put a card in their plex server?

 

For transcoding.

 

I mainly do 4k but the upstream on my internet connection isn't fast enough, so I have to transcode those to 1080.

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Do you pay for PlexPass? Hardware transcoding is locked behind that. 

 

I moved to Jellyfin for that reason alone. 

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6 minutes ago, MonkeyBomb said:

For transcoding.

I mainly do 4k but the upstream on my internet connection isn't fast enough, so I have to transcode those to 1080.

could you ELI5 this transcoding thing? Because i play videos in my tesla, on my computer, and on my moms TV and it all works flawlessly, also i only have 1080p files, as i don't see a visible change in 1080 to 4k so i don't waste the space that 4k files take up.

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If everything is playing fine, then no need to change anything.  If you can direct stream locally and remotely, you are golden.

 

Transcoding basically converts from 1 resolution or bitrate to another.

 

Say a remote user wants to watch a movie that is a high bite rate 4k file, they may not be able to because of limited upstream internet speeds. You may only have (for example) 100Mbps upload on your internet but the file may require 150Mbps.  If you convert (transcode) that same file to 1080 or 720 or a lower bit rate then your internet connection would have enough bandwidth.

 

Again, sounds like yours is working perfect the way you have it.  If you can play all your media without transcoding that's perfect.

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Plex NAS - Synology 1821+ / 32GB Kingston DDR4 ECC / 8 x 16TB Seagate IronWolf Pro / 2 x 400GB Synology NVME drives (cache)

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17 hours ago, airborne spoon said:

could you ELI5 this transcoding thing? Because i play videos in my tesla, on my computer, and on my moms TV and it all works flawlessly, also i only have 1080p files, as i don't see a visible change in 1080 to 4k so i don't waste the space that 4k files take up.

transcoding is an on the fly re-encode of the video, audio, and subtitles to another format or resolution.

 

Ideally this shouldn't be happening. but for example, let's say that you are watching on an old smartphone that doesn't support h.265. instead of plex just saying 'I can't play this file' it re-encodes to a codec that is supported (e.g. h.264).

there are a million reasons a transcode may happen, and they are almost exclusively due to limitations in either a) bandwidth or b) the client device.

some terms to know for plex specifically:
direct play: the entire container is sent to the client (the .mkv file for example)

direct stream: the container is unsupported so it is remuxed into a compatible one (low resource usage, generally fine)

transcode: something doesn't work, and plex is on the fly re-encoding to make a drastic change to the file (codec, subtitle format, audio format, etc.)

transcodes are VERY resource intensive and can cause huge stuttering and buffering problems. GPUs that utilize NVENC can transcode very quickly, at the sacrifice of quality, this is fine for some people, who target usability for their users over pure quality.

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Proxmox you can use lxc and amd gpu (both apu and igpu) to transcode. Plex with apu gpu driver image on docker (image: mauimauer/spritsail-plex). You will need plex pass.

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