1 RU Plex Server Recommendations

Hi all,

I currently have my Plex server running on an Intel i5-2400 @ 3.10GHz with an NVIDIA GeForce GT1030, 16GB Ram, and running on Windows 10. My media is stored on a NAS and I mount NFS shares. On the player side, I have a couple samsung TV’s and some iPad’s with generally no more that 2 concurrent streams. Overall things work pretty good. I also use the PC for gaming.

I’m changing the layout of my office, and I’m planning on moving all my equipment into a 20 RU rack. I’d like to setup a dedicated server for Plex running on Linux in a 1 RU server case. I’d like to have hardware acceleration for transcoding and be able to support the same amount of clients mentioned above.

I’d hoping to get some advice on hardware specs for a fairly low cost build that can handle what I’m looking for.

Appreciate your help!

i would look at pretty much anything 8th gen or newer intel, specific cpu doesnt matter a ton, lower power the better tbh.

JDM’s recent guide for everything but the drives and chassis would be a great Plex server host [Official] U-NAS 8-bay Mini-ITX NAS (OTiS - 8th/9th gen Intel) which is a continuation of the original OTiS builds [Guide] OTiS 1.0 - Build your own Intel QSV HW transcoder!

as for hardware, it wouldnt be very hard to shove the hardware JDM referenced in the U-NAS build into pretty much any standard 1U chassis, such as this cheap istar https://amzn.to/3okslAP. However if you dont mind getting your hands dirty, i highly reccomend checking out the 1U shenanigans channel on discord and this post [Guide] Spice up your rack with these stylish & sexy chassis for your pfSense build!


Thanks for the links. I think I’m going to go with:

  • i3-9100 CPU
  • 16GB ram
  • 256GB SSD (that I already have)
  • ASUS H310 motherboard
  • iStar 1RU server case
  • mini-ITX 300W power supply

Hoping I can get do the build for ~$350. This should give me hardware transcoding and enough CPU to handle the occasional item that can’t use hardware.

I’m also planning to use a iStar 1U server case pretty soon. I noticed in the review comments someone said if using a micro atx board you may run into clearance issues with the two hdd cages supplied. I haven’t had a chance to research this myself but the guy had pictures and it did look like a dumb design.

Edit: Nevermind I got the 2u case so hopefully the 1u is different.

Use one of these cases instead. Strip out the PSU and get a motherboard that has a DC 19V PSU. It’ll save you money and it’ll look cooler.

Start with 8GB of RAM and a G4900 or G4900T. No need for the i3-9100.

Thanks for the reply. So you’d suggest just getting one of those used 1RU chassis and stripping it vs the iStar? Just curious why? Also, do you have any recommendations on motherboards?

alot of them are actually Supermicro cse-500(maybe?) chassis, so they are designed to work with more equipment than whats in them.

Using this case- SC502-200B | 1U | Chassis | Products | Super Micro Computer, Inc. from another appliance. I took out the mini-itx M/B and placed this micro-atx one.

Used Pico PSU and this 12V adapter, to lessen noise. Fanless :D. Took out my low profile fan, and put in this Supermicro heatsink. Hope it’s enough to cool my 35W processor.

I can tell you 30 minutes after, my motherboard started to beep overheat. Now, I don’t know where to put a noctua fan, in front of the heatsink, or at the back to pull hot air out. Not sure if it will even fit. I have a Noctua 40mm fan.

With that current setup, you need an active CPU cooler. It won’t be quiet though…


That pico psu is interesting. I bought some cable extensions the other day because the 1u I got had a psu with really short leads. If I had thought about the pico option I would have done the same as you.

I have another brand. Dynatron K199 1U Server CPU Fan For Intel Xeon LGA1156 CPU, not very loud. Yet, I keep coming back to wanting all passive. I don’t mind underclocking, as my firewall have way too much power than what I need. But at 35WTDP, I didn’t expect it to hit higher than 80 with this current setup. My M/B alarms for 1 minute, then goes silent once more.

There’s nothing like dead silent equipment in the room :D. Please show me how to underclock. Can you still do that with Core i3-4160T?

My ultimate goal is to go dead silent. So the 1u psu I have is quite silent for 1u standards already. but I can tell you you can definitely hear it in the room. Now at this current state, it’s working, and yet, no sound at all. I can only see the leds of the Supermicro flashing left and right :D. Looks so cool. Except for the occasional red led lighting up and beeping 1x a day or so for 1 minute :D. There has got to be a solution.

If that’s your goal, it’s not going to happen in 1U.

:D. Still looking for ways to underclock processor. There is another option, currently experimenting. As I don’t have space on the front or back of the M/B already, I placed a Noctua 40mm fan on the back left side of the 1U chassis. It’s currently under experiment. Sound is pretty quiet, almost silent. It also just brings down the temp 2-3 degrees of the processor. Not sure if it’s any help. I’d like to have it even lower, maybe 60 degrees Celsius.