Question NAS for Plex advice

mambo1888

Well-known Member
Hey folks looking for a bit of advice, I just ordered a 8TB Seagate IronWolf drive and was going to stick it in my gaming PC to store movies and music etc for Plex.

What are the key benefits to using a NAS compared to storing the HDD in my PC? I have an Nvidia Sheild TV coming to be used as the main Plex client as I want HDR and Atmos, which I believe will need to be done using direct play so the Plex server shouldn’t have to be too powerful. If I am just using 1 8TB drive should I just stick it in my PC and then if I want to add more drives in the future look at getting a NAS, or is there other benefits that I should look at the NAS option now.

The other option is to build a dedicated Plex server/NAS with some old pc parts lying around. They are;
Corsair VS450
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4
i5 750
8GB DDR3 1600 (2x4GB)
ATI RADEON HD5850

Would these make a decent server or are they going to be too dated?

Any advice greatly appreciated, cheers
 

bubblegum57

Well-known Member
with a nas, you can stream to different devices on your home network.

If you have ordered the shield pro, you can install plex server on that, & see how you get on.

Plex server cannot be installed on the tube version of the shield.
 

mambo1888

Well-known Member
with a nas, you can stream to different devices on your home network.

If you have ordered the shield pro, you can install plex server on that, & see how you get on.

Plex server cannot be installed on the tube version of the shield.
Cheers, there will only ever be 1 stream in my house at a time. I went for the smaller sheild purely as the pro seems to be sold out at the moment. I did look at running a pro as the server but I’d read it wasn’t necessarily the best at running as the Plex server.

I threw all the components I had together and tried to insta OMV but it failed installing grub2 or something like that. My 8TB drive arrived while I was trying to install the server os on the build so I just stuck it direct in my Gaming Rig and will go through the PC server with local storage for now.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
The other option on the version of the Shield you're getting is Kodi instead of Plex.

Many, but not all, prefer it, myself included.

The Shield and Kodi will play any normal format you can throw at it, so Plex isn't needed to transcode.
You get the same main features as Plex such as a video wall, skins, movie info, TV series info etc. It's much more configurable than Plex and has a huge variety of Skins which totally change the look and feel of it. The default Skin is a bit poor IMO.

The main difference is that Plex, with a suitably powerful server, can transcode files on the fly so you can watch on a mobile device or when you're away from home, Kodi doesn't do this. For streaming to TV's in the house, Kodi is an excellent option and doesn't use the client/server model of Plex.
 
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Ross Martin

Standard Member
I run Kodi on my Shield and store my media on a Synology DS1016+ and it never misses a beat. I have played with Plex, but i doubt any NAS out there will play 4K full rips with Plex. The Shield does this easily.
 

mambo1888

Well-known Member
The other option on the version of the Shield you're getting is Kodi instead of Plex.

Many, but not all, prefer it, myself included.

The Shield and Kodi will play any normal format you can throw at it, so Plex isn't needed to transcode.
You get the same main features as Plex such as a video wall, skins, movie info, TV series info etc. It's much more configurable than Plex and has a huge variety of Skins which totally change the look and feel of it. The default Skin is a bit poor IMO.

The main difference is that Plex, with a suitably powerful server, can transcode files on the fly so you can watch on a mobile device or when you're away from home. For streaming to TV's in the house, Kodi is an excellent option and doesn't use the client/server model of Plex.
I did try Kodi, but I wasn’t overly keen on it. The layout on the pc was decent enough with video wall etc but when using remotely I couldn’t get the video wall and instead just had folders. I may look more into kodi, ive not tried it on the sheild but I’m guessing it will be similar to my xbox/android tv (on xgimi halo pj)

I was using the PC upnp To share media, so maybe if the media was on a nas i would get the video wall on the client?

