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re-purposing i5-750 + HD5850 box to Plex Media Server

tijag

Member
Apr 7, 2005
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0
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Hello all.

I have a computer which I just installed Ubuntu to which has an i5-750 for the CPU and an HD5850 for the GPU.

What I'd like to do is have all my media content on hard drives in this computer and then stream to Chromecast using the Plex app.

Is this a pretty reasonable setup to do that with? From what I have now, other than HDD's would I need anything else to make it work? Is there another Linux distro that would be a better solution?

Thanks!
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
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Hello all.

I have a computer which I just installed Ubuntu to which has an i5-750 for the CPU and an HD5850 for the GPU.

What I'd like to do is have all my media content on hard drives in this computer and then stream to Chromecast using the Plex app.

Is this a pretty reasonable setup to do that with? From what I have now, other than HDD's would I need anything else to make it work? Is there another Linux distro that would be a better solution?

Thanks!
That should work great. The i5 will have plenty of power for transcoding.
 
Feb 25, 2011
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If it's just a headless server, you can pull the GPU out to save power. I'm not even sure PLEX can utilize GPU accelerated transcoding, but I know it doesn't particularly need it.
 

DesiPower

Lifer
Nov 22, 2008
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If it's just a headless server, you can pull the GPU out to save power. I'm not even sure PLEX can utilize GPU accelerated transcoding, but I know it doesn't particularly need it.
+1 on that, no need for video card unless you are watching through that computer
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
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Is there another Linux distro that would be a better solution?
If you are building a media server then Unraid is much better than a bunch of random disks in an Ubuntu box, even better than Ubuntu plus a software RAID 5 IMHO. So if you are thinking 4 or more drives, consider Unraid. It runs Plex well.
 

tijag

Member
Apr 7, 2005
81
0
66
If you are building a media server then Unraid is much better than a bunch of random disks in an Ubuntu box, even better than Ubuntu plus a software RAID 5 IMHO. So if you are thinking 4 or more drives, consider Unraid. It runs Plex well.
Seems like using this method it wouldn't require 'fast' drives if it was going to be like 5 drives in a RAID5 configuration using this Unraid software?

How easy is it to get this volume to show up on Windows machines as a network location? Ideally I'd be able to be on my Windows laptop and download something to the media server.

Am I going about this the right way?
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
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Seems like using this method it wouldn't require 'fast' drives if it was going to be like 5 drives in a RAID5 configuration using this Unraid software?
Yup. My two Unraid servers are all plain consumer drives of different sizes.

How easy is it to get this volume to show up on Windows machines as a network location? Ideally I'd be able to be on my Windows laptop and download something to the media server.

Am I going about this the right way?
Super easy. Unraid does a SMB share by default. You just point Explorer to the host name. I do it daily.

Heck, my system has it mounted as a network share on boot. Really easy.

Unraid really is the best media server OS.
 

tijag

Member
Apr 7, 2005
81
0
66
Yup. My two Unraid servers are all plain consumer drives of different sizes.



Super easy. Unraid does a SMB share by default. You just point Explorer to the host name. I do it daily.

Heck, my system has it mounted as a network share on boot. Really easy.

Unraid really is the best media server OS.
I'm very interested in this.

Right now I'm extremely frustrated because my laptop [windows 8.1] and my desktop [windows 7 home premium] are on the same network, connected by Ethernet and I have all sorts of issues sharing folders and getting networking to just 'work'.

Makes me want to pull my hair out. I can, from my Windows 7 computer get on files on my Windows 8 laptop, but using my Windows 8 laptop, I can not access folders on my Windows 7 computer. I get 'you don't have permission, ask your network administrator'. I'm using 'Homegroup' for sharing, which maybe is the problem [both computers are set to 'home networks' in network and sharing center].

And whats worse, is when I try to transfer files from my lappy, to my desktop, I get something like 2.5-3.5MB/sec transfer, which is just absurd. Connected both over Ethernet I have gigabit ethernet on both computers and the router is a Netgear nighthawk. I should absolutely get better than 2.5MB/sec. Especially considering I can d/l stuff from the internet at around 5MB a second on my 48mbit uverse connection.

