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Plex Media Server HTPC under $1,000

bmirak

2 months ago

I want to build a Plex media server for under $1,000. This is just for ripping and streaming movies. I've already got the software (Plex running on Win10, plus Makemkv and assorted apps) and peripherals (mouse, keyboard, monitor) covered. I just need the box, which needs to have: - ATX case with 4-5 HDD bays with power supply and fan - ATX motherboard with integrated AV capable of 4k blu ray - Intel i3 or i5 CPU (will i3 be sufficient?) - Sufficient RAM - SSD suitable for Win10, Plex, etc. - 12TB media storage spread over 2-3 HDDs - Ultra HD Blu Ray drive - Network card (unless suitably integrated in mboard?) - Anything else?

I built an HTPC about 10 years ago and it still works running Win7, but I don't think it supports Ultra HD Blu Ray and I think I'd like to just start from scratch. Thanks!!

Comments

  • 2 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi, there! After a bit of research and looking around, this is what I came up with:

PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor $92.99 @ Amazon
Motherboard MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX ATX AM4 Motherboard $114.99 @ Best Buy
Memory *Patriot Signature Premium 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR4-2666 Memory $30.99 @ Amazon
Storage Sabrent Rocket 256 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive $44.98 @ Amazon
Storage Seagate IronWolf NAS 4 TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $99.99 @ Adorama
Storage Seagate IronWolf NAS 4 TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $99.99 @ Adorama
Storage Seagate IronWolf NAS 4 TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $99.99 @ Adorama
Case *Phanteks Enthoo Pro M TG ATX Mid Tower Case $94.99 @ Amazon
Power Supply Corsair CXM 550 W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply $69.98 @ Amazon
Optical Drive LG WH16NS60 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer $119.56 @ Amazon
Wireless Network Adapter Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I PCIe x1 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi Adapter $36.00 @ B&H
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $904.45
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-11-10 13:49 EST-0500
  • I've put in a Ryzen 3200G, mainly for its integrated Vega 8 Graphics, as well as the easily sufficient processing power for Plex Media Server transcoding etc.
  • Although the motherboard is aimed at the gaming market, it has 6 SATA ports - for later expansion - and is Ryzen 3000 series ready out the box (since the B450 chipset was released with the 2000 series).
  • Although Plex states it will only require ~ 2 GB, 8 GB is pretty much the base-line for modern systems. Add running Win10 and other apps on top of that and 8 GB RAM becomes key for a 'butter' smooth system. Note: I did include a parametric filter on that - there's a cheaper 2x4GB setup or a standalone stick of 8GB if you prefer.
  • Sabrent Rocket M.2 SSDs are very quick for that price you pay; your OS will boot real fast with one of these babies.
  • For bulk storage, there are 3x4TB NAS purpose HDDs since I figured you have them always going, so they'd probably fair better than standard units.
  • As for the case, I'm not quite sure what you're looking for, but I made a parametric filter you can look through. They all have 5 3.5" bays.
  • The PSU is a decent semi-modular unit, but you may want to go for fully-modular unit if you don't like dealing will bunches of cables. Will run you an extra $20 though.
  • Did a bit of research and came to the conclusion that this ODD will read Blu-rays pretty fast. Can't much more since I rarely use discs now.
  • Wireless Network Adapter since the mobo doesn't come with one (and boards that did cost way more than 35 bucks extra. Gigabyte claims up to 867mbps.
  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I'm already learning stuff. I agree that the NAS HDDs are probably the way to go for added longevity.

Any decent horizontal cases with an external 5.25 and 4-5 internal 3.5 bays?

Just for comparison, what would be the Intel equivalent of the AMD core/mb you proposed? I'm not so familiar with AMD.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

No real one other than a 9100F, which need a GPU AND a cooler.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Ok, so if folks are in agreement that the Ryzen 3 3200G plus a Tomahawk Max MB is the best way to go, I just need to find a case. There's a lot of good tower options out there, but can anyone give me a good horizontal option with an external 5.25 bay and 4-5 internal 3.5 bays?

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Ok. So I can either go with a Silverstone GD08, which has plenty of room but costs $200+ and it’s a behemoth at 17x17x7. Or I can go with a much trimmer Silverstone GD09 at about $105. Only has 2 internal 3.5 bays plus 1 internal 2.5 plus 1 external 5.25 - is that right? - but I would just buy one 8TB HDD and still have one bay to expand down the road as necessary.

Thoughts? As you look at that GD09, will I be able to eventually fit 2 HDDs, a SSD, and an optical with an ATX main board?

Also, turns out I won’t need the WiFi PCIe card because this will be wired direct to my router.

Advice appreciated. I think I’m almost there.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

.The GD09B should be able to fit everything, you shouldn’t need to be worried

PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor $92.78 @ Amazon
Motherboard MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX ATX AM4 Motherboard $114.99 @ Best Buy
Memory *Team T-Force Delta RGB 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory $35.99 @ Newegg
Storage HP EX920 256 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive $43.99 @ Amazon
Storage Seagate IronWolf NAS 8 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $209.98 @ Amazon
Storage Seagate IronWolf NAS 8 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $209.98 @ Amazon
Case Silverstone GD09B HTPC Case $93.99 @ Amazon
Power Supply BitFenix Whisper M 450 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply $77.49 @ Amazon
Optical Drive LG WH16NS60 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer $119.56 @ Amazon
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $998.75
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-11-10 19:29 EST-0500
  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Taking out the WiFi card, the GD08 can be squeezed into the budget:

PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor $92.78 @ Amazon
Motherboard MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX ATX AM4 Motherboard $114.99 @ Best Buy
Memory *Patriot Signature Premium 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR4-2666 Memory $30.99 @ Amazon
Storage Sabrent Rocket 256 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive $44.98 @ Amazon
Storage Seagate IronWolf NAS 4 TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $99.99 @ Adorama
Storage Seagate IronWolf NAS 4 TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $99.99 @ Adorama
Storage Seagate IronWolf NAS 4 TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $99.99 @ Adorama
Case Silverstone GD08B HTPC Case $209.99 @ B&H
Power Supply Corsair CXM 550 W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply $69.98 @ Amazon
Optical Drive LG WH16NS60 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer $119.56 @ Amazon
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $983.24
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-11-11 07:40 EST-0500
  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Really appreciate the input. I may wait to see if any Black Friday deals pop up but I think I’ve got a good list thanks to you all.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Ok, so here's my final list! Someone pleaase check my homework for compatibility before I pull the trigger....

Case: Silverstone GD09B ($104.99 Amazon) PSU: Seasonic Focus SGX-450 80+ Gold Modular ($76.99 Amazon) CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200G ($92.57 Amazon) MB: MSI B450 Tomahawk Max ($114.99 Amazon) RAM: Patriot Signature Premium DDR4-2666 2x4GB ($30.99 Amazon) SSD: Sabrent 256GB Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 ($44.98 Amazon) HDD: Seagate Exos 10TB SATA3 6GB/s 7200RPM ($253.90 Amazon) Optical: LG16NS60 ($100.64 Amazon)

I hear the Exos is slightly better than the IronWolf NAS for a couple bucks more? And a 450w 80+ Gold fully modular PSU for under $80 looks like a bargain to me.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

I've ordered the parts, but I may have already hit a snag. The trouble is that the Silverstone GD09 may not really allow for installation of a 5.25 optical and two 3.5 HDDs without fouling up the CPU cooler.

Because I saved money on the storage by buying 1 10TB HDD, I splurged on upgrading to a Ryzen 5 3400g. It comes with a Wraith Spire cooler which is supposedly 70mm tall. The GD09 manual isn't entirely clear on this, but the cage that holds the optical drive, with the 3.5 hanging HDD below it, might interfere with the CPU cooler.

Here's link to the manual. See diagram on Page 18. Thoughts? https://www.silverstonetek.com/downloads/Manual/case/Multi-GD09-Manual.pdf

And here's an article on the problem: https://techbuyersguru.com/silverstone-gd09-atx-case-review?page=1

Granted, there's one more 3.5 bay available, but I really need to have two useable 3.5s.

Also, the GC09 only comes with one fan but has room for three. Should I add one more for exhaust?

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

The HTPC build was a smashing success. Ran into two significant issues, but was prepared for both.

First, the Silverstone GD09 is a terrific horizontal case, relatively compact but room for ATX, two 3.5 HDDs plus a 5.25 Optical (which I consider essential for building an HTPC capable of ripping a movie collection), but it has one major flaw: the cage the houses the optical and HDD interferes with all but low profile CPU coolers.

Fortunately I read this guide so was prepared to swap the AMD Spire Wraith cooler for a Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 low profile cooler.

https://pcpartpicker.com/b/3Mmqqs

Next problem, I naively assumes it would be easy to build an HTPC capable of playing Ultra HD Blu Rays. LOL. Here’s the deal. The copy protection on these discs is so over the top that only a very specific Intel chipset (combined with the right software) is sorta capable of playback. Zero chance with an AMD chipset.

Fortunately, there is again an easy workaround here that involves using a “4K Friendly” Blu Ray drive (flashes to correct firmware) to rip the disc for playback. But since ripping isn’t technically legal I won’t share any details here. Suffice it to say the instructions are readily available and it wasn’t hard.

I’ve still got some setup to do with Plex and converting some of my BDMVs to MKVs, but I think I’ve nearly got a fully functioning media server! Thanks all for your help!

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