I like Plex for its simplicity. Now that I have the Sheild I was able to stream A 4K HDR With Dolby Atmos video which is exactly what I’m after so I will probably stick with Plex for now. I set up a PC using the components I had lying around that I mention in the op and set it to act as a Plex server with wake on LAN enabled, that worked fine and I was able to play 4k hdr with atmos using that machine as well, but then I thought whats the point when I can just do the same with my main gaming PC and have everything in one machine, Also if I decide to use game stream on the sheild I can use Plex to wake up the PC (if game stream doesn’t already do that, ive nto tried it yet)

I do like the idea of having a NAS but im just not sure if I really need one. I guess I could use the 2 hdd bays in my PC and then if I need to expand further down the line I can move to a nas.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
The layout on the pc was decent enough with video wall etc but when using remotely I couldn’t get the video wall and instead just had folders. I may look more into kodi, ive not tried it on the sheild but I’m guessing it will be similar to my xbox/android tv (on xgimi halo pj)
Not quite sure what you mean by using it remotely as it's not Plex, it needs to be installed on the device you're playing it back on.

Were you trying to share libraries, I've never bothered so perhaps that's where you're coming from.

But yes, something wasn't right, you should get a video wall and would connect the Shield to your home network over SMB or NFS.

The main benefits of a NAS may not be neccessary for you. I connect 3 media streamers to different TV's in the house and need larger scale storage and backup than a PC will give me unless it's huge. So the streamers and my small form factor PC all use the NAS as one centralised storage and playback device.
 

mambo1888

Well-known Member
Not quite sure what you mean by using it remotely as it's not Plex, it needs to be installed on the device you're playing it back on.

Were you trying to share libraries, I've never bothered so perhaps that's where you're coming from.

But yes, something wasn't right, you should get a video wall and would connect the Shield to your home network over SMB or NFS.

The main benefits of a NAS may not be neccessary for you. I connect 3 media streamers to different TV's in the house and need larger scale storage and backup than a PC will give me unless it's huge. So the streamers and my small form factor PC all use the NAS as one centralised storage and playback device.
Yeah thats what I was meaning, I setup Kodi on my PC and enabled upnp, then installed Kodi on my Xbox and set the file directory as my PC. I could access all the files but only as folderS and files.

So if I had a nas I could setup each kodi device to connect to the network storage rather than upnp to my pc, and it would then have the video wall.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
Yes. I'm sure it should using UPnP to enable library sharing but I've never done it.

You can still connect to your PC via SMB as long as the PC is visible on your home network. You don't need a NAS for that.

Using a NAS means your PC doesn't have to be on all the time but for streaming to a single TV and no other use I'd say it's overkill.
 

mambo1888

Well-known Member
I run Kodi on my Shield and store my media on a Synology DS1016+ and it never misses a beat. I have played with Plex, but i doubt any NAS out there will play 4K full rips with Plex. The Shield does this easily.
I can watch 4k, HDR + Atmos using Plex on my sheild streamed from my PC Plex server. Am I right in saying that to get HDR and Atmos it needs to be direct play, so as long as the nas has the bandwidth it should be able to do the same. If it had to transcode then it may be underpowered?
 

mambo1888

Well-known Member
Yes. I'm sure it should using UPnP to enable library sharing but I've never done it.

You can still connect to your PC via SMB as long as the PC is visible on your home network. You don't need a NAS for that.

Using a NAS means your PC doesn't have to be on all the time but for streaming to a single TV and no other use I'd say it's overkill.
Yeah I’m starting to think that way myself, at least until I need more than 2 bays I’m probably just as well using my pc. Cheers for your help, il have a look connecting the PC via smb to see if I can get Kodi to work a bit better on the sheild
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
Am I right in saying that to get HDR and Atmos it needs to be direct play, so as long as the nas has the bandwidth it should be able to do the same. If it had to transcode then it may be underpowered?

Yes that's right.

It's where people using Streaming and Plex for the first time run into issues, either they don't have the bandwidth on their internal network, using wifi or homeplugs, to stream full bitrate MKV's, or the client isn't compatible with the video/audio format.
Using Kodi, it wouldn't work or buffer, so they'd see there's an issue, but if they're new to streaming and just thinking "Plex is what I need", set it up and can be disappointed with the results as they're not getting full bitrate Bluray or 4K Atmos as it's having to transcode or their server isn't up to the job of transcoding and it's not working or buffering.

And when you have a 4K Atmos system, the last thing you want to be doing is transcoding it.
 

