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Suggestion for Motherboard/CPU combo for NAS

frowertr

Golden Member
Apr 17, 2010
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Finally putting together a media streamer in my home. It will hold all of my music and Blu Ray rips. It won't be for any other purpose other than a media streamer (running XBMC or Plex) and I'll run it headless once everything is setup properly. I already have a Lian-Li Q25 Case so I will be in need of a Mini ITX board.

I'll probably be running 64-Bit Win 7 Home Premium as I have an unused copy I can load onto the machine. Also, I'm not interested in running RAID. I can always re-rip my BD's in the event of hard drive(s) failure.

Was looking at getting this Celeron board: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128585

The only downside is that it only has 4 SATA ports but I can always put in PCI SATA expansion card to fix that problem.

I'm really open to suggestions. I'd like to do embedded like the above board I linked if possible to keep costs and power consumption down.
 

spencers

Senior member
Aug 21, 2003
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See my signature for my NAS specs. I'm running the same LianLi case.

The Asus P8H77 has 6 SATA ports.
 

frowertr

Golden Member
Apr 17, 2010
1,369
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See my signature for my NAS specs. I'm running the same LianLi case.

The Asus P8H77 has 6 SATA ports.
I appreciate the response. I'd like to stick with embedded just to keep power consumption as low as possible. But I'll take a look at that board coupled with an i3.
 

Zap

Elite Member
Oct 13, 1999
22,378
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Was looking at getting this Celeron board: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128585

The only downside is that it only has 4 SATA ports but I can always put in PCI SATA expansion card to fix that problem.
It only has three SATA ports. $10 more gets you the same board but with an Ivy Bridge Celeron instead of Sandy Bridge, and 400MHz more clocks.

There USED to be some AMD E350 boards with five or six SATA ports but Newegg no longer lists any. For instance I actually own one of these. CPU performance would be lower than the Celeron 847, but it might be okay depending on what you do. Works fine for me for simple file and printer sharing duties, but some tasks (using it as a normal desktop, Bittorrent) gets some lag. Come to think of it, this board was kind of pricey.

What drives were you planning to use? If smaller than 4TB, you may be able to live with fewer ports if you pay the premium for 4TB drives.

Also, USB 4TB drives have been available around $150 on hot deals. If you actually get that much data ripped, might be worth your money to back up your rips... unless you are unemployed/student and your time isn't worth money.
 

frowertr

Golden Member
Apr 17, 2010
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It only has three SATA ports. $10 more gets you the same board but with an Ivy Bridge Celeron instead of Sandy Bridge, and 400MHz more clocks.
Snip

Well I pulled the trigger on the first one I listed. I somehow didn't see the one you listed, Zap. Oh well. You are right, there are only 3 SATA ports + 1 external SATA.

I decided that I would implement a RAID setup for the reason you mentioned: Time. I'll probably throw FlexRAID on it when I get it built out. I already have 4TB worth of BD rips and I'll be looking to add more as time goes on.

I have Win7 installing on it now. After all the updates I'll get the SATA controller card I already have installed in the PCI slot. That should give me all the needed SATA ports I need to eventually fill this puppy up.

The only disappointment I see with this board is no USB 3 yet it includes D-Sub and PS/2 mouse/keyboard ports. USB 3 should be standard by now.
 

frowertr

Golden Member
Apr 17, 2010
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Well I guess I should have read the Plex server transcoding requirements a bit more as the board I got just doesn't cut it. Video drops out when streaming to Plex clients like phones and Roku's. I am not sure there is an embedded board that has enough horsepower to be used as a Plex transcoding server after doing some more research.

So I'm returning it for the board spencers recommended. I'll either put in an I3 or a Celeron G1620. Both of those chips should have no issues transcoding. Kinda disappointed as the power draw was nice and low with that embedded system.
 

Raincity

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2000
4,475
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Well I guess I should have read the Plex server transcoding requirements a bit more as the board I got just doesn't cut it. Video drops out when streaming to Plex clients like phones and Roku's. I am not sure there is an embedded board that has enough horsepower to be used as a Plex transcoding server after doing some more research.

So I'm returning it for the board spencers recommended. I'll either put in an I3 or a Celeron G1620. Both of those chips should have no issues transcoding. Kinda disappointed as the power draw was nice and low with that embedded system.
I wonder if those are the real requirements. My HTPC server is running an I3 3225 and Plex still stutturs and constant video drops using the Roku and Roku 3 boxes. I chalked it up to a Plex issue but my wireless N network may really be the cause.
 

frowertr

Golden Member
Apr 17, 2010
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I wonder if those are the real requirements. My HTPC server is running an I3 3225 and Plex still stutturs and constant video drops using the Roku and Roku 3 boxes. I chalked it up to a Plex issue but my wireless N network may really be the cause.
Everything I have read says that a 3225 should be able to handle multiple simultaneous Plex transcoding streams with no issue but since I have no first hand knowledge, I have no idea. When I was doing testing with the embedded Celeron 847 during Plex transcoding, task manager showed CPU usage pegged at 100%. It just couldn't keep up. Might want to try something similar with your setup.

