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 Post subject: Silent media + webhosting server capable 4k HEVC transcoding
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:28 am 
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Hello,

I am looking to purchase a 24/7 on server that will stand in our guest room. I would prefer to not have to turn this off when we have guests, so I am trying to make it as quiet as possible.

The usage of the server would be:
Plex media server, where I would like to have 4k on the fly transcoding power
Host a web server
Store all my data (probably around 4 harddrives)

I am planning to install Debian 9 on it, and potentially also ZFS file system (if no one has a better secure solution)?

My question is really where to start, I read a lot about different CPUs but it seems almost impossible to be able to combine all the different pieces into something that fulfills my needs of power but at the same time is not sounding like an airplane landing.

Hope someone can help me out!


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 Post subject: Re: Silent media + webhosting server capable 4k HEVC transco
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:35 am 
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Welcome to SPCR.

Everything you want to do, except 4k transcoding, takes very little CPU horsepower and could be done with a low end CPU. Transcoding will take as much CPU as you want to throw at it....it really comes down to one thing: how much money do you want to throw at it vs how quickly do you want to complete a transcoding task?

Here's links to a couple of charts from Anandtech's Bench. The first is for Handbrake 4k HEVC. The second is Handbrake 4k H264. Using the HEVC data, if you bought an $86 G4620 Pentium (2 cores/4 threads), you'd get 8 frames/sec. A $180 i5 7400 (4C/4T) is ~16fps, the new $180 i5 8400 (6C/6T) gets you 26fps, and the new $360 i7 8700K gets ~34fps.

All of these can be made into a quiet system...just have to spend a little more effort and money to keep the higher end stuff quiet. Also, since the server PC is going to be in a guest room..you might as well run the LAN cable a little further and put the server in the guest room closet. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Silent media + webhosting server capable 4k HEVC transco
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:39 am 
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Location: Guatemala
svarto wrote:
I am planning to install Debian 9 on it, and potentially also ZFS file system (if no one has a better secure solution)?
For pure media server, unraid is one of the best, have been one of the most used OS on AVSForums to have their Rips from their blu rays on demands for the network. Its a very mature OS, it allows around 30 drives max, 2 parity, 1 cache and i believe 24 data (there are different paid versions depending on your needs), unraid can run plex and do the trans coding for your devices, it even can do VMs. If you are interested, check the following video into how to setup and install unraid and plex media server, Tutorial: Install unRAID and Plex Media Server (Bootable USB)

Personally i find ZFS a little too much for a media server, specially if you are looking for quiet operation, RaidZ will use multiple drives for storing files, so playing them back will wake and use multiple drives, unraid you can make it so one file stays on one disk so you dont wake up the hole array. If i were to go with ZFS, i would probably build around FreeNas.

I would probably suggest you start with a good motherboard, with ECC support, so something like C236, to me Supermicro is one of the best on server hardware, but its bios fan control is very elemental and sensible to some fans, contrary to this, AsRock is very good in bios fan control, so i would suggest to check something like ASRock C236 WSI Mini ITX Server Motherboard there other models if you feel one suits your better. But even on mini itx it comes with 8 sata ports, enough for your current needs, and if you down the road you need more just add a LSI 9207-8i or 9211-8i. Be careful with the memory, it supports ECC but try to go with QVL List, as not all will run.

For CPU depends on how many parallel trasscoding and vms you want to implement, you can go with celeron/pentium or E3 1275v6 (be careful with Kaby lake cpus and the version of the bios as you need the latest to run kaby cpus). I would try the intel cooler first and see how it works out, if you wish quiet operation you can upgrade to something like Noctua NH-C14. But dont take this lightly, to transcode 4k x265 10bit to 720p x264 on the fly will require a lot of CPU, how much really depends on a lot of things, but PLEX forums should help you and so the unraid forums.

Case will depend on your needs, thinking on something not that big, maybe Fractal Design Define Mini will give you 6 hdd slots, or if you want 8 for the future the Define R5. Personally i always suggest have some flexibility, my server started with 8 drives, now im on 22 drives (100TB usable), and now im starting to build a second server (this one will be unraid), i was just waiting to see 4k take off, and the past month i seen multiple releases, so this is just the begging, im going to need a ton of storage over the next few years.

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Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | SimMi


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 Post subject: Re: Silent media + webhosting server capable 4k HEVC transco
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:53 pm 
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Internet says you need an i9/dual xeon/threadripper setup, because you probably need it to be realtime.

I've seen this video on linustechtips, he's got the big/powerful/noisy server in the next room with some thunderbolt gizmo that allows the monitor+io to be near him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NshXgis ... u.be&t=649

Check video card compatibility if you want linux and you'll have this connected directly to a TV or something else. I've been running linux desktops for more than 10 years, and you really need to make sure the video driver allows for actual power management (some only work when only one video output is plugged in, otherwise it's 100% power usage on the GPU), some don't do Vsync correctly so you end up with tearing, some like to lock-up the X server. Default fan speeds are different on the open source vs proprietary drivers as well. I know there are giant advances in recent years, so if you don't do a lot of 3d stuff and you don't have multiple video outputs, you'll likely be just fine, but you really need to check beforehand. Of course, if you're only streaming over the network, this doesn't matter at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent media + webhosting server capable 4k HEVC transco
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:58 am 
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Posts: 4
Thank you very much for all the advice, this is super useful and will definitely take a bit of time to sift through all the great advice here.

