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What level of CPU/RAM do I need for a media streaming server?

post #1 of 55
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I want to set up a NAS/fileserver mostly to store music and movies on, to be accessible from any device in the house. I don't plan to use Plex or anything, I'm happy to navigate through folders to find what I want to watch, then open it with Windows Media Player or VLC or whatever.

I already started a thread here comparing servers on eBay but would this old system be enough?:

AsRock Conroe 1333-D667
Intel Celeron Dual Core 1.6GHz
2GB of DDR2
PERC5/6 (yet to be bought)

The motherboard doesn't support quad-core CPUs or more than 4GB of RAM.
EDIT1 (Click to show)
EDIT 28/09/2016:

I am now settled on the mobo, CPU and RAM. I will be using:
AsRock Conroe 1333-D667
Intel C2D E8500 3.16GHz
4GB of DDR2

I have 2x2TB 7200RPM SATA drives I want to use. The motherboard will support up to 4. At the moment I'm thinking 2 more 2TB drives (yet to order, not set in stone), then later on get a PCIe SATA controller to expand the array if necessary.

I probably need a new PSU for this. The two spares I have are old, cheap and I think off-brands (Taurus and CCiVO).

EDIT 04/10/2016:

I now have all the hardware I need. I currently have Xubuntu 16.04.1 installed on an 8GB flash drive, and I'm in the process of trying to set up SnapRAID.
Edited by lovetobuild - 10/4/16 at 1:35pm
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post #2 of 55
That would be plenty powerful.

The real question is- is it worth the electricity? Depending on how much electricity costs where you live, and the fact that file servers are typically left on 24/7, using a normal PC can get more expensive then you think, especially one from the DDR2 era where power savings weren't as good.

Something like a Synology Diskstation will cost a little more up front, but it's only going to be using very little power. Here's a review that gives some numbers: http://techforpassion.blogspot.com/2013/06/synology-ds213j-review-and-power.html

I'm not sure how much the PC will use, but it's probably not going to be 4W idle and under 20W peak tongue.gif.
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post #3 of 55
If you still need to buy components for your server, get an i3 "T" model as CPU. The "T's" have a 35w TDP. I have an i3-4130T with 16GB of ram(which is overkill) in mine. You'll get better performance building your own versus a prebuilt nas like a synology.
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post #4 of 55
Thread Starter 
I don't want to buy a prebuilt NAS, because that is far more expensive than getting an old server off eBay if I want one that can handle more than two disks. It should take four minimum, more if I want it to last me a while - more than 5 disks and I'm looking at over £500 upfront at which point it's going to take literally years to pay for itself in electricity savings.

I'm not keen an building a new system because again that will be more expensive than getting a secondhand server.

If I can get the old system to do what I want though, that is preferable, as all I would have to buy is a PERC.

Surely I can save power by setting it up to sleep when it isn't being accessed? Mostly it will only be me accessing it so that way it would only be fully on a few hours out of a day.
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post #5 of 55
If you are not transcoding, then pretty much any 2+ core CPU will work. Since this is going to be for a single user setup, you can get away with 2gb (you can always add more).

I would recommend against getting a used rack mount server, unless your house has very good noise insulation between where it will be located and where the media will be used from. You can test this by putting a vacuum cleaner in the location you plan on putting the server. If you can hear the vacuum cleaner while its on from the locations you will be accessing it from, you will hear a server.
post #6 of 55

That is an acceptable system but I would recommend getting something a little more powerful than that Celeron, especially if more than one user will access the media.

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post #7 of 55
I ran my FreeNAS on an Athlon 64 x2 (can't remember exact model off hand) for the longest w/ 5 GB DDR2 (2+1+1+1, don't judge me tongue.gif) with no issues. Anywhere from 3-5 users/devices accessing it simultaneously at any given time and it ran flawlessly. Just recently decided to "upgrade" it to a G3258 w/ 8GB DDR3 since I got a great deal on the CPU, board, and RAM on the marketplace here. There was really 0 need to, but wth right?
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post #8 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Slick View Post

I ran my FreeNAS on an Athlon 64 x2 (can't remember exact model off hand) for the longest w/ 5 GB DDR2 (2+1+1+1, don't judge me tongue.gif) with no issues. Anywhere from 3-5 users/devices accessing it simultaneously at any given time and it ran flawlessly. Just recently decided to "upgrade" it to a G3258 w/ 8GB DDR3 since I got a great deal on the CPU, board, and RAM on the marketplace here. There was really 0 need to, but wth right?

That X2 was probably more powerful than that Celeron.

 

I am running my media server on a 955BE at stock (3.2GHz) with 4GB of ECC RAM. I will add another 4 because I want to run PLEX on it. While accessing folders is fine for my desktop it's not convenient on the phone.

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post #9 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovetobuild View Post

I want to set up a NAS/fileserver mostly to store music and movies on, to be accessible from any device in the house. I don't plan to use Plex or anything, I'm happy to navigate through folders to find what I want to watch, then open it with Windows Media Player or VLC or whatever.

Sounds similar to my uses. I'm running a C2D with 4GB DDR2 and all-time peak memory usage was just under 3GB using OpenMediaVault (which has been great for uncomplicated RAID setup and management) so I would go with at least 4GB RAM. Commodity hardware is good enough IME, as long as there are enough SATA ports on the board and it has onboard video any C2D should do the job for cheap. You can see my setup here, just a hacked-together build but has been reliable, could handle two more drives, and currently only uses ~30W idle so all-in-all great value for a light-use NAS
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post #10 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShamrockMan View Post

I would recommend against getting a used rack mount server, unless your house has very good noise insulation between where it will be located and where the media will be used from. You can test this by putting a vacuum cleaner in the location you plan on putting the server. If you can hear the vacuum cleaner while its on from the locations you will be accessing it from, you will hear a server.

Noise insulation is almost nonexistent in my house, notably between houses (it's a terrace). So a rack server is out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrol View Post

Sounds similar to my uses. I'm running a C2D with 4GB DDR2 and all-time peak memory usage was just under 3GB using OpenMediaVault (which has been great for uncomplicated RAID setup and management) so I would go with at least 4GB RAM. Commodity hardware is good enough IME, as long as there are enough SATA ports on the board and it has onboard video any C2D should do the job for cheap. You can see my setup here, just a hacked-together build but has been reliable, could handle two more drives, and currently only uses ~30W idle so all-in-all great value for a light-use NAS
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liranan View Post

That is an acceptable system but I would recommend getting something a little more powerful than that Celeron, especially if more than one user will access the media.

I just powered on the old system to check the exact CPU model. It's a Celeron E1200 dual core @1.6GHz. It scores 864 on PassMark. The best highest scoring (2008 points) CPU that the motherboard will support is a Core2 Duo @2.83GHz, which can be had for £6 including postage from eBay. Would that make much difference?

The motherboard will support 4GB DDR2 667MHz max.

I'm undecided yet whether to use OpenMediaVault (or something similar) and software RAID, or use hardware RAID. Does OpenMediaVault allow you to add drives to a software RAID array after it's been built? Am I right in thinking you can do that with hardware RAID 5/6?

I thought I may as well get a RAID card as the motherboard only has 4 SATA ports (would be enough for the time being but probably not in the future, the motherboard also doesn't support RAID). Would I be best off with a PERC5i,6i or something else?
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