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Need advice re: best Windows hardware


Rufftimo
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Rufftimo

Hello, I'm new to the Emby community, and looking to help my brother upgrade his Emby server that is now straining under the load of dozens of family and friends.

Is there a thread, forum, or other site where I can go to learn about an optimal hardware upgrade path for his Windows system?

Thanks in advance!

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arrbee99

Can't really help, but would suggest adding a bit more info for the people who might know....

With lots of users does that mean lots of transcoding, or does you're brother say if it needs transcoding you don't get it ?

Rough specs of existing hardware might help. Where do you think existing bottlenecks are ? Other stuff that might help...

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Exactly, what does he have now?
What kind of external upload bandwidth does he have as that will still limit what can be streamed.
How many simultaneous streams is he currently supporting now and how many more will he need to support?

Likely most important is how do these streams play now?
Are they being transcoded for remote users?
 

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Rufftimo

OK, thanks for the responses so far! His system is ancient, in my view, here's the specs:

  • Asus P7H57D-V Evo Motherboard
  • Intel i5 CPU 650 3.2GHz
  • 16 GB Memory
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
  • 10 optical drives for a total of 30 TB space (holding 3,500 titles)
  • SSD for the Operating system (Windows 10 Home)

It's a piece of junk! I plan on replacing the whole thing... what's an optimal system to support up to 10 simultaneous streams? Does that depend more on the CPU, RAM, drives, or graphics card? Does the graphics card play a role at all? 

And is this the right place to be asking these basic questions? I looked for 20 minutes for some forum or FAQ about what the best hardware configs might be, and couldn't find anything, so if I'm in the wrong place to ask this please point me in the right direction. Thanks so much!

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GrimReaper

This is the question you should primarily answer to, as that will be a huge influencing factor:

On 11/1/2021 at 4:47 PM, cayars said:

Likely most important is how do these streams play now?
Are they being transcoded for remote users?

 

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Rufftimo
On 11/1/2021 at 9:47 AM, cayars said:

Likely most important is how do these streams play now?
Are they being transcoded for remote users?

Forgive my noobness, but how do I answer this question? what is meant by "how" are the streams played?

And how do I determine if they're being transcoded or not? Does that mean that they are being changed as they're streamed, from a stored resolution to a streamed resolution?

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OK playback something and in the Emby client during playback click the cog menu at the bottom right.  Then select SFN (stats for nerds).
This will put an overlay on top the screen with information in it.  Here are 3 examples:

image.png.6d89579c5577f401bfea0e75f1a08409.pngimage.png.9a8db540ba5e2ceb80b283e2094c7407.pngimage.png.f5d9124dbd8d52fa6d3db5da98d9953d.png

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GrimReaper

No worries, read a bit here first:

https://support.emby.media/support/solutions/articles/44001159036-system-requirements

8 minutes ago, Rufftimo said:

what is meant by "how" are the streams played?

Whether those streams are played (or streamed, as it usually takes little CPU power) directly or transcoded. 

8 minutes ago, Rufftimo said:

And how do I determine if they're being transcoded or not?

Either on server dashboard or in the client itself, by invoking Stats for Nerds. 

8 minutes ago, Rufftimo said:

Does that mean that they are being changed as they're streamed, from a stored resolution to a streamed resolution?

Exactly. That is where CPU and/or GPU come into play, as that can bring either to its knees, depending on the media. 

Edit: Cross-posted, I guess. 

Edited by GrimReaper
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Rufftimo

Thanks so much, guys! I've invited my brother to participate in this thread directly so we can get the direct/exact answers to your questions, rather than me relaying things second-hand.

Edited by Rufftimo
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Rufftimo

Also... I've seen "NAS" and "Syslogic" mentioned elsewhere... is that a step up from a Windows-based machine? If so, what's the benefit from stepping up?  And what's a typical cost difference?

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arrbee99

You'll be better of listening to people who know what they're talking about, unlike me, but -

It used to be said that certain types of subtitles would cause transcoding and these were best avoided. I don't know if this still applies but maybe someone will be able to comment better on that.

If there's transcoding going on I'd stick to using a PC to run Emby as NASes, whether Synology or QNAP or whatever don't have the horsepower to transcode.

If you've got the money I image a middle of the road Intel, maybe i5 would be OK with its built in Quick Sync for transcoding, or a Ryzen (which doesn't have Quick Sync) plus a graphics card, maybe Gigabyte 1070 or 1650/1660 would work. After that, the skies they limit (as will be the bill...)

Again, might be talking rubbish, especially as there about two people plus me who use our server, so, you know, not exactly a heavy load...

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Rufftimo
On 11/7/2021 at 4:23 PM, arrbee99 said:

You'll be better of listening to people who know what they're talking about, unlike me, but -

It used to be said that certain types of subtitles would cause transcoding and these were best avoided. I don't know if this still applies but maybe someone will be able to comment better on that.

If there's transcoding going on I'd stick to using a PC to run Emby as NASes, whether Synology or QNAP or whatever don't have the horsepower to transcode.

If you've got the money I image a middle of the road Intel, maybe i5 would be OK with its built in Quick Sync for transcoding, or a Ryzen (which doesn't have Quick Sync) plus a graphics card, maybe Gigabyte 1070 or 1650/1660 would work. After that, the skies they limit (as will be the bill...)

Again, might be talking rubbish, especially as there about two people plus me who use our server, so, you know, not exactly a heavy load...

Thanks! We do have a budget of $2,000, maybe a bit more, so we can get some pretty good stuff with that, I would think.

I do not understand your point about "using a PC to run Emby as NASes, whether Synology or QNAP"? What does that mean? What specifically doesn't have the power to transcode?

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GrimReaper
9 minutes ago, Rufftimo said:

What specifically doesn't have the power to transcode?

NASes generally don't. @arrbee99's suggestions were sound, QS-enabled Intel CPU (go with gen 8 upwards) or Ryzen with discreet GPU should do the trick. 

Edit: As a sidenote, you can get a decent machine without coming even close to that available budget, don't go for latest and greatest, a generation or two (or even three) old hardware would suit your needs just fine, no need to overspend. 

Edited by GrimReaper
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Rufftimo

Thank you. Can you tell me which components are the biggest gating/limiting factors for the way we're using Emby?

Edited by Rufftimo
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arrbee99

I run my Emby server on mobo with 8 SATA connectors for the HDDS, a Ryzen 3700X, a Gigbyte 1660 super card and NVME for Windows. I only mention that because I thought I'd get something decent as its a general PC, not just for Emby, so its quite good if you want to use MakeMKV for ripping discs and Handbrake for processing/shrinking them, and general video stuff. I'm not a gamer though.

You'll need a large case with those 10 HDDs you mentioned (unless you're keeping you're existing case or they're external drives anyway). Decent internet if you have quite a few users outside the home.

Thats all a bit vague. As mentioned, its mainly the amount of transcoding you might be doing. Think you need decent hardware if you need to transcode 4k movies.

I tend to diverge a bit from GrimReapers point of view and suggest getting the best you can, especially if its going to be a general use PC and you intend to keep it for a good few years (and I can say that cause its not my money 😀)

Also, as mentioned, definitely not an expert, just an ordinary, light user.

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  • 4 weeks later...
RanmaCanada

So I know this is almost a month later, but did you make a purchase and build a replacement system during Black Friday/Cyber Monday?

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