NAS/Plex server that can push out UHD

I'm currently using an old micro-server to run my Plex server, and despite GB ethernet it struggles with large UHD movies. Anyone able to recommend a bargain server purely for NAS and Plex server functionality? I'd prefer a low power usage option. Thanks!


  • +5

    Don't think Ethernet is your issue here. My HP Microserver serves UHD content just fine. It might be more to do with GPU and/or transcoding settings. Worth looking into further and asking on specialist forums.

    • +1 to this, Overclockers Australia (OCAU) is probs your place to go to ask.

    • It’s not a problem of the server. It’s a problem of the file and the client, which then makes it a server problem.

      To explain, if your file is encoded in a format that the client you are trying to play on doesn’t support natively, then Plex server will have to transcode (to a format supported by the client). If you have Plex pass and supported hardware, the server can use hardware transcoding. If you don’t have Plex pass the transcoding is always software.

      Also if your client if configured to do anything other than play the file at original quality, then the server will transcode even if the client supports the file codec.

  • +1

    As Hybroid said, more is going on here.

    I can serve UHD bluray rips from an external drive attached to a Raspberry Pi 3b. Ethernet isn't the issue.

    Right now I'm serving them from an NUC over 5ghz wireless. Takes a minute to start, but is fine when it's going.

    Do you have transcoding on?

  • I'm using an N40L over gigabit ethernet to an nvidia shield pro which runs UHD content fine.

    Previously I used one of those little android boxes and it really struggled. YMMV but for me, having something that can decode the content on the playing end was the bottle neck, not the server dishing it up.

    • +1

      Agreed re: shield pro

      Many devices lack the ability or network speed to play high quality 4k rips. My TV and series X can't do it, but the Shield pro barely breaks a sweat

  • Bargain, NAS and Media Server. Choose one, as you'll not be able to do more than 1 at a time if you want to do all three.

    If you want the cabilities for transcoding UHD content, you'll not be able to get a bargain unit as it'll need the power of a good CPU to achieve this.

    For me I prefer separate devices. NAS for storage and dedicated Media Server (VM + EMBY) for my settings. Then I have Nvidia Shields delivering the actual content to TV's throughout the household.

    • If you want the cabilities for transcoding UHD content, you'll not be able to get a bargain unit as it'll need the power of a good CPU to achieve this.

      False. You can just get any intel CPU with a recent version of quicksync. Doesn't have to be expensive or powerful.

  • HD connect to Pi4 (as samba server) over ethernet to Nvidia Shield Pro - no issue.

  • Thanks for the replies. To clarify, I've been using Plex client on a 2019 Shield successfully for a couple of years. The server only really struggles on really large rips ~50Gb and over. I'm hoping it might be just settings, but suspect I need a better graphics card in the old N40L (running Windows 10 - TrueNAS was a bit complicated for me). If that's the solution, any suggested cards to try?

    • Gpu shouldn't affect direct play

      Are you playing back in 4k or 1080p?

      • 4k with Atmos. Some files are very big - the 80Gb file last night wouldn't work either on the Shield or another PC

        • +1

          I find that the bitrate is the issue not the size of the file. Anything over 80Mbps - 4k HDR I have problems

        • My setup was just an i5 with 1050, streamed wirelessly to a shield pro with no issues. Yes, I have files of that size

  • get a shield pro..

    also check the subtitle settings.. for mmemory one of the setting places heavy load due to transcoding the subs!

  • I'm running with an old mac mini and it can run just about anything

  • Disable transcode at server, let your TV transcode if needed.

    I'm running a celeron NUC and able to play 4K over 2.5ghz wifi

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