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post #1 of 13 Old 01-03-2020, 05:09 AM - Thread Starter
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PLEX Storage Setup

have a question about the best way to configure plex srorage...

i have a couple of 8tb usb drives used for movie file storage connected (via usb) to my office (den) windows 10 pc - much later on i decided to pick up a windows 10 nuc for the living room to use as a plex server / client, which would be for family movie watching... without really thinking things through, i set up plex on the nuc and pointed it to the two 8tb usb drives connected to my office pc (smb/network) instead of simply connecting the two drives to my nuc prior to setup.

everything has worked fine, extremely well in fact, but i'm wondering if there would have been any advantage to connecting the two drives to my nuc, performance wise? i could of course simply do that now or later, but i really don't want to have to screw around reconfiguring plex to find the new drive locations.

thoughts?
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-03-2020, 05:31 AM
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Is your NUC connected to the TV via wire or wireless? If it ain't broke don't fix it, but it may be easier to connect the drives directly to the NUC and use SMB to transfer future files to them if you plan on expanding.

I'm running Unraid for my media storage server and currently it's accessed by the main TV over wifi. But in the future I'll get everything tied together with ethernet so I can stream higher bitrate media. I know my current setup would be a bottleneck, not sure if that's the case for you.
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post #3 of 13 Old 01-03-2020, 05:52 AM
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Having centralized storage on the network (like a NAS server connected to ethernet) allows for quick, always on access to your media, both for uploading the media from your PC and for streaming it across your LAN. If you have the drives directly connected to your Win 10 PC, that will work fine as a substitute for a NAS, except you will need to keep the Win 10 PC on to always ensure access to your media, which may or may not be an issue. If you move the drives over locally to the NUC, you may have a hard time loading additional media to them, so that needs to be a consideration. I personally have a QNAP NAS (TS-453A) where I store all my media locally for streaming to my Plex server. It has multiple gigabit ethernet ports so I never have to worry about bandwidth.
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-03-2020, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BatmanActual View Post
Is your NUC connected to the TV via wire or wireless? If it ain't broke don't fix it, but it may be easier to connect the drives directly to the NUC and use SMB to transfer future files to them if you plan on expanding.

I'm running Unraid for my media storage server and currently it's accessed by the main TV over wifi. But in the future I'll get everything tied together with ethernet so I can stream higher bitrate media. I know my current setup would be a bottleneck, not sure if that's the case for you.

yes...

2 x 8tb ubb drives > office pc > network
nuc > network
nuc > hdmi > tv

all network and internet connections are ethernet, i.e. no wireless.

again, it's worked fine, in fact i can't imagine it working any better, but i seem to come across a lot of posts with much more involved nas setups, or posts that champion setting up the plex server on it's own box without any clients, that i began wondering if i'm missing something?

Last edited by aeneas01; 01-03-2020 at 07:30 AM.
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post #5 of 13 Old 01-03-2020, 06:07 AM
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There is virtue in having Plex run on its own machine, if for example you need a setup able to handle a bunch of simultaneous streams or a lot of transcoding. If you don't mind leaving your PC on and your network speeds handle what you're streaming then I don't think you're missing out. You could get higher drive read speeds if using SATA as opposed to USB so I'd keep that in your pocket if you ever run into issues in the future.
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-03-2020, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aeneas01 View Post
have a question about the best way to configure plex srorage...

i have a couple of 8tb usb drives used for movie file storage connected (via usb) to my office (den) windows 10 pc - much later on i decided to pick up a windows 10 nuc for the living room to use as a plex server / client, which would be for family movie watching... without really thinking things through, i set up plex on the nuc and pointed it to the two 8tb usb drives connected to my office pc (smb/network) instead of simply connecting the two drives to my nuc prior to setup.

everything has worked fine, extremely well in fact, but i'm wondering if there would have been any advantage to connecting the two drives to my nuc, performance wise? i could of course simply do that now or later, but i really don't want to have to screw around reconfiguring plex to find the new drive locations.

thoughts?
Yes, it's definitely better to move those drives to the USB ports on the NUC than to have them be accessed over the network. There is some overhead, although you may not notice it depending on what you're doing. For one thing, transcoding will be easier for the CPU to handle it locally since latency will be far lower. The other thing is you will be able to power off or reboot your win10 pc in other room without having a plex stream die. Someone said its easier to add media with the drives being on the win10 pc, but that doesnt seem true either. Just share the USB drives over the network with the NUC as the server and you can copy files to them via SMB.

It's not hard to do the swap. Move the drive to the USB port and mount it. Load plex server and in library, find each of your libraries, add the new drive letter and delete the old smb path and it will rescan and library should remain intact.

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post #7 of 13 Old 01-03-2020, 07:10 AM
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I have a similar question I have several drives attach by a usb hub to a Mac Mini. The Mini appears to be failing I don’t want to lose my files. What’s the most cost effective option? My current Shield as a Plex server or a new Mini or PC?


