Plex unRaid build, critique my decisions so far


Build a unRaid box that can support Plex as well as other minor Docker/VM setups. Support for over 100TB of storage and 10+ concurrent streams, possibly some 4k streams as well. I am totally fine with overkill when it comes to the build, but I also don’t have unlimited funds here.

Why Rack?

I’ve done quite a bit of research the past week on the best approach for an unRaid build. I see that when it comes to Plex, most of the suggestions say to go with the HP 290, but given my existing hardware and storage requirements, I would likely have to build to DAS anyhow. Since I want to start with at least 15 drives, that means I will need to go rack mount and at that point I’d really like to contain it all to one unit.

Previous setup

  • Mac mini (Late 2012) 2.6 Ghz i7, 16 GB 1600MHz DD3, Drobo 5D 12TB, 12TB, 8TB, 8TB, 8TB 7200rpm Seagate Ironwolf SATA drives (32.5TB capacity)

Active users: 36, concurrent streams 5-10

Existing Hardware

  • Drives listed above
  • Nvidia GTX 1080 (SLI was useless in my gaming rig, so I have an extra)

Hardward purchased so far

The Plan

I first purchased the open box MBD-X10DRI-T-O from newegg before seeing the deal on amazon. I picked this up mainly because it supports dual processors and I think that would be helpful in my lab application of unRaid. It also can’t hurt to throw extra CPU at Plex. This board also has support for 16x PCI and I believe will have room for my GTX 1080.

Then when I saw the Supermicro on amazon, I couldn’t pass up the deal. It’s hard to find a 24 hotswap bay case 4U case alone for that price (I had been considering the NORCO RPC-4224 for $549). Seeing how this already has the raid controller, some ram and processors, I had to go with this option. I figure worst case I gut it and put in my x10DRI board with fresh components and I’ll still have a more reliable piece of hardware than the NORCO.

If it wasn’t clear, I plan to use the GTX 1080 for GPU encoding (I know there is a session limit of 2 that will need to be removed). Unfortunately, since my existing drives are all SATA, and I plan to use those drives in the new build, I will have to go all SATA instead of SAS for the drives which is unfortunate, but I just can’t afford to dish out the cash for all new drives. I’m planning on going dual parity (using the 2 12TB drives for parity) and all new drives will be 8TB, likely also Seagate Iron Wolf (I’ve had terrible luck with Western Digital).


So that’s where I stand now. I’m still waiting on these parts to get delivered in a couple of weeks, but go ahead and rip me a new one and tell me all the things I did and plan to do that are wrong. Seriously, I’m looking for some constructive feedback, I can take it.

the HP 290 is almost a must for plex streaming

You’ll notice that I addressed that above.

I think what he was alluding to is that you should build a NAS, and have the HP 290 be a dedicated transcoder, instead of having the HP 290 be a NAS+DAS. I would provide the same advice.

The GTX 1080 is a huge waste for transcoding. Sell it to fund your build, or use it in the NAS for [Guide] Remote Gaming on Unraid.

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Ok, so the thought would be to keep the blade purchase and use that as a NAS build (I really need to go rack mounted for my storage requirements). Then pick up an HP 290 which will be a dedicated Plex transcode box connecting to the NAS with the biggest pipe I can make happen, hopefully 10gb.

So then should I leave the HP 290 in Windows or convert it over to Linux?

Lastly, I picked up this refurbished model on NewEgg just now: I hope there are no known issues with referb units.

I’m also interested to know what the preferred OS is for a dedicated plex server on a HP 290.

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Ubuntu 20.04 desktop.

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Would you set up a docker on unraid for NZB, Sonaar, Radaar, etc? or do it on the HP 290?

Docker is perfect for those tasks. Keep the 290 to just Plex.

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