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Plex server - Which to choose?

Best plex server option

  • Add m.2 nvme to PC

  • NAS device

  • Seperate PC build

  • Other - Specify in comments


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LouisABC

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Hi carb people

So it's simple, wanna run a plex server and options are as follow:

1. Buy a 2Tb m.2 NVME, add to my PC and use that and PC as plex server
2. Synology DS220j or DS220+ and add HDDs as needed
3. Separate PC build
4. Other, please recommend

Some note:
a. 2Tb should be more than enough for next couple of years and more than happy to delete and redownload. Also mostly movies, hardly any tv shows if at all;
b. No hardware transcoding needed as end devices can play just fine
c. PC is on 24/7

Thanx
 

mikewazar

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don't bother with an SSD other than for maybe /boot and transcoding tmp dir

budget?
 

heavySoul

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Agree ssd just for boot, so no real plex benefit. You don't need much to run plex effectively. So if you have an always on pc just use that.

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vinodh

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I have a Mac Mini that runs Plex server. It’s small and very quiet. Storage can be added via internal upgrades or via USB. When it eventually doesn’t get support for the latest version of macOS, I’ll move it to Ubuntu (tested it already) or something similar and keep on running it.
 

Shaun_Rib

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Option 1 without the need of any m.2 NVME's, external drives will even do the trick. However if you worried about clutter then an internal 2TB drive will be sufficient to store the media. (y)
 

Jack_Bauer_ZA

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I use an old Dell t20 mini server. Was bought dirt cheap here on carb. I just replaced the 290w psu with an old 500w psu i had laying around. 120gb ssd for windows 11 and plex. Use this when i have to work from home as workstation and i watch youtube etc on it. i5 4460 with 8gb ram and it works great. If you want to stream to more than 1 device, it is better to use a separate pc than your gaming pc.
 

dash09

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Depending on the size of your library an ssd could be used for metadata, but realistically a normal hdd will be fine. I've used ssd and hdd and honestly the cheaper option works without issues.
I currently use a dedicated pc for plex/steam downloads. Old 4th gen i3. I have also used a prebuilt tiny form factor. These are more energy efficient compared to having my main pc with its gpu running all the time.

To reduce clutter my media pc isn't connected to a display or has any peripherals. I have spacedesk installed on it so I can just control it from any of my other devices. Media pc drives are also mapped on my other machines for when I need to transfer games and stuff. Maybe consider this as well
 

animehero

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I used to run a raspberry pi 3b + with a 4tb drive attached. Worked pretty well but wasn't aesthetically pleasing.

I would actually just go with a separate pc build and run docker on there
 

WernerC

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I'm running plex from a Qnap Nas. Works perfectly and the best part is that it pulls 50w at the wall under load with two drives, so very power efficient.
 

gavin286

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I have an i3 NUC with SSD for Win, and 2 ext drives for the data. Granted its under powered to transcode 4k, but it serves its purpose and also runs my Home Assistant instance on Hyper V. Always on and uses min power. Sorted!
 

LouisABC

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Option 1 without the need of any m.2 NVME's, external drives will even do the trick. However if you worried about clutter then an internal 2TB drive will be sufficient to store the media. (y)
Internal HDD is also clutter, PSU cable, data cable.

Hence the m.2 route. Happy to pay that, for no clutter. I have a very clean ITX build. If I wanted clutter, would have gone ATX with some unicorn puke :p

I have considered external, however my headphones and mouse and keyboard is wireless, so only screen and power cable, so that is also clutter.

So fully aware no benefit for plex having such a drive, but it's main purposes is to remove clutter.

Budget, as little as possible, but rather say my aimed storage requirement is 1Tb to 2Tb.


To reduce clutter my media pc isn't connected to a display or has any peripherals. I have spacedesk installed on it so I can just control it from any of my other devices. Media pc drives are also mapped on my other machines for when I need to transfer games and stuff. Maybe consider this as well
This seems like an good idea as well.

And as oom Jack mentioned, maybe be on the lookout for a cheap Dell SFF on carb to do this. I might have some cupboard space where I can hide it.


So seems like most has some kind of cheap PC, rasberry PI and few with NAS.

Think my deciding question would be the following. Transcoding, is this only relevant when the playing device is not powered enough in order to play directly, thus the server must transcode, for which you need a beefy spec to play say 4k, am I understanding it correctly?

Thanx for all the inputs so far, much appreciated.
 
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Shaun_Rib

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Internal HDD is also clutter, PSU cable, data cable.

Hence the m.2 route. Happy to pay that, for no clutter. I have a very clean ITX build. If I wanted clutter, would have gone ATX with some unicorn puke :p

I have considered external, however my headphones and mouse and keyboard is wireless, so only screen and power cable, so that is also clutter.

