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Dedicated PLEX media server - Need Plex Gurus


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I will be building this new Plex server over time but at the moment I only just ordered the case... it will have 5 hot swappable bays installed on each side for 10 drives. I'm thinking of going with no less than 4TB drives (RAID of course). I was also thinking of using (2) SSDs in RAID 1 for the O/S and temp folder although I may end up using a ram drive for the Plex temp/working folder.

 

SilverStone Technology RM41-506 4U Rackmount Server Case with 5.25" 6-Bay and USB 3.1 Gen 1 (SST-RM41-506) de5249aff352.png

Background:

Before I can order the rest of the parts, I need some assistance from the community first as I've been reading a lot of information but the more I read the more conflicting information I discover. The Plex website doesn't have a lot of detail on this either. I currently have my Plex server, 2TB VHD, running on my ESXi server. It works great for 1080p content but buffers constantly with 4K content. It is not a network bottleneck issue as I have a 10G network. From what I can gather it means a couple things:

 

(1) My CPU is not fast enough and doesn't have Quicksync

(2) I should be transcoding with a GPU not a CPU for the best performance

 

I started looking into GPU passthrough on ESXi and decided to just build a dedicated server for Plex.. I have a GoPro HERO 5 black which can record at 4K/60 so 2TB is not going to last me very long anyway... time to do this the right way... time to build a new server.

 

 

------------------------------

 

So my first question is:

<Q.> Can a GPU installed in a server (assuming I have the correct GPU) transcode video for playback over the network? Video will NEVER be viewed directly on the server and only streamed/transcoded over the network.

 

I have seen a lot of people say that a GPU only benefits the transcoding if you are actually viewing the video on the computer that the GPU is installed in. I would like to set the record straight on this. I also read that some people are using a Quadro card (or a hacked GTX) for Plex streaming..

 

1. And if the GPU is being used, does the CPU even matter anymore? (I don't think so but will ask)

 

2. And if the GPU is being used, does it even matter if the CPU has Quicksync or not? (Do they work together? I don't think so but will ask)

 

3. I know a GTX 960 has a 10-bit decoder built in but is this GPU fast enough for 4K/60 transcoding? Would I need Pascal or higher?

 

------------------------------

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

Edited by Laithan
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They released a patch for it today: https://forums.plex.tv/t/security-regarding-ssdp-reflection-amplification-ddos/687162

Sorry for the delays, been a bit focused on other things.. I took these pics a while back but never got around to posting them. I added the 2 additional fans to the back which at the time it was durin

Merry Christmas

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I will be building this new Plex server over time but at the moment I only just ordered the case... it will have 5 hot swappable bays installed on each side for 10 drives. I'm thinking of going with no less than 4TB drives (RAID of course). I was also thinking of using (2) SSDs in RAID 1 for the O/S and temp folder although I may end up using a ram drive for the Plex temp/working folder.

 

SilverStone Technology RM41-506 4U Rackmount Server Case with 5.25" 6-Bay and USB 3.1 Gen 1 (SST-RM41-506) de5249aff352.png

Background:

Before I can order the rest of the parts, I need some assistance from the community first as I've been reading a lot of information but the more I read the more conflicting information I discover. The Plex website doesn't have a lot of detail on this either. I currently have my Plex server, 2TB VHD, running on my ESXi server. It works great for 1080p content but buffers constantly with 4K content. It is not a network bottleneck issue as I have a 10G network. From what I can gather it means a couple things:

 

(1) My CPU is not fast enough and doesn't have Quicksync

(2) I should be transcoding with a GPU not a CPU for the best performance

 

I started looking into GPU passthrough on ESXi and decided to just build a dedicated server for Plex.. I have a GoPro HERO 5 black which can record at 4K/60 so 2TB is not going to last me very long anyway... time to do this the right way... time to build a new server.

 

 

------------------------------

 

So my first question is:

<Q.> Can a GPU installed in a server (assuming I have the correct GPU) transcode video for playback over the network? Video will NEVER be viewed directly on the server and only streamed/transcoded over the network.

 

I have seen a lot of people say that a GPU only benefits the transcoding if you are actually viewing the video on the computer that the GPU is installed in. I would like to set the record straight on this. I also read that some people are using a Quadro card (or a hacked GTX) for Plex streaming..

 

1. And if the GPU is being used, does the CPU even matter anymore? (I don't think so but will ask)

 

2. And if the GPU is being used, does it even matter if the CPU has Quicksync or not? (Do they work together? I don't think so but will ask)

 

3. I know a GTX 960 has a 10-bit decoder built in but is this GPU fast enough for 4K/60 transcoding? Would I need Pascal or higher?

