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HavokValor

Xeon or i7?

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HavokValor

Hi,

 

I am thinking about relieving my desktop of Emby server duty and I am looking into building a dedicated server running FreeNAS. What processor would work best for this setup, Xeon or an i7?

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Coxeroni

Probably an i7 due to the included (quick sync) graphics card which can be used for h/w transcoding. Also the i7 should have better single thread performance, which can be necessary for some of the tasks like audio-transcoding, at least this is what I learned in plex land. If you wish to add a dedicated GPU for more severe heavy lifting than an i7 is probably not needed.

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HavokValor

Probably an i7 due to the included (quick sync) graphics card which can be used for h/w transcoding. Also the i7 should have better single thread performance, which can be necessary for some of the tasks like audio-transcoding, at least this is what I learned in plex land. If you wish to add a dedicated GPU for more severe heavy lifting than an i7 is probably not needed.

 

I don't plan to add a graphics card to the rig, so a i7 will outperform a Xeon CPU if both servers do not have graphics cards when it comes to transcoding?

 

Does this still hold true when it comes to multiple transcodes at the same time? Like 10+

Edited by HavokValor

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mastrmind11

I don't plan to add a graphics card to the rig, so a i7 will outperform a Xeon CPU if both servers do not have graphics cards when it comes to transcoding?

 

Does this still hold true when it comes to multiple transcodes at the same time? Like 10+

Depends on how much you're willing to spend.  There are xeons out there that will crush an i7.  10+ isn't that big of a lift.  I have a Xeon e3 1225 v3 that can easily do 6-7, and that's a a 6 year old CPU (and also supports Intel QSV)

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HavokValor

If my budget for a CPU was around 300 would i7 beat out a Xeon still?

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mastrmind11

If my budget for a CPU was around 300 would i7 beat out a Xeon still?

Well, which i7?  Check out https://www.cpubenchmark.net and look up the CPUs you're considering.  The "Average CPU Mark" in red is roughly the number of simultaneous transcodes you can expect.

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Coxeroni

You mean you can expect 7000 transcodes? :D

 

You roughly need 2000 passmark per 1080p transcode if you do CPU/software transcoding. Hardware transcoding is a different story and depends on the used GPU.

 

With enabled hardware transcoding you probably also don't need such a beefy CPU but probably an i5 will be just fine. That depends on your use case: how many simultaneous streams, what other tasks are requested, what codecs do your files use etc.

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HavokValor

https://www.amazon.com/Intel-i7-8700-Desktop-Processor-Cores/dp/B07598HLB4/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1549907442&sr=1-3&keywords=i7&refinements=p_85%3A2470955011%2Cp_89%3AIntel%2Cp_n_feature_four_browse-bin%3A2289792011

 

I'm looking at this CPU currently, it seems to be right at the cusp of my Budget of $300.

 

The passmark is around 15k so that would give me like 7-8 streams at a time. However I can get even more than 7-8 if I enable hardware acceleration correct? Can you use hardware acceleration on FreeNAS?

 

I am looking to keep my power consumption fairly low so I am not going to be installing a graphics card on this server.

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HavokValor

I hear that the reason to go Xeon is to be able to use ECC RAM. Does ECC RAM make a big difference?

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Coxeroni

No offense, if you don't know the advantages and haven't missed it yet, it is probably not necessary ;)

Depends probably on what you plan to do with the server apart from emby.

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Diedrich

I hear that the reason to go Xeon is to be able to use ECC RAM. Does ECC RAM make a big difference?

Head over to the FeeeNAS forums, you'll get a wealth of information regarding hardware and understanding of FeeeNAS.

 

If you are using the server for just media consumption then don't go with the complexities of FeeeNAS, build a Windows or Linux box to do your media distribution.

 

ECC is highly recommended if you plan to store data that you don't want to lose (family photos, documents, etc).

 

FeeeNAS can't utilize a graphics card. I don't recall if you can get hardware acceleration on a bare metal FeeeNAS box.

 

FeeeNAS is a bit particular with the hardware it can use. You can use an i7 with non-ECC RAM but it's happier with ECC-compatible processor, motherboard, an RAM and a Intel NIC.

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HavokValor

Head over to the FeeeNAS forums, you'll get a wealth of information regarding hardware and understanding of FeeeNAS.

 

If you are using the server for just media consumption then don't go with the complexities of FeeeNAS, build a Windows or Linux box to do your media distribution.

 

ECC is highly recommended if you plan to store data that you don't want to lose (family photos, documents, etc).

 

FeeeNAS can't utilize a graphics card. I don't recall if you can get hardware acceleration on a bare metal FeeeNAS box.

 

FeeeNAS is a bit particular with the hardware it can use. You can use an i7 with non-ECC RAM but it's happier with ECC-compatible processor, motherboard, an RAM and a Intel NIC.

