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Feedback on a Plex Media server build

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March 17, 2014 4:15:47 PM

Ive got a massive dvd collection that Im looking to backup and then stream via Plex. I am new to PC building, and do not understand exactly what and where my limitations are in building a system for something like this. All the same, here is my first draft on a possible build:

Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor

ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
Avexir Platinum 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1333 Memory
Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Western Digital Red 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
Lian-Li PC-A75WX ATX Full Tower Case
SeaSonic 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply
Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer
Microsoft Windows 8 Professional (OEM) (64-bit)

I'm looking to make some cuts, as the final price is a bit above my budget as well. However, Im not sure what I can cut or what to replace it with.

I will be streaming to 4 devices at once max. 2 will be Roku players, 1 is my main TV (which is right by where my system is so a direct hook up is likely), and another is a Nexus 10 tablet. I know that I may need to add a wireless network card later for all of that but Im just trying to get the right initial components at first, and will just play on my main TV at first and add the rest later. Thus, Ive only included 1 3tb hard drive ( i have another I can use, and will be adding 2-4 more soon, and wanted the extra expansion space that the case provides for future expansion).

So far the prices are:

i5 is 229.99
ASrock is 126
RAM is 150
SSD is 85
Case is 215
Power Supply is 150
Optical is 59
OP is 143

Looking to get this down to about a thousand dollars, hopefully in a way that wont kill the over all capability of this machine. What do you guys think?

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March 17, 2014 4:40:44 PM

Hello My Name Is Ryan,

I would first recommend reducing the RAM from 16GB to 8GB and dropping down to a 500W power supply range, that should shave $75-125 of your cost right there.
Your choice of chassis maybe should be reconsidered, as it is ~20% of your cost right now, and overkill given the hardware you have chosen. It does have a TON of room for expandability, so you will have to decide your needs, but you could honestly shave another $50-100 from your cost by choosing a different chassis.
Best of luck to you in your build!
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March 17, 2014 4:55:57 PM

fricklesmn said:
Hello My Name Is Ryan,

I would first recommend reducing the RAM from 16GB to 8GB and dropping down to a 500W power supply range, that should shave $75-125 of your cost right there.
Your choice of chassis maybe should be reconsidered, as it is ~20% of your cost right now, and overkill given the hardware you have chosen. It does have a TON of room for expandability, so you will have to decide your needs, but you could honestly shave another $50-100 from your cost by choosing a different chassis.
Best of luck to you in your build!


I dropped to Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory, and Silverstone Strider Plus 500W 80+ Bronze Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply. Price is now at $2200 after shipping (roughly).

Thanks for the advice! Looking into cases now. I really want room for future expansion, but I am not locked into this case necessarily.
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March 17, 2014 5:09:38 PM

Just an update to help in your search for cases...Your chosen motherboard only has 8 SATA ports, and with 1 occupied by the Optical drive, you are limited to 6 hard drives maximum plus your SSD. That is, without using a PCI-e SATA card. So maybe choose a case based on that detail. Good Luck!
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March 17, 2014 5:45:35 PM

fricklesmn said:
Just an update to help in your search for cases...Your chosen motherboard only has 8 SATA ports, and with 1 occupied by the Optical drive, you are limited to 6 hard drives maximum plus your SSD. That is, without using a PCI-e SATA card. So maybe choose a case based on that detail. Good Luck!


Good point. I am also changing my case to a Fractal Design
Define R4 w/Window. That brings my cost down to around 1040, within my budget. I will revisit my mobo and try and find something with more sata ports.
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April 4, 2014 7:55:02 AM

Here is what I built - All prices are from Amazon on about 3/31/2014:

Assumptions:
- Will install OS via USB drive or temporarily hook up a DVD drive.
- Will temporarily hook up a monitor, then access remotely via something like Chrome remote desktop.
- Use some form of UNIX.
- Will use a free media server software like Plex.
- Using a NAS for media storage, or onboard SATA raid.

$46.98 - Corsiar CX 430
$43.49 - Crucial 4GB (2Gbx2) DDR3 1333 Ram
$139.99 - AMD FX-8320 (8 core)
$40.79 (with $10 rebate) - ASUS M5A78L-M LX Plus motherboard
$74.99 - Crucial M500 120GB SSD (for OS)
$5.00 - Milk Crate
total = $351.24
* Additional media storage drive costs will vary depending on how much storage you need.

I used Windows 7 Home, but a cheaper option would be Windows Home Server for like $62 if you need a windows option.

Most of the forums recommend using Intel hardware, but AMD is so much cheaper and most people say having enough cores is key. This AMD chip has a much higher TWP (like 145 vs like 85ish for intel 4550K), but it costs less than half as much. Also, you get 8 cores instead of 4 cores hyper threaded. I have been using milk creates for litecoin rigs for a while now and they work great for a server that is going to sit in your basement out of sight. They allow great air flow/component access and are really cheap. I use a KVM switch between my 2 litecoin rigs and 1 Plex media server so I only need one monitor.

With this setup, I've been able to stream through my Roku 3, as well as to various Android and iOS devices simultaneously. Have not yet experienced any stuttering, even with transcoding a 25+GB blu ray file (in MKV format).

Hope this helps.
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