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Thread: Home Server Upgrade

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    Home Server Upgrade

    Looking for advice on updating my home server. It was transcoding some video over Plex last night and maxed out the CPU, making the experience terrible.

    Currently running a Gigabyte GA-D5252TUD min-ITX board with build in Atom D525 CPU and 4 GB of RAM. Housed in a Fractal Design Node 304 case.

    What are the best options for a CPU, Mobo and RAM combination in the same form factor please? May also add an SSD for the OS installation, again open to suggestions - read about M.2 yesterday! A 2.5 year old and a 7 week old mean I'm well out of the loop on PC things at the minute! Prefer to buy from Scan or CCL

    Also, the server was running Windows Home Server 2011, so might need to look at changing that although its been very reliable!
    Last edited by s_kinton; 14-08-2019 at 11:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Spreadie's Avatar
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    Re: Home Server Upgrade

    Atom CPUs suck at transcoding - I can attest to that.

    A T-variant desktop intel cpu is what I usually go for. I have a D918+ but I'm gunna flog it - the m.2 caching feature isn't great - and I'm rebuilding my home server around a 3770T ITX setup in a InWin IW-MS04, because there's room inside for an extra pair of 2.5" SSD for caching.
    Last edited by Spreadie; 20-08-2019 at 01:27 PM.
    Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes; after that, who cares?! He's a mile away and you've got his shoes!


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    Senior Member spacein_vader's Avatar
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    Re: Home Server Upgrade

    I went through something similar nearly 2 years ago, only difference is I used Emby rather than Plex partly because at the time it had better hardware transcode support. I believe Plex has now largely caught up though. If the endpoints are on the local network you may be able to reduce the transcoding load by using more capable ones. We put Rokus under all our TVs etc as they can handle more formats natively than the TVs themselves.

    I bought the cheapest pentium available, currently that is the G5400 according to part picker and used quick sync transcoding. Mine is broadwell era and I've had it transcoding 6 streams at once with no hiccups. The more modern GPU component in the G5400 means it'll do HEVC and VP9 which mine doesn't support.

    Frankly any compatible mobo and 8gb of RAM (even that is likely overkill if you're not running services other than Plex,) will do the trick, and while an SSD for boot won't make much difference to an always on server I have one and the transcoding uses it as a kind of swap file if I understand correctly. Even a 128gb one is ample.
    Biggest issue with itx is ensuring it comes with as many sata ports as possible in case you add future storage.

    As for OS, it depends how much learning you want to do and how much you know already. The easy answer is Win10 pro, but it has greater hardware requirements than other options and will require regular reboots for patching.

    The other extreme (unless you are into Linux already,) is something like Ubuntu LTS. I self taught and there are quite a few guides out there for setting up a media server with it, I wasn't brave enough to go headless though so it has a GUI. It has a 10 year support cycle and is free which always helps.

    In between is something like FreeNAS. Still Linux based but more appliance focused so a lot more is available off the shelf, flip side being it can get hard work if you want to do something that someone hasn't already made a package for.

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    I really don't care Dashers's Avatar
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    Re: Home Server Upgrade

    Latest available Intel Pentium. G5420 looks to be the latest which has spectre protections.

    I've got an older G4560 on a cheap ASrock motherboard (went with one with 6 SATA ports as I use it as my NAS).

    For OS, I run VMWare ESXi 6.7 (free) which gives me the flexibility of multiple guest OS. I have two guest VMs worth talking about. A general purpose openSUSE Linux guest that my hard drives are attached to and shared out with Samba (windows file shares) and it runs Serviio DLNA media server, plus a bunch of other services such as mail. The other is a pfsense firewall to replace my router (just got an openreach modem otherwise).

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    Big, Mean and Ugly! circuitmonkey's Avatar
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    Re: Home Server Upgrade

    I'm going through a similar process now

    I'm upgrading my PC in my sig from an i3-2100T to an i5-3570 from CeX to make use VT-d so I could play with running unRAID and having a Windows 10 VM running with graphics pass through from my discrete GPU leaving the integrated GPU free for possible Plex duties in a docker container when I have the chance to experiment further.

    I also bought new 2TB machanical HHDs and a couple cheap 240GB SSDs for caching.

    I'm sold on unRAID and have bought a i7-3770 and am in the market for more DDR3 as I've realised how constrained this system is with a windows VM and a few media serving dockers running.

    If I was to start from fresh I may consider going down the Ryzen route for budget thread count

    Something to think about at any rate

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    Re: Home Server Upgrade

    To finish this thread off, I ended up ordering:

    - Intel i3 9100
    - Gigabyte B360N Wifi Mini ITX Mobo
    - Stock cooler (sits in garage so not concerned with silence)
    - 32Gb DDR4 Ballistix Sport LT (16GB probbaly would have been sufficient)
    - WD Green 240GB SSD
    - Windows 10 Pro

    Installed all that into my existing Fractal Design Node 304 and Silverstone 350w PS. Using StableBit DrivePool for duplication in Windows 10 - far easier and more flexible than RAID
    Last edited by s_kinton; 04-09-2019 at 02:48 PM.

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