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Any disadvantages to building AMD FX based home server?

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GatorChamp

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2009
So I have been playing with the idea of building a local server to store documents, pictures, audio files and movies. I've recently started playing around with PLEX and I really like it. The ability to stream local content to my Fire Stick is awesome. Also the UI is amazing. Outside of the normal reasons for having a server to back your stuff up - I like the idea of not have to keep my main rig on all the time. It does a good job of warming the room up. So having something that was lower power draw and lower heat is appealing.

I'm asking about AMD because I currently have a an EVGA PS, and ASROCK N68C-GS FX Mobo and 4gigs of DDR3 1800 lying around. Also have a 750gb WD black I am not using. I was planning to grab a case and another 750gb WD black to run in RAID1. But I am also in need of getting a CPU. Ideally low power draw and heat is what I want but I am not sure the type of performance the chip should be capable of. I imagine the most taxing thing I will ask my server to do is stream 1080p content and maybe 4k down the road.

At this point I'm planning to run Ethernet to the server. Anyway, I was thinking two options on the server for the CPU. 1) Buy an FX4300 to put in the server or option 2) take my Phenom II 955 out of my wife's computer and use that.

Ill need to get a GPU also but have not started researching that yet - imagine that will be straight forward...

Thanks in advance.
 
Last edited:

Bluefalcon13

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
The biggest disadvantage I can think of would be the power draw. An 8xxx can transcode the videos quickly enough, but heat and noise would be a concern to me. Granted I'm not super knowledgeable about these things, particularly video transcoding and Plex, but from my limited knowledge (running a Plex server on a raspberry pi) there is some transcoding to be done.

 

DaveB

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2000
I like the idea of not have to keep my main rig on all the time. It does a good job of warming the room up. So having something that was lower power draw and lower heat is appealing.

While it is well suited for the task, an AMD FX CPU will also do "a good job of warming the room up".
 
OP
GatorChamp

GatorChamp

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2009
The biggest disadvantage I can think of would be the power draw. An 8xxx can transcode the videos quickly enough, but heat and noise would be a concern to me. Granted I'm not super knowledgeable about these things, particularly video transcoding and Plex, but from my limited knowledge (running a Plex server on a raspberry pi) there is some transcoding to be done.

I've done more research since writing this initial post and yes, there is transcoding done in PLEX. I know an 8xxx can transcode it without issue but i wont be using that. Ill either be using a 4300 or the 955. The heat from the 8xxx would be way to much. The 4300 is only 95w vs the 125w on my 8350. Still, that's pretty high, considering an i3 6xxx is running around 50 I think.

While it is well suited for the task, an AMD FX CPU will also do "a good job of warming the room up".
I guess my only other option would be to look at athlon if I wanted lower power draw. At best the 955 is going to be 95w which is the same as the 4300. There are two 955s one runs at 125 and the other at 95. Not sure which version I have off hand.

Kind of sounds like I'm running a warmer CPU or an Athlon if I stay with this socket.
 

Bluefalcon13

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
One idea would be to pickup an FX-8320e. It's rated at 95W. I never ran mine at stock very long, so I couldn't give you any insight on how much heat it generates with stock clocks and power saving features on.

 

ssjwizard

Has slightly less legible writing than Thideras
Joined
Mar 12, 2002
The FX chips have better power management and idle state control. If you wont be streaming to more than say 2 devices at 1080P the FX4xxx or the PII955 should be sufficient. Given that the system will probably be idle a majority of the time Id say that the power costs should be minimal, but the FX is better at power management if that is a major concern.
 

Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
if you encode your videos correctly for plex you do not have to worry about on the fly trans-coding and can direct play them. This allows for a very low power system to perform well without a lot of processing power.
 
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GatorChamp

GatorChamp

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2009
The FX chips have better power management and idle state control. If you wont be streaming to more than say 2 devices at 1080P the FX4xxx or the PII955 should be sufficient. Given that the system will probably be idle a majority of the time Id say that the power costs should be minimal, but the FX is better at power management if that is a major concern.

Yeah, 1 maybe 2 is tops. What about the 4xxx handling 4k? I don't currently own a 4k screen but down the road... just begs the question.

