[Help]New NAS build, Hardware and Software advice.

    • [Help]New NAS build, Hardware and Software advice.

      Hello, I'm having some trouble choosing the right hardware and software for a new media nas build. I've been doing research on the subject over the last few months but due to a busy schedule, I have not been able to complete it. Initially I was considering going with a Odroid XU4 or a Asrock Q1900-ITX but over the holidays I picked up a cooler master elite 110 and evga 400w psu so decided on an itx build. Currently I'm torn between a few possible itx solutions and was hoping for some input and advice from the community; I've narrowed my choices down to 3 possible solutions in a similar price range, the Asrock Q1900-ITX, Asrock N3700-ITX and Athlon 5350 with a complementing Asrock ITX board. Q1900-ITX is the cheapest of the 3 but also much older hardware, the N3700-ITX is the newest but mixed reviews and Athlon 5350 seems to be the most powerful out of the 3 but mixed performance reviews and driver compatibility issues.

      The purpose of the nas will be for backups, owncloud, media sharing over the net and just a centrel location to store all the important files; I have family spread out across the country so it should be powerful enough to do at least 2 1080p transcoding at once. I don't really have a lot of 1080p media so this is more of a "nice to have" feature for the future as I expand the NAS.

      Other than the hardware, I would also like advice on choosing between plex and emby for media sharing, all client side PCs will be running kodi with the plex or emby addon but was wondering what the best solution for serving the media was between the two or is it possible to use both plex and emby on omv?

      I know a lot of what I ask for seems vague but that is kind of where I am as far as this project goes, the more I do research the more uncertain I become with hardware and software choices, I'm also open to any new recommendations based on the use case of the NAS.

      I appreciate any and all input/advice/help, Thank You
    • +1 for the Athlon 5350. It should have enough muscle to handle 1080 transcoding. On top of that, you can get a relatively inexpensive motherboard like the ASRock AM1H-ITX, which has 4 SATA ports, USB 3.0 and can be directly powered thru a DC jack with a laptop PSU. The Athlon 5350 has a 25 W tdp, making it ideal for low power builds.
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz

    • Thank You for the feedback guys, In regards to the AMD 5350, I read amd cpu don't play well with linux drivers; is this something I should be concerned with for OMV?
      Here in Canada, the Asrock Q1900-ITX would cost me about $138 with tax, and the AMD 5350+Asrock ITX board will cost about $174 with tax; is the extra $36 worth it for the difference in performance between the two?

      My brother plans to upgrade his PC come late summer so I was planning on using his old i7 950 for a more powerful nas build in the future; with that in mind, is the difference in performance between the Q1900 and 5350 significant enough to spend more now?

      I apologize if that sounds confusing, I don't mind spending a bit more if the performance is worth it; just want to make sure before I invest in the build. Thank You
    • Shura wrote:

      Thank You for the feedback guys, In regards to the AMD 5350, I read amd cpu don't play well with linux drivers; is this something I should be concerned with for OMV?


      Nonsense. It's the GPU that may have driver issues, but OMV doesn't use the GPU, so it's a non-issue. :)

      I'm happy with the performance of my Athlon 5350. I run it on a MSI miniITX board, with an Arctic passive cooler, in a LianLi PC-Q25B, and using a Supermicro SAS2LP HBA in the main slot. The only down-side is the Realtek NIC, and to be fair it's been reliable enough for me. I can transcode one 1080p stream using Plex, and plenty of CPU cycles left for other stuff.
      About to move to OMV 3.0, running Sonarr, Emby, NZBGet on a Pentium G4520 on an AsRock B150M Pro4S and 16GB DDR4 in a Lian-Li PC-M25A case.
      Sub 10W idle power draw, thanks to SuperFlower 350W 80Plus Gold PSU.
    • HellDiverUK wrote:

      Nonsense. It's the GPU that may have driver issues, but OMV doesn't use the GPU, so it's a non-issue.

      I'm happy with the performance of my Athlon 5350...


