Upgrading my home server Help

I have a fairly low-power home server with these specs:

ASRock J5005-ITX
1 x 2.5" Samsung 850 EVO SSD system disk
2 x 3.5" 8TB WD White HDD
1 x 3.5" 3TB WD Red HDD
HDPlex 200W NanoATX PSU
Fractal Design Node 304

I have Debian 11 on it. I use MergerFs plus Snapraid for the NAS function. I also have it running Plex Media Server (native Linux install) and a couple of docker containers for (pihole, arrs, download clients, etc.). The CPU is having a hard time transcoding HEVC10 and I feel that it’s time for an upgrade anyways. For the upgrade, this is what I’m thinking:

  • Keep the case, PSU, and SSD/HDD’s (still not sure if it makes sense to upgrade to an nVME drive)
  • Intel Pentium Gold G6400 10th Gen
  • ASRock 410M/510M/470M/570M-itx/ac (depending on the availability here and what is cheapest)
  • I would probably need to switch to using regular DDR4 RAM modules too. What is the recommended size that I get? Is it wise to stay at 8GB (2x4GB)? And would it be OK if I just get those Value RAM’s without heatsinks?
  • Since the motherboard only has 4 SATA3 ports and I would need to add more drives, I would need to use an HBA card. Should I go with an LSI SAS2308 or SAS3008? I feel that the 2308 would be plenty for my use case. I’ve never used an HBA card but I know that you would need to flash an IT firmware. Which between HP, Dell, and IBM is the cheapest?

I’m also thinking of going with an i3-10100. Or would it make more sense to go with an i5-11400 since it has a UHD 730 iGPU?

Any other suggestions you can think of? Thanks for the help!

Any help out here please?

Regarding RAM, 8GB or more. More would depend on what services are running.

Link to an alternate HBA info:
[Official] Adaptec ASR series SAS HBA overview

Just about any 8th gen or greater intel should suffice. Have you read the QuickSync Guide?

You need anything HBA with IT mode. None of the advanced features will be used.

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Thanks. Yes, I did read that quicksync guide however it doesn’t really take into account the new UHD 750 in the 11th gen CPU’s. I’m not sure if it’s worth the premium.

If I go with AMD, do I get HW transcoding support in Linux for Plex?

What you asked for was something with better HEVC support. Any newer Intel chip will support it.

If you go AMD, what HW transcoding are you thinking you are going to be able to use?

Right. I guess I should’ve added the requirement of being able to transcode 3 to 4 x 4K streams simultaneously. It’s not a hard requirement but if the price of the newer gen makes sense, then I can consider it.

I also want a CPU that can idle efficiently. How does the G6400 compare to the i3-10100 in that avenue?

I have limited knowledge on AMD but I thought using AMD APU’s will allow you to do VCE transcoding?

AMD won’t transcode with Plex from what I understand. You would need to add a GPU. Best to stay with Intel 8th gen and up. You will also need Plex Pass if you don’t already have it.

Ok, that settles the Intel vs. AMD then. I do have Plex Pass and am doing HW transcoding with my current J5005 CPU. The problem is that ASS/SSA subs are SW transcoded and from what I understand that is a single core process. So I also need enough single core frequency to do that. That’s why I’m not yet sure which to go with between the G6400 and the i3-10100.

I don’t know that there is a heck of a lot of difference other than the added cores/threads vs the 6400. The 10100 would offer more opportunity to run dockers if you are into that sort of thing. Are you using or planning to use Unraid or some other NAS operating system? The 4k stuff I don’t have much experience with. I think I read where you wouldn’t want to hw transcode 4k content and that would go back to network speed and taking care of any hw bottlenecks within the network.

I built a pc (10100) last winter for my desktop with the intentions of eventually retiring to my Unraid setup in the future. I opt to keep the destkop and just build another modern intel 11th or 12th gen but in no hurry given the prices and availability

My system is a Debian 11 box using mergerFS + SnapRAID for the “NAS system”. I then have a couple of docker containers for movie/tv shows automation. Plus a native Plex Linux install. Transcoding 4K isn’t really recommended, yes, but being able to transcode 4K content for remote streamers that doesn’t have enough download bandwidth is nice. For local streaming, there’s absolutely no problem with network speed, even with wifi AC.

Locally, the difference between the two processors is around $67.

Transcoding 4k is not a good idea for multiple reasons. It’s best to just put it out of mind.

Yes, I know. And it’s better to just have a 1080p copy of the same 4K file for my remote users that have limited bandwidth.

Since you’re here, how does the UHD 610 compare to the UHD 630? Not a lot of performance difference?

One thing that’s also important for me would be idle power consumption. I’m not sure how the G6400 compare to the i3-10100 in that avenue.

Idle power consumption on both would be very low. I’m running a G5420 as my Plex CPU without any issues to speak of. As far as I’m aware, the 610 and 630 should perform the same for this task.

Would it make sense to upgrade to a microATX board and a Node 804 case? With ITX, I only get one pcie slot which will be used for the HBA card. I’m not entirely sure if I would eve need an extra slot in the future. Probably for 10Gbe NIC but I don’t know how long would 10Gbe be mainstream from this point. Any thoughts?

@JDM_WAAAT I decided to remove the G6400 from my shortlisted CPU’s and make the i3 10100 the top contender. However, people started recommending me to go with an i5 10400 instead as it is a better CPU for its price. Given my use case, I know the 10100 will be plenty but I probably will do more with this home server. I can install Proxmox for virtualization but I still don’t have any use it as of the moment.

Would it be wiser to go with the 10400 instead of the 10100?