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Linux/Plex File/Media Server

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July 24, 2012 12:04:27 AM

Hello!

I'm about to build a Linux File/Media Server running Plex Media Server.
The goal is to keep it small, silent and enough power to transcode and stream video to 1 or more users in Plex.
Only needs in the graphics department is that it can actually output video, so that I can connect a screen to it in case network issues stops me from accessing it (will run headless).

I've tried to keep it cost-effective, but as I'm Norwegian it's a little difficult to tell you a budget in $.
The value differences should be comparable though, so views from a US standpoint should still be valid :) 
As such the prices I put up are from Newegg, where applicable.

Case: LIAN LI PC-Q08 - $109.99
PSU: Seasonic X-400 - $129.99
Motherboard: ASUS P8H77-I - $109.99
CPU: Core i5-3470 - $204.99
CPU Cooler: Scythe SAMURAI-ZZ - $34.99
Memory: Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600MHz 2x2GB - Can't find these on Newegg, but price is negligible.
Storage: 6x Western Digital 2TB Green in Raid 5 - $479.96 (that's the price of 4, I already own two of these).
Drive for OS: OCZ 60GB SSD Vertex 3 (Will use the 5'25" bay for this one) - $69.99

Any thoughts?

Two questions:
- The Asus motherboard has 2x SATA 6Gb/s and 4x 3Gb/s, anyone know if running a raid 5 across all 6 will be a problem?
- The Scythe SAMURAI-ZZ is listed as being LGA1156 compatible, but should also work with LGA1155, right?

Thank you! :) 
July 24, 2012 10:26:53 AM

Can't edit that first post it seems, but found out that the cooler should be ok.
A flaw I found in my setup though is that I calculated with 7 drives (including the SSD), which will be impossible. Not sure what to do about that yet.
July 24, 2012 12:34:12 PM

Another ITX case that has gotten very good reviews is the Bitfenix Prodigy. Bit cheaper than the Lian LI case.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

These Seagate Barracuda drives are faster and cost less, same capacity. The energy savings from green drives are negligible, not worth the performance drop.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You can buy a dedicated RAID card, that will add more SATA ports to the build.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But then you run into the problem of only having one PCI slot, so with this card you cant put in a GPU. This is practically unavoidable since your after a mini-ITX form factor. Only thing I can suggest is getting a mini-ATX board and case, or getting fewer 3TB drives so the RAID card is unnecessary.

Unfortunately the price jump from 2 to 3TB is a lot bigger than 1 to 2TB. Its an extra $40 a drive (which is kind of offset by getting less of them, so it may be worth it.)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The PSU seems to be a bit weak to me, 7 drives, Ivy Bridge CPU, a GPU on 400W is cutting it fine. A 550W unit should be perfect. This also solves the problem of not enough power SATA cables (that one only had 5). Its also modular which will be essential in a Mini-ITX case. Unfortunately it isnt 80+ Gold, but around this wattage you cant get much better than Bronze.

CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX550M. $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Vertex 3 is a bit old now and has been replaced by the Vertex 4. Its much faster and much more reliable. Only $5 more. Just remember to upgrade the firmware before putting anything on it.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If its just a video out you need, the integrated graphics on the CPU should be fine. The motherboard supports all the standard ports, HDMI, VGA and DL-DVI.


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July 24, 2012 1:09:42 PM

Thanks for the reply and the very constructive input, very helpful :) 
I'm still thinking about what to do about the HDD situation... Might just go for a 5x 2TB setup (8TB should be plenty for now anyway). 2TB would be a lot cheaper since I already own two of them.

Will take your advice on the PSU, thanks.

As for the SSD, the Vertex 3 was the cheapest I could find. Not really sure if I will benefit much from a SSD in a Linux server setup though?
Maybe a solution would be to just install the 6 WD greens and install the OS directly on the raid drives?
I do prefer a seperate drive for OS, but might have to do a compromise.
July 24, 2012 1:18:38 PM

If the machine will be on 24/7 (Which I assume it would be), you wont see much of the benefit of SSD's. Though anything installed to it will operate smoother and faster.

Just make an OS partition on one of the HDD's, it will then treat that little slice of storage as a whole separate drive.

Dont get green drives, they are more expensive while being slower by design than proper 7200RPM drives. If the HDD's you have already are green, these one's not being wont matter, it will still work.

(just realized I answered your question upside down, heh).

July 24, 2012 1:23:14 PM

from what i understand the WD greens arent typically great performers in a server setting. i would go with either the Seagate drives manofchalk recommended or if you like WD, Tom's just did a review of their new Red series drives specifically for NAS/Server settings. If you don't like those particular drives the article still has some useful charts to compare your drives to others that would work in your setting.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/red-wd20efrx-wd30ef...
July 24, 2012 3:04:02 PM

::EDIT:: Ended up upping my budget and buy 6x Seagate 2TB :p  The PSU I ended up with was Seasonic's X-560, which is also gold rated. Now looking forward to getting all the parts and putting them together :) 
Thanks for all the help and advice!
------------------------------------------------------------

Ok, think I might take your advice and buy 4 Seagates with an OS partition.
I heard bad things about WD Greens in Raid as well, so I guess it might be a good idea.
If/when the WDG's fail I can just swap them for more Seagates.
Checked the pricing for the Barracudas, they actually cost a little more than the WDG's here, but less than $5 difference, so no problem really.

Thanks for the link carowden, will read it when I get home from work :) 

By the way, Raid 5 across the two 6Gb/s and four 3Gb/s should be no problem, right?
Never owned a SATA3 mobo before.
!