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post #1 of 12 Old 10-24-2013, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello All,
My current system has one Intel® Xeon™ CPU 3.00GHz processor with 2GB of RAM, motherboard details are here, OS is CentOS and is on a 80GB SATA drive whereas my media is stored in RAID on 3X3TB drives that are housed in a 5 bay cage. All this sit in a Dell PowerEdge SC1420 , the raid cage is sitting in the space created after removing the CD-ROM and floppy drive.
I have Plex Media Server installed on this machine and also have a FTP up. The media is accessed by,
My Roku 3, hardwired in to a Netgear WNDR 4500 router.
2 Friend's Roku 2.
Another friend's laptop.
via FTP is accessed by a couple of friends.
The media that I have is mostly downloaded via internet and is in '.mkv' format. I have issues playing some of the files and reason for it is determined to be slower CPU, moving forward I would like to play all my movies in 1080p without any issues.

I have an option of replacing the current processor and adding one more processor to make the rig go faster. This would cost me about $150.

My question is would this power be enough to handle the current and future loads (maybe more frnds accessing plex, I streaming to more devices simultaneously with 1080p) or is it worth to put in some more money and build a new server rather than sticking to older hardware. The server right now is up 24x7 and that's how it will be in future too so power consumption is also important.

If building a new server is the way to go, what would be your recommendations? If possible I would like to use my raid cage and any the other things that I can use from my current setup.

I am hoping that in the new build I will be able to drop in my OS HDD and RAID drives and it should start working without going thru the pain to freshly install OS and setup RAID.


Thanks for your help in advance!
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 06:40 AM
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I hope your not trying to transcode with that old thing. The Xeon 3.80GHz only has a Passmark score of 603. Even if you have 2 of them it isn't much.
Today's modern Haswell i3-4130 has a Passmark of 4971. My server CPU has a Passmark of 8902.

I wouldn't invest $150 into it. I would build a new one.

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post #3 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_Steb View Post

I hope your not trying to transcode with that old thing. The Xeon 3.80GHz only has a Passmark score of 603. Even if you have 2 of them it isn't much.
Today's modern Haswell i3-4130 has a Passmark of 4971. My server CPU has a Passmark of 8902.

I wouldn't invest $150 into it. I would build a new one.

Thanks Andy for the reply back, when you ask about transcoding what does that exactly mean? The media stored on this system is accessed by 3 Roku Players to play via PLEX app and I guess the system transcodes the data before sending it to Roku player.
What would be your suggestions for building a new one? This will be my very first build so all the guidance you provide will be helpful. I have been looking at various components and looked at HAF Stacker from Cooler Master. Do you think this case would be a good buy? Right now I have 3 X 3TB drives that can easily fit in the main cabinet, as and when I need more drives I can always add them in the top case. Can I add like 9 drives in the top case?


Thanks,
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 11:48 AM
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Transcoding means you change the encoding of (for example) a movie file because the device you are trying to play it back on does not support the format that the movie is held in. As this is done "on the fly" it requires sufficient processing power to ensure this is done quickly enough to ensure proper playback.

This is why one of the questions people ask about building media servers is will it need to transcode or not? If it does not then processing power requirements are much lower - in fact almost any CPU will do, even old ones.

How many drives do you enviage having? That Coolermaster is large and expensive. You could look at the Antec 300 cases - much cheaper and they will hold six 3.5 drives and you can buy cages/coverters so that the three 5.25 bays will hold four or even five more 3.5 drives. That is much cheaper than the Coolermaster you link to and will take ten or eleven drives. That's a lot of storage space given 3Tb drives are now the most cost-effective , with 4Tb slightly more costly, but of course, allowing you to have more without running out of case capacity.

The Fractal Design XL is also cheaper than the Coolermaster and can hold even more drives than the Antec. IIRC, ten 3.5 bays and four 5.25 bays which can of course be converted to hold at least five more 3.5 drives.
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nebiroth View Post

Transcoding means you change the encoding of (for example) a movie file because the device you are trying to play it back on does not support the format that the movie is held in. As this is done "on the fly" it requires sufficient processing power to ensure this is done quickly enough to ensure proper playback.

This is why one of the questions people ask about building media servers is will it need to transcode or not? If it does not then processing power requirements are much lower - in fact almost any CPU will do, even old ones.

How many drives do you enviage having? That Coolermaster is large and expensive. You could look at the Antec 300 cases - much cheaper and they will hold six 3.5 drives and you can buy cages/coverters so that the three 5.25 bays will hold four or even five more 3.5 drives. That is much cheaper than the Coolermaster you link to and will take ten or eleven drives. That's a lot of storage space given 3Tb drives are now the most cost-effective , with 4Tb slightly more costly, but of course, allowing you to have more without running out of case capacity.

The Fractal Design XL is also cheaper than the Coolermaster and can hold even more drives than the Antec. IIRC, ten 3.5 bays and four 5.25 bays which can of course be converted to hold at least five more 3.5 drives.

Thank you sir for the detail explanation, yes transcoding is an absolute must then in my case cause most of my media files are in .mkv format and I think its needs to be transcoded so that it can be played on Roku 3.

Right now I have 3 X 3TB sitting in a 5 bay cage, the cage is using 3 5.25 bay cages. So if I buy either the Fractal Design or Antec I can use my existing cage right? I do not see myself using more than 15 HDD slots for a considerable amount of time. So Antec 300 is not an option.

I have read online that its not a good idea to load all the 5 drives in the Icy Dock cage cause it might overheat, is it true? How to avoid it?

Should I be looking at Fractal Design Define XL USB 3.0 Black Pearl? Didn't find Fractal Design XL model!

What would be your recommendations for other components.



Thanks,
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aadeshgandhi View Post

Thank you sir for the detail explanation, yes transcoding is an absolute must then in my case cause most of my media files are in .mkv format and I think its needs to be transcoded so that it can be played on Roku 3.

Right now I have 3 X 3TB sitting in a 5 bay cage, the cage is using 3 5.25 bay cages. So if I buy either the Fractal Design or Antec I can use my existing cage right? I do not see myself using more than 15 HDD slots for a considerable amount of time. So Antec 300 is not an option.

I have read online that its not a good idea to load all the 5 drives in the Icy Dock cage cause it might overheat, is it true? How to avoid it?

Should I be looking at Fractal Design Define XL USB 3.0 Black Pearl? Didn't find Fractal Design XL model!

What would be your recommendations for other components.



Thanks,

That looks like a very solid case. Fractal makes nice stuff at a reasonable price. My tastes lie with Fractal, Silverstone, and Corsair.

If you want to go all out, you could go with one of these bad boys: http://www.corsair.com/900d
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 01:41 PM
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Wow, the Fractal case is on sale for a great price at Newegg right now: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352029
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by emcdade View Post

Wow, the Fractal case is on sale for a great price at Newegg right now: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352029

Yes, I did see this one, so is this the 8 bay one or the 10 bay one?



Thnaks,

EDIT - This is the 8 bay one!
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-26-2013, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aadeshgandhi View Post

Thank you sir for the detail explanation, yes transcoding is an absolute must then in my case cause most of my media files are in .mkv format and I think its needs to be transcoded so that it can be played on Roku 3.

Right now I have 3 X 3TB sitting in a 5 bay cage, the cage is using 3 5.25 bay cages. So if I buy either the Fractal Design or Antec I can use my existing cage right? I do not see myself using more than 15 HDD slots for a considerable amount of time. So Antec 300 is not an option.

I have read online that its not a good idea to load all the 5 drives in the Icy Dock cage cause it might overheat, is it true? How to avoid it?

Should I be looking at Fractal Design Define XL USB 3.0 Black Pearl? Didn't find Fractal Design XL model!

What would be your recommendations for other components.



Thanks,

I don;t know much about Roku 3 but I was under the impression that it did support MKV. Maybe it's only on USB but that would be somewhat odd.

I'm sure someone on here will know, but it's well worth settling that question with certainty, because it has a bif effect on your CPU choice.

As far as I;m aware that cage you have fits in any standard 3x5.25 bay. What's the Icy Dock model number? A quick look at IC's website for simila rproducts does indeed suggest that passive cooling is not enough for five drives, so they include an 80mm fan.

The Fractal Design Define XL is the biggest model they do, that is the one that has ten 3.5 bays and three 5.25 bays. Black Pearl is just the finish,. you can get it in Titanium as well.

http://www.fractal-design.com/home/product/cases/discontinued-products/define-xl-usb-30-black-pearl

The R2 and R3 models hold eight 3.25 drives but only have two 5.25 bays. You could not put your existing cage in one of those. The R3 is essentially a design update for the R2.

Technically, they are all discontinued products, all are replaced with the Define R4, which is a design update of the R3 and again has the eight 3.25 bays but four 5.25. But you should be able to get hold of them relatively easily.

If not, even the R4 gives you thirteen drive bays with that cage. Plus a spare for an oiptical drive, or a converter to that it can gold one or maybe two more 3.5 drives.
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-26-2013, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_Steb View Post

I hope your not trying to transcode with that old thing. The Xeon 3.80GHz only has a Passmark score of 603. Even if you have 2 of them it isn't much.
Today's modern Haswell i3-4130 has a Passmark of 4971. My server CPU has a Passmark of 8902.

I wouldn't invest $150 into it. I would build a new one.


THIS THIS THIS THIS ..


And.


This ^

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #11 of 12 Old 10-27-2013, 01:49 AM
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For the $150 it would cost to add another Zeon you could get a new mobo and Haswell processor that woul dbe *way* more powerful. Or given that it is a media server with playback via a Roku, you could probably get an even better deal by looking at a slightly older but practically as good Sandy/Ivy Bridge system.

There is not a big difference between Intel CPU iterations these days, their focus is on improving power usage and onboard graphics, bot compute power. Haswell is only about a 10% on average improvement over the SB/IB.

Liek I said, you really need to find out whether your media server will be transcoding or not. At th emoment is sounds like it is because streaming without transcoding is trivial therefore the media server CPU shouldn;t be the problem.

Before doing anything find out if it is the media server's CPU that is the root of the problem, and if it is, then why. If it is transcoding for the Roku on the fly then it probably is the problem, because that Xeon is too weak to do it smoothly.

In that case you would be much better off to opt for a new system. Even a core i3 would be a huge step up from the Xeon. Or even two Xeons. smile.gif
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post #12 of 12 Old 10-27-2013, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nebiroth View Post

For the $150 it would cost to add another Zeon you could get a new mobo and Haswell processor that woul dbe *way* more powerful. Or given that it is a media server with playback via a Roku, you could probably get an even better deal by looking at a slightly older but practically as good Sandy/Ivy Bridge system.

There is not a big difference between Intel CPU iterations these days, their focus is on improving power usage and onboard graphics, bot compute power. Haswell is only about a 10% on average improvement over the SB/IB.

Liek I said, you really need to find out whether your media server will be transcoding or not. At th emoment is sounds like it is because streaming without transcoding is trivial therefore the media server CPU shouldn;t be the problem.

Before doing anything find out if it is the media server's CPU that is the root of the problem, and if it is, then why. If it is transcoding for the Roku on the fly then it probably is the problem, because that Xeon is too weak to do it smoothly.

In that case you would be much better off to opt for a new system. Even a core i3 would be a huge step up from the Xeon. Or even two Xeons. smile.gif

Nebiroth,
Thank you for the reply, I had uploaded the log files from PLEX and experts on the PLEX forum determined that slower CPU is causing the stream to buffer.
Also I misspoke abou ICY Dock, I actually have iStar USA and it also has a fan, my question was even with the fan would it be ok to load it up with 5 drives or would it get overheated.
What would be your recommendation for building a system? I would like to have of-course a faster CPU, I am kinda interested in Cooler Master HAF Stacker) but not sure if that would be a overkill for me. Thoughts?


Thanks,
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