Ideal hardware setup for Amahi

theholmeses
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:07 pm

Ideal hardware setup for Amahi

Postby theholmeses » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:42 pm

Hey guys,

So, I've been running Amahi for a little over a year now. Very happy with it when I'm the only one wanting to use it (do a lot of movie streaming through Plex), but encounter problems if my son, for example, attempts to stream something else at the same time. I'm running it on old, low-end spare hardware I had lying around: AM2+ board, dual-core Sempron, 1GB RAM, a small OS drive, and a 3TB WD Green drive for my shares, so I'm thinking it's time for an upgrade. My goal is for the server to be robust enough to handle 3 simultaneous HD video streams.

How well does Amahi utilize multi-core CPUs? My initial thought was to get a hyperthreading-equipped i3, but then I thought about going with an AMD 6 or 8 core CPU. The i3 will use less power and probably has better per-core performance, but an AMD 6-core is cheaper.

Is 4 GB of RAM sufficient? I always include tons of RAM for Windows-based machines, but my understanding is that Linux isn't as resource hungry. I happen to have a spare 4GB stick of DDR3.

Finally, I suppose a hard drive can only handle so many requests at one time, so would it be advisable to give each user their own dedicated drive within the server?

I wasn't sure where to post this, hopefully the general discussion area is okay. Thanks everyone.

theholmeses
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:07 pm

Re: Ideal hardware setup for Amahi

Postby theholmeses » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:20 am

Nobody eh?

Regarding Plex, well, I guess CPU horsepower/transcoding questions are better left for the Plex forums. For what it's worth, I'm now considering a Pentium G4400.

I've become increasingly convinced that 4GB of RAM would be sufficient.

Still not sure if a single shares drive is sufficient to serve multiple HD video streams. Would love some advice there.

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bigfoot65
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Re: Ideal hardware setup for Amahi

Postby bigfoot65 » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:09 am

Sorry to say forums have not been as active lately.

You may need to give it more time as it's only been a few days since your original post.

Have you checked the internet for guidance? I am sure you are not the first to want the right hardware for streaming.
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My HDA: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3570K CPU @ 3.40GHz on MSI board, 16GB RAM, 1TBx1+2TBx2+4TBx2

theholmeses
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:07 pm

Re: Ideal hardware setup for Amahi

Postby theholmeses » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:55 pm

Thank you for the reply. Yes I have. Lots of good information about the CPU horsepower required for Plex transcoding, though not specific to Amahi/Linux.

I don't know much about Linux, but I've read many anecdotal reports over the years about how efficiently it manages system resources (like RAM), so I'm not overly concerned with using only 4 gigs.

I can't find any information that pertains to my hard drive question, though. I'm either a moron or a genius (the former, most likely).

wilholt
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 5:47 am

Re: Ideal hardware setup for Amahi

Postby wilholt » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:19 pm

Hi there -
Standard 7200rpm platter drives can output over 100mb/s. That means that for a 5gb MKV movie file, it can transfer the whole data of the file in around a minute. Obviously thats a perfect world - but even if it's only getting 25% of its normal speed, that means 4 minutes for a movie. Add in some seek times, as well as streaming multiple files, and it's still capable of moving a whole movie in 10 minutes. Faster for SSD and 10000 rpm drives. hopefully my math makes sense...

The point is that for transcoding the limiting factor is pretty much always the CPU, followed by network speed/usage.

for transcoding the general rule of thumb is a score of 2000 on the cpubenchmark.com scale per HD stream. I run an older hyperthreaded i3-3220 with 16gb ram (it runs a small minecraft server also) which can do 2 streams at once without problems.

That said, if I was buying hardware right now to put into a server, I would make it a cpu with onboard HVEC capability - one of the 6xxx series intel's, or wait a month and get a new 9xxx series AMD / AM4.

theholmeses
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:07 pm

Re: Ideal hardware setup for Amahi

Postby theholmeses » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:25 pm

Thanks for the reply. I've been building PC's for over 10 years, but it turns out I have very little knowledge outside of overclocking CPU's and/or determining the best video card to buy. The Amahi HDA is not only my first foray into establishing a server, but also my first experience outside of Windows or OSX. I say all this because I want you to know that I'm not a complete idiot, just...ignorant when it comes to a server hosting multiple client machines/streaming devices.