      Hey, Thanks for the input. Based on benchmark results the Athlon 5350 does seem to have a bit of an advantage and scores a good 600 points higher in CPUbenchmark compared to j1900. After Eryan and tekkb's replies yesterday I was looking more at 5350, that was until I came across emby forum's and their thread about enabling quick sync on Intel based cpu; some of the replies from people with J1900 cpu say their 1080p transcoding cpu usage dropped from the 90% to 60% with quick sync. Now I'm back to where I began, debating between the two CPUs; Athlon 5350 seemed like it had a better upgrade path but with AMD's talk of combining all tiers of their processors into a single socket(AM4) has me worried if there will be something better in the future for AM1.
    • It is a matter of taste. The J1900-based mobos are really nice, but they have a big "but": you can't replace the CPU. Therefore, if at some point you will want to upgrade, you'll end up having to replace not only your CPU, but also the mobo. In the other hand, AFAIK AMD will release new AM1 based CPUs this year, and perhaps there will be a couple of more powerful options.

      Regarding transcoding, you mentioned that your media clients are PCs running Kodi + Emby/Plex addon. That means that you don't need transcoding at all! Being that the case, I'll go for the AM1 since I personally find it a little bit more "future proof" (I may be also a little biased because here in Germany the prices for the Athlon based solution are considerably lower than the Intel based ones, and I am an AMD fan :D ).
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz

    • Eryan wrote:

      It is a matter of taste. The J1900-based mobos are really nice, but they have a big "but": you can't replace the CPU. Therefore, if at some point you will want to upgrade, you'll end up having to replace not only your CPU, but also the mobo. In the other…


      I have no problem with AMD, in fact the HTPC i built for my parents run on a A10-7800 and a lot of the PCs I've built for family members use an FX-6300. As you mentioned one of the biggest selling points for AM1 is the fact you would be able to upgrade the CPU if something better came out; what I'm worried about on that point is if AM1 is a platform AMD plans to support going into the future. 5350 is based on the Jaguar family, and even though AMD released Puma APUs in late 2014, the successor to Jaguar, they never made an AM1 version. Personally I can't seem to find any information at all on a possible new AM1 CPU/APU, the only information I can find on future AMD processors is that they plan to move everything from low end APUs to high end CPUs to a single socket, the new AM4.

      If no new AM1 comes out, that would mean I would have to replace both motherboard/cpu regardless of which setup I choose, J1900 or 5350; so then the question becomes which of the two offer better price for performance; a 5350 combo will cost me 25% more and even that wouldn't of been a problem if it wasn't for emby's quick sync implementation.

      If one of the two were drastically more powerful, this would of been a much easier decision. :( The more I read about these two processors and the more I consider my use case scenario, the more confusing this all becomes ?(
    • My apologies. It seems that I am a little outdated regarding the AM1 platform. I read this a few weeks ago (I was thinking about replacing my current server for a Athlon 5350 based one), and I was not aware about the AM4 platform. Then, go for the J1900. As said, if your clients are going to be running Kodi, transcoding is not an issue for you and any of the CPUs will be fine. I run my OMV with a (severely outdated) Atom 330 with Kodi clients and several other stuff, and surprisingly it has enough muscle to do the job.
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz

    • I have the J1900 in my QNAP TS-451 (running OMV) and it can saturate gigabit. Very nice CPU.
      omv 4.1.13 arrakis | 64 bit | 4.15 proxmox kernel | omvextrasorg 4.1.13
      omv-extras.org plugins source code and issue tracker - github

      Please read this before posting a question and this and this for docker questions.
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    • Regarding the AM1 platform, I have a Sempron 3850 @ 1.3GHz and it also saturates gigabit and it's not afraid when transcoding neither...
      On the AM1 platform there's also the Athlons 5350 and 5150 which are better than the Sempron.

      Hope it helps!
      DISCLAIMER: :!: I'm not a native English speaker, I'm sorry if I don't explain as good as you would want. :!:

      My NAS:
      Always the latest OMV Erasmus running on an AMD Sempron 3850 @1.3GHz with 4.9.0 Backports Kernel
      with 120GB Samsung SSD 850 EVO for OpenMediaVault & 2x500GB Primary Data HDD + 1TB Secondary HDD for Backup & 2TB USB 3.0 External HDD for offline backup

      Plugin list:
      Flash Memory, Locate, OMV-Extras.org, RSnapshot, Sensors, Syncthing, SMB/CIFS, SSH, USB Backup
      _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

      The Schrödinger's code is that one which is going to work and it's full of bugs at the same time; until you test it, you won't be able to determine it.
    • Eryan wrote:

      My apologies. It seems that I am a little outdated regarding the AM1 platform. I read this a few weeks ago (I was thinking about replacing my current server for a Athlon 5350 based one), and I was not aware about the AM4 platform. Then, go for the J1900. As said, if your clients are going to be running Kodi, transcoding is not an issue for you and any of the CPUs will be fine. I run my OMV with a (severely outdated) Atom 330 with Kodi clients and several other stuff, and surprisingly it has enough muscle to do the job.


