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Server Build Question ?

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#1
Hey guys I need a little help with a server build I’m doing. What would be a good free OS to use that supports Plex and how can I setup it up where I can transfer files to and from without having to actually be on the server itself as i plan to hide it away with no monitor attached.

Specs:

Core 2 Q8200
Intel Board
Samsung 8GB(4x2GB) DDR2
Nvidia GTX 260
Western Digital 2TBx3
Cooler Master 650W
Etc...
 
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#3
Hey guys I need a little help with a server build I’m doing. What would be a good free OS to use that supports Plex and how can I setup it up where I can transfer files to and from without having to actually be on the server itself as i plan to hide it away with no monitor attached.

Specs:

Core 2 Q8200
Intel Board
Samsung 8GB(4x2GB) DDR2
Nvidia GTX 260
Western Digital 2TBx3
Cooler Master 650W
Etc...
  • Ubuntu Server (with or without GUI, comes with just command line, but you can install a GUI)
  • Debian
  • Ubuntu Desktop
  • Mint
  • Pretty much anything Linux-based should do well.
  • Windows Server, you can use a trial.
    • Don't go older than 2012R2, IMHO not worth it.
  • FreeNAS
  • Standard Windows OS

If it were me I'd probably go with Ubuntu Server and run it headless. You can connect via Putty, setup Plex and storage, then the rest of it is done via WebGUI. That being said my server runs on Windows Server 2016 as a Hyper-V host. My Plex server is hosted on a virtual machine that is hosted on my physical server, works great and has for years now. The nice thing is if I need to migrate hardware, I migrate to another Windows Server Hyper-V host via live migration or replication w/failover, and I'm good to service my hardware. You can do similar with other virtualization options...but not sure your hardware supports it.

I also run Plex as a service, so that when my file server (also does print server, teamspeak3, and network monitoring) reboots for updates, Plex starts up without me having to login. That's also worth knowing about if you go the Windows route:

To keep things simple, you might even consider the desktop Ubuntu so you have a built-in GUI to use, or go with Mint or something lighter weight. I've never been a big fan of FreeNAS, it works well, but for Plex I prefer hosting it on a straight Linux or Windows OS rather than FreeNAS. Personal preference on that aspect though.

Not sure if you've read through this link or not, but it's worth looking at: https://support.plex.tv/articles/200288586-installation/

Frankly with the age of that system, you might not be happy with there results if you have to do a lot of encoding. I'm not sure what the Q8200 is capable of performance-wise, it should do okay for a couple streams or so I'd imagine, but it will struggle too. I'd also suggest a smaller, more efficient GPU as you won't be using that GTX2xx to help encode (I could be wrong here, but last I checked it was newer GPU's iirc...).

This article about CPU performance is worth a read: https://support.plex.tv/articles/201774043-what-kind-of-cpu-do-i-need-for-my-server/

I've been on Plex Pass Lifetime since May 2015, and have been very happy with my decision. Had one issue a couple months ago that Plex support resolved fairly quickly and beyond that between my mom and sis in AZ, my other sis in WA, my family (wife and 2 kids) and myself streaming from it regularly, it all works great, stable and no complaints! I am eagerly awaiting Charter's synchronous cable to hit our area as 10Mbps upload is choking us down some, but overall the fact I can run multiple streams of music, video, etc. has been just awesome.
 
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#4
  • Ubuntu Server (with or without GUI, comes with just command line, but you can install a GUI)
  • Debian
  • Ubuntu Desktop
  • Mint
  • Pretty much anything Linux-based should do well.
  • Windows Server, you can use a trial.
    • Don't go older than 2012R2, IMHO not worth it.
  • FreeNAS
  • Standard Windows OS

If it were me I'd probably go with Ubuntu Server and run it headless. You can connect via Putty, setup Plex and storage, then the rest of it is done via WebGUI. That being said my server runs on Windows Server 2016 as a Hyper-V host. My Plex server is hosted on a virtual machine that is hosted on my physical server, works great and has for years now. The nice thing is if I need to migrate hardware, I migrate to another Windows Server Hyper-V host via live migration or replication w/failover, and I'm good to service my hardware. You can do similar with other virtualization options...but not sure your hardware supports it.

I also run Plex as a service, so that when my file server (also does print server, teamspeak3, and network monitoring) reboots for updates, Plex starts up without me having to login. That's also worth knowing about if you go the Windows route:

To keep things simple, you might even consider the desktop Ubuntu so you have a built-in GUI to use, or go with Mint or something lighter weight. I've never been a big fan of FreeNAS, it works well, but for Plex I prefer hosting it on a straight Linux or Windows OS rather than FreeNAS. Personal preference on that aspect though.

Not sure if you've read through this link or not, but it's worth looking at: https://support.plex.tv/articles/200288586-installation/

Frankly with the age of that system, you might not be happy with there results if you have to do a lot of encoding. I'm not sure what the Q8200 is capable of performance-wise, it should do okay for a couple streams or so I'd imagine, but it will struggle too. I'd also suggest a smaller, more efficient GPU as you won't be using that GTX2xx to help encode (I could be wrong here, but last I checked it was newer GPU's iirc...).