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post #8 of 13 Old 01-03-2020, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes, it's definitely better to move those drives to the USB ports on the NUC than to have them be accessed over the network. There is some overhead, although you may not notice it depending on what you're doing. For one thing, transcoding will be easier for the CPU to handle it locally since latency will be far lower. The other thing is you will be able to power off or reboot your win10 pc in other room without having a plex stream die. Someone said its easier to add media with the drives being on the win10 pc, but that doesnt seem true either. Just share the USB drives over the network with the NUC as the server and you can copy files to them via SMB.

It's not hard to do the swap. Move the drive to the USB port and mount it. Load plex server and in library, find each of your libraries, add the new drive letter and delete the old smb path and it will rescan and library should remain intact.
1. i don't transcode anything, everything is direct play, haven't had an issue with bottlenecking, everything plays fine and, again, all network connections are ethernet... of course my kids are in college and stream from time to time, but i haven't noticed any performance hit when this happens?

2. prob with moving the drives is that i have a bunch of movie files that are either custom or home vids, which took me quite a while to apply artwork to, and i have a lot classic foreign films that plex had a less than easy time nailing the first time i set things up, i.e. it took a lot of elbow grease... moreover i have 2000+ movie files on my drives and i spent quite a bit of time picking out just the right movie posters and background art, i think i'd rather chew tin foil while dragging my nails on a blackboard than to that allover again! but if i'm looking at probs down the road with this setup than i'd just assume bite the bullet.

3. actually, i think i get what that other person you mentioned was referring to, that it's easier to add media with the drives connected to another pc, and i think that's why i inadvertently just set up the nuc without the drives connected to it... in my case my office pc is in a very comfy location, and it's set up for tasking, for example that's where i have all of my ripping and video processing software set up, which makes it very easy (and fast) to just rip everything directly to the drives... doing this, and then having to send the movies to the drives over the network would be a lot more time consuming i would think...

4. as far as power, i keep my office pc on all of the time.
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-03-2020, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BatmanActual View Post
There is virtue in having Plex run on its own machine, if for example you need a setup able to handle a bunch of simultaneous streams or a lot of transcoding. If you don't mind leaving your PC on and your network speeds handle what you're streaming then I don't think you're missing out. You could get higher drive read speeds if using SATA as opposed to USB so I'd keep that in your pocket if you ever run into issues in the future.

is there a reason why i would need higher drive read speeds for just direct playing plex (the nuc isn't used for anything else except hulu, netflix, etc. when plex isn't in use)? not being flip, would like to know.
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-03-2020, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by aeneas01 View Post
is there a reason why i would need higher drive read speeds for just direct playing plex (the nuc isn't used for anything else except hulu, netflix, etc. when plex isn't in use)? not being flip, would like to know.
For playing probably not, but for writing to the drives it could help if you end up having to copy via smb from your pc through the network to the NUC.
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post #11 of 13 Old 01-03-2020, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by gomo657 View Post
I have a similar question I have several drives attach by a usb hub to a Mac Mini. The Mini appears to be failing I don’t want to lose my files. What’s the most cost effective option? My current Shield as a Plex server or a new Mini or PC?


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post #12 of 13 Old 01-03-2020, 11:54 AM
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thoughts?
It's not the ideal configuration however it's one that nicely works... move along nothing to see here.

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post #13 of 13 Old 01-03-2020, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aeneas01 View Post
have a question about the best way to configure plex srorage...

i have a couple of 8tb usb drives used for movie file storage connected (via usb) to my office (den) windows 10 pc - much later on i decided to pick up a windows 10 nuc for the living room to use as a plex server / client, which would be for family movie watching... without really thinking things through, i set up plex on the nuc and pointed it to the two 8tb usb drives connected to my office pc (smb/network) instead of simply connecting the two drives to my nuc prior to setup.

everything has worked fine, extremely well in fact, but i'm wondering if there would have been any advantage to connecting the two drives to my nuc, performance wise? i could of course simply do that now or later, but i really don't want to have to screw around reconfiguring plex to find the new drive locations.

thoughts?
I have read your replies so I know you have everything wired. Here is my take as long time Plex user.

Whatever PC you have the data drives attached to will have to be on all the time so the Plex server can access them. If you are OK with them being on your office PC and having that PC being on when you want to use Plex, I would just install Plex server on that PC and let it run in the background. Then just use the nuc as a Plex client.

Alternatively, move the HDD's to the nuc where you have Plex server installed. It should keep the database you already have established and match it up with the files. I move files between multiple drives all the time on my Plex server and it knows enough to match the filenames with the data it already scraped for the titles. Then you could leave the nuc on all the time as a Plex server instead of your office PC and since you are wired you can stream the titles from the nuc to any other TV on your network with a Plex client. A Plex client could be as simple as a wireless Fire-TV stick or as powerful as a wired nVidia Shield for a home theatre setup. If you are only using it for that single TV in the family room, you could just turn the nuc on and off as needed since it would be self-contained. Adding files to the nuc over the network should not be a problem since you are all wired. I do all my BD rips on my main desktop and send them to my media server running Plex over my GigE network without any issues.

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