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Looking for advice on a decent setup....

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Kilgore Hofstadtler

Serviio newbie

Posts: 2

Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2020 7:00 pm

Post Fri Dec 11, 2020 7:19 pm

Looking for advice on a decent setup....

Hi, folks. Complete novice here. I've been using Serviio for a few years to stream movies and music and media to different devices from a (now dying) desktop PC. Always relied on my Dad, an avid computer nerd, to setup our home system, but he passed away this year. I need to figure out what sort of system can best accommodate our three or four hard drives, which are currently inside the old PC. Any advice you can offer?

Thanks in advance, by the way!
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atc98092

User avatar

DLNA master

Posts: 4236

Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:22 pm

Location: Washington (the state)

Post Fri Dec 11, 2020 9:32 pm

Re: Looking for advice on a decent setup....

So sorry for your loss. His IT skills were I'm sure nothing compared to everything else he was to you and your family.

For a media computer, I've found that it doesn't really take a high powered rig. If your media doesn't require transcoding, then a really simple PC will be fine. When you combine transcoding with multiple simultaneous users, the power requirements start climbing. I run two separate Serviio computers, as I use one for testing purposes. The test server is an older AMD quad core processor with 8 GB of ram. It has a very simple, low power video card, which offers no GPU processor unloading. I've never encountered any playback issues that relate to the computer hardware itself.

My main media server is an Intel i5-6400 quad core, again with 8 GB of ram. I do have a bit better video card in this one, which can unload some CPU processing tasks for programs that can utilize it. I don't know if Serviio has that ability. Both computers run Windows 10, with one being the Home version and one being Pro.

I would suggest a reasonably priced quad core CPU with 8 GB of RAM. One important factor is your ability to stream the media without any bottlenecks. For this, you need fast hard drives and preferably a Gigabit network. Now, if none of your media contains any ripped UHD movies, a "normal" Fast Ethernet network will likely be just fine. I prefer the media server being on a wired network, and if WiFi is necessary use if for the player devices. There are times that a good 802.11ac network can easily exceed the speed of a Fast Ethernet connection (100 Mbps).

If you expect to be streaming to multiple players at the same time (I might have three going at once in my home) it can help to spread your media across multiple hard drives. That increases the odds that not every player will be streaming a file from the same hard drive. Using SATA III drives, the transfer rate should never be a bottleneck.

For operating systems, chances are Windows would be the simplest to use. Linux is more powerful, and can do more on lesser hardware, but is far more demanding to set up and configure. The Mac OS is familiar to some users, but there the hardware can get quite expensive.

Just a few thoughts for you to mull over. Feel free to ask anything additional if you have questions.
Dan

LG NANO85 4K TV, Samsung JU7100 4K TV, Sony BDP-S3500, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Insignia Roku TV, Roku Ultra, Premiere and Stick, Nvidia Shield, Yamaha RX-V583 AVR.
Primary server: Intel i5-6400, 8 gig ram, Windows 10 Pro, 22 TB hard drive space | Test server Windows 10 Pro, AMD Phenom II X4 965, 8 gig ram

HOWTO: Enable debug logging HOWTO: Identify media file contents
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Kilgore Hofstadtler

Serviio newbie

Posts: 2

Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2020 7:00 pm

Post Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:47 pm

Re: Looking for advice on a decent setup....

Very generous of you, Dan, to reply so fulsomely. I've browsed some attractive prospects on Newegg along the lines you described and they're more affordable than anticipated. I'll probably select one with A question: does it matter much whether I house the drives containing the media in an external enclosure? It seems much more sensible than trying to find a large enough CPU with enough drive shelves.

The loss of my father has indeed been crippling. I appreciate the reference.
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atc98092

User avatar

DLNA master

Posts: 4236

Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:22 pm

Location: Washington (the state)

Post Sat Dec 12, 2020 1:11 am

Re: Looking for advice on a decent setup....

The issue with an external drive enclosure is that how ever many drives you have in the enclosure will all be using the single USB connection. It's unlikely that you'd saturate a USB 3.0 connection unless you have multiple players streaming at the same time. But internal drives will all have an independent SATA connection to the bus. I prefer the drives all within my tower case. My main server has a PCI-E M2 drive as my OS volume, leaving all 6 SATA ports available for drives. I have 5 hard drives and a Blu Ray optical drive that I use for ripping my media.
Dan

LG NANO85 4K TV, Samsung JU7100 4K TV, Sony BDP-S3500, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Insignia Roku TV, Roku Ultra, Premiere and Stick, Nvidia Shield, Yamaha RX-V583 AVR.
Primary server: Intel i5-6400, 8 gig ram, Windows 10 Pro, 22 TB hard drive space | Test server Windows 10 Pro, AMD Phenom II X4 965, 8 gig ram

HOWTO: Enable debug logging HOWTO: Identify media file contents

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