 

------------------------------

 

Thanks in advance

 

I run a Plex server and have for a few years now and I will tell you this. You do NOT need super fantastic hardware to get a Plex server running. I run my Plex Server on my Intel Skull trail NUC . The particular specs of my unit are as follows

 

CPU: i7-6670HQ (4C 8T @3.5Ghz Max)

RAM: 16GB (Ram is actually a very small factor for Plex)

 

As for the storage, I actually have all my content stored on my NAS. My Plex server pulls all the info it needs from my NAS, transcodes and pushes it out to wherever it has to go. This is all done over your standard 1G network. My NAS does have 10G but obviously the NIC in the NUC will be limited to 1G (Plus it makes absolutely no difference if you are sending info outward over your broadband that is not even capable of attaining those speeds which is most peoples bottleneck). What I can say is the information is pulled from my NAS that is in a RAID 0 Configuration with 7200RPM Seagate IronWolf Drives which is then further cached using 2TB SSD's for all those frequently used files. I cannot comment on how much benefit you get from the SSD caching in terms of Plex overall performance but I would hazard I guess not an awful lot unless you have loads of people watching the same content frequently. What I will say is fast storage is a must whether it be RAID 0 HDD's or the use of SSD's. If you are going to serve multiple streams concurrently, then fast storage is a big must IMHO. For latency it makes sense for your solution to have internal storage. I only serve through my NAS as I prefer a singular data source and a SFF solution.

 

You will notice my solution also has ZERO dedicated GPU's for transcoding assistance, all of it is done on the CPU and I am yet to have problems. Though that is not to say I do not recommend a GPU. If you can get a compatible GPU for transcoding then for sure get one as GPU's are obviously much better for that type of workload.

 

Most of my streams go over at 1080P but last time I tested a 4K Stream I did not see any issue in the stream when watching content and buffering was not something I ran into.

 

So I guess in answer to your questions, CPU's are still very relevant and capable of providing Plex transcodes, GPU's will clearly benefit the trascoding overall so there is no reason not to get one. If it were me I would get a a capable CPU in any case should you have to fall back on to it if the GPU is having issues or being swapped out. Remember that the CPU will has to be good enough not too hold the GPU back as the CPU still has to babysit the overall process, so yeah don't skimp on that CPU in favor of GPU.

 

As for 4K/60 Transcoding I would recommend Pascal minimum for future proofing.

 

Hopefully this helps a little, can only go on my experience :)

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Thanks for the great feedback!

 

I was reading that some people also use a ramdisk to be used for all transcoding temp file needs (seems to help a lot) but reading the actual video files, I was hoping that spinners would be fast enough.. I may end up using Cachecade to gets some SSD into the same array but there should usually only be one or two streams running at the same time max.

 

I can also provide some more specific details about my server and what I've already tried to address this issue. My current server is a 10-core E5-2680V2 and boosts to 3.6Ghz (not quite as fast as your Skylake IPC)... and it is dual socket, so there's (2) of those CPUs (20 cores total, I disabled HT). My existing Plex VM is assigned 32GB of ram (only because I have plenty of spare ram) and 8 cores (max you can add on the free version of ESXi). I am running ESXi 6.5 with all the latest updates. My previous server only had (2) E5-2620V1 and that only boosted to 2.5Ghz, so I really thought that upgrading to the Ivy-E based 2680V2 would have solved my issue... but honestly the 4K playback was still identically poor.. back to the drawing board...

 

So then of course after I was "defeated" with this upgrade as far as certain 4K playback through Plex is concerned, I started to see how much tweaking I could do.. One option, I could convert my video to another format (currently .MP4 and .MKV files)... but that is a PIA.. the Plex settings.. I tried every one of them, different combinations, and nothing helped. I will also state that I do NOT have a Plex pass (yet). I seem to remember older versions giving me some additional performance options that may now only be available through a Plex pass. At any rate, the E5-26xxV2 series does not offer Quick sync video and I literally have no GPU either.. (This is the odd thing..my CPU isn't listed as having onboard graphics and neither is the C602 chipset (essentially X79 but dual socket) so I have really no idea what GPU is built into the motherboard, but it's bare minimum)

 

I will also note that my Plex VM, when playing back certain 4K video (now that I think of it, might be when I play HDR content), all 8 cores assigned to the VM are pretty much at 100%. This is what started me on my journey of CPU vs GPU (or both). I thought of using VMUG to license my ESXi for more than 8 CPUs per VM but I'm not even sure it would solve the problem (buffering real bad)..

 

So with my existing setup, 1080p is smooth as butter.. never a hiccup.. When I play some of my 4K GoPro videos I get buffering and stutttering sometimes... but by far the worst buffering, and actuall unwatchable, are my 4KUHD rips and I those all of those have HDR content (not clear how that works behind the scenes with regard to transcoding performance).... and I bet the HDR might be what is pushing the CPU over the egde..

 

So at this point perhaps I need to be thinking of Pascal GPU encoding on the server... (I read # of streams are limited with non Quadro cards but that's OK for me). I'm still not clear if a CPU with Quicksync would compliment the GPU or if they have no relationship and it is really just one or the other...

 

I would love to hear from someone that uses GPU encoding over the network and also has 4KUHD content in the library so I don't repeat my first mistake again :)

 

 

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Thanks for the additional info.

 

Are you running over a wired network ? I only ask as I see people all the time with buffering issues when trying to play 4K over Wifi if there network is not up to the task. I use Plex Pass (Worthwhile one time purchase in my mind) but I cannot recall what additional configuration it gives over the free version as I never really sat down to compare at the time of purchase. Have you played around with the stream settings at 4k ? If you go to Settings>Quality what options do you have for 4k ?

