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Old 01-27-2013, 08:21 PM   #1
KillerMunkey
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Default How much CPU horsepower does plex Pam's need.

Hi everybody,

Long time lurker on anandtech and decided to make my first post. I was looking for some in-site from other people running a plex media server. I have a whs rig that has doubled as my htpc for a while now but I have a roku that I'm trying to stream my blu-ray rips too.

Long story short my old amd x2 5600 CPU can't cut it, both cores are maxed at 100% and movies buffer every ten seconds.

The question is how much CPU do I need to get the job done?

I have an old e8400 laying around that I could use but I'm not sure if it would be enough. What's everybody else experience on this?

Thanks for the help
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:21 PM   #2
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Just tested on my E7400 :

A 1080p (2.5hrs@12GB) on-the-fly conversion and sent to iPad2 on Plex basically maxes out the CPU at 85-95%. No stutter or glitches noticeable. Scrubbing has a 6-8 sec wait. Not bad. Can stream from Windows machine at the same time without impact on CPU so it appears Windows in decoding that locally.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:22 AM   #3
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I stream movies from Plex to my Roku and have transcoding enabled. I'm running a Q6600 and it seems very solid. I've not tried to stream two movies at once and I haven't done detailed performance benchmarking, but I suspect it would be OK with 2 movies as well.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:33 AM   #4
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Thanks el-Capitan and Indy. If a E7400 can push a 1080p file a E8400 should be able to also. It does lack the 2 extra cores that your Q6600 has Indy, which I would guess would only be a problem for multiple streams at once.

I'll pick up some ram and reinstall my server on the E8400 and give it a go. I'll report back in with results.

I wish there was a standard benchmark this type of transcoding, it would take the guess work out of it.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:41 AM   #5
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Good luck. Let us know how it fares for you.

To my surprise I have so far not found my CPU a bottleneck in any of my applications, though it is easy to max it out.

I'll be getting my hands on a Q6600 in April. I will definitely be upgrading then.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerMunkey View Post
Thanks el-Capitan and Indy. If a E7400 can push a 1080p file a E8400 should be able to also. It does lack the 2 extra cores that your Q6600 has Indy, which I would guess would only be a problem for multiple streams at once.

I'll pick up some ram and reinstall my server on the E8400 and give it a go. I'll report back in with results.

I wish there was a standard benchmark this type of transcoding, it would take the guess work out of it.
Well, the bright side is that if you find the E8400 not being able to transcode multiple streams, you can probably find a Q6600 or maybe even a Q9x00 series chip to put in that same motherboard for much less than a new system.

If I get some time this weekend, I may try simultaneous streams to both of my Rokus to see what happens. I'm actually building a new server which will have dual six-core Xeons, so that should take care of the problem if the Q6600 can't handle it.
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el-Capitan View Post
Just tested on my E7400 :

A 1080p (2.5hrs@12GB) on-the-fly conversion and sent to iPad2 on Plex basically maxes out the CPU at 85-95%. No stutter or glitches noticeable. Scrubbing has a 6-8 sec wait. Not bad. Can stream from Windows machine at the same time without impact on CPU so it appears Windows in decoding that locally.
That's pretty good... my subsonic setup can't do that using a Q9400. Can you access plex through a browser and the internet?
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:51 PM   #8
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I have a core i3 540 running PMS and it seems to have a hard time transcoding 1080p MKV rips to the Plex channel on the roku. I get random pixilation and lots of buffering. I can play the file locally on the same machine without incident so I know it's not the MKV rip. I think part of my problem is the fact that I'm running this on a 150W PicoPSU. I'm surprised the rig hasn't spontaneously combusted yet...
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:21 PM   #9
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That's pretty good... my subsonic setup can't do that using a Q9400. Can you access plex through a browser and the internet?
Yes you can. Either through a browser logging in and using 'MyPlex' or through the iOS/Android/WP8 app and point to your IP/domain.

I have only been using Plex for three weeks now so I can't say why he is doing "so good". PMS has had difficulties on my old PS3 setup though and needed _a lot_ of tweaking.

Since Plex is free apart from the mobile apps, it seems like a good way to go. Note they have WMC plugin as well.

On performance the Plex server is set to max quality for local streaming, i.e. 20Mps and 1080p. On the iPad it appears perfect, when streaming from outside the home network he is set to 10Mps 1080p and it still looks very good in a browser.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyColtsFan View Post
Well, the bright side is that if you find the E8400 not being able to transcode multiple streams, you can probably find a Q6600 or maybe even a Q9x00 series chip to put in that same motherboard for much less than a new system.

If I get some time this weekend, I may try simultaneous streams to both of my Rokus to see what happens. I'm actually building a new server which will have dual six-core Xeons, so that should take care of the problem if the Q6600 can't handle it.
I'd open my own streaming service to my neighbors with that lol. If you get bored see how many streams that setup could handle
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:14 PM   #11
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I think it really depends on the bitrate of the movie you are watching. I have a WHS I built mostly for plex and my old Athlon X2 5200 couldn't keep up watching 1080P movies with a bitrate of 10MB/S. I now have a Athlon II X3 445 and it can play the same movie with no buffering, but it barley keeps up. Transcoding is done within 10 sec increments. The X3 is taking right under 10 - so multiple 1080/10MB/S streams you would need a decent quadcore. For the smaller 2-3MB/S movies my server can handle multiple iPad and roku streams. I am moving my 960T into my server soon so I hope it helps.

Also, Roku suggests their Roku 2 can only handle 8 MB/S bit-rate files. I have played 10 M/BS movies but nothing more - I assume it can handle a little more, but not as much as the new apple TV. You have to remember the Roku is basically a Raspberry PI.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:22 PM   #12
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Other question for people would be are they running over hardwire or wifi? Roku does a lot better with a cable connection. (XS version)
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