I do know that you need perfect wireless conditions to steam in 1080p without issues. Luckily, when I had my house built I had Cat5e ran into every room so I am not using wireless for any of this. When I get it the system built out I'll post back with my results here to update the thread incase it helps someone in the future.
 
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Zap

Elite Member
Oct 13, 1999
22,378
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So I'm returning it for the board spencers recommended. I'll either put in an I3 or a Celeron G1620.
Where are you shopping? I checked Newegg and the Celeron G1610 is $50 while the G1620 is $60. The $10 only gets you 100Mhz, which I don't think is worth the cost.

Next step up would be a Pentium G2120 for $70. It has 3MB cache like the Core i3 (just no Hyperthreading or QuickSync) and is 3.1GHz, so a full 500MHz faster than the Celeron G1610. I think this would be your best value, unless you need HT or QS.

When I was doing testing with the embedded Celeron 847 during Plex transcoding, task manager showed CPU usage pegged at 100%. It just couldn't keep up.
Wow. Yeah, those Celeron 847 boards are meant to be slightly better than an Atom, so not a huge surprise. The one I linked may (or may not) have been a bit better since it is 1.5GHz versus 1.1GHz and Ivy Bridge versus Sandy Bridge. I found a thread at SPCR forums where someone was estimating 45% better performance.

Of course a Pentium G2120 would trump both of those pretty easily.
 

frowertr

Golden Member
Apr 17, 2010
1,369
29
91
Where are you shopping? I checked Newegg and the Celeron G1610 is $50 while the G1620 is $60. The $10 only gets you 100Mhz, which I don't think is worth the cost.

Next step up would be a Pentium G2120 for $70. It has 3MB cache like the Core i3 (just no Hyperthreading or QuickSync) and is 3.1GHz, so a full 500MHz faster than the Celeron G1610. I think this would be your best value, unless you need HT or QS.



Wow. Yeah, those Celeron 847 boards are meant to be slightly better than an Atom, so not a huge surprise. The one I linked may (or may not) have been a bit better since it is 1.5GHz versus 1.1GHz and Ivy Bridge versus Sandy Bridge. I found a thread at SPCR forums where someone was estimating 45% better performance.

Of course a Pentium G2120 would trump both of those pretty easily.
I didn't even see the 2120 when I was shopping around. I probably would have spent the extra $20 and purchased that instead of the G1620. Intel has too many damn processors.

So that is what I have incoming on Monday. I'll throw it together in the afternoon and post the results back. Assassin lists the G1620 in his HTPC server guides as being ok for basic Plex transcoding. All I really need is one stream at a time so if it can do that I'll keep it. If not, then back to Amazon for an exchange.

I should have just bought an I3 and been done with it...
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Yeah, there's no way your Celeron would keep up with Plex.

That i3 that spencers recommended would be about where I would start.

Plex's ability to transcode in real time is not a simple calculation. 2 SD DVD streams for SD playback will be easy for any modern dual core but transcoding a 1080p BR rip for HD output on your Roku will challenge most anything short of a good AMD quad core or i3. That G1620 should work fine, though.

I haven't really noticed any integrated solutions that I would recommend for media server usage.
 
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frowertr

Golden Member
Apr 17, 2010
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smitbret,

Yeah, I am hoping the 1620 works so I don't have to mess with a return. I ended up keeping the embedded Celeron board as I can use it in an office build at my business.

I'll report back with the results.
 

frowertr

Golden Member
Apr 17, 2010
1,369
29
91
Just wanted to update with results. I ended up putting an i3-3220 into the server. I already had one in my HTPC in my living room that really was "overkill" for a simple client so I took the i3 out of it and put it in the server. I then put the Celeron 1620 that I had originally purchased for the server into the HTPC.

Very happy with the results. I should have listened to all you guys first and avoided all the swapping CPU nonsense. But in the end, I can transcode Plex to multiple clients and once so I am very happy.

Thanks for the help!
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Just wanted to update with results. I ended up putting an i3-3220 into the server. I already had one in my HTPC in my living room that really was "overkill" for a simple client so I took the i3 out of it and put it in the server. I then put the Celeron 1620 that I had originally purchased for the server into the HTPC.

Very happy with the results. I should have listened to all you guys first and avoided all the swapping CPU nonsense. But in the end, I can transcode Plex to multiple clients and once so I am very happy.

Thanks for the help!
Excellent, I'm glad you didn't make the common mistake of underpowering your media server. There are fewer things more frustrating than the skipping an jumping you get with too much transcode and not enough CPU and then having to drop more $ or live with it.
 

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