Makes me want to throw all my computers in the trash, or at the very least reinstall the OS and hope that things work out better with fresh installs.

That was a terrible long rant about unrelated topics. I will try the unRaid thing and see how that goes. Thank you for the suggestion.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
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Yeah Unraid is way easy. Only downside is writes are slower than reads but for that you get single disk parity protection without the hassle. I have streamed Blu Ray rips from my Unraid server to: my wife's Windows 8 laptop, my macbook, my Windows 7 desktop, my Android tablet/phones and my XBMCbuntu HTPCs (five of em). It kicks ass.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
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Just wanted to toss a vote in for unRAID, too. It is ultra reliable and just fast enough to serve as a home media server. Since it boots from a flash drive, it's easy to play with and see if it's for you.

If I didn't need Windows to run my server, it's what I would be using.
 

SolMiester

Diamond Member
Dec 19, 2004
5,331
17
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im quiet interested in this unraid?, does it span the data accross disks for better read speeds? I used to have R5 accross 4 1TB drive, however that server was getting old and the CPU wasnt that flash for transcoding Plex. I now have a much better Xeon, however only 1 x 3TB disk, with backups.
Does unraid support Plex, or do you have to use shares for the Plex server?

Edit - just checked plex forums, appears Plex is supported on unraid!
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
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im quiet interested in this unraid?, does it span the data accross disks for better read speeds? I used to have R5 accross 4 1TB drive, however that server was getting old and the CPU wasnt that flash for transcoding Plex. I now have a much better Xeon, however only 1 x 3TB disk, with backups.
Does unraid support Plex, or do you have to use shares for the Plex server?

Edit - just checked plex forums, appears Plex is supported on unraid!
It doesn't span/stripe data across the disks; one HDD holds all of the parity data for the entire array and each individual disk holds its own set of files.

3 Reasons:

#1 - There is simply not the need for that much speed from a home media server

#2 - This allows you to import new drives into the array without having to move data around just to expand. Just add a blank drive and the array gets that much larger.

#3 - Because the files are not spread across multiple drives and are stored in their entirety on just one HDD, you can access the data on any still-functioning drives in the event of catastrophic array failure.
 
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poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
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Smitbret nailed it. Unraid is the only setup where you can upgrade one disk at a time, with different sized disks, and not lose a thing with live parity protection the whole time. It really is the best media server OS unless you really need something crazy.
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
641
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Smitbret nailed it. Unraid is the only setup where you can upgrade one disk at a time, with different sized disks, and not lose a thing with live parity protection the whole time. It really is the best media server OS unless you really need something crazy.
Due to the Parity Drive having to be the largest drive in the array what's your plan with your UNRAID server?

Do you simply stick to a certain size drive or do you upgrade and get larger drives and move the parity drive from one drive to another?

Despite the actual cost of an UNRAID server (I don't have $1000 lying around right now to make one and no, this isn't how much you need to make one but it's how much I need to make a 24 drive server since I don't plan on making multiple servers), how hard is it to upgrade drive size? 6TB drives will hit $150 next year, and 8TB/10TB drives will be around soon and I always wondered how easy it was to upgrade the parity drive size.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
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you upgrade and get larger drives and move the parity drive from one drive to another?
That is what I do. When I plan to upgrade to a larger drive than my parity I first upgrade the parity. Like recently in both servers I upgraded the parity to 3TB so I can finally use drives larger than 2TB. You just put it in and it rebuilds the parity. As long as all your drives are fine replacing the parity drive is easy.

Despite the actual cost of an UNRAID server (I don't have $1000 lying around right now to make one and no, this isn't how much you need to make one but it's how much I need to make a 24 drive server since I don't plan on making multiple servers), how hard is it to upgrade drive size?
It is real easy to upgrade a data drive. You replace it out and it will use the parity to replace the data on new drive while leaving the extra space. It takes about a day. The only "hard" part is you have to remember no data drive can be bigger than the parity drive. But you can easily upgrade the data drives slowly, one at a time. I am doing that in my movie server, upgrading 1.5TB drives to 3TB ones very easily.
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
641
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Sounds good then. About a day to upgrade a drive sounds long but well, not like I'll do that that often.

