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NAS with transcode capability - Input welcome!!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I am in the process of building a NAS media box with server side transcoding ability. I have an 'internet enabled' Samsung TV which this NAS will be mainly streaming to, the TV can play DLNA as well as having a native Plex app. Planning to use the new WS2012 storage spaces to allow dynamic growth of all planned spaces and eventual future drive upgrades.

Non-functional Requirements:
  • Low Power - Will be running 24/7 or close too and I pay the power bill frown.gif. I might schedule an automated 11pm - 7am shutdown window, not sure if that would negatively impact the system lifetime.
  • Small Footprint
  • Silent
  • Headless
  • Easily Expandable
  • Redundant/Reliable

Functional Requirements:
  • Stream HD videos/TV shows to internet enabled TV (via DLNA/Plex), must be able to transcode unsupported formats on the fly.
  • Host our entertainment media collection (Movies/TV Shows/Etc)
  • Host personal movies & photos
  • Act as a central file server for files non-sensitive files.
  • Act as a backup point for sensitive and personal files (monthly backup with drive hosted offsite)
  • Automated transfer of media feed from root server (via SFTP/rsync).


Tradeoff Decisions:
  • The main issue has been how to balance processing power (for transcoding) vs power consumption (and hence heat). Ideally I would go for a Asus E35M1-I however I am weary of building an underspeced rig that is unable to transcode video files fast enough.


Build 1: (Preferred at present)
More power, more heat.

CPU: Core i3-3220 (would the HD 4000 on the i3-3225 make any difference? price wise they are almost the same)
Heatsink: Akasa AK-CC7111, NoFan CR-95C or SilverStone Heligon HE02, height wise both fit, not sure about total space, ideas ppl?
RAM: Corsair Vengeance Blue DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-12800U (Cause its blue and matches the MB rolleyes.gif)
MB: Asus P8H77-I (mostly because it has 6 SATA ports, any recommendations for MB's with 6x 6Gb/s welcome)
SSD: Samsung SSD 840 Series 120GB
HDD: 5x Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB
PSU: CORSAIR CX430M (worth getting the modular design with this case?)
Case: Fractal Design Node 304
OS: Windows Server 2013 (going for storage pools)

Build 2:
Silent low power, but a lemon?

MB/CPU: Asus E35M1-I
RAM: Corsair Vengeance Blue DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-12800U (Cause its blue and matches the MB rolleyes.gif)
SSD: Samsung SSD 840 Series 120GB
HDD: 5x Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB
PSU: CORSAIR CX430M (worth getting the modular design with this case?)
Case: Fractal Design Node 304
OS: Windows Server 2013 (going for storage pools)


Software:

Windows Server 2013 - Will be using the new storage spaces to allocate the following spaces from the ~15TB pool:
  • Media [Parity] - Entertainment media.
  • Zips [Mirror] - Applications & Games install files
  • Personal [Mirror] - Own movies/photos/documents/etc
  • Backups [Mirror] - Backup of other PC's and aggregation of data for offsite backup drive.
Plex - For primary media streaming.
Mezzmo - For media streaming of 'difficult' media files (stuff that needs to be transcoded from all sorts of wacky formats)



So the real pressing question I have is which build? And should I use storage spaces or use ZFS and stick with only Plex on Linux?

Thanks in advance for feedback.
Edited by node159 - 5/11/13 at 2:46pm
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post #2 of 9
The i3 suppost Intel Quick-sync which can greatly improve video encoding speed (at slight loss of quality vs pure CPU, do personal tests to see if its worth using).

Handbreak is adding support for Quick-sync soon™
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6864/handbrake-to-get-quicksync-support


I'm not sure if the AMD APU has something similar.

My only real criticism of that build is, why the SSD? Seems like a waste of money.
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the heads up on the Quick-sync feature. Mezzmo uses 'ffmpeg.exe' for transcoding, not sure when that will start to utilize Quick-sync. No idea what Plex uses to transcode, however their recommendation for CPU for transcoding is in line with the i3, however the all-in-one sure is cheaper and with this much space I can pre-transcode the media library.

As for the SSD, any suggestions? I'd prefer an SSD for power and noise (the WD Greens should power down when not in use), but if you have a suggestion for a cheaper option I'm all ears wink.gif .
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post #4 of 9
That Akasa cooler is meant for server environments with tons of air being pushed through them by really loud fans. Don't use it without forced airflow, which defeats the purpose of it being silent.

I am not sure how Windows does the storage spaces but greens shutting down is usually bad for any sort of parity or mirroring. WD Reds are designed for what you're doing and they run low powered just like the greens.
     
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post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by node159 View Post

Thanks for the heads up on the Quick-sync feature. Mezzmo uses 'ffmpeg.exe' for transcoding, not sure when that will start to utilize Quick-sync. No idea what Plex uses to transcode, however their recommendation for CPU for transcoding is in line with the i3, however the all-in-one sure is cheaper and with this much space I can pre-transcode the media library.

As for the SSD, any suggestions? I'd prefer an SSD for power and noise (the WD Greens should power down when not in use), but if you have a suggestion for a cheaper option I'm all ears wink.gif .

Ah no, if power and noise are important then by all means get an SSD. I was more concerned with the budget, since performace wise it won't really add anything in a NAS environment, while spending that money on a better CPU would improve transcoding times.
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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip on the heat sink, I suspected as much, any recommendations for one for 55W TDP that can be mounted on a mini-ITX (I've heard that the back panel of some heat sinks causes issues)?
Edited by node159 - 5/12/13 at 3:16am
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
An update on the build.