So fully aware no benefit for plex having such a drive, but it's main purposes is to remove clutter.

Budget, as little as possible, but rather say my aimed storage requirement is 1Tb to 2Tb.
Lol I get you bud. And yeah sorry I wasn't aware that you have an ITX build so cable management could be untidy with a standard HDD.

But yes I guess it comes down to what your budget can afford ;)
 

LouisABC

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Lol I get you bud. And yeah sorry I wasn't aware that you have an ITX build so cable management could be untidy with a standard HDD.

But yes I guess it comes down to what your budget can afford ;)

You should see the build, is lovely! But it is also important in doing this plex server to build it smart. M.2 is costly.

For some odd reason, I am leaning toward a 1Tb/2tb M.2 or maybe do the Synology ds220j and 2 1Tb HDDs to start off with. My devices mostly directplay, so transcoding from the plex server won't bug me.
 

Shaun_Rib

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You should see the build, is lovely! But it is also important in doing this plex server to build it smart. M.2 is costly.

For some odd reason, I am leaning toward a 1Tb/2tb M.2 or maybe do the Synology ds220j and 2 1Tb HDDs to start off with. My devices mostly directplay, so transcoding from the plex server won't bug me.
M.2 would be the easiest, quickest and cleanest route I guess, but at the same time complete overkill in terms of price and and what it offers to be used mainly as storage drive.

Synology DS220J might be the cheaper option depending if you can get your hands on a 2TB M.2 at a steal.
 

TheFieryLord

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Depends on your needs. If you plan to serve to multiple users, an always on, secondary, power efficient server is best. While RAID is great, most NAS devices are pretty limited when it comes to specs and have limited upgrade paths and if you need transcoding, you'll have to look into something more powerful (depending on res). Plex can run on pretty much anything depending on what you're trying to use it for. I've been hosting quite a large Plex library (amongst other things) for friends and family off a RPI4 4GB with 2 x 8 TB USB drives for almost a year with no issues, only downside with my setup is transcoding is virtually unusable. I could deploy more powerful hardware but the power efficiency of the RPI4 are just too good to ignore.
 

hazelbag

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You can also look at an Unraid build, I built mine recently and it's great. I can also run VMs on it and a bunch of other stuff.

Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk
 

Gnarls

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You can also look at an Unraid build, I built mine recently and it's great. I can also run VMs on it and a bunch of other stuff.

Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk

Old Phenom and 12 TB in my Unraid server. Great success!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

hazelbag

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Old Phenom and 12 TB in my Unraid server. Great success!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
It's really great and the addition of Docker also makes it a plus

Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk
 

Zyetta

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I used to run a raspberry pi 3b + with a 4tb drive attached. Worked pretty well but wasn't aesthetically pleasing.
I did this as well. Low power consumption, and you can print a bracket to mount everything under your desk. That + a docker stack running sonarr, radarr, etc. It was a nice reliable, automated media device for low capacity data.
 

AndyPants

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Please help a noob out here - what do I get for free on Plex and what do I get when I pay? (why would I want to pay?)

If the free option won't suffice - I see there are a few tiers/payment options - which payment route would you recommend?
 

Kill Switch

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I have been running plex server for ±5 years ,server runs on i3 NUC, data on seperate NAS.
I have not needed to get the plex pass for any of my needs.
Currently stream to 2 MI Boxes and a PS3, Can stream via VLC where OS limitation exist.
 
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yourang

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I just build cheapie with celeron and mining boards which was cheap before the boom, celeron G3930 does 10bit HEVC hardware encoding servered my network 4k content without issue. Upgraded to I3 7100t because was like R600 bucks.
 

AndyPants

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I have been running plex server for ±5 years ,server runs on i3 NUC, data on seperate NAS.
I have not needed to get the plex pass for any on my needs.
Currently stream to 2 MI Boxes and a PS3, Can stream via VLC where OS limitation exist.
Do I need to buy the Plex Android app for to be able to see my server on the Mi Box?
I have the app in trail mode and can't see my the media on my server
 

Spaffy

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I use an old thin client for my Plex PC. 6 devices have access to it. Stays on 24/7 and uses max 19w.
Doesn't do hardware encoding though but I do stream via VLC if needed.
The thin client is tiny and hidden away, I teamviewer in when I update my playlist.
 

iamgigglz

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Spend the money on a NAS and run Plex server either on that or on your PC. The benefits of a good NAS go far beyond just storing movies.

I have a Qnap 4 bay NAS for storage and a 4th gen i3 NUC running the Plex server...and Sonarr, Radarr, torrent client, Unifi Controller, AWS backup software and a VirtualBox running Home assistant...
 

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