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Plex Buffering/Low CPU Usage

To start, forgive my ignorance as I'm not super familiar with the whole trans/en/decoding business. I used to just access my media on a PC using a file manager, but Plex provides more options that would be highly beneficial, obviously, so I wanted to start using it instead. I have an ASUSTOR Drivestor 4 Pro NAS with 4 2TB WD Red drives in RAID 5 where my media, among other files, is stored. I used to have Plex installed on it, but it was just constantly pegging the CPU and I was limited on things like transcoding, simultaneous streams, etc. Recently, I purchased a Beelink EQ12 N305 16+500 with the intention of it running my Plex Server, Pihole, and other services in the future as I learn them. To my understanding, the i3-N305 seemed like a good choice for my use-case. I wanted something low power, small, and able to handle at most maybe 3 streams at once, usually only 1 or 2, and I typically would only be streaming, at most, 1080p anyway.


From what I gathered Intel QuickSync and the iGPU would have no issue with that and it seems that's true, when streaming a show to my PC, my NAS CPU, network, and drive usage are extremely low (<5%) and the usage of Plex on the Beelink PC is no greater than 10% between the Server and the Transcoder tasks, total CPU usage being at most <40%, usually lower, but the show buffers until I turn the quality setting from 1080p to 720p. Two streams only makes the buffering worse for both people, but hardware usage remains low across all devices. I can't seem to play at Original Quality on my PC for some reason, but even streaming Original Quality to my phone over cellular seems to be no problem, but transcoding 1080p locally buffers. Transcoding 720p seems fine, so my best guess is the CPU just can't really handle it..?


Before I started using Plex, I could access multiple videos from a file manager at the same time no problem. Additionally, my NAS hosting Plex seemed to have no issue either except that hardware usage was extremely high, video streams were smooth. To my understanding, the issue lies somewhere with the Beelink PC and transcoding 1080p, but in theory I thought it would only improve performance in almost every way. I have Plex Pass and have tried changing many settings to no avail, but if anyone has any further insight, it is greatly appreciated. Additionally, if any further information is needed, let me know.

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