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post #1 of 41 Old 03-24-2013, 08:10 PM - Thread Starter
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So I finally decided to build a server instead of trying to double purpose my HTPC for server duty. I have decided to shift PC parts around between my 3 computers and since I want to do a lot of transcoding of video with PLEX I decided I may as well use my i5 2500K in this server. It will be much better used there then on my workstation where I don't even do any processor intensive work. Then I will use an i3 3225 in the computer the i5 is in now for my HTPC duties.

I am planning to use Windows Home Server 2011 and a software RAID like Flexraid for pooling and Parity.

Do I need to go with a Z77 board or will a different chipset be sufficient? I would like as many SATA ports available on the board as possible (I assume 8 is what is available).

My main goals for this system is stability and low idle power consumption while still being able to transcode video to multiple clients at the same time when called to.

I would like to be able to power down HDD's when not being used if this is advisable.

What are my options and your opinions on a solid board for my i5?
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post #2 of 41 Old 03-24-2013, 08:23 PM
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If you want overclocking, Z77/Z75 (and Z68) is the only choice, otherwise H77/B75 is enough. For example, ASRock Z77 mb is rock solid. Pro version if only one PCIe 2.0 x16 slot is enough, Extreme if you want to PCIe 2.0 x8 (for two HBAs). H77/B75 does not support dual PCIe x8.

If you want Intel NIC, MSI Z77A-GD65 is the cheapest mb (overclocking, dual PCIe 2.0 x8 (or x8+x4+x4), 8 SATA ports, Intel Gb LAN). Actually MSI Z77A-GD55 is cheaper, but has only 6 SATA ports. (Of course you can add a discrete Intel NIC to any mb.)
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post #3 of 41 Old 03-25-2013, 05:38 AM
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Beefy good advice ^

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post #4 of 41 Old 03-25-2013, 07:25 AM
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Lol I meant very not beefy. Hah. Stupid iPhone autocorrect frown.gif

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post #5 of 41 Old 03-25-2013, 07:30 AM
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Obviously you have way more options than this but these are my two recommendations. Coming from a 10yr+ custom PC/HTPC builder.

I use an ASUS Sabertooth Z77 in my server: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131821
It's built to last a long time. They use higher quality parts and try to shield sensitive parts from dust. 5 year warranty.

I use a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H in my gaming machine: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128545
Best performance and features per dollar. Awesome board. mSATA slot onboard. There is a less expensive UD3H but it has fewer onboard SATA ports.

Both have great overclocking ability and features. Both have a nice stable UEFI.

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post #6 of 41 Old 03-25-2013, 07:39 AM
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In this price range, ASUS P8Z77-V PRO is another good choice (my preferred motherboard).
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post #7 of 41 Old 03-25-2013, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

If you want overclocking, Z77/Z75 (and Z68) is the only choice, otherwise H77/B75 is enough. For example, ASRock Z77 mb is rock solid. Pro version if only one PCIe 2.0 x16 slot is enough, Extreme if you want to PCIe 2.0 x8 (for two HBAs). H77/B75 does not support dual PCIe x8.

If you want Intel NIC, MSI Z77A-GD65 is the cheapest mb (overclocking, dual PCIe 2.0 x8 (or x8+x4+x4), 8 SATA ports, Intel Gb LAN). Actually MSI Z77A-GD55 is cheaper, but has only 6 SATA ports. (Of course you can add a discrete Intel NIC to any mb.)

I dont think I will need to overclock unless the power draw at idle is the same as stock clock and the heat is similar. I'm not sure how the new chips handle power draw at idle. Obviously I would like the best performance for the best price so there will be a happy medium somewhere. I will probably go with a Z77 board though as it may end up being a workstation in the future... you never know.
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post #8 of 41 Old 03-25-2013, 01:09 PM
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AsRock extreme4 + intel NIC

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post #9 of 41 Old 03-25-2013, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

AsRock extreme4 + intel NIC

I was actually leaning toward the AsRock extreme4 as it seems like you get quite a bit for the money on this board. So you think the intel NIC is needed? The onboard NIC is not up to the task?
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post #10 of 41 Old 03-25-2013, 01:54 PM
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The only reason I'd get the AsRock Extreme 4 over the GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H is if I really needed the higher quality onboard audio or two PCIe 3 slots. The Gigabyte is more setup for a file server/workstation. The AsRock is setup for gaming.