 

Furthermore what do you have set under Settings>Transcoder ? I will see if they match up with mine, failing that I will take a screen recording of my current settings.

 

I looked at your CPU and the only difference I can see from looking at Intel Ark is that yours (as you identify) does not come with a built in GPU like mine, it is likely that Plex will leverage the Iris graphics for hardware acceleration on my i7-6770HQ. Additionally, and this could be a listing error on Intel Ark but I notice that your CPU seemingly does not list support for SSE 4.1 and 4.2 but I believe this to be an error and would not make any difference in this use case at any rate. I also notice that my CPU supports the AVX2 instruction set whereas yours only supports AVX which could be a big factor (alongside integrated graphics) as AVX plays heavily in video processing. Without having a processor with AVX2/With integrated graphics processing you will not be able to compare. Can your board support a newer CPU with AVX2 and possibly integrated graphics ? It is the only way I can think of testing any theories prior to slamming a GPU into the mix

 

Personally I would get a Pascal GPU for the hardware acceleration as either way, it is best practice so it will not be a wasted purchase. If it makes no difference then I think your other avenue is to look at the CPU again and consider the above. Out of interest, could you try a 4K transcode and look at your RAM usage ? Just want to make sure that it is not being pegged and is paging over to the HDD/SSD.

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EHW Content Creator

To give a little more information from my experience with Plex:

 

1) CPU cores are still needed for audio encoding and if you want to bake in subtitles.

 

2) CPU cores are required for indexing, metadata, thumbnails (if enabled), etc.

 

3) Local (LAN) connections typically default to Direct Stream instead of transcoding unless the client device doesn't support the native file, or its a streaming device like a ChromeCast that needs a URL to be passed to it and then normally Plex will switch to a transcoder.

 

4) GPU Encoding for under 1080p and lower probably won't make much of a difference over a solid 6+ core with HT CPU, but once you are transcoding 1080p streams, GPU encoding makes a pretty substantial difference.

 

5) 4k source file encodes on my Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti will use 1 GB of VRAM while an 8k video will use 2.5 GB of VRAM

 

6) A GTX 1050 Ti can handle two 4k Encodes to 1080p no problem, or one 8k and one 4k, but could not handle two 8k or three 4k. It could handle up to 4 1080p source files no problem and for me, that was the most that people have every requested from my Plex server to haven't tested further.

 

7) GPU Encoder/Decoder Support can be found here: https://developer.nvidia.com/video-e...support-matrix; the GTX 1660 Ti is probably one of the best options right now to get you the latest NVDEC/NVENC chips, but only a single engine, for 2 chips you would need to go either GTX 1070 / 1070Ti or a Quadro, but the Quadros get expensive really fast when just looking for the same NVDEC/NVDEC options and aren't really worth it unless you want the official support for more than 2 active transcodes.

 

8) Running Unraid as the base OS with the Linuxserver.io Plex Docker might be a solid option especially if you can sneak an SSD in there as a Cache drive for Plex's Appdata and metadata. Then ideally use the parity protection as well to protect your data. The nice thing about Unraid is the files are stores as whole files on the data drives so they can be simply plugged in to another Linux box in a failure and the files taken off them. This would also let you add in some other plugins and Dockers to make a nice little extra server.

 

9) Nvidia Decode is now working on Linux builds as well to take full advantage of your Nvidia GPU: https://forums.plex.tv/t/guide-nvdec...n-linux/391322

 

10) PlexPass is definitely worth the one-time purchase.

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Sorry for the delay in reply, RL has managed to get in the way of my digital life once again :)

 

 

 

Thanks for the additional info.

 

Are you running over a wired network ? I only ask as I see people all the time with buffering issues when trying to play 4K over Wifi if there network is not up to the task. I use Plex Pass (Worthwhile one time purchase in my mind) but I cannot recall what additional configuration it gives over the free version as I never really sat down to compare at the time of purchase. Have you played around with the stream settings at 4k ? If you go to Settings>Quality what options do you have for 4k ?

 

Furthermore what do you have set under Settings>Transcoder ? I will see if they match up with mine, failing that I will take a screen recording of my current settings.

 

I looked at your CPU and the only difference I can see from looking at Intel Ark is that yours (as you identify) does not come with a built in GPU like mine, it is likely that Plex will leverage the Iris graphics for hardware acceleration on my i7-6770HQ. Additionally, and this could be a listing error on Intel Ark but I notice that your CPU seemingly does not list support for SSE 4.1 and 4.2 but I believe this to be an error and would not make any difference in this use case at any rate. I also notice that my CPU supports the AVX2 instruction set whereas yours only supports AVX which could be a big factor (alongside integrated graphics) as AVX plays heavily in video processing. Without having a processor with AVX2/With integrated graphics processing you will not be able to compare. Can your board support a newer CPU with AVX2 and possibly integrated graphics ? It is the only way I can think of testing any theories prior to slamming a GPU into the mix

 

Personally I would get a Pascal GPU for the hardware acceleration as either way, it is best practice so it will not be a wasted purchase. If it makes no difference then I think your other avenue is to look at the CPU again and consider the above. Out of interest, could you try a 4K transcode and look at your RAM usage ? Just want to make sure that it is not being pegged and is paging over to the HDD/SSD.