I will swap out the CPU cooler with a much cheaper variant and run it fanless as well as swapping the PSU with a SeaSonic version, about 3x the price, but it is fanless, resulting in the only fan's being the quiet case fans.

For the HDD's, after reviewing all the facts, the WD Red's are the way to go, the slight extra costs is definitely offset with the increased warranty and the fact that these drives are designed for 24/7 operations even when used in software raid.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks
CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($119.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.74 @ Amazon) - Running Fanless
Motherboard: Asus P8H77-I Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($97.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage (OS): Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: 5x Western Digital Red 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($139.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Fractal Design Node 304 Mini ITX Tower Case ($85.79 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic X Series 400W 80 PLUS Platinum Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($126.50 @ Newegg)
Total: $1309.94
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-25 10:34 EDT-0400)


As for Windows Storage Spaces, I will be swapping the OS out with the following setup. All the reviews say that its too new, buggy and untested. ZSF under Linux looks like a much preferred option, more performant, reliable and well tested

Software:
  • Ubuntu Server (with a webadmin interface)
  • Plex Media Server
  • ZFS packages


Any feedback welcome.


PS: Anybody know why all the suppliers have a 2x HDD order limit? Pain in the ass I say.
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post #8 of 9
I thought about going your route but in the end set up the "lemon", a completely fanless NAS with the Asus C60M1-I, Node 304 and FreeNAS.

There seems to be no point buying a SeaSonic X Series 400W 80 PLUS Platinum (I have this as well) if you plan to run the case fans. Unless you are willing to pay the premium and hope to make it back with platinum rating savings when running it 24/7. IMHO this power supply should only be bought if you are planning a completely fans system, otherwise it seems you can save a few bucks and buy something a lot cheaper.

Keep in mind that depending on which mode of ZFS you plan to choose, it will drop your total usage space down considerably. Z1 to 12TB ... Z2 to 9TB ... etc.
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by node159 View Post

I am in the process of building a NAS media box with server side transcoding ability. I have an 'internet enabled' Samsung TV which this NAS will be mainly streaming to, the TV can play DLNA as well as having a native Plex app. Planning to use the new WS2012 storage spaces to allow dynamic growth of all planned spaces and eventual future drive upgrades.

Non-functional Requirements:
  • Low Power - Will be running 24/7 or close too and I pay the power bill frown.gif. I might schedule an automated 11pm - 7am shutdown window, not sure if that would negatively impact the system lifetime.
  • Small Footprint
  • Silent
  • Headless
  • Easily Expandable
  • Redundant/Reliable

Functional Requirements:
  • Stream HD videos/TV shows to internet enabled TV (via DLNA/Plex), must be able to transcode unsupported formats on the fly.
  • Host our entertainment media collection (Movies/TV Shows/Etc)
  • Host personal movies & photos
  • Act as a central file server for files non-sensitive files.
  • Act as a backup point for sensitive and personal files (monthly backup with drive hosted offsite)
  • Automated transfer of media feed from root server (via SFTP/rsync).


Tradeoff Decisions:
  • The main issue has been how to balance processing power (for transcoding) vs power consumption (and hence heat). Ideally I would go for a Asus E35M1-I however I am weary of building an underspeced rig that is unable to transcode video files fast enough.


Build 1: (Preferred at present)
More power, more heat.

CPU: Core i3-3220 (would the HD 4000 on the i3-3225 make any difference? price wise they are almost the same)
Heatsink: Akasa AK-CC7111, NoFan CR-95C or SilverStone Heligon HE02, height wise both fit, not sure about total space, ideas ppl?
RAM: Corsair Vengeance Blue DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-12800U (Cause its blue and matches the MB rolleyes.gif)
MB: Asus P8H77-I (mostly because it has 6 SATA ports, any recommendations for MB's with 6x 6Gb/s welcome)
SSD: Samsung SSD 840 Series 120GB
HDD: 5x Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB
PSU: CORSAIR CX430M (worth getting the modular design with this case?)
Case: Fractal Design Node 304
OS: Windows Server 2013 (going for storage pools)

Build 2:
Silent low power, but a lemon?

MB/CPU: Asus E35M1-I
RAM: Corsair Vengeance Blue DIMM Kit 8GB PC3-12800U (Cause its blue and matches the MB rolleyes.gif)
SSD: Samsung SSD 840 Series 120GB
HDD: 5x Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB
PSU: CORSAIR CX430M (worth getting the modular design with this case?)
Case: Fractal Design Node 304
OS: Windows Server 2013 (going for storage pools)


Software:

Windows Server 2013 - Will be using the new storage spaces to allocate the following spaces from the ~15TB pool:
  • Media [Parity] - Entertainment media.
  • Zips [Mirror] - Applications & Games install files
  • Personal [Mirror] - Own movies/photos/documents/etc
  • Backups [Mirror] - Backup of other PC's and aggregation of data for offsite backup drive.
Plex - For primary media streaming.
Mezzmo - For media streaming of 'difficult' media files (stuff that needs to be transcoded from all sorts of wacky formats)



So the real pressing question I have is which build? And should I use storage spaces or use ZFS and stick with only Plex on Linux?

Thanks in advance for feedback.

This motherboard has 7 6GB/s SATA ports - granted it's AMD however I think it'd fit your application better minus heat/power depending on what chip you get.

It's the newly revised board that has proper mosfet sinks and it has been getting great reviews.
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