Broadcom NICs usually have terrible drivers. The AsRock boards also typically have pretty buggy UEFI. While GIGABYTE's UEFI isn't perfect either it is much more stable in my experience.

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post #11 of 41 Old 03-25-2013, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by itznfb View Post

The only reason I'd get the AsRock Extreme 4 over the GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H is if I really needed the higher quality onboard audio or two PCIe 3 slots. The Gigabyte is more setup for a file server/workstation. The AsRock is setup for gaming.

Broadcom NICs usually have terrible drivers. The AsRock boards also typically have pretty buggy UEFI. While GIGABYTE's UEFI isn't perfect either it is much more stable in my experience.

I looked at the GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H and that also seems like a great board for the money.

What did you mean by "setup for a server/workstation" vs. the AsRock for gaming? Are you talking about the Bios, or the physical layout?
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post #12 of 41 Old 03-25-2013, 08:26 PM
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There are so many choices and each person has his/her own experience and opinion. smile.gif In my experience ASRock mb are rock stable, no UEFI issues (at least in Intel 7-series chipset mb). Mb in this price range are kind of universal and can be used for any purpose as long as features meet your requirement.

BTW GA-Z77X-D3H has dual PCIe 3.0 (IVB) / 2.0 (SNB) x8, 8 SATA2/3 ports, VIA audio chip and Atheros LAN chip. A cheaper, great choice, if you don't mind Atheros. If you want the standard audio/LAN chips (i.e. Realtek's), go for ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M (microATX): dual PCIe 3.0 (IVB) / 2.0 (SNB) x8, 8 SATA2/3 ports, Realtek audio/LAN chips.
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post #13 of 41 Old 03-25-2013, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff lam View Post

I was actually leaning toward the AsRock extreme4 as it seems like you get quite a bit for the money on this board. So you think the intel NIC is needed? The onboard NIC is not up to the task?

I'm running the Extreme4 in a server now with a G2130 and 8 GB RAM (WHS2011). Streaming with the onboard NIC is a non issue, as is moving large files (20+ Gig large to you?)
With a less than optimal Network between the Server and HTPC I can get north of 85 and usually around 100. And that's through 200 feet of Cat5E cable and 3 switches.

For me, the 4+4 Sata and reputation of the board were very important. I was looking for slightly less power use/lower temp than the Gigabyte Z68-D3H-B3 / I3-2120 it replaced,
and I needed the I3 to do a bit of semi-heavy lifting with the Telescopes.

Bottom line, either of the boards mentioned in this thread will do what you're after, and the builds were easy and straightforward. Make sure the NIC driver is handy when you build
and it's a walk in the park.
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post #14 of 41 Old 03-26-2013, 02:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Also, I noticed RAM has gone up in price quite a bit since my last build over a year ago.

Any good deals going on now? I believe I need DDR3 1600 correct? I used G.Skill on my last build and it has been great. I believe it was this set:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231461

But I think I got it for around $40-50 last time. I may just grab a used pair off eBay or something.

Edit: I just found this Corsair set for under $50... What do you think?

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-240-Pin-Platforms-CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9/dp/B004CRSM4I/ref=lh_ni_t?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
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post #15 of 41 Old 03-26-2013, 02:52 AM
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DDR3-1600 4GB x 2 is a good choice for a basic media storage server. Memory price went up by $15-20 since I checked two months ago. You can go with DDR3-1333 without performance degradation (still depending on the application you use), but the price difference is also very small. Or go with DDR3-1866 like this, $65.
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post #16 of 41 Old 03-26-2013, 06:08 AM
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Two slots that run x8 is good for dual SATA cards IMO

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post #17 of 41 Old 03-26-2013, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff lam View Post

I looked at the GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H and that also seems like a great board for the money.

