Creating new network - NAS/ Server/HTPC and bottlenecks - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-05-2013, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I'm going to be setting up a whole new network and streaming system in my house. Will most likely use XBMC for the living room and Plex to stream wireless. The objectives are:

1. Stream 1080p and music to my stereo and TV in the living room
2. Stream movies and music wirelessly to ipad/phones/androids
3. Have a centralized, large capacity, RAID 6 system

Everything will be hooked up via gigabit LAN, with an HP 1810-48G managed switch. The switch supports LACP (link aggregation).

I originally wanted to do a Synology 1813+ for a NAS, and an Intel NUC (haswell model) for the HTPC.

Now the NAS supports link aggregation, as well as the switch, so I can use 4 gigabit ports together to increase bandwidth of video streaming to users on the network. The NAS can do about 350 MB/sec read, and the 4 aggregated ports could push over that. So this way I could stream multiple 1080p videos to multiple clients and not worry about traffic being jammed up.

But I’m realizing that the NAS isn't going to be able to transcode anything quickly. It's not a problem when I’m watching something on the HTPC in the living room because the NUC is doing the transcoding. But it is a problem to stream to wireless, much less multiple wireless.

I could use the NUC as an always-on transcoder, but it only has a sinle gigabit port, and would run into bandwidth bottlenecks trying to send multiple streams.

Is a legit server the only way to do what i want to do? I don't really want to do the server because it's a lot more power (electricity bil, heat, etc), and is required to be on 24/7. It's much louder than an NAS, and to put it anywhere out of the way would require me to do stuff like mod fans in a closet for ventilation (I don't have a basement, live in texas so I can't put it in the garage).

It would also be more expensive with a hardware RAID card (a good one, not some hardware RAID that's actually software) and a 4-port gigabit NIC card. not to mention after like 5-6 hard drives I have to start looking into a bigger case, or extra enclosures.

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice?

P.S. I know everything here is a bit expensive. I don't want to go crazy on spending, but I want equipment that will do everything correctly, preferably look nice, and has room to expand. So budget is basically "within reason." I do not want like a dual xeon server or anything. Heat and electricity are already a problem for me with my main computer though.

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post #2 of 4 Old 10-06-2013, 12:38 AM
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Transcoding is CPU intensive. I wouldn't go hardware raid either that's expensive. I would go UnRaid of a combination of Windows OS and flex raid.

Media Server: UnRaid Server: 15TB of storage and growing :).


Home Theater Set Up:

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post #3 of 4 Old 10-07-2013, 12:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, let me ask a question about Flex raid, because this is probably what i would pick.

As i understand it, there's no striping in flex raid, so there's no read performance increase like you would get in RAID 0,5,6. So my question is, if you are copying 2 different movies, from 2 different hard drives in the flex raid pool, on a system and switch that supported link aggregation, would both machines be able to use full gigabit bandwidth, e.g. both computers can transfer at 100MB/sec?

I know like a Synology could do that, but it's mostly because of the striping. But i would think a flex raid could use both hard drives max speed since they would be traveling on different sata channels and gigabit ports.

Any thoughts?
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-07-2013, 08:39 AM
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Link Aggregation on a home network is overkill, truly....there's no need for it, you'd be hard pressed to saturate a single gigabit link, even with multiple 1080p streams (unless you're streaming multiple BD least 10). Your bottleneck will more than likely be the hard drives. For ex....I have tested multiple (7) simultaneous 1080p streams, a combo of MP4 and MKV formats/containers, in my own home using a DS1512+ running Plex to various clients, both wired and wireless, and network utilization (as recorded on the NAS) didn't break 23%. Bitrate will be key in determining your network sizing needs, whether you're using fixed or variable rate. Now if you require Transcoding (if your client don't support the video format/container), then using a NAS for other than storage of your video files will seriously affect your ability to send multiple 1080p streams as this is a CPU intensive exercise, and again network isn't impacted.

I'd say unless you also plan on doing some intensive Server/Desktop Virtualization, there's no need to use link aggregation.....although it is a great feature to have (future proof).
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