Expand current server or convert to QSV and upgrade

Current server:

Stock Optiplex 7010 DT with i7-3770

32gb RAM (maxed)

Internal storage: 8tb parity, 4tb HDD, 1tb SATA SSD (cache)

External storage: 6tb WD MyBook, 4tb HDD (mounted in USB enclosure)

I’m fairly new to Unraid, having ran this server for about a month. It’s almost exclusively being used as a Plex server and ARR workstation. I find that everything has been running smoothly. There are usually only 1 or 2 simultaneous Plex streamers, with the max possibility being 4. I haven’t noticed any issues with transcoding, but usage and video quality may pick up soon.

My real issue is with storage, specifically the SATA limitations. All 3 available ports are in use. The external drives have been running fine, but I’d feel much safer with something a little more permanent feeling.

My first thought was to get an external JBOD, but it would need to be USB since I don’t currently have an esata or thunderbolt port. However, I was kind of scared off by some negative reviews of the more “affordable” options.

Then I considered utilizing the PCIE (all of which are available) to get some extra SATA ports, as long as the PSU can handle it.

But now, especially after reading the NAS killer threads, I’m wondering if it’s worth it to spend a little more and build an entirely different server. It’s also a bit more of an exciting idea. If I took this option, I’m also wondering if the optiplex could still serve a purpose as a QSV box. I also recently got a second hand UPS. It’s a rack unit, the only piece of rack gear I own, so if a rack server is recommended, I’m all for it.

So in this situation where everything currently works fine, space/power consumption isn’t an issue, and my main real goal is to future proof a bit for transcoding and to expand storage (I recently upgraded Unraid to pro after the subscription scare, so itching to add drives), which option makes the most sense? I would also add that money isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, it just may add waiting time for the upgrades.

Just given the lack of bays plus how sub-optimal external drives are, you should probably look at putting together an NK6, even a low end one. Then you can have bays, have your current drives put inside, and additionally get plex transcode.

In my opinion, any time you have a Workstation with such duties involved, it probably ought to be a separate machine but people roll their homelabs all sorts of ways. Unless you just mean *arr services for media, in which case they can certainly just stay on board.

Currently, my only use of the arr apps are media/Plex related. I do like the idea of having a setup that will specialize in Plex and transcode. Perhaps I’ll revitalize my current server in the future after I gain some more XP with Linux.

For now, I’ll go back and revisit the NK6 thread. I’ll see what I can find in the used market.


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