This article about CPU performance is worth a read: https://support.plex.tv/articles/201774043-what-kind-of-cpu-do-i-need-for-my-server/

I've been on Plex Pass Lifetime since May 2015, and have been very happy with my decision. Had one issue a couple months ago that Plex support resolved fairly quickly and beyond that between my mom and sis in AZ, my other sis in WA, my family (wife and 2 kids) and myself streaming from it regularly, it all works great, stable and no complaints! I am eagerly awaiting Charter's synchronous cable to hit our area as 10Mbps upload is choking us down some, but overall the fact I can run multiple streams of music, video, etc. has been just awesome.
I think performance will be just fine as I’ve been running plex on an old laptop with only a Pentiun Dual Core and I haven’t found any issues running 1080p streams
 
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#5
There is also UnRAID which is really easy and you can use any hard drive if different sizes
The How too requires and little reading and watching videos

I have a freenas server running a Plex add on
 
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#6
So i installed FreeNas and man it took some learning to get running but so far its working for me. Also luckily i had 8GB of RAM since that's what is required for FreeNas

I think 8GB isn't enough that as it's showing 7GB of usage off just one stream alone
 
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#7
Alright so this was pretty quick but I’m going to be building another server as I hit a wall with this one. The CPU has been holding up fine barely hitting 35% usage but the RAM is hitting a hard wall and the board is limited to only 8GB and finding 16GB of DDR2 seems nearly impossible.

So I’m looking at FX-8350, LGA 1366, or LGA 2011 build with 16-32GB of RAM to handle my needs.

But I can’t decide which. Obviously 2011 will be a lot more costly vs FX.

And again the C2Q has been holding very very well, the RAM is the issue hitting 7.6GB regularly when multiple streams are going at the same time.
 
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#8
>FX
If you're not CPU bottlenecked, LGA 1155 and 16/32G RAM, a barebones OEM 1155 board+ quad core is say $50-60, could probably get a whole barebones minus CPU for that price as well.
 
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#9
>FX
If you're not CPU bottlenecked, LGA 1155 and 16/32G RAM, a barebones OEM 1155 board+ quad core is say $50-60, could probably get a whole barebones minus CPU for that price as well.
1155 boards are hard to come by and are pretty costly
 
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#10
I literally just told you that a 2400+board is around $40-50, and will support 16-32GB RAM.
A quick search off ebay reveals hundreds of cheap 1155 boards, OEM and 3rd party
 
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#11
Synology might be another option for you if you wanted to look that way.. I've had no issues with mine and it's been pretty decent :) I think I might have looked at FreeNAS but never went any further. As mentioned before in the thread, anything Linux would be amazing and super stable to keep working :) My very limited experience with Linux (for WCG for the moment and a few things with it at work) I can't complain at all :)
 
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#12
But then you end up overpaying for the "performance" it gives, however it does have a fair bit of reliability over just a optiplex running Win7 Server
 
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#13
But then you end up overpaying for the "performance" it gives, however it does have a fair bit of reliability over just a optiplex running Win7 Server
Was that directed at the Synology? As I have a 'hacked' Synology personally :)
 

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#14
How do you know that RAM is limiting you? I am on 8 gigs of RAM running plex and a whole bunch of other stuff using Ubuntu and it barely uses anything. Note that linux will show that it is using almost all of your RAM and that is fine. You will only encounter issues if you begin swapping.
 
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#15
I literally just told you that a 2400+board is around $40-50, and will support 16-32GB RAM.
A quick search off ebay reveals hundreds of cheap 1155 boards, OEM and 3rd party
sorry bro, i refuse to use a OEM board even if for a server
Synology might be another option for you if you wanted to look that way.. I've had no issues with mine and it's been pretty decent :) I think I might have looked at FreeNAS but never went any further. As mentioned before in the thread, anything Linux would be amazing and super stable to keep working :) My very limited experience with Linux (for WCG for the moment and a few things with it at work) I can't complain at all :)
Man those things are costly and i've gotten used to FreeNas now

How do you know that RAM is limiting you? I am on 8 gigs of RAM running plex and a whole bunch of other stuff using Ubuntu and it barely uses anything. Note that linux will show that it is using almost all of your RAM and that is fine. You will only encounter issues if you begin swapping.
Looking at the RAM usage in FreeNas and after 3 streams seeing usage rise and experience lag
 
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#16
Man those things are costly and i've gotten used to FreeNas now
I use the Xpenology to be honest, no difference that I'm aware of :) Works just fine for me with my setup :)
 
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#17
RAM is hitting a hard wall and the board is limited to only 8GB and finding 16GB of DDR2 seems nearly impossible.
Just a note, Freenas will use all the ram you give it, completely. I think the recommend is one Gb per Tb of storage. But it uses it as cashe so its always full. Just max the board out
 

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#18
Looking at the RAM usage in FreeNas and after 3 streams seeing usage rise and experience lag
3 Streams could be network latency...
 
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#19
Just a note, Freenas will use all the ram you give it, completely. I think the recommend is one Gb per Tb of storage. But it uses it as cashe so its always full. Just max the board out
That board is at it's max (8GB)

3 Streams could be network latency...
I don't think so

latency is always under 10ms and bandwidth hitting 30Mbps-60Mbps which you also have to remember isn't relying on my internet since it's all local
 
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#20
How is the CPU doing under load? It that possibly maxed out at all with the three streams?
 
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#21
How is the CPU doing under load? It that possibly maxed out at all with the three streams?
CPU usage has never gone above 40%
 
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#22
CPU usage has never gone above 40%
Just wondering if it might be something down to drive access speed or something if that's the case...
 

Easy Rhino

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#23
Just wondering if it might be something down to drive access speed or something if that's the case...
That makes the most sense. 3 streams is not enough to saturate 8 gigs of ram using PLEX. I have 8 gigs and can stream 5 at once locally and cpu never goes above 50% on a q9650. Linux will always try and use the most amount of RAM for best performance. Unless swapping is happening RAM is not an issue. 3 HD streams can easily tax a standard HDD drive. Before spending any money on a server try installing Ubuntu Server and then installing PLEX. See how that performs.
 
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