What did you mean by "setup for a server/workstation" vs. the AsRock for gaming? Are you talking about the Bios, or the physical layout?

The AsRock has features that cater to a gamer and OCer. It has a better setup for SLI/Crossfire GPUs and better audio. It has more overclocking features in the UEFI and on board such as LED diagnostics and Clr switch right on the back panel.

I've actually mentioned two different Gigabyte boards by accident. There is the GA-Z77X-D3H and the GA-Z77X-UD3H. They are almost the same board but the D3H has 2 additional 6G SATA ports. The Gigabyte option also has an mSATA slot on board which can be utilized for something like an unRAID box in the future, a cache board now or a host of other useful things for a server/workstation. (it does disable 1 sata port when used though so it doesn't save you a port for storage)

The AsRock has an eSATA port on the back while the Gigabyte doesn't. The Gigabyte has 2 additional USB3.0 ports. The USB3.0 ports are more useful for me personally just because I have a bunch of USB3.0 devices. eSATA is much better for external storage though. I wouldn't make the onboard NIC a determining factor. The Broadcom and the Atheros suck equally. They should both perform gigabit LAN functionality just fine though.

Every board manufacturer has users with terrible experiences. I've had terrible experiences with AsRock boards and mostly great experience with Gigabyte boards which is why I typically lean toward recommending Gigabyte. My board of choice is typically higher end ASUS boards though. I find ASUS cheaper boards to be problematic and poorly supported though.

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post #18 of 41 Old 03-26-2013, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Two slots that run x8 is good for dual SATA cards IMO

There are a lot of options for SATA/RAID controllers in both 1x and 8x interface. Both have 3 16x PCIe slots though. The Gigabyte will give you 6 total including 1x slots vs the AsRock 5 total.

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post #19 of 41 Old 03-26-2013, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I ended up placing my order last night... I ended up going with these parts:

Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H

Corsair 2x4GB DDR 1600 RAM

Rosewill RSV-R4000 4U Case

Windows Home Server 2011

I already have the i5 2500K

I already have an Antec Green 430W power supply, would this be enough for the server if I only have 5 drives right now?

I also have an old 32GB Patriot SSD lying around, would this be sufficient for WHS 2011 and whatever programs I will put on it (PLEX, speedfan, FlexRaid, etc...)?

How does the build look? Am I missing anything?
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post #20 of 41 Old 03-26-2013, 02:06 PM
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I assume you're using the integrated video? I have a very similar machine running a 2600k on the D3H with 6 drives and that same Antec Green 430w. Runs fine. 430w is more than enough as long as you use the integrated video. Any midrange or higher graphics card will require upping the PSU.
According to documentation WHS 2011 requires a 160GB for install. I'm not sure why though since Win2k3 only needs about 8GB for install.. edit: actually 2003 standard only requires 3GB of HDD space... so the 160GB requirement for WHS is a head scratcher for me (having never used it)

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post #21 of 41 Old 03-26-2013, 09:38 PM
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Hmm, RSV-R4000 can have only 8 HDDs (and 12 HDDs if you add another cage). Personally I would choose RSV-L4500 (15 HDDs, ~$138 shipped) or NORCO RPC-450B + cage450 (15 HDDs, ~$130 shipped from iPCDIRECT), and choose a cheaper mb with a single PCIe x16 slot and 8 SATA ports + a 8 SATA port PCIe 2.0 x8 HBA. For example,

- Core i5-2500K (you own)
- ASRock B75M R2.0. ~$71 shipped, 3 x SATA 6Gbps + 5 x SATA 3Gbps
- DDR3-1600 4GB x 2
- Supermicro AOC-SAS2LP-MV8 8-port SATA 6Gbps PCIe 2.0 x8 HBA, ~$105 shipped. (You can add this later only when you need more storage space.)
- Rosewill RSV-L4500, ~$138 shipped
- PSU of your own

That's much better balanced in my eyes. (OK, that's almost identical with my office server. smile.gif)
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post #22 of 41 Old 03-26-2013, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itznfb View Post