Gosh those parity drives are small though. How come you didn't upgrade your Parity drive to 5TB for each server? Or at least 4TB as those drives are quite cheap, just curious.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Due to the Parity Drive having to be the largest drive in the array what's your plan with your UNRAID server?

Do you simply stick to a certain size drive or do you upgrade and get larger drives and move the parity drive from one drive to another?

Despite the actual cost of an UNRAID server (I don't have $1000 lying around right now to make one and no, this isn't how much you need to make one but it's how much I need to make a 24 drive server since I don't plan on making multiple servers), how hard is it to upgrade drive size? 6TB drives will hit $150 next year, and 8TB/10TB drives will be around soon and I always wondered how easy it was to upgrade the parity drive size.
I do this with my FlexRAID set up when I expand each February. I just buy the HDD size that is in the current sweet spot (3TB last spring). If it is bigger than the current parity drive, then I move the parity into data use and install the new drive as the new parity.

4TB drives are still dropping in price so I may end up moving my 3TB Parity into Data use if I grab the 4TB, but if 3TB is still the better deal I will just import the new one in as a Data drive.

Takes about 9 hours to rebuild the parity but it only happens once a year or maybe twice if I run out of space sooner.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
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Sounds good then. About a day to upgrade a drive sounds long but well, not like I'll do that that often.
The timing depends on the size of the drive you are replacing.

Gosh those parity drives are small though. How come you didn't upgrade your Parity drive to 5TB for each server? Or at least 4TB as those drives are quite cheap, just curious.
Ideally you want your parity drive to be your best and fastest drive as it gets hammered almost daily. So I invest in nicer parity drives. My parity drives are WD Black level while my data drives are whatever is cheapest (WD Green level).

There simply isn't an over 4tb drive I trust doing that job. I will probably upgrade the movie server to a 4tb Black next year unless it goes crazy cheap on Black Friday.
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
641
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Interesting to see you both are using 3TB drives. I'm guessing neither of you use Seagate drives.

Hard Drive bays are at a premium for me (Only 2 left and I need to add an expansion card to even use them anyway as I used up all my Sata ports on my Z87 board) so getting the largest drive at a reasonable price is important.

I never would have guessed last year that 22TB would feel so small. If only I had stayed naive and kept low quality rips.....
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
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Interesting to see you both are using 3TB drives. I'm guessing neither of you use Seagate drives.

Hard Drive bays are at a premium for me (Only 2 left and I need to add an expansion card to even use them anyway as I used up all my Sata ports on my Z87 board) so getting the largest drive at a reasonable price is important.

I never would have guessed last year that 22TB would feel so small. If only I had stayed naive and kept low quality rips.....
I have 3 x 2TB Seagate Barracudas, 2TB WD Green and a 500GB Samsung as my Data Drives. I broke open a 3TB External Toshiba last spring and stuck it in as the parity drive, moving the Green to Data duty.

Based on my experience with the Seagates over the last 2 years, they are my go to drives. They run cool, quiet and are the fastest platter drives I have ever seen. If I could justify the expense I would start investing in HGST drives. Light duty FlexRAID use in a homeserver can't justify the 30% premium for me, however. I had considered the WD Reds when they came out but they seem to be a flop; offering no real advantage over anything else for software RAID use and not nearly as reliable as marketed.
 
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poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
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Interesting to see you both are using 3TB drives. I'm guessing neither of you use Seagate drives.
I have over a dozen Seagates. Other than parity I buy what's cheap. Some it's WD, sometimes it's Seagate. Thanks to parity protection I can take some risks.

With that said I have two servers (one for tv one for movies) with 26 total bays between them so I don't have to max out each upgrade. And I move slow as I think it takes a while for platter sizes and technology to stabilize for larger drive sizes.
 

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