 

 

Although I do have wireless clients, my testing has always been with my main PC which is wired @ 10GB. I did purchase the plex pass so that's one more thing out of the way. The new server case also arrived although I haven't even had a chance to open it yet. I'll snap some pics and share it soon. I'm liking the case so far from the pictures of it but we shall see how the build quality is.

 

As far as the CPU I've done a little more research (and found some info on Plex's site which I somehow missed initially) and I've sort of drawn the conclusion that whether or not your CPU or GPU will be used for transcoding is a matrix of "depends" answers. It short, assuming there is a GPU with hardware encoding/decoding installed, it sounds like if the video format is something supported by the GPU and you have a Plex pass then the transcoding could be passed to the GPU to decode/encode. If the video format is not supported then transcoding will be done on the CPU instead. If/when there is a condition where the GPU cannot be used to transcode (unsupported) I think this is where you'd want to have a CPU with Quicksync... and there are apparently several generations of Intel quicksync. So maybe the best answer is to plan for both CPU and GPU transcoding?

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Quick_Sync_Video

 

This link shows the generations and sadly my Ivy-e (which as we both stated, doesn't have an iGPU) doesn't sound like a good choice not only because it is an old generation but because it likely doesn't actually support it at all... The iGPU is the pre-requisite so "ALL IVY-E CPU SUPPORT" is technically inaccurate as IVY-e Xeons without an iGPU are the exception. This explains why my CPU transcoding is currently really bad I think.

 

I agree, I am getting at LEAST a Pascal.. no question about it. I should be able to get one cheaper once the 3080's drop.

 

 

 

 

To give a little more information from my experience with Plex:

 

1) CPU cores are still needed for audio encoding and if you want to bake in subtitles.

 

2) CPU cores are required for indexing, metadata, thumbnails (if enabled), etc.

 

3) Local (LAN) connections typically default to Direct Stream instead of transcoding unless the client device doesn't support the native file, or its a streaming device like a ChromeCast that needs a URL to be passed to it and then normally Plex will switch to a transcoder.

 

4) GPU Encoding for under 1080p and lower probably won't make much of a difference over a solid 6+ core with HT CPU, but once you are transcoding 1080p streams, GPU encoding makes a pretty substantial difference.

 

5) 4k source file encodes on my Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti will use 1 GB of VRAM while an 8k video will use 2.5 GB of VRAM

 

6) A GTX 1050 Ti can handle two 4k Encodes to 1080p no problem, or one 8k and one 4k, but could not handle two 8k or three 4k. It could handle up to 4 1080p source files no problem and for me, that was the most that people have every requested from my Plex server to haven't tested further.

 

7) GPU Encoder/Decoder Support can be found here: https://developer.nvidia.com/video-e...support-matrix; the GTX 1660 Ti is probably one of the best options right now to get you the latest NVDEC/NVENC chips, but only a single engine, for 2 chips you would need to go either GTX 1070 / 1070Ti or a Quadro, but the Quadros get expensive really fast when just looking for the same NVDEC/NVDEC options and aren't really worth it unless you want the official support for more than 2 active transcodes.

 

8) Running Unraid as the base OS with the Linuxserver.io Plex Docker might be a solid option especially if you can sneak an SSD in there as a Cache drive for Plex's Appdata and metadata. Then ideally use the parity protection as well to protect your data. The nice thing about Unraid is the files are stores as whole files on the data drives so they can be simply plugged in to another Linux box in a failure and the files taken off them. This would also let you add in some other plugins and Dockers to make a nice little extra server.

 

9) Nvidia Decode is now working on Linux builds as well to take full advantage of your Nvidia GPU: https://forums.plex.tv/t/guide-nvdec...n-linux/391322

 

10) PlexPass is definitely worth the one-time purchase.

 

 

Thank you as well, this is some awesome information. I don't want you to think it wasn't appreciated, I've just been super busy.

 

When you say CPU cores are needed for audio encoding (and at times for video also), do you know how many cores Plex can actually utilize?

 

"A GTX 1050 Ti can handle two 4k Encodes to 1080p no problem, or one 8k and one 4k, but could not handle two 8k or three 4k. It could handle up to 4 1080p source files no problem and for me, that was the most that people have every requested from my Plex server to haven't tested further."

 

This gives me a good performance reference, thank you. I think the chances of playing (2) 4K UHD movies at the same time (@4k or sometimes @1080p) are slim in my scenario however since we now also have (3) TVs that are 4K capable, the chances would only increase over time. Do you know what GPU would be required to handle at least (2) 4K UHD transcodes @ 4K simultanously assuming bandwidth wasn't an issue?

 

"Running Unraid as the base OS with the Linuxserver.io Plex Docker might be a solid option especially if you can sneak an SSD in there as a Cache drive for Plex's Appdata and metadata. Then ideally use the parity protection as well to protect your data. The nice thing about Unraid is the files are stores as whole files on the data drives so they can be simply plugged in to another Linux box in a failure and the files taken off them. This would also let you add in some other plugins and Dockers to make a nice little extra server."