 

I guess I will install Windows on the server and create a FreeeNAS VM for specifically storage and run all the Emby Server stuff on Windows. I will also go for ECC to make the i7 happy. Thanks for all the information!

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Guest asrequested

I don't think i7 CPUs support ecc.

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Diedrich

I guess I will install Windows on the server and create a FreeeNAS VM for specifically storage and run all the Emby Server stuff on Windows. I will also go for ECC to make the i7 happy. Thanks for all the information!

FeeeNAS VM within Windows is frowned upon. A better solution would be to run ESXi with Windows and FeeeNAS I'm their own VM. You can then passthrough a video card to Windows if needed.

I don't think i7 CPUs support ecc.

They don't. Only Pentium, some i3s and Xeons.
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HavokValor

FeeeNAS VM within Windows is frowned upon. A better solution would be to run ESXi with Windows and FeeeNAS I'm their own VM. You can then passthrough a video card to Windows if needed.They don't. Only Pentium, some i3s and Xeons.

 

Never dealt with ESXi before. Guess I will look into getting a Xeon CPU and setting up ESXi than. Thank you.

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legallink

If i were you, you'll probably get more bang for your buck with AMD than any of the others, it just depends on how much of what you need.

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adrianwi

My suggestion is to put the brake on a little and work out what you're wanting to do before defining the technology and hardware required.

 

What's the priority?  A file server or a media server?  Will you want the 'server' to do anything else?  How much storage space do you need?  How many people will use the server?

 

i7's are not a great solution for FreeNAS, given the lack of ECC support.  Xeons work well, but you might only need a i3 (some of these do support ECC) or a Pentium processor.  Virtualising FreeNAS as a first step into it doesn't seem like a sensible option either to me.

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KMBanana

I recently built a LGA2011 (R1) Xeon system.  Parts for this setup are extremely cheap.  2011 is the last Xeon chipset to use DDR3 which even with ECC are much cheaper than DDR4.  Picked up a 10core E5-2660v2 on ebay for $110.  Using a dual CPU mobo so I can double my performance later rather easily.  

 

Passmark score for a single E5-2660v2 is 13286 vs 15246 for the i7-8700 so performance is pretty similar.  

 

Edit: Also using Unraid for the first time with this new build and liking it a lot.  

Edited by KMBanana
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HavokValor

I recently built a LGA2011 (R1) Xeon system.  Parts for this setup are extremely cheap.  2011 is the last Xeon chipset to use DDR3 which even with ECC are much cheaper than DDR4.  Picked up a 10core E5-2660v2 on ebay for $110.  Using a dual CPU mobo so I can double my performance later rather easily.  

 

Passmark score for a single E5-2660v2 is 13286 vs 15246 for the i7-8700 so performance is pretty similar.  

 

Edit: Also using Unraid for the first time with this new build and liking it a lot.  

 

I was actually thinking of going for unraid, I will look into these specs that you posted, thanks for the suggestions.

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Guest asrequested

Something to keep in mind is that if you plan on 4k transcoding, Xeons will choke on that.

Edited by Doofus

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HavokValor

Something to keep in mind is that if you plan on 4k transcoding, Xeons will choke that.

My library is all 1080p, I would like to have a server that can transcode 10+ streams at a time.

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lightsout

My library is all 1080p, I would like to have a server that can transcode 10+ streams at a time.

You get much better transcode performance when using Quicksync. For the most part you lose this option on xeons (not all as mentioned above). This is a question I have been trying to solve as well. Is a 6 core 12 thread i7 more capable than a say 8 or 10 core xeon when transcoding multiple threads if the xeon does not have quick sync.

 

If you are not aware of the benefits of quick sync the processor is usually under 5% load transcoding a single stream. I ma not sure how this does when the streams are multiplied.

 

Another thing to consider is that the xeons usually have slow core speeds, compare to the i7's, especially the 8xxx and 9xxx series i7's. 

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HavokValor

You get much better transcode performance when using Quicksync. For the most part you lose this option on xeons (not all as mentioned above). This is a question I have been trying to solve as well. Is a 6 core 12 thread i7 more capable than a say 8 or 10 core xeon when transcoding multiple threads if the xeon does not have quick sync.

 

If you are not aware of the benefits of quick sync the processor is usually under 5% load transcoding a single stream. I ma not sure how this does when the streams are multiplied.

 

Another thing to consider is that the xeons usually have slow core speeds, compare to the i7's, especially the 8xxx and 9xxx series i7's. 

 

Light brings up a good point. If we take ECC out of the equation what will have better performance for the power consumption when it comes to multiple streams, i7 or Xeon architectures?

Edited by HavokValor

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