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Options on building a new Plex Server


brennok
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I find myself at a fork in the road and unsure how I should proceed.

 

My current setup is 2 Synology 1812+ filled with 3TB Reds, both SHR2, and one DX513, SHR1, filled with 3x2TB and 2x3TB Reds. Prior to this I was running the HP Ex485 and after that a Norco build running WHS V1. With the dropping of Drive Extender and end of WHS I switched to a NAS. As I upgrade the Synology when storage gets tight, I end up with unused drives. This is how I ended up with the DX513 and then the second Synology 1812+. As it is now I have a mix of five 1 and 2TB WD Reds sitting unused in their boxes on a shelf, and storage is getting low again. 

 

My old Win 7 build running the old i7-860 is serving as a Plex server and getting long in the tooth since I now find I have 3-4 streams at once rather than 1. As a result I am now looking to build a new Plex Server.

 

I figure I have 2-3 options.

 

1. Build a new Plex Server and buy a Synology 1815+ or 1816+  I plan on waiting for DSM 6.0 before buying the Synology.

 

2. Build a new Plex Server and opt for a case that holds 8+ drives. I would then run DrivePool and SnapRAID to take advantage of the older drives since it sounds like DrivePool can do what I want. 

 

3. Build a new Plex Server in the old Norco 4020 case.

 

My biggest concern with option 3 is since it is old case hardware which hasn't been used in a few years. I only filled it halfway when I used it before before WHS went away so I don't even know if all the drive bays work. I did upgrade it so that I have the 120mm fan wall a community user on one of the WHS forums machined and sold, but I would need to probably replace the fans at this point. I would probably need to replace the AOC-SASLP-MV8 since it is the old card and may not even support 3TB drives or larger. The rest of the internals like the CPU, mobo, memory, and PSU would be a new build.

 

I also wonder if I could do a combination of option 2 and 3. Build a new Plex server in a case with plenty of space for drives. Then when I max the case out, expand into the Norco. I could leave the old PC components in there so the PSU powers on without having to mod the PSU and also use the existing mobo with old CPU to power any cards I need for the case. I don't know what it would cost to do this though and what other issues I would have to address.

 

Option 1 and option 2 combined might also not be a bad idea, but feels more like a band-aid. Build a new Plex server again in a case with preferably 8+ drive slots. Then when the case gets full pick up the latest Synology 8+ bay case assuming they still seem to be the best NAS option at the time. Of course once the Synology and Plex server are full, I run into the same issue I have now. Good drives being unused and nowhere to put them.

 

Any suggestions or ideas are appreciated. 

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I know there is a lot of support here for Synology boxes but honestly with the drives you currently have and a empty 20 bay chassis, to me the problem seems like you already have the solution but not wanting to go that route.

 

I'm a fan of the DSM but not the grossly underpowered and overpriced Synology hardware.

 

With you currently empty Norco, you could replace the internals for next to nothing compared to a Synology box and have a much more powerful system. Then choose your OS, Windows 7, 8.1, 10. FreeNas, Nas4Free, unRAID.. It really comes down to how stuck on DSM you are.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I really just use the Synology as a file server so I am not stuck on DSM.

 

I think I am more just worried I may end up having cooling issues if I go with a beefy CPU and then on top of it fill the drive bays since I definitely can't use the stock fans due to the noise. This is especially true since it uses the old backplanes which need individual sata cables and cable management, which I have never been good at, is a pain. There is also the concern that the backplanes may not be the best. I know I had occasionally issues with WHS towards the end, but with support going away I never fully looked into it to see if it was the drive, the backplane, or the card.

 

It would be different if I was shopping for a new case and debating the current Norco vs another case. I just hate to buy a new Norco when I have this one sitting here collecting dust.

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Is the i7 really that long in the tooth?
I've got 4/7 streams coming out of a VM that runs my plex, are you running them all at 40Mb/s@1080?

 

Perhaps tweak the settings a smidge..

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The Norco will work fine.  There's no reason why it wouldn't.  

 

The i7-920 is just under 5000 CPUMarks, which is about the same as an i3-6100.  Plex recommends 2000 CPUMarks per 1080p stream.

 

Why not go for a new i7?  They're good for 10,000 CPUMarks at least, and most of the recent Z170 boards have 10 SATA ports on them.  As for cooling, a Skylake i7 will use half the power and produce half the heat of your old i7-920.  Even Haswell (like my E3-1271v3) makes very little heat - I'm using the stock HP heatsink on mine which isn't very big and the whole machine is cooled by a single 92mm fan running at 6% speed, and it runs cool even with the CPU at 100%.

Edited by HellDiverUK
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Even Haswell (like my E3-1271v3) makes very little heat - I'm using the stock HP heatsink on mine which isn't very big and the whole machine is cooled by a single 92mm fan running at 6% speed, and it runs cool even with the CPU at 100%.

 

Shush already, I'm still sat here waiting for a newer Microserver alternative, I dont need you to keep posting how good the ML is lol

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I am considering migrating to a new platform, and unRAID, as CyberSkulls mentioned above, has become very interesting. This is mainly due to Docker support in version 6. If you are not familiar, Docker is the virtualization or containerization of applications. Plex, CrashPlan and OwnCloud are three that I am going to test on unRAID. If you are looking to consolidate several services, unRAID may be worth looking at:

https://lime-technology.com/

unRAID's Docker repository:

https://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=37958.0 

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I would keep the synolgy as nfs/iscsi targets for data redundancy and build either vmhost or small standalone for the pled server. A dell t20 with a new proc would be great in this regard.

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I am considering migrating to a new platform, and unRAID, as CyberSkulls mentioned above, has become very interesting. This is mainly due to Docker support in version 6. 

 

I'm moving away from UnRAID.  It runs great, but I am a little tired of one thing being broken by fixes for something else - every update has a new thing that's not just 100%.  It's not just quite stable enough.

 

But, Docker support on UnRAID is second to none, the KVM-based VM system is fantastic.  There's just always something a bit hinky going on... 

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