      Nothing to apologize for, most of the information I learned comes from obsessively researching these two processors last few days. I was also actually under the impression AM1 would continue to be supported too until I read the press release from CES a few weeks ago, where they announced that they would be unifying all processors under a single socket AM4 and a new socket for laptops FP4. While they didn't specifically mention they would discontinue AM1, their future road-map slides only show AM4 and FP4 and nothing else. On the Intel side J1900 seems to be the best bet, the newer and slightly faster J2900 is discontinued everywhere and for whatever reason Intel decided to make the newest N3700 slower than the 3 year old J1900 awhile also being more expansive.

      I'm still new to the whole media server concept, mind if I ask what you mean by transcoding not being an issue? I was under the impression sharing media files over the internet using plex or emby would require transcoding. I apologize if that sounds like a noob question.

      ryecoaaron wrote:

      I have the J1900 in my QNAP TS-451 (running OMV) and it can saturate gigabit. Very nice CPU.


      Indeed, so far from what I've been reading about the J1900, it seems like a really nice CPU for its price, especially considering it still seems to be the better value for performance compared to the J2900 and N3700. How would you describe CPU usage in your NAS, specifically for transcoding but general impressions is also appreciated.

      gsola96 wrote:

      Regarding the AM1 platform, I have a Sempron 3850 @ 1.3GHz and it also saturates gigabit and it's not afraid when transcoding neither...
      On the AM1 platform there's also the Athlons 5350 and 5150 which are better than the Sempron.

      Hope it helps!


      Indeed I have no doubt the 5350 can perform, most of the benchmarks I have seen show it head to head with the J1900, and beating it in 3D applications. My main concern with the 5350 atm is, It's 25% more here, slightly higher TPD and no support for GPU transcoding like quick sync on the Intel side(how useful this will be on the J1900 igpu is a different story).

      If you don't mind, same question I asked ryecoaaron, How would you describe CPU usage in your NAS, specifically for transcoding but general impressions is also appreciated.

      Thanks so much for all the input guys and taking the time to reply; I know I'm probably being a pain going back and forth, just want to be sure before I invest and start the physical build. Thanks again.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Shura ().

    • Shura wrote:

      How would you describe CPU usage in your NAS, specifically for transcoding but general impressions is also appreciated.

      I don't transcode with it (or any server for that matter). It is just rsyncd and samba.
      omv 4.1.13 arrakis | 64 bit | 4.15 proxmox kernel | omvextrasorg 4.1.13
      omv-extras.org plugins source code and issue tracker - github

      Please read this before posting a question and this and this for docker questions.
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    • Transcoding basically means that the server will convert your media files on the fly to whatever format the clients require. Transcoding is a CPU intensive task, and to transcode a 1080p video you need a CPU with a passmark of circa 2000. Transcoding becomes necessary if the clients are, for example, a chromecast. It natively support a handful of formats, meaning that if you have a video in a format incompatible with your chromecast, your server will convert it to a compatible one.

      Now, if your clients are PCs running Kodi (or anything running Kodi) they can natively play any format that you throw at them because Kodi has its own codecs. That way, your server never has to transcode, and you don't need a powerful CPU.
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz

    • Eryan wrote:

      Now, if your clients are PCs running Kodi (or anything running Kodi) they can natively play any format that you throw at them because Kodi has its own codecs. That way, your server never has to transcode, and you don't need a powerful CPU.

      Unless the client doesn't have a cpu/gpu powerful enough to decode the format.
      omv 4.1.13 arrakis | 64 bit | 4.15 proxmox kernel | omvextrasorg 4.1.13
      omv-extras.org plugins source code and issue tracker - github

      Please read this before posting a question and this and this for docker questions.
      Please don't PM for support... Too many PMs!
    • ryecoaaron wrote:

      Shura wrote:

      How would you describe CPU usage in your NAS, specifically for transcoding but general impressions is also appreciated.