I have had a look through and trying to reconcile, in the I am starting to think about a setup like this:

CPU: Ryzen Threadripper 1920X
Motherboard: MSI X399 GAMING PRO CARBON AC
Memory: 2 x CRUCIAL 8.0GB (CT8G4WFS824A)
Case: FRACTAL DESIGN Arc Midi R2
Cooling: ??

From the Anandtech benchmark it looks like this should be powerful enough to transcode 4k on the fly, while at the same time having ECC memory to make sure that all the family photos and such don't get corrupted and are lost.

I have a spare old AMD GPU that I can plug in for initial install, and also an old SSD Samsung harddrive plus 2x HGST Deskstar 7200rpm for storage.

Would really appreciate your experienced thoughts here and maybe comments? What would be a good cooling solution to this that works very quietly? I can imagine that during full transcoding it can get a bit loud (which is fine, doubt I will have guests trying to sleep at that time!) but then during idling I hope to keep it quite.

I might be able to try to stick it in the closet :) Will have to see how to pull the cables there!


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 Post subject: Re: Silent media + webhosting server capable 4k HEVC transco
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:08 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Vancouver B.C
svarto wrote:
Plex media server, where I would like to have 4k on the fly transcoding power

For on the fly Plex 4K transcoding, x264 or x265? Plex has a page somewhere listing the CPU benchmark score recommended for transcodeing x264 videos of various bitrates. x265 videos will require more (no clue as to how much). I strongly suggest you ask that question in the Plex forum before deciding on a CPU.

Quote:
I am planning to install Debian 9 on it, and potentially also ZFS file system (if no one has a better secure solution)?

I have a couple of FreeNAS servers, the one for the important stuff use ECC on a Supermico mobo with Xeon CPU and RAIDZ2. The other one is an ASRock B250 mobo with a Pentium CPU and non-EEC RAM, it run stripe disks, i.e., JBOD. The ASRock has Plex Media Server and Zonemaster installed in a Lubuntu Bhyve VM and I use it for storing media and security cam image files.

Also if you want flexibility in changing you pool/array size you need to understand how drive pools works in ZFS before deciding to use it.

It's also recommended to have a UPS for auto-shutdown when using ZFS.

Quote:
CPU: Ryzen Threadripper 1920X
Motherboard: MSI X399 GAMING PRO CARBON AC

At that price point, I'd look at server parts and not gaming mobo, you're paying for a lot of stuff on the gaming mobo that you'll never use. You can get a premium server mobo from Supermicro for less.

Quote:
and also an old SSD Samsung harddrive plus 2x HGST Deskstar 7200rpm for storage.

For a 2 drive mirroring array ZFS maybe an overkill.

Quote:
I might be able to try to stick it in the closet :) Will have to see how to pull the cables there!

The Ryzn is a ?180W? part? Probably a bit warm for a closet ;-).


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 Post subject: Re: Silent media + webhosting server capable 4k HEVC transco
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 3048
Location: Guatemala
svarto wrote:
CPU: Ryzen Threadripper 1920X
Cooling: ??

Would really appreciate your experienced thoughts here and maybe comments? What would be a good cooling solution to this that works very quietly? I can imagine that during full transcoding it can get a bit loud (which is fine, doubt I will have guests trying to sleep at that time!) but then during idling I hope to keep it quite.
Well I would wait for black friday to see how the prices go, there was a rummor that 1950X would drop to $799, but who knows for sure.

Trying to aircool a threadripper is not that easy, not that many coolers take the advantage of a bigger area that threadripper cpus bring, the only that have released a set of cooler with a bigger area of contact are Noctua, Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 is the most capable of them. Worth mentioning it will overlap with the first PCIe slot, probably wont matter much to you.

Check the following videos for more info,
Cooling AMD Threadripper - Air vs All in One Water
Threadripper Large vs. Small Coldplate A/B Test (Noctua NH-U14S)
Threadripper Cooler Comparison: Full Coverage Liquid vs. Air

You can still manage the PWM of the NF-A15 included on the NH-U14, it can be dropped to 300rpms or ramp up to 1500rpms, you can set it up how you want it to ramp up on MSI bios very easily, so you end up with a quiet setup.

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 Post subject: Re: Silent media + webhosting server capable 4k HEVC transco
PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:03 am 
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Posts: 4
Thanks a lot for all the great advices, I took a look at a Threadripper 1950k and I agree - seems very difficult to cool and rather pricey.

I found a good deal for a server motherboard with dual Xeon E5-2680 v2:

CPU: Dual Xeon E5-2680 v2
Motherboard: Supermicro X9DRL-EF
RAM: IBM 4x16gb PC3-12800R DDR3-1600MHz REG ECC
Case: I was considering an Enthoo Pro case (http://www.phanteks.com/Enthoo-Pro.html)

My question is really, how to make something like this quiet? Both CPU heatsinks / fans but also the PSU I am a bit lost about.

I have 2 harddrives to plug in from the start, but might expand with 2-4 more depending on my needs.

Really appreciate any help here!


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 Post subject: Re: Silent media + webhosting server capable 4k HEVC transco
PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:13 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 3048
Location: Guatemala
svarto wrote:
My question is really, how to make something like this quiet? Both CPU heatsinks / fans but also the PSU I am a bit lost about.

I have 2 harddrives to plug in from the start, but might expand with 2-4 more depending on my needs.
From the HDD standpoint, you dont have much option, HDD today are more quiet than before, but still its a moving part that not all are equal, some vibrate more, some are more quiet than others, etc. The only thing you can do here is chose an OS that can sleep drives and wont wake them unless they are being used, for example typical raid arrays will divide date on most hdds so they usually have a lot of disk up when accessing data, there are others like unraid where it should only wake up the drive being accesed.

Now one thing worth mentioning is that supermicro boards are a little picky, their bios fan control is very basic and not very tweakable, and a matter of fact they have issues with some brand and their pwm design, where if you drive them too low the motherboard panics when it see the rpms lower than what they can read and enters a panic mode where it ramps the fans to 100% and then release them, and the cycle never ends and becomes even more annoying than a full 100% rpms and its a constant breathing effect, in my experience with PWM noctua fans are the best, at least i never had the breathing effect than i had with sycthe. Disclaimer this was with Sandy Bridge supermicro and i wrote supermicro about the issue, not sure if they cared or fix it on newer mobos, that siad, im building a new unraid server atm, and all fans that are being plugged to the mobo will be noctuas.

svarto wrote:
Case: I was considering an Enthoo Pro case (http://www.phanteks.com/Enthoo-Pro.html)
I recommend more to go with Fractal Design Define R5, it has great cable management, you can grow to 8 drives, option for 2 frontal fans to cool the drives, easy to clean mesh filters, the front door should help somewhat with the noise and at $79 is tough to beat. For case fans if you wish to control them via the bios, i would recommend NF-A14 PWM, in this case with supermicro i wouldn't gamble with other brands if you wish to control them via bios pwm fan control.

For CPU cooler, check Noctua NH-U12DXi4 for Intel Xeon CPU_ LGA2011, take a look into a similar build to what you are planning, Dual E5-2670 build in the smallest case NZXT S340, i would mount the hdds connectors to the back to allow a cleanear and easier management of the setup, the R5 can access the hdds from the back also.

PSU, figure out your consumption first and then decide, go for something gold rated since you probably will be running 24/7 (or if you budget allows platinum or titanium). Corsair RMx is a good start, lately i seen seasonic Focus being recommended, then buy whatever wattage you feel its enough. I would probably suggest around 500W, depends on the rest of your hardware.

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GameMiv3 >> AsRock H170 Pro4 | Intel Core i7-6700K | Prolimatech Genesis + 2x Thermalright TY-147A | Kingston HyperX FURY 64GB DDR4 2133 | MSI GTX1080 Gaming X | Acer Predator XB321HK 4K IPS Gsync | Samsung 850pro 1TB | WD RED 3TB | Silverstone FT05 + 2x Silverstone AP182 | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | SimMi


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 Post subject: Re: Silent media + webhosting server capable 4k HEVC transco
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:32 pm 
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Location: Vancouver B.C
svarto wrote:
RAM: IBM 4x16gb PC3-12800R DDR3-1600MHz REG ECC

Supermicro mobos can be picky about RAM, stick to the modules that are listed as tested if possible.

Quote:
My question is really, how to make something like this quiet? Both CPU heatsinks / fans but also the PSU I am a bit lost about.

With DP boards you're most likely limited to 92mm CPU coolers and E5-2680 V2 is a 115W part - don't think it's going to be very quiet under full load.

Have you looked into using Plex's optimize option - where it pre-transcodes the content and save the "optimized" version to disk.

Quote:
I have 2 harddrives to plug in from the start, but might expand with 2-4 more depending on my needs.

Are you familiar with ZFS's limitations in expanding vdevs?


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 Post subject: Re: Silent media + webhosting server capable 4k HEVC transco
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:38 pm 
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Thanks a lot for the help! Now when you mentioned the fans I suddenly got uncertain about getting the ATX supermicro board and was considering the AsRock EP2C602-4L/D16 but started reading a lot about peoples problems with the FAN control and temperatures.

It seems really difficult to find the optimal motherboard, I basically just want something that I can install some great Noctua CPU fans to keep things quiet, and at the same time being able to control it all through IPMI 2.0 and KVM over LAN. Is there any recommendation for a dual LGA2011 socket motherboard or are both Intel, AsRock and Supermicro actually all great boards and the complaints people have are only cases of getting lemons?

I know the limitations of ZFS, I went with it originally due to ease of FreeNAS but now when I want to move over to Debian I would either just keep ZFS or migrate over to something else. A bit worred about data integrity as I am storing my family photos on the server and it would be very sad if they just disappeared (I do have an offsite and offline backup of them as well though).


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