As a simple file server, the machine (as currently configured) works great, and if that's all I ever used it for, I'd keep it as-is literally until something failed. The HDA is hooked up to a GbE card, router is Gb and has wireless AC, etc., so I'm really happy with transfer speeds. Lately, though, I've begun using it more as a media server, and my concern centered around the hard drive's ability to stream multiple videos simultaneously. In other words, how could the hard drive be in multiple places at once? I guess the answer is RAM, which is so simple that I'm embarrassed to have asked. I'm not sleeping well as of late. Moving on...

I was able to get some good information directly from Plex's website regarding CPU power, which lines up with your figures. My dual-core Sempron has a Passmark score of 995. lol So, for anything other than direct-play, I'm basically up a creek until I upgrade. Rather than upgrading the whole platform right now, I was toying with the idea of picking up a used Phenom II X2 for super cheap, which would at least net me one transcoded stream in the interim (Phenom II X2 550 has roughly 2,000 passmarks), until Zen is released. Hopefully it won't suck, maybe Intel will lower prices a bit on some of their mainstream offerings.

I read your hardware post, wanted to contribute something useful, but you seemed to have it already figured out by the time I came across it. Jealous of all the spare hardware you have lying about. Aside from my gaming rig (i5-2500k and R9 390), basically everything else I have is crap. Even my poor Sandy Bridge chip is getting to be a bit long in the tooth.

bt107
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Re: Ideal hardware setup for Amahi

Postby bt107 » Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:34 am

One thing you might consider rather than on-the-fly transcoding is off-line transcoding using something like Handbrake on one of your more powerful machines. That way you could have a less powerful (i.e. power hungry) server that simply direct streams in whatever format you need. For example, I have a low power HP microserver running Plex which streams to two Rokus. I convert most everything to mp4 which the Rokus can direct stream without transcoding.

wilholt
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 5:47 am

Re: Ideal hardware setup for Amahi

Postby wilholt » Sun Sep 11, 2016 2:05 am

Yeah, I tend to have this stuff lying around because I repair pc's for people. That seems to go hand in hand with people saying "I have this old pc sitting here, do you want it" type questions. My answer is always yes ;) (something my wife gets a bit annoyed with at times)

theholmeses
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:07 pm

Re: Ideal hardware setup for Amahi

Postby theholmeses » Mon Sep 12, 2016 2:20 pm

bt107: Ideally, I'd like to have two rips of everything in my library: one large, high-quality file with 6-channel sound for viewing at home, and another smaller, lower-quality file with 2-channel sound for when I want to stream remotely. My (limited) understanding is that Plex will intelligently choose which file to stream, based on available bandwidth and/or client format compatibility. Having said that, I just don't have time to perform two separate encodes of every movie/TV show I own, so I need to decide which way I want to go. I'm leaning toward ripping with high-quality settings. Handbrake is what I use.

wilholt: Nice. Whenever I'm offered parts (as I occasionally perform PC repair myself), it's typically a single-core machine, utilizing PATA cables and DDR-400 RAM.

TeamHodgdon
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Re: Ideal hardware setup for Amahi

Postby TeamHodgdon » Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:14 pm

I'm a complete Linux/file server/Amahi newbie and only have a little experience with PC hardware in general so I'm far from an expert, but I built a system specifically for Amahi around an AMD FX6300. It was dirt cheap compared to an Intel chip and has great bang for the buck when it comes to passmarks for Plex. I probably overbuilt my system a little but based on the benchmarks and supported by eZ Server Monitor stats it should be able to transcode 3 1080p streams simultaneously. I looked at buying a 4000 series to shave a bit off the price but they were so close in cost I went with the faster one.

I can't speak to its power consumption compared to an equivalent Intel chip but the system basically sits at 0-1% load so I don't think it's drawing a lot at any given time.

When I was pricing components, I saw the FX6300 drop down into the ~$85 range. I think I spent $55 on a motherboard for it so overall was a really cost-effective option.

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