Appreciate the input everyone. Think i'm looking to nab a 4300
 
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GatorChamp

GatorChamp

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2009
To be honest I'm not sure I know what you mean. Are you talking about when the file is created?
 

Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
Yes I am talking about when you either create or encode the file yourself.

I run all my video files through handbrake and encode them into an mp4 file with an h.264 codec. I use AAC audio and if I want surround sound encoded I run it as a sub track.


This will allow most devices to play the file directly from the server without have to require the server cpu to do any transcoding.
 

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
To be honest I'm not sure I know what you mean. Are you talking about when the file is created?
If you make the mp4 (or whatever your video container choice) to the resolution of your target device then plex will not have to change its resolution "on the fly" (as it plays) and you can get away with much less CPU.

For example: if your smart tv displays @ 1080p and your rig monitors @ 1440p plex will automatically change resolution to match the display. This eats CPU resources quickly. But if instead you create 2 copies of the same movie (1 @ 1080p and [email protected] 1440p) then plex will not have to transcode these "on the fly" and you will save CPU. The downside is you will need extra storage. So the question is... How many devices and what resolutions? :)
 

Bluefalcon13

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
Yes I am talking about when you either create or encode the file yourself.

I run all my video files through handbrake and encode them into an mp4 file with an h.264 codec. I use AAC audio and if I want surround sound encoded I run it as a sub track.


This will allow most devices to play the file directly from the server without have to require the server cpu to do any transcoding.
I was trying to run the CW website's streams from my RPi2, and it forced a transcoding event. So some plugins may require transcoding... Poor raspberry pi couldn't hang with it, even OC'd. Now it just crunches Seti for OCforums [emoji14]

 
OP
GatorChamp

GatorChamp

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2009
Yes I am talking about when you either create or encode the file yourself.

I run all my video files through handbrake and encode them into an mp4 file with an h.264 codec. I use AAC audio and if I want surround sound encoded I run it as a sub track.


This will allow most devices to play the file directly from the server without have to require the server cpu to do any transcoding.

Okay thanks - I thought that's what you meant.
 

Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
I agree that some devices will still require transcoding but that setup is pretty bog standard for most devices.
 
OP
GatorChamp

GatorChamp

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2009
If you make the mp4 (or whatever your video container choice) to the resolution of your target device then plex will not have to change its resolution "on the fly" (as it plays) and you can get away with much less CPU.

For example: if your smart tv displays @ 1080p and your rig monitors @ 1440p plex will automatically change resolution to match the display. This eats CPU resources quickly. But if instead you create 2 copies of the same movie (1 @ 1080p and [email protected] 1440p) then plex will not have to transcode these "on the fly" and you will save CPU. The downside is you will need extra storage. So the question is... How many devices and what resolutions? :)

Awesome - thanks for clarifying. This is good to know. They only need to run at 1080. Don't really watch movies on my computer.
 

Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
If you encode say a 720 movie at 720 with handbrake and then tell plex to preserve the resolution it will play at 720 on the device instead of trying to encode up to 1080 and will not have a cpu hit to try and transcode it. I do not see a benefit from trying to upconvert a 720 movie to 1080.
 

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Awesome - thanks for clarifying. This is good to know. They only need to run at 1080. Don't really watch movies on my computer.
Video encoding can be a pretty deep subject depending on what your goals are. Lochekey gave a good place to start though, and if you dont want to get real complicated then his advice will serve you well. H. 264/265 offers best compression and AAC has DVD quality sound. Ive run into some devices that stutter over h. 265 but play h. 264 just fine. Like i said it can be a deep subject ;)
 

ssjwizard

Has slightly less legible writing than Thideras
Joined
Mar 12, 2002
If you encode say a 720 movie at 720 with handbrake and then tell plex to preserve the resolution it will play at 720 on the device instead of trying to encode up to 1080 and will not have a cpu hit to try and transcode it. I do not see a benefit from trying to upconvert a 720 movie to 1080.

Most modern players can do the upconvert on the client side anyway so why waste resources on that. I only transcode from my server if the stored file format is incompatible with the requesting device.