 

Although I'm not as familiar with Linux as I am with Windows, I have always wanted an excuse to use Unraid. I may give this a try and assume performance would be better than Windows. Are there any features I would have to "give up" by going this route vs Windows that you know of?

 

 

Thanks again for the info.

Will update soon (I hope).

Edited by Laithan
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I did see this Nvidia Matrix with respect to their GPU'S what encoding is supported and max concurrent sessions, this has already been of massive help to me, looks like Quadro's (some of them) do not have a max limit on concurrent sessions: https://developer.nvidia.com/video-e...support-matrix

 

What I didn't really see was a performance comparison of the individual encoder/decoder chips throughout the various generations and what the capabilities are of each (# of streams @ x quality) but I did find this.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_NVENC

 

 

So for example:

 

Sixth generation, Turing TU10x/TU116

 

"Sixth generation NVENC implements HEVC 8K encoding at 30FPS, HEVC B-Frames support and provides up to 25% bitrate savings for HEVC and up to 15% bitrate savings for H.264. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 is exempt from this generation however, as it uses Volta NVENC instead of Turing. The GTX 1650 Super however uses the Turing NVENC engine as it is based on the TU116 rather than the TU117 used in the regular GTX 1650. In laptop graphics, NVIDIA MX Graphics do not include NVENC and they are based on Pascal architecture. "

 

Does this mean that a 1650 Super would have identical encoding/decoding performance when compared to a 2080Ti since they have the same "generation"?

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EHW Content Creator

So to answer some more questions with my experience and research:

 

When you say CPU cores are needed for audio encoding (and at times for video also), do you know how many cores Plex can actually utilize?

 

I don't think there is a limit, but I tyipcally see a full core used for just the audio portion on any GPU hardware encode, but I have other things on that Unraid box and a 6C / 12T Ryzen 3600x so hard to pinpoint exact users from just the dashboard, I would need to run htop or something and monitor while things are happening.

 

 

Do you know what GPU would be required to handle at least (2) 4K UHD transcodes @ 4K simultanously assuming bandwidth wasn't an issue?

 

Your best bet would probably be the 1070 as it has two (2) NVENC engines and can officially handle 3 streams at once. Then you know you have a dedicated NVENC engine for each stream. I know I see my 1050 Ti at 70% encode and decode usage on a single stream, but that just means its processing the transcode buffer more quickly (2 minutes on my server) so people can skip ahead easier, or deal with internet issues.

 

 

Are there any features I would have to "give up" by going this route vs Windows that you know of?

 

Not that I'm aware of now that Linux supports Decode and Encode on Nvidia. I think Windows still has benefits for AMD or Intel QuickSync encoding.

 

 

Does this mean that a 1650 Super would have identical encoding/decoding performance when compared to a 2080Ti since they have the same "generation"?

 

Yes, per that text you found, the 1650 Super uses the newer Turing NVENC while the 1650 is a Turing GPU with the older Volta NVENC would actually perform the same as a 10 series GPU or maybe a little better (Volta vs Pascal). Also as far as I am aware from my research, the NVENC chips are the same across the entire line though, so the 1650 Super would have the same performance as the 2080 and likewise the 1050 Ti would have the same performance as the 1080 TI.

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So to answer some more questions with my experience and research:

 

When you say CPU cores are needed for audio encoding (and at times for video also), do you know how many cores Plex can actually utilize?

 

I don't think there is a limit, but I tyipcally see a full core used for just the audio portion on any GPU hardware encode, but I have other things on that Unraid box and a 6C / 12T Ryzen 3600x so hard to pinpoint exact users from just the dashboard, I would need to run htop or something and monitor while things are happening.

 

 

Do you know what GPU would be required to handle at least (2) 4K UHD transcodes @ 4K simultanously assuming bandwidth wasn't an issue?

 

Your best bet would probably be the 1070 as it has two (2) NVENC engines and can officially handle 3 streams at once. Then you know you have a dedicated NVENC engine for each stream. I know I see my 1050 Ti at 70% encode and decode usage on a single stream, but that just means its processing the transcode buffer more quickly (2 minutes on my server) so people can skip ahead easier, or deal with internet issues.

 

 

Are there any features I would have to "give up" by going this route vs Windows that you know of?

 

Not that I'm aware of now that Linux supports Decode and Encode on Nvidia. I think Windows still has benefits for AMD or Intel QuickSync encoding.

 

 

Does this mean that a 1650 Super would have identical encoding/decoding performance when compared to a 2080Ti since they have the same "generation"?

 

Yes, per that text you found, the 1650 Super uses the newer Turing NVENC while the 1650 is a Turing GPU with the older Volta NVENC would actually perform the same as a 10 series GPU or maybe a little better (Volta vs Pascal). Also as far as I am aware from my research, the NVENC chips are the same across the entire line though, so the 1650 Super would have the same performance as the 2080 and likewise the 1050 Ti would have the same performance as the 1080 TI.

