Minimum requirements for a Linux Mini PC running Plex Media Server fluidly

server-linux

#1

I'm looking for hardware requirements to build a "cheap" home PC able to fluidly run a Plex Media Server.
I need to stream typically a single stream 4K x265, occasionally 2 (probably not both 4K but 1080p).
My Samsung TV (Tizen) currently supports x265/HVEC streaming so transcoding isn't mandatory but it would probably be useful in the near future.

I'm temporarily using a RaspberryPi2 with OSMC but it is definitely limited, navigating menus, changing audio/subtitles and moving forward/backward is very slow and it often crashes or makes subtitles out of sync.

I would prefer an Intel processor (no Arm), what hardware would you suggest?
An Intel Atom x5-Z8350 or an Intel Celeron N4200 could be enough or it could be need something more powerful like an intel i3/i5? In case, which generation you suggest?

Thanks in advance to all who will help.


#2

If you want/need HEVC HDR decoding at any point along the way, the Atom won’t do it. That specific Atom does not have Intel QSV (Quick Sync Video).
Without it, you’ll melt the silicon trying to decode HEVC HDR.

Whatever you choose (NUC is fine) but prepare yourself for a 7th generation (-7xxx) class machine. It’s the first which can decode 4K HEVC HDR in hardware. For as fast as it is, it can’t do it in software so hardware is your only choice for any usage case where DirectPlay does not apply.


#3

@ChuckPA said:
If you want/need HEVC HDR decoding at any point along the way, the Atom won’t do it. That specific Atom does not have Intel QSV (Quick Sync Video).
Without it, you’ll melt the silicon trying to decode HEVC HDR.

Whatever you choose (NUC is fine) but prepare yourself for a 7th generation (-7xxx) class machine. It’s the first which can decode 4K HEVC HDR in hardware. For as fast as it is, it can’t do it in software so hardware is your only choice for any usage case where DirectPlay does not apply.

Thanks for your quick response and sorry for the delay of mine.
Putting 4K HVEC HDR transcoding aside for a moment, what hardware would you suggest (best performance/price ratio) to get a flawless experience with PMS?
Given that 4K HVEC HDR codec is currently supported by my TV I’m afraid setting up a device ready for it now would eventually leave me with an obsolete hardware when “HVEC 2” (or whatever name will wave HVEC successor) will be released.


#4

HEVC (High Efficiency Video Codec) is here… That’s the encoding.
HDMI (the video interface) is what’s changing. 1080P is HDMI 1.4. HDMI 2.0 gives us basic 4K HDMI 2.0b gives us the fuller color range of HDR (10 bit) in 4K. We’ll probably have HDMI 3.0 for 4320p (8K) but that’s several years off until we actually see content mastered at that resolution.

If your media is 1080P resolution. Any Intel NUC of the -5xxx class can handle it. Obviously if you get an i7-5xxx you can handle a few as a server.

Price/performance comparisons are too subjective. I don’t know what you have. Knowing my media library, which are all full BluRay rips (30+ GB files), the i7-6700 works for me and an serve up 4 simultaneous streams of 4K without breaking a sweat. (4K -> 1080P transcoding in hardware).

Does this help?


#5

Well it seems like a 400-500$ hardware minimum is needed after all.
How much ram is needed on your setup?


#6

Some of the user community got together and documented setting up an Intel NUC with Linux.

The How-To is at the top of this forum, complete with parts list.

https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/304038/guide-plex-media-server-with-intel-nuc-and-ubuntu-16-04-lts

#7

Thanks! That topic will be very useful.
How important is disk space?
I currently can get a nuc7i5 + optane 32gb at the same price of the single barbone nuc7i5.
Is a 200gb+ ssd mandatory?

Sorry for the many questions!


#8

That’s cache, not storage.

Optane Memory debuts as a caching drive that can—at times—make a hard drive competitive with even the fastest SSDs.


#9

As far i know it can be used as boot device and contain an OS, so it can be used as a “small” SSD.
But I could be wrong…


#10

Ok, I were wrong: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000024061/mini-pcs/intel-nuc-kits.html
Intel Optanes can be used only used as cache as you wrote.


#11

One more question regarding the components suggested in https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/304038/guide-plex-media-server-with-intel-nuc-and-ubuntu-16-04-lts

Can Crucial CT2K8G4SFS824A be used instead of Crucial CT2K8G4SFS8213? It should be the same model but with 2400MT/s instead of 2133MT/s


#12

@Zoff said:
One more question regarding the components suggested in https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/304038/guide-plex-media-server-with-intel-nuc-and-ubuntu-16-04-lts

Can Crucial CT2K8G4SFS824A be used instead of Crucial CT2K8G4SFS8213? It should be the same model but with 2400MT/s instead of 2133MT/s

You need to ask @grogster . Downgrading memory specs can have some very detrimental impact on performance. If too slow, it may not even boot