My Lego Build - Please Advise

Motherboard: Super Micro X8DTL-iF - $110
CPU Cooler: Artic Freezer x 2 - $44
CPU Cooler Mounting Accessory: Flat Washer - $4
PSU: EVGA 400N1 - $33
EPS Splitter: EPS Splitter - $5
Case: N400 - $92

CPU: X5670 - $40
RAM: 32GB - $40

unRAID: Plus for now - $90

Now, I’m not sure what other parts I need from here. I currently have 2 10TB drives and 1 8TB drive and I’m assuming I’m going to get 2 SSD’s which seems to be standard for an unRAID setup. So let’s add 2 SSD’s to the mix:

SSD x 2 - $95
Add-On Card: SSD Support - $14
Fans: Fans - $28
Cable: SATA Cables - 8
Cable: Power Splitter - $12

This build is basically going to be my unRAID Plex server and my usenet/torrent machine. I also planning on running Handbrake on it to encode 480p-1080p movies from raw BluRays, so I need as much CPU power as I can get. And I would like to be able to serve movies and encode at the same time without killing the streaming. I guess I may have to look into limiting the encoding so Plex and downloads can still breathe. That’s beyond me right now, so any tips are greatly appreciated.

So does this build make sense?

Looks like my total so far will be about $615 for everything. I plan on adding at least 2 more 10TB’s to the machine ASAP, to give me 1 parity drive and another 10TB of space. That should bring my storage capacity to 38TB with 1 parity drive.

Please critique it and point out flaws I’m missing and question my thinking on things. Thanks!


Adding that the streaming will mostly be internal on my network. I can’t get my friends and family to use my Plex. And I plan on using 720p or 1080p on what I do serve out. All 4k’s will be internal just for my network.

I’m hoping I can get by on 32GB for now of RAM, but if I need to really double that, let me know please.

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I’m no expert!! But you and I are in almost the same boat, only you’ve gone a head and planned out your build wheres I’ve only dreamed and just added more HD’s to my ryzen desktop.

Good luck looking to see what people say.

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Well hopefully I’ve planned it. Still waiting to see if I can get any tips here. Enterprise/server level stuff is over my head.

A couple of comments and questions here…

  1. How are you planning on running Handbrake? I’m running the Lego build, but am running FreeNAS. Can Unraid natively run Handbrake or are you going to run a VM with Handbrake running?
  2. If your clients are going to be on your local network and can stream without transcoding, you won’t need much CPU for that. I’d just suggest finding a way to either keep your 4K content separate from your 1080p or lower content or find a way to identify it easily when browsing. It’s likely that not all of your clients will support 4k and from what I’ve heard on the Discord, transcoding 4k to 1080p will take a lot of CPU.
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Good questions. There is a docker for Handbrake, but then I still have to learn docker. It would be nice to be able to do it outside of a Windows VM but then it will be a learning curve.

And you’re right about transcoding. CPU power is more of a concern for encoding plus whatever else is running. My easy solution for that is separate folders for 4k and then other movies. I create a separate movie tab in Plex for them and that way I know what’s what easily.

Right. Encoding to h.264 can be pretty CPU intensive. That said, what makes it difficult to gauge is that how much CPU can be heavily dependent on the settings that you choose for your encoder.

Do you know the Passmark rating for your CPUs? You might be able to find some kind of estimation chart online and/or somebody may be able to chime in here.

(I do most of my encoding on my main rig running an i7-6700k w/ 32GB of RAM, but I’ve never paid attention to how many cores are actually be consumed. I just know that the machine is still usable for basic web browsing type stuff while encoding.)

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I dont have a link to it handy right now but I researched the various CPU’s on their passmarks. The X5670 seems to be the best value at the high end. The score is somewhere around 13k IIRC. Higher than that CPU and the cost outpaces the rate gained it seems.

Handbrake docker runs well. You configure the default encoder settings, and then it monitors a fodler. any file placed in that folder will be converted and placed in the output folder. It’s hands off and works great if you dont need real time conversion.

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Looks like you got almost all the pieces together. Nice Job. Make sure to check your standoffs 1,2,3 times before booting your machine for the first time. Many people make that mistake here.

Docker isn’t hard at all with unraid. you just download the docker image, and set paths, then start it.
E Z P Z… there are lots of videos on unraid to watch…

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Thanks for the replies guys. You see anything I’m missing? Honestly, I dont even really understand how the parts will fit in the case yet either. From what I’ve seen the built in spots for drives wont hold up to 8, so I’m guessing theres more hardware I’m not aware of.

That may not actually work for me then. I’ll be encoding aiming for specific bitrate which takes a little trial and error unfortunately.

Just a small thing… you may need to add some tiny washers to the CPU Coolers so that they make proper contact. I had to use them for my build.

He actually has those listed on his build sheet up above, but I’m wondering where this recommendation came from? Are certain CPUs taller than others? I’m running E5620s in my Lego build and the Arctic 12s fit without any issues.

That said… with this board and the Arctic 12 coolers, remember to seat your RAM before installing the coolers. The coolers overlap the RAM slots a bit and it would be difficult if not impossible to fit the RAM in after.

RE: Handbrake in docker… once you get your profiles set, I would imagine it’s trivial to adjust the settings in the docker for a specific encode.

Are those the tiny washers that are listed in the original build?

Thanks for the tip on the RAM respawn. I have a hard time visualizing how this will fit in the case with room for 8 drives + 2 SSDs. I know the SSDs can kind of be squeezed anywhere though. I may be close to having a good parts list together and ready to order, but man, building it is going to be something else entirely.

Just for grins I started up a test encode on my own desktop rig. This is an apples to oranges comparison obviously, but HB will use all 8 cores on my i7-6700k up to 100%. A typical home movie will take between 3 and 4 hours to complete a 1080p encode at my settings.

What is interesting (and why I was curious) is that HB by default does set execution priority in windows to “Below Normal”, hence why I am able to do basic workloads on my rig while it’s encoding. Our discussions today got me really curious about how it was handled. That said, I have no idea if it’s possible to set priority in UnRaid like that.

Yeah it runs as Nice in my docker container, so it basically uses the available cpu cycles without stopping anything else that may need them. I never even notice it running.

He actually has those listed on his build sheet up above, but I’m wondering where this recommendation came from? Are certain CPUs taller than others? I’m running E5620s in my Lego build and the Arctic 12s fit without any issues.

Oh nice! I didn’t realize that. I honestly think it’s one of those “your mileage may vary” kind of thing… some people need them, others don’t. In my case there was quite a bit of play with the coolers before I used the washers. After the washers were on it felt like normal.

Thanks for all the replies guys. This thread has taken off quite nicely.

I’m thinking I’m going to wait and see what the new guides have before ordering this one. They might come out as a much better deal. Or maybe not. We’ll see. Just something to think about for everyone wanting to build right now,