 

Thanks for the info, very helpful. I have been looking into a GPU for my next possible Plex build and been considering the best GPU for the job and I think a 1070, while a little more expensive will offer more in the NVENC department for satisfying multiple streams.

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Do you know what GPU would be required to handle at least (2) 4K UHD transcodes @ 4K simultanously assuming bandwidth wasn't an issue?

 

Your best bet would probably be the 1070 as it has two (2) NVENC engines and can officially handle 3 streams at once. Then you know you have a dedicated NVENC engine for each stream. I know I see my 1050 Ti at 70% encode and decode usage on a single stream, but that just means its processing the transcode buffer more quickly (2 minutes on my server) so people can skip ahead easier, or deal with internet issues.

 

 

Does this mean that a 1650 Super would have identical encoding/decoding performance when compared to a 2080Ti since they have the same "generation"?

 

Yes, per that text you found, the 1650 Super uses the newer Turing NVENC while the 1650 is a Turing GPU with the older Volta NVENC would actually perform the same as a 10 series GPU or maybe a little better (Volta vs Pascal). Also as far as I am aware from my research, the NVENC chips are the same across the entire line though, so the 1650 Super would have the same performance as the 2080 and likewise the 1050 Ti would have the same performance as the 1080 TI.

 

 

Grea info, thank you. This thread is starting to be a treasure trove of information. :) I wonder why none of the Turing GPUs have 2 NVENC chips? I wonder if it has anything to do with HEVC B Frame support? That seems like a feature that if I don't get now, I'll be wishing that that I did later.. as I assume Plex will eventually support that.

 

I also noticed that all of the "SUPER" cards are missing from the matrix. I wonder if any of those have 2 encoders... IMO that would qualify them as SUPER lol.

 

 

 

Thanks for the info, very helpful. I have been looking into a GPU for my next possible Plex build and been considering the best GPU for the job and I think a 1070, while a little more expensive will offer more in the NVENC department for satisfying multiple streams.

 

I started looking at 1070's also... They have 8GB vs 6GB of a 1660/1660Ti and the 1650 Super only has 4GB. I'm not sure if there is any benefit between having 4GB vs 6GB vs 8GB of VRAM so for my needs maybe a wash... but this information got me thinking... maybe I do want at least a Turing NVENC...

 

 

I think this is the actual source

https://devblogs.nvidia.com/nvidia-t...ture-in-depth/ f3524a8a9c12.jpg

Turing improves encoding quality compared to prior generation Pascal GPUs and compared to software encoders. Figure 11 shows that on common Twitch and YouTube streaming settings, Turing’s video encoder exceeds the quality of the x264 software-based encoder using the fast encode settings, with dramatically lower CPU utilization. 4K streaming is too heavy a workload for encoding on typical CPU setups, but Turing’s encoder makes 4K streaming possible.

Edited by Laithan
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This is interesting also

 

https://www.elpamsoft.com/?p=Plex-Hardware-Transcoding

 

 

 

Note: The 1660 Super actually has faster memory than the 1660Ti.. all three have the new Turing NVENC and HEVC B Frame support.

What do you think about this vs the 1070? Sorry about the mis-aligned header... don't judge (lol) [TABLE]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]GTX 1660[/TD]

[TD]GTX 1660 Super[/TD]

[TD]GTX 1660 Ti[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]GPU[/TD]

[TD]TU116-300[/TD]

[TD]TU116-300[/TD]

[TD]TU116-400[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]CUDA Cores[/TD]

[TD]1,408[/TD]

[TD]1,408[/TD]

[TD]1,536[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]Base Clock[/TD]

[TD]1,530MHz[/TD]

[TD]1,530MHz[/TD]

[TD]1,500MHz[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]Boost Clock[/TD]

[TD]1,785MHz[/TD]

[TD]1,785MHz[/TD]

[TD]1,770MHz[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]Memory[/TD]

[TD]6GB GDDR5[/TD]

[TD]6GB GDDR6[/TD]

[TD]6GB GDDR6[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]Memory Speed[/TD]

[TD]8Gbps[/TD]

[TD]14Gbps[/TD]

[TD]12Gbps[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]TDP[/TD]

[TD]120w[/TD]

[TD]125w[/TD]

[TD]120w[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

 

Edited by Laithan
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Administrators

 

 

 

Grea info, thank you. This thread is starting to be a treasure trove of information. :) I wonder why none of the Turing GPUs have 2 NVENC chips? I wonder if it has anything to do with HEVC B Frame support? That seems like a feature that if I don't get now, I'll be wishing that that I did later.. as I assume Plex will eventually support that.

 

I also noticed that all of the "SUPER" cards are missing from the matrix. I wonder if any of those have 2 encoders... IMO that would qualify them as SUPER lol.

 

 

 

 

I started looking at 1070's also... They have 8GB vs 6GB of a 1660/1660Ti and the 1650 Super only has 4GB. I'm not sure if there is any benefit between having 4GB vs 6GB vs 8GB of VRAM so for my needs maybe a wash... but this information got me thinking... maybe I do want at least a Turing NVENC...