I assume you're using the integrated video? I have a very similar machine running a 2600k on the D3H with 6 drives and that same Antec Green 430w. Runs fine. 430w is more than enough as long as you use the integrated video. Any midrange or higher graphics card will require upping the PSU.
According to documentation WHS 2011 requires a 160GB for install. I'm not sure why though since Win2k3 only needs about 8GB for install.. edit: actually 2003 standard only requires 3GB of HDD space... so the 160GB requirement for WHS is a head scratcher for me (having never used it)

Yes, I will use the onboard Intel graphics when needed. When it's all set up i won't even need a monitor right? I could get to the WHS desktop remotely from my workstation.

So I figure a graphics card on a server would be pointless, am I wrong?
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post #23 of 41 Old 03-26-2013, 10:06 PM
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post #24 of 41 Old 03-27-2013, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jeff lam View Post

Yes, I will use the onboard Intel graphics when needed. When it's all set up i won't even need a monitor right? I could get to the WHS desktop remotely from my workstation.

So I figure a graphics card on a server would be pointless, am I wrong?

Correct. You won't need anything connected except a power cable and an ethernet cable. The Intel graphics will be sufficient for just about everything but gaming.

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post #25 of 41 Old 03-27-2013, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Hmm, RSV-R4000 can have only 8 HDDs (and 12 HDDs if you add another cage). Personally I would choose RSV-L4500 (15 HDDs, ~$138 shipped) or NORCO RPC-450B + cage450 (15 HDDs, ~$130 shipped from iPCDIRECT), and choose a cheaper mb with a single PCIe x16 slot and 8 SATA ports + a 8 SATA port PCIe 2.0 x8 HBA. For example,

- Core i5-2500K (you own)
- ASRock B75M R2.0. ~$71 shipped, 3 x SATA 6Gbps + 5 x SATA 3Gbps
- DDR3-1600 4GB x 2
- Supermicro AOC-SAS2LP-MV8 8-port SATA 6Gbps PCIe 2.0 x8 HBA, ~$105 shipped. (You can add this later only when you need more storage space.)
- Rosewill RSV-L4500, ~$138 shipped
- PSU of your own

That's much better balanced in my eyes. (OK, that's almost identical with my office server. smile.gif)

That CPU should be able to clock in at 4.2-4.5ghz pretty easily on a Z77 chipset. That's a lot of CPU power being thrown away with the B75 chipset. Plus that board is pretty limiting on what you can do with it. Especially being utilized as a server and possibly workstation in the future.

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post #26 of 41 Old 03-27-2013, 07:22 AM
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I just give him a cheapest possible solution that may meet his requirements. Transcoding media in a PLEX server does not require such a type of overclocking even when transcoding multiple video streams. If he insists on OC, then ASRock Z77 Pro4-M is a good choice (just one from the tons of options). If he is willing to spend lots of money, I can give hime lots more options quickly. smile.gif
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post #27 of 41 Old 03-27-2013, 09:03 AM
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He has already purchased one of the most cost effective and best overclocking boards available so I don't think it's a current concern. However, Plex transcoding of MPEG2 MKV for instance is very processor intensive. So if you have a lot of MakeMKV rips that you plan to utilize for multiple streams you're going to need as much horsepower as you can get. My AMD A6 is not capable of transcoding even a single MPEG2 MKV without quit a bit of pixelation. CPU is pegged at 100% for even lower bitrate DVD rips.

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post #28 of 41 Old 03-27-2013, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Hmm, RSV-R4000 can have only 8 HDDs (and 12 HDDs if you add another cage). Personally I would choose RSV-L4500 (15 HDDs, ~$138 shipped) or NORCO RPC-450B + cage450 (15 HDDs, ~$130 shipped from iPCDIRECT), and choose a cheaper mb with a single PCIe x16 slot and 8 SATA ports + a 8 SATA port PCIe 2.0 x8 HBA. For example,

- Core i5-2500K (you own)
- ASRock B75M R2.0. ~$71 shipped, 3 x SATA 6Gbps + 5 x SATA 3Gbps
- DDR3-1600 4GB x 2
- Supermicro AOC-SAS2LP-MV8 8-port SATA 6Gbps PCIe 2.0 x8 HBA, ~$105 shipped. (You can add this later only when you need more storage space.)
- Rosewill RSV-L4500, ~$138 shipped
- PSU of your own

That's much better balanced in my eyes. (OK, that's almost identical with my office server. smile.gif)



^ great advice. I agree more than 100%

Generally speaking I prefer Asrock over Gigabyte boards not just for better value and cost, but solid reliability. If your not overclocking then the board you recommend it probably the best choice of all available motherboards currently sold on the market now.
I like how you think.

I'd probably try to find an IBM M1015 card and cross flash it though... but your SATA HBA card is easier solution.

Rosewill case is better choice too.

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post #29 of 41 Old 03-27-2013, 01:15 PM
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^ great advice. I agree more than 100%

Generally speaking I prefer Asrock over Gigabyte boards not just for better value and cost, but solid reliability. If your not overclocking then the board you recommend it probably the best choice of all available motherboards currently sold on the market now.
I like how you think.

That's kind of an odd statement to make. Gigabyte has significantly better support and they support their boards longer than AsRock. Especially their low end boards. In the B75 chipset range of products the ASUS P8B75-M LX PLUS, MSI B75A-G43, MSI B75MA-P45, Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H and Gigabyte GA-B75M-HD3 are all better boards. On top of that the B75 chipset is crippled compared to the Z77 chipset even when not overclocking. I would never recommend the B75 chipset for anything unless cost was the primary determining factor. They can be great boards for the cost but why purchase such a limited platform if entry-mid level Z77 boards are in your price range? It just doesn't make sense. If you wanted to sell the B75 board later to get more features that are available in the Z77 chipset the B75 will be worthless in resale. You'd be lucky to find a buyer at all. I'm not trying to be rude but that is just really bad PC building advice unless again the primary factor is cost.

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post #30 of 41 Old 03-27-2013, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff lam View Post

My main goals for this system is stability and low idle power consumption while still being able to transcode video to multiple clients at the same time when called to.

Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H

Based on your goals you chose a solid motherboard http://uk.hardware.info/reviews/2858/28/32-intel-z77-motherboards-tested-with-ivy-bridge-processors-energy-consumption

Z77 isn't necessary in my opinion, but depending on how you purchase it (Microcenter) it can be the same price or cheaper than the other 7 series boards
Quote:
Originally Posted by itznfb View Post

He has already purchased one of the most cost effective and best overclocking boards available so I don't think it's a current concern. However, Plex transcoding of MPEG2 MKV for instance is very processor intensive. So if you have a lot of MakeMKV rips that you plan to utilize for multiple streams you're going to need as much horsepower as you can get. My AMD A6 is not capable of transcoding even a single MPEG2 MKV without quit a bit of pixelation. CPU is pegged at 100% for even lower bitrate DVD rips.

I think you are basing your (mis)understanding of necessary CPU for transcoding off of an old version of PMS. You aren't alone, there are forums full of people who couldn't believe their i7 needed so much cpu to transcode a video. Prior to version 0.9.7.3, Plex Media Server always used ALL of your available CPU until it reached a desired buffer length (which it rarely reached) in an attempt to make transcoding as fast as possible and allow users to seek. Didn't matter how powerful your CPU was

http://elan.plexapp.com/2012/11/19/plex-media-server-v0-9-7-3-with-plexweb/
Quote:
we’ve made the media server manage the transcoder much more intelligently, so that it doesn’t use all your precious CPUs and warm up your laptop to the point where it fries eggs and prevents you from having offspring. Up until now, we’ve run the transcoding as quickly as possible, using all your CPU


Quote:
Originally Posted by itznfb View Post

On top of that the B75 chipset is crippled compared to the Z77 chipset even when not overclocking
What specifically do you feel is crippled about the B75 chipset compared to the Z77
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