Ross Martin

Standard Member
I can watch 4k, HDR + Atmos using Plex on my sheild streamed from my PC Plex server. Am I right in saying that to get HDR and Atmos it needs to be direct play, so as long as the nas has the bandwidth it should be able to do the same. If it had to transcode then it may be underpowered?
Yes if the NAS needs to do any transcoding then it would be under powered. Unless you pay silly money for the intel i5/i7 processors.
 

mambo1888

Well-known Member
Cool, I dont really want to transcode anything so I can keep original quality. I wont be streaming to anything other than the nvidia shield, I actually just received a Shield Pro and a 10TB external HDD so I’m going to try using the shield pro as the Plex server to get a side by side comparison to using my PC. Il also give Kodi another go, using local storage.
 

mambo1888

Well-known Member
I have the Shield Pro setup with the WD external HDD and it seems to work ok, not as good in my bedroom, I think this is probably mainly down to both Shield Pro (server) and Shield (Client) being wireless, when I use my PC as server it is wired so only the client is wireless.

The thing that wont work for me is the speed of transferring files to the external HDD over the network, I cant seem to get over 8MB/s.

Im considering a Terra Master F2-210 to store the media and use the Shield pro as the server. Would this be a decent choice for the money (£140). The F2-210 has 2 x USB3 ports on the back, could I use the external 10TB wd Drive to backup the 8TB disk in the NAS?
 

mambo1888

Well-known Member
Ive ordered a TerraMaster F5-221 NAS. I will have a play about with it tomorrow, but I’m thinking to return the shield pro and use the Plex Server on the NAS.

Im trying to read up on SSD cache. Is this worthwhile for my setup, which is pretty much 100% Plex server. I have a 250GB Samsung Evo SSD, so it wont cost anything and there is 5 bays on the NAS and I will only be using 1 or 2
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
For streaming movies, unless your library is massive, I don't see the benefit of an SSD cache in your NAS.

The benefit of that is for quick access to a large amount of tiny files and that's not a media file as they're huge.
Not sure about using it as a Plex server, you might find, compared to the Shield, it's a bit slow.
 

mambo1888

Well-known Member
For streaming movies, unless your library is massive, I don't see the benefit of an SSD cache in your NAS.

The benefit of that is for quick access to a large amount of tiny files and that's not a media file as they're huge.
Not sure about using it as a Plex server, you might find, compared to the Shield, it's a bit slow.
I was just watching a video with a guy testing it with the thumbnails in Plex, and it looked like they became instant when scrolling through his library rather than loading although when loading they loaded almost instantly anyway. Would having the cache make any difference to speed of transferring files over network?

So I might be better to keep the shield pro as the server and just direct it to the NAS for media? I have no way to hard wire the shield so its running on the 5GHz network, would that still offer a better experience over the NAS acting as the server? I will test both tomorrow, and see what performs best.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
What are you using as a Plex client (The TV?) if you ditch the Shield and how is it hard wired, but the Shield isn't.

Is your new client capable of passing through the content at 4K with HD audio and HDR without having to resort to transcoding?
Remember the Shield is capable of playing back virtually anything, unlike most clients. It's unlikely your TV, if that's what you're using, can passthrough Atmos, DTS-HD MA etc. There are exceptions to this but most TV's only do basic 5.1 DD or DD+ so you get the Atmos from netflix, but that's far from what you'll get on a bluray disc.

As to thumbnail loading etc. I don't use Plex. I use Kodi.

I have over 1000 movies and dozens of complete TV shows on an 8-bay Synology NAS. If I scroll through my collection so they're just whizzing by then the thumbnails don't load, but they do in a fraction of a second as soon as I stop. Perhaps an SSD would speed that up, but it's so quick it would make next to no difference to me and isn't worth losing the potential drive space in the slightest.
 
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mambo1888

Well-known Member
What are you using as a Plex client (The TV?) if you ditch the Shield and how is it hard wired, but the Shield isn't.

Is your new client capable of passing through the content at 4K with HD audio and HDR without having to resort to transcoding?

As to thumbnail loading etc. I don't use Plex. I use Kodi.

I have over 1000 movies and dozens of complete TV shows on an 8-bay Synology NAS. If I scroll through my collection so they're just whizzing by then the thumbnails don't load, but they do in a fraction of a second as soon as I stop. Perhaps an SSD would speed that up, but it's so quick it would make next to no difference to me and isn't worth losing the potential drive space in the slightest.
Sorry should have been more clear. At the moment I have a Shield Pro in living room - it can passthrough 4K HDR True HD/Atmos etc, this is wireless.