 

 

I think this is the actual source

https://devblogs.nvidia.com/nvidia-t...ture-in-depth/ f3524a8a9c12.jpg

Turing improves encoding quality compared to prior generation Pascal GPUs and compared to software encoders. Figure 11 shows that on common Twitch and YouTube streaming settings, Turing’s video encoder exceeds the quality of the x264 software-based encoder using the fast encode settings, with dramatically lower CPU utilization. 4K streaming is too heavy a workload for encoding on typical CPU setups, but Turing’s encoder makes 4K streaming possible.

 

This is interesting also

 

https://www.elpamsoft.com/?p=Plex-Hardware-Transcoding

 

 

 

Note: The 1660 Super actually has faster memory than the 1660Ti.. all three have the new Turing NVENC and HEVC B Frame support.

What do you think about this vs the 1070? Sorry about the mis-aligned header... don't judge (lol) [TABLE]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]GTX 1660[/TD]

[TD]GTX 1660 Super[/TD]

[TD]GTX 1660 Ti[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]GPU[/TD]

[TD]TU116-300[/TD]

[TD]TU116-300[/TD]

[TD]TU116-400[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]CUDA Cores[/TD]

[TD]1,408[/TD]

[TD]1,408[/TD]

[TD]1,536[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]Base Clock[/TD]

[TD]1,530MHz[/TD]

[TD]1,530MHz[/TD]

[TD]1,500MHz[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]Boost Clock[/TD]

[TD]1,785MHz[/TD]

[TD]1,785MHz[/TD]

[TD]1,770MHz[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]Memory[/TD]

[TD]6GB GDDR5[/TD]

[TD]6GB GDDR6[/TD]

[TD]6GB GDDR6[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]Memory Speed[/TD]

[TD]8Gbps[/TD]

[TD]14Gbps[/TD]

[TD]12Gbps[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: cke_show_border]

[TD]TDP[/TD]

[TD]120w[/TD]

[TD]125w[/TD]

[TD]120w[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

 

Good Info. Actually I identified the 1660Ti as a really good candidate for Plex last night due to the fact it has a Turning encoder and supports B Frame as the lack of B frame support was something I noticed from the prior generation, which MAY suck for the future. Not sure if I would ever use it but for future proofing it may not hurt to go with a 1660Ti. I would probably opt for that over any of the Pascal cards, though may have to do some digging to see if the lack of 2 NVENC chips will be a drawback or not, or whether the Turing counterparts no longer needs 2 due to efficiency improvements between generations ?

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You would probably need to look at your library and if you have video content that would make use of the B-Frame stuff or HDR stuff.

 

The Turing would definitely be more future proof, but the Pascal gives you the extra NVENC chips for more streams at once.

 

On the flip side, if you have enough PCIe slots, two 1660 Super or Ti's might be better than a single 1070.

 

 

 

On the memory questions, 4 GB is probably not enough for 3+ HD+ streams and memory speed would definitely help. My 1050 Ti runs at 7 Gbps and I've never had an issue with two 4k streams running, but I've never looked in-depth at the running stats.

 

 

 

 

So here are what I think are some good recommendation:

 

1) Cheapest option: GTX 1050 Ti

- Slowest memory, but can run two 4k SDR streams no problem from experience (no HDR sources to test)

 

2) Best Current Performance: GTX 1070

- Handles the most streams at 3 official

- More and faster memory then the 1050 Ti, so at least as good

 

3) Future Proof: GTX 1660 Ti/SUPER

- Best feature set

- Able to handle streams more efficiently

- The 6 GB should be enough for maybe 3 4k streams, but officially only 2 can run at a time.

 

4) Future Proof: Dual (2x) GTX 1660 Ti/SUPER

- Best feature set

- Able to handle as many streams as the 1070, but more efficiently

- Might have slightly higher idle power draw with two cards vs. 1

 

 

 

Some other questions that I can't easily answer as my Unraid box runs the ExtremeHW minecraft server right now and can't keep going up and down:

 

1) Does PCIe x8 vs x16 affect decoding/encoding speed?

2) Does memory speed actually affect the decoding/encoding speed?

3) Does 1) or 2) make a difference on 1 stream or 2?

4) Is B-Frame support going to be relevant within the next 3 years?

 

 

That last one is a wildcard because encoding has taken such leaps in the last few years that most clients and sources haven't caught up yet.

 

I know personally I haven't moved to even 265 yet because it really only offered space savings over 264 and space wasn't an issue for me nor connection speed with active transcoding from Plex that adjusts to network speed. Also I haven't done and HDR testing.

 

 

 

If anyone has at least 2 or 3 HDR movies at 4k that I can use for testing, I gladly will. then I can get some better GPU numbers and even CPU only transcoding numbers for people to better add to all the information in this thread.

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Good Info. Actually I identified the 1660Ti as a really good candidate for Plex last night due to the fact it has a Turning encoder and supports B Frame as the lack of B frame support was something I noticed from the prior generation, which MAY suck for the future. Not sure if I would ever use it but for future proofing it may not hurt to go with a 1660Ti. I would probably opt for that over any of the Pascal cards, though may have to do some digging to see if the lack of 2 NVENC chips will be a drawback or not, or whether the Turing counterparts no longer needs 2 due to efficiency improvements between generations ?

