[Guide] Hardware Transcoding: The JDM way! QuickSync and NVENC

Thank you JDM!

I just bought the HP ProDesk 600 G4 with i5-8500T (6 cores, 8th gen intel cpu) and 16GB memory, no disk for $300 + tax, shipped on ebay. I love that this system has 2 nvme and a sata internally and usb-c, plus the additional cores. Looking at getting a Samsung evo plus 970 NVMe 1TB ($160) drive to start. Hoping to find a deal on some memory to bring the system up to 32GB (could have paid an extra $80 to go from 16GB to 32GB).

I currently have a 9 year old Unraid/Plex server/NAS (i5-3750k) in a 6 drive bay itx case. Last year I added a GTX 1060 to offload hw transcoding, so now I can sell or use this card for gaming instead.

Plex, VM and Docker workload will move to the HP ProDesk, but I’m not too sure what to do about the NAS part of my old server. Eventually I want to retire the server after I figure out the best option for NAS.

would i use this same workflow if i have 2 seperate boxes? one for the the plex (HP Prodesk 400, ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS) and the nas I built with unraid?

Does anyone have a recommendation for prebuilts that 1. Can handle a ton of different docker services running on a few different proxmox VMs, 2. Have as much transcoding power as possible, 3. Are in a smaller form factor if possible, 4. Where cost isn’t a significant concern and 5. If there aren’t great prebuilt options, what’s a good starting point to build around? Looking for as much power as I can get out of it without making the thing unwieldy.

Pick the important ones because you aren’t going to get all that in a single box, and it really is silly to try.

Server processors with high thread counts make the most sense for multiple VM’s and dockers. But they aren’t going to have quick sync, which is ideal for transcoding.

You can buy or build a low cost box that will excel at transcoding but be terrible for multiple VMs, and you can buy or build a box that will be great for VM’s but terrible at transcoding.

Thanks for the reply. I think I’d be okay with having two separate boxes (would appreciate suggestions for any prebuilt standouts). I had a NUC order in before I found this thread and realized I’d probably be overpaying for less performance… But there’s a lot to get my head around here so I thought I’d ask.

Edit: I landed on a 7080 micro for the main server. Next step is to look more closely at a standalone transcoding box.

This is the new current favorite standalone transcoder/plex box: [Official] HP ProDesk 400 G4 SFF Owner's Thread

Novice here… I am doing this and using a pro desk 400 g4 as a dedicated Plex server/transcoder. I then obviously want all the actual storage/downloads to go to my Unraid NAS (separate machine).

This is a first time setup so no need to transfer/migrate anything from a previous setup.

So in following the directions for the software setup, I am confused on what steps are for the Plex server and which ones are for the Unraid NAS (two separate machines).

Apologies for the elementary question! If I have missed a previous post or explanation please feel free to forward.

Currently setup:

  1. NAS with Unraid installed
  2. proDesk with Ubuntu 20.04 installed and Plex (plex pass purchased)
  3. HdHR connect duo
    – Now I just need them to talk!!

This whole experience has been so much fun. It’s like legos for adults!

Thank you!

Thank you!

Step 1 is on Unraid, all other steps are on your ProDesk 400/Plex.

Newbie here. Trying to upgrade an ancient plex server. Currently using win 10 with an i7-940, 48gb ram, random video card (nvidia geforce gt 710) for display connectivity, sabertooth x58 mobo.

A buddy is giving me a prodesk 600 sff g4 with an i5-8500, and 8gb ram, with a 256gb nvme.

All of my media is in the i7 desktop, on 4 8tb red drives. My setup is automated with sonarr and radarr.

I plan on following this tutorial, but dont have a nas, and 2 of the 8tb hdd in the desktop, were setup as extended storage in disk utility. Do I need a nas? Can I use my current build to act as the storage for the media, and still have it use sonarr and radarr? How do I go about connecting my storage to the prodesk after setting it up?

Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

@Dondochaka, I have an HP ProDesk 600 G4 mini running Unraid, with Plex on docker (quicksync hw transcoding), and 32GB RAM for some moderate to light VM workload. I have a seperate unraid server acting as a NAS since the HP ProDesk mini has limited storage.

Not sure if you can do the above with proxmox. You would need to create a VM and pass it the internal GPU, but since you only have one GPU on the system, I’m not sure if that would work. If you had a normal dedicated GPU that can handle transcoding, then it wouldn’t be a problem using proxmox. Considering you’re posting in a quicksync thread, I don’t think you want to do that.


I currently do hardware conversions (with handbrake) of whatever files I have to H.264 (for best compatibility across a wide range of devices).
I use quick sync video and I have a couple of i5 (3rd generation) systems/CPUs.

I’m very happy with the conversion speed.
I have not noticed any quality issue in my modest setup (a 42" 1080p TV).
File size is where I wish they were smaller. The same file converted via software can easily be half the size of the hardware encoded one.

Now, my question is, if I upgrade the CPU to a more modern QSV (eg the Intel Celeron G4900 - 8th-gen dual core here mentioned) where would I see the major improvements for H.264 conversions, please?
Speed, quality, file size or all of them?


QuickSync is for on-the-fly transcoding primarily. If you are trying to transcode files ahead of time to save on hard drive space, then personally I wouldn’t bother with QuickSync and stick with software transcoding as I have all the time in the world. The only advantage hardware transcoding would have (QuickSync, NVENC) is speed, at the cost of quality.

Hi @skuzuker28,

I’m just transcoding them ahead of time for compatibility.
Some NAS (in remote locations) do not have transcoding capabilities.
They are great as simple file servers though.

Thanks for your input.

If anyone has already had a similar experience to what I’m thinking (migrating from an Intel 3rd generation to an 8th) I’d be curious to know what they thought the QSV differences where.

I’m mainly interested in H.264 capabilities for myself but still open to hear what other people are doing.


Anyone using Freenas to hold the media and have instructions on how to set up properly. I want to see how to set up the nfs share. Just recently got my hp s01 running plex.


Thanks. Finally got it working with some fooling around with dataset permissions in addition to setting up the nfs share. Movies showed up initially but plex can’t seem to see them. Also this morning can’t seem to access the mnted folder anymore?

Been running my PlexBox for a while now as initially recommended in the guide.
Just did a test and I don’t see (hw) mentionned anymore in Plex.
Is HW decode/encode now supported in unRAID Docker?
I’m thinking of having 1 server instead of a separate PlexBOX and NASKiller.

What do you mean exactly?

HW transcoding has been supported in dockerized Plex for a long time in Unraid. However, a dedicated QS box will perform better than an integrated server. There’s really no reason for you to condense.

It was a post from you on August 2019

That was referencing GPUs, not iGPUs.