Bedroom I have a standard Shield, it can passthrough 4K HDR but not HD Audio (if i change the audio track to non HD format I can still direct play) this is wireless.

In the bedroom the Shield TV is going into a Xgimi Halo projector which has Android TV built in, so I was thinking to ditch the Shield TV in the bedroom and use it in the living room, and return the shield pro. (The £200 for the Shield Pro will cover 2/3 the cost of the NAS)

When I said the Plex server would be hard wired using the NAS as the server rather than the Shield Pro, I didnt mean the whole system just the server would be wired direct to the router and the clients would still be wireless.

You are right about the SSD, I watched his follow up video and the only thing that the ssd is being used for is the thumbnails, and it was using a tiny % of the ssd. Also in the comments of the video someone mentioned that using ssd cache for Plex caused 2 of his drives to die, so I wont bother with this.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
That makes more sense now.

I don't know anything about your projector or it's capability as a client but presumably you don't get HD Audio in the bedroom as it's not connected to a capable receiver as both versions of the Shield can passthrough the audio.

As to your wireless etc.

I'd be surprised if you were getting full fat 4K with Atmos etc over wifi unless you've spent a bit on mesh or some other kind of system. Most people struggle with high bitrate 1080p.
 

mambo1888

Well-known Member
That makes more sense now.

I don't know anything about your projector or it's capability as a client but presumably you don't get HD Audio in the bedroom as it's not connected to a capable receiver as both versions of the Shield can passthrough the audio.

As to your wireless etc.

I'd be surprised if you were getting full fat 4K with Atmos etc over wifi unless you've spent a bit on mesh or some other kind of system. Most people struggle with high bitrate 1080p.
Your correct, The PJ is capable of receiving a 4k HDR signal but not HD audio as its just a built in speaker. So long as I keep an extra audio track I should be able to direct play on this too.

I have tried a couple of 4K HDR Atmos clips and they worked fine but they were probably compressed a fair bit. I just have a TP Link Archer MR600 router in the loft, so not ideal wifi setup but it seems to work pretty well even in the living room which is on ground floor. I do plan on hard wiring everything in the future but we will be moving at some point and I have redecorated the house for selling so not going to be running cables while we are still in this house.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
Another option is powerline adapters?

They don't work for everyone as they're dependant upon your house wiring so always buy from someone with a good returns policy.

I use them in my TV room, lounge and spare bedroom. They work great in the TV Room and lounge for full 4K HD audio but I can't use them in the bedroom for anything over 1080p and even that's a stretch sometimes.

Decent ones aren't cheap but it could save you running cable. I'd also make sure to buy ones with a passthrough power adapter if you're interested in them. You can't plug them into an adapter so they use up a socket unless you get ones that have a passthrough on them.
 

mambo1888

Well-known Member
Cheers for the suggestion Bob I have only recently returned the Devolo Magic 2 power line adapters. I had them connected directly to router using cat 6 cables I had ran previously for the loft to living room (cables are on the wrong wall for my AV stuff unfortunately) this meant the homeplugs were on the same ring main for best performance but I found them to be no better than my 5Ghz WiFi. I was thinking to try some other ones, so il maybe revisit that.

what is your typical bitrate when streaming a full 4K hdr atmos movie? I looked at the bitrate of the 4K hdr atmos test file I had and it was something like 30Mb/s and then i tested my full Blu-ray rip of Hans Zimmer live in Prague which is only 1080p with atmos and that was 40Mbs.

Edit

just tried another 4K hdr atmos file and it’s streaming fine from my pc to shield and the bitrate is 66.3Mbps
 
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Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
Averages for the following movies are.

Saving Private Ryan 52Mb/s
Monsters Inc 48Mb/s
The Prestige 55Mb/s
Guardians of The Galaxy 50Mb/s

That's an average though, fast-moving, brightly lit scenes will have much higher peaks.
Remember UHD is x265 vs Bluray is x264 so the UHD uses a more compressed codec reducing the bitrate.
 

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