 

At this point I am thinking about the 1660 Super... although I don't know for sure that the additional memory bandwidth will be helpful, they are slightly cheaper than the 1660Ti and not as old and for Plex transcoding it seems identical in performance to the 1660 Ti.

 

 

 

You would probably need to look at your library and if you have video content that would make use of the B-Frame stuff or HDR stuff.

 

The Turing would definitely be more future proof, but the Pascal gives you the extra NVENC chips for more streams at once.

 

On the flip side, if you have enough PCIe slots, two 1660 Super or Ti's might be better than a single 1070.

 

 

 

On the memory questions, 4 GB is probably not enough for 3+ HD+ streams and memory speed would definitely help. My 1050 Ti runs at 7 Gbps and I've never had an issue with two 4k streams running, but I've never looked in-depth at the running stats.

 

 

 

 

So here are what I think are some good recommendation:

 

1) Cheapest option: GTX 1050 Ti

- Slowest memory, but can run two 4k SDR streams no problem from experience (no HDR sources to test)

 

2) Best Current Performance: GTX 1070

- Handles the most streams at 3 official

- More and faster memory then the 1050 Ti, so at least as good

 

3) Future Proof: GTX 1660 Ti/SUPER

- Best feature set

- Able to handle streams more efficiently

- The 6 GB should be enough for maybe 3 4k streams, but officially only 2 can run at a time.

 

4) Future Proof: Dual (2x) GTX 1660 Ti/SUPER

- Best feature set

- Able to handle as many streams as the 1070, but more efficiently

- Might have slightly higher idle power draw with two cards vs. 1

 

 

 

Some other questions that I can't easily answer as my Unraid box runs the ExtremeHW minecraft server right now and can't keep going up and down:

 

1) Does PCIe x8 vs x16 affect decoding/encoding speed?

2) Does memory speed actually affect the decoding/encoding speed?

3) Does 1) or 2) make a difference on 1 stream or 2?

4) Is B-Frame support going to be relevant within the next 3 years?

 

 

That last one is a wildcard because encoding has taken such leaps in the last few years that most clients and sources haven't caught up yet.

 

I know personally I haven't moved to even 265 yet because it really only offered space savings over 264 and space wasn't an issue for me nor connection speed with active transcoding from Plex that adjusts to network speed. Also I haven't done and HDR testing.

 

 

 

If anyone has at least 2 or 3 HDR movies at 4k that I can use for testing, I gladly will. then I can get some better GPU numbers and even CPU only transcoding numbers for people to better add to all the information in this thread.

 

I think in my case, 3 streams should never be exceeded and would mostly be 1 at a time so I don't think I'm concerned about not having 2 encoder chips. The performance benefits of Turing with 4K -> 1080p seem worth it also although if you notice they didn't compare performance to Pascal NVENC directly so hard to say if just marketing hype but having the B frame support etc can't hurt. Do I have that content now, I am not even sure.. I have a range of content and some of it is in fact HDR. I am learning about these specifics. Even if I don't now I'm likely to in the future :) I am hoping this server lasts me 5-10 years if I just stick with 4K.. (do we really need to jump to 8K anyway?) so I am thinking that 1660 Super/1660Ti is the best choice for me, unless I want to wait and see what happens with the 30xx series...

 

I didn't realize that I could use (2) GPUs for transcoding.. Hmmm... I guess Plex would just manage it all as I don't see settings for multi-gpu. Neato.

 

I wouldn't mind sharing a UHD, do you have a way to play/rip it? That's a whole different rabbit hole :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I can't remember where I read it, but I can recall Plex handling multiple GPU's no problem as long as they are all available to Plex. I think the Plex Docker in Unraid can only be passed a single GPU though, so for multi-GPU, a straight up Windows box might be the better route.

 

As for the UHD, I don't have a working Blu-ray drive right now. I can ask form friends locally if any of them might have a file handy I can throw in my Plex server to test it as I do have a Samsung 4k UHD TV and Chromecast Ultra, or I can hook up my computer directly to my tv to get UHD that way.

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I am considering this GPU... mainly for its size and the use of 2 slots vs 2.5 slots of many others. I also considered the ASUS Phoenix Fan Edition but the cooler really isn't very good at all and I don't think I'll need to save the inch or so compared to the Ventus XC and $20 in price. $250 new... currently don't see any used.

 

https://www.msi.com/Graphics-card/Ge...R-VENTUS-XS-OC

 

Ended up with the Zotac instead, this was much larger that I initially thought.

Edited by Laithan
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I haven't followed pricing on Nvidia cards since I bought my 1050 Ti.

 

Your case does seem to have enough clearance for that card with the extended PCB, as long as you are running those exhaust fans at decent speeds, you should be fine with a non blower style fan on the GPU.

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Using a blower cooler in a server case it more just a guideline since most of the time you have a single direction of airflow from front to back, so to make the best use of that, you don't want too many fans or hard corners in the case that would disrupt that air flow.

 

If you only have a single GPU on an ATX board in a 4U chassis, airflow likely would be okay with either style of cooler, more just a preference to stick to blowers to push that heat out of the case as fast as possible.

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