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Home Server Options (VM, Plex, Windows 8, WHS 2011)


urik
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As far as data protection is concerned, it could, depending on the value of the video files. If the videos are easily replaced then you may not particularly care if malware trashes them. The more difficult it would be to replace/recover the videos, the more likely it is that the server is the best place for them.

 

Understood. The best way to approach this is thinking of worst case scenario, if the computer gets some malware. In that case it doesn't really matter how many drives are storing the data, since none of them will be immune from the malware. I feel a little better now with having to shell out some cash for the server.

 

So, back to the CPU :-), the i5-3470 or the i5-3570K? The $40 savings on the i5-3470 over the i5-3570K seem to make it the no-brainer choice. The i5-3470 has HD 2500 vs. the i5-3570K's HD 4000 Graphics, and the 3570K can overclock to higher speeds. But I'm not convinced that any of these things will affect video transcode. (As a side-note, Intel states that the i5-3470 supports two technologies that the i5-3570K does not: Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) and Intel® Trusted Execution Technology - will this ever matter to me? Remember, I will be running WHS2011 in VM.) On the other hand, Anandtech's review of the i5-3470 (see here) kinda made me pause. At the Conclusion, he stated, that "For a gaming machine or anything else that's not going to be doing a lot of thread heavy work (e.g. non-QuickSync video transcode, offline 3D rendering, etc...) the 3470 is definitely good enough." What does he mean by non-QuickSync video transcode? This may imply that the i5-3570K will transcode better when running Plex Media Server (which doesn't currently support QuickSync).

 

What do you think?

Edited by urik
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I'm really not the best person to speak about recent CPU technology. Pc-doc, no-control, and others know far more than me. One thing I have heard is that the authors are working on giving Plex the ability to use QuickSync. The other thing I would say is, if you are indeed planning to run WHS2011 in VM, then you would want a CPU that has VT-d.

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This is a personal decision you need to decide what you want....but to be honest you're really overthinking the CPU choice. VT-d you'll most likely never use. If you did you would be building an ESXi machine. But since you never mention which hypervisor you're using. If you like to overclock then the k series is the clear winner. If this is a dedicated server and the OS is WHS2011 with Plex on it choose which ever one is supported by Plex.

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This is a personal decision you need to decide what you want....but to be honest you're really overthinking the CPU choice. VT-d you'll most likely never use. If you did you would be building an ESXi machine. But since you never mention which hypervisor you're using. If you like to overclock then the k series is the clear winner. If this is a dedicated server and the OS is WHS2011 with Plex on it choose which ever one is supported by Plex.

 

Bare-metal OS is Windows 8 Pro. Will use Hyper-V or Openbox to run WHS 2011.

 

As far as the overclocking bit. That's just the thing. Having never built a media server, I have no clue if the stock temperatures will suffice for media streaming to like a PC at 1080p HD and to two mobile devices (iPad and Android) at the same time? What do you think?

 

I'm hearing that the main bottleneck in these situations is the CPU and network, that's why I'm totally overthinking it. But I do sincerely appreciate all the advice.

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Sorry I misunderstood I thought you were building either a WHS or VM dedicated server. I'm highly against using type II hypervisors for production servers, but good luck with that. Everyone in this thread has told you #1 was the way to go, but it seems you're still convinced #2 is viable option.

 

Stock temps from either of those CPUs is negligible even with stock cooling. If money is an issue I would look towards an i3 which can handle it 1080 BD streams. Saturating 1Gb network shouldn't happen, CPUs regardless of model and brand, when (trans)encoding will run @ 100% across all threads. How fast it does it will depend on clock speed. How much quicksync impacts this? IDK Add the fact that there isn't any GPU offloading really doesn't help either.

 

I will say if you're worried about the transcoding load, don't you're adding a lot of complexity by trying to run VMs under it. BTW VMs are RAM hungry. The performance is going to suffer regardless with this setup.

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Sorry I misunderstood I thought you were building either a WHS or VM dedicated server. I'm highly against using type II hypervisors for production servers, but good luck with that. Everyone in this thread has told you #1 was the way to go, but it seems you're still convinced #2 is viable option.

 

I am doing #1. Sorry for not elaborating. I meant that I'll leave the i5-2500K machine alone (which also runs Windows 8) and the server will be running Windows 8 with WHS2011 in VM as per Terry Walsh's instructions in his book. He recommends using Windows 8 for all server functions. WHS2011 will merely run in VM for one purpose and one purpose only - to provide nightly client image backups.

 

 

Stock temps from either of those CPUs is negligible even with stock cooling. If money is an issue I would look towards an i3 which can handle it 1080 BD streams. Saturating 1Gb network shouldn't happen, CPUs regardless of model and brand, when (trans)encoding will run @ 100% across all threads. How fast it does it will depend on clock speed. How much quicksync impacts this? IDK Add the fact that there isn't any GPU offloading really doesn't help either. I will say if you're worried about the transcoding load, don't you're adding a lot of complexity by trying to run VMs under it. BTW VMs are RAM hungry. The performance is going to suffer regardless with this setup.

 

I'm hesitant to go with an i3 b/c I think having 4 physical cores will help ease the workload. But you're implying here that when transcoding, every GHz counts, and that as overclocked CPU will lead to better and faster streaming performance under load. So you'd bet your money on the 4.2 GHz OCed 3570K than a 3.6 GHz 3470? Is that truly a big enough difference in clock speed?

 

As for the VM being hungry for resources, I doubt it'll be too hungry, unless I start streaming HD from multiple sources at the same exact time as it is trying to perform the nightly backups... Again, Terry Walsh recommended 8 GB RAM for this setup, but I'll keep a close eye to see if I'll need more.

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You should probably just follow whatever Terry's recommending then. Personally, I think Terry's approach is idiotic and overly complicated way to setup a simple server. I can't be anymore blunt about it. That said, I wouldn't bet my money on anything you've suggested. If I was building a media server I would use an i3-3220/8GB RAM on a dedicated WHS2011 install. It can do all 4 items on your list of must haves.

 

Sorry I'm not trying to bash you, just being brutally honest.

I'll let someone else chime in and contribute their thoughts on this, maybe they'll see it differently.

Edited by no-control
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I agree with no-control.

 

Microcenter has the following:

 

i3-3220 for $100

http://www.microcenter.com/product/398007/Core_i3_3220_330GHz_LGA_1155_Boxed_Processor

 

Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3h $75

http://www.microcenter.com/product/398418/GA-B75M-D3H_LGA_1155_mATX_Intel_Motherboard

 

Crucial 8GB $40

http://www.microcenter.com/product/382099/Ballistix_Sport_8GB_DDR3-1333_(PC3-10600)_CL9_Dual_Channel_Desktop_Memory_Kit_(Two_4GB_Memory_Modules)

 

You just need a case, power supply, hard drives and OS.

 

It will run everything you are asking for and not break the bank.

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Not saying I agree with Terry, but I suspect he's put out that scenario as an alternative to paying the cost for WSE2012. It could be a way to retain the advantages WHS bare metal client backup and not pay $400+ for the server OS.

 

If I was concerned about paying for WSE2012, this is a scenario I might consider; not ideal, but most likely it will work.

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If I was concerned about paying for WSE2012, this is a scenario I might consider; not ideal, but most likely it will work.

 

If that was the case (currently it is for me) I would use WHS2011 as it does pretty much everything Terry's setup does.

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