      I don't transcode with it (or any server for that matter). It is just rsyncd and samba.


      Ah okay, transcoding aside, I guess it will be powerful enough to backup data, run owncloud and serve as a local nas.

      Eryan wrote:

      Transcoding basically means that the server will convert your media files on the fly to whatever format the clients require. Transcoding is a CPU intensive task, and to transcode a 1080p video you need a CPU with a passmark of circa 2000. Transcoding becomes necessary if the clients are, for example, a chromecast. It natively support a handful of formats, meaning that if you have a video in a format incompatible with your chromecast, your server will convert it to a compatible one.

      Now, if your clients are PCs running Kodi (or anything running Kodi) they can natively play any format that you throw at them because Kodi has its own codecs. That way, your server never has to transcode, and you don't need a powerful CPU.


      Thank You for the explanation Eryan, Apart from what you explained about file format, for some reason I assumed all files were transcoded to compress the file for sharing over the internet, so even if the client was powerful enough, it would still be transcoded to use less data; a misunderstanding of the process on my part.

      Currently there are 4 media clients this nas would need to provide data to, an A10-7800 based HTPC, a old dell laptop running kodibuntu, and two android tv boxes. the HTPC and 1 android box is on the same local network as the NAS; the laptop and 2nd box would need a connection over the net. There are also two i7 systems and two work laptops on the local network that needs to be able to save and retrieve data from the nas. In total about 8 different devices need to be able to communicate with the nas, but I don't think more than 1 or 2 will need access at a time; would that many devices be too taxing for a j1900 or 5350?(still can't decide between the two :( )
    • For the clients outside of your home network, chances are that Plex will transcode depending your the internet upload bandwidth. Plex does not transcode to use less data, it will simply transcode to provide the best possible audio/video quality. In this case, I believe the limiting factor is not only the client, but your maximum upload bandwidth (please somebody correct me if I am wrong, as I don't stream audio/video outside of my home network). Be aware that to stream over the internet you have to pay (for both Plex and Emby), and I am not really sure if you can use Kodi as front end. In that case, I think you need to use the Plex/Emby client in the computers outside your home network.

      Inside of your home network, Plex will transcode only if the media format is not supported by the client.
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz

    • I used OMV for several months with an AMD Sempron 2650 (the low end AM1 APU, with Athlon 5350 being the top end). I did no transcoding, but file sharing and use as a backup target were no issues (normally only one user active at a time though). By comparison, Athlon 5350 benchmarks almost 100% higher than the Sempron, with J1900 bench-marking in between the two.

      I never got WOL to work with the Realtec NIC on my MSI AM1I motherboard, but that wasn't an issue with the AMD APU of course. I was able to get it to sleep and wake on a schedule though. Forum posts here helped with that.

      As I understand it, AM1 APU's integrated controller only supports 2 SATA, so any motherboard with more probably has a second controller that you'd want to verify compatibility on. Mine only had two, but an SSD controller equipped USB Flash Drive for the system worked well with backports kernel and Flash Plug-in.

      I got the APU/Motherboard on sale at a local shop for about 1/3 the cost of a J1900 motherboard. If it had cost more, as in your case, I'm not sure I would have paid the extra even for the 5350.

      I've since re-purposed it (with an Athlon 5350) as a desktop and media streaming front end, where it performs well. With the 5350, It consistently draws 2-4 watts more than a similarly equipped desktop with a J1900 motherboard that I also put in service recently. Although,I don't know how the two would compare when running OMV.
      Working with computers since the days when unboxing and set-up required 3 weeks with a soldering iron!
    • Hi!

      I'm trying to build very-low-budget NAS (purely for backup / storage, no transcoding or anything like that). Seems that Q1900-ITX is the best bang for the buck available at the moment? Reasonable performance, CPU included, 70 EUR/USD, 4 SATA ports, low power. (Have some SO-DIMMs laying around as well, nice that I can reuse them.)

      Is there any motherboard with much better performance, more SATA slots or lower power available for <100 EUR/USD? (Or maybe not now but in near future.) From my research it seems there is none, or have I missed any?

      Thanks in advance!
    • If you want to go cheaper than that then you should get something that is second hand; or go for a Raspberry pi/Banana pi/Odroid build.
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz