Author Topic: Mini ITX (Plex) Server Build help/pointers needed  (Read 225 times)

Jdot18

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Mini ITX (Plex) Server Build help/pointers needed
« on: October 22, 2018, 10:38:49 AM »
Hi, Iím currently running Plex Media server on my main PC which is currently located in my bedroom. The issue with this setup is the PC needs to always be on and subsequently generates a lot of heat and noise which isn't ideal. I've looked into upgrading my NAS but none of them seem to be powerful enough for transcoding. I recently upgraded my router to the new Netgear X10 but yet again, the specs are underwhelming. Which brings me to you guys. I'd like to build a box that will be located outside my room next to my router specifically to run Plex on it. In terms of specs this is what I'm looking for. What would you recommend?

The smallest form factor, the better!!

CPU: ideally anything equivalent or superior to intel core i5 will do (I have a lot of 4k content as well as 10 to 15 people regularly accessing my library which often requires simultaneous trans-coding operations)

Memory: 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 should be enough

SSD hard drive for speed and noise levels. Don't need much space as all my data is on my NAS/external HDD

Networking. This is where I'm having difficulties. Can't seem to find any SSF cases or motherboard with this type of config on any of the Mini Pc build website ive visited but in this order of preference (bear in mind the x10 has link aggregation ability and a 10gbe SFP+ port which ive connected my NAS onto. I could tweak the setup depending on which NIC i get) :
1.   Dual 10GbE Ethernet port (RJ45).
2.   Dual Gigabit Ethernet port (RJ45)
3.   Single 10gbe Ethernet port (RJ45)
4.   10 Gbe SFP+ port

Display: I won't be connecting a monitor for most part, probably just for windows and Plex installs. Therefore, a high-end graphic card isn't required.

Also, as the device will always be on, what should I look for in terms of cooling system?

Thanks a lot.

Ari Altman

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Re: Mini ITX (Plex) Server Build help/pointers needed
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2018, 02:47:40 PM »
Welcome to the Forum, Jdot18!

As is often the case, you can't have everything, and I think you'll need to give up a bit of the networking connectivity to get a better PC. While there are a handful of Intel-based Gigabyte ITX boards with dual 1GbE NICs, everything else will just have a single 1GbE NIC (10GbE isn't available yet on anything but ultra-premium ATX motherboards at $400+). And for your purposes, an AMD system is really better than Intel.

If you absolutely value dual NICs over everything else, the Gigabyte H370N WiFi has them, but spec'ing out an Intel system with it is hard today due to Intel's production shortages. I'd instead recommend you check out the $1,000 Ultra-Slim ITX Gaming HTPC, and make a couple of downgrades since you won't be gaming on it.

Drop down from the GTX 1050 Ti to the GeForce GT 1030 video card for video output. It still has the benefit of true 4K/60Hz output, which might be nice given that you're dealing in 4K content.

Note that in terms of RAM, you are a little behind in terms of standards. DDR3 is not used in modern systems, but rather DDR4, and you can't buy DDR4 in sticks smaller than 4GB. For performance reasons, you don't want to run a single stick, so a 2x4GB DDR4 setup is what you should be aiming for. So just pick the 2x4GB version of the 2x8GB kit listed in the guide.

AMD's standard 55mm-tall cooler is quite a bit better than Intel's standard 47mm-tall cooler. You can just stick with it for 24/7 operation. Someday you could upgrade to a Noctua model for lower noise, depending on the case you choose, like the Noctua NH-L9x65-SE AM4.

Your SSD should be a small, fast PCIe model, like the XPG SX8200 240GB.