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Server PC Configuration - Need Advice on Requirements  XML
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macman104



Joined: 12/01/2012 23:21:10
Messages: 25
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I am looking to purchase a computer (with possibly some customization of the internals) for dedicated streaming of my airvideo client. I do have 1080p videos that I would like the computer to be able to handle (though a fair amount are not).

I think the biggest factor that I'd like help considering is that we sometimes have multiple (3-5) people all utilizing air video at once. So the ability to serve video (most are live conversions) at once will be important here.

The videos will in general be hosted on external drives connected by USB 3.0 connections to the computer.

A few questions:

In general will CPU or available memory be the deciding factor for pushing through 1080p live conversion content?
We are currently looking at an i5 or i7 processor, any other thoughts or suggestions for the CPU?

I think right now it will come with 6 or 8GB of memory, sufficient? How important is the internal HDs speed and buffer?

Any other factors we should be considering when deciding on our new server PC configuration?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 04/01/2013 21:17:43

Admin



Joined: 08/23/2009 08:49:34
Messages: 8705
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Hi,

the CPU does affect transcoding speed, however with H264 passthrough option in many cases the video stream won't need to be transcoded.
macman104



Joined: 12/01/2012 23:21:10
Messages: 25
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Hi thank you for the information. So could you possibly offer some recommendation of configurations, especially given the access by multiple users at once?

How does memory play a role? I think we are looking at a 4gb system right now.

Just looking for some guidance so we can do this once and get it right
sjk



Joined: 12/25/2009 02:24:48
Messages: 189
Location: Eugene
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macman104 wrote:I think we are looking at a 4gb system right now.

4GB should be plenty for Air Video Server processing (current version), but having more could be beneficial if you're running other things simultaneously. Memory's relatively inexpensive and 8GB is a common baseline amount for newer systems with newer OSes.

Air Video 2.4.13 (iPad 2, iPhone 3GS [iOS 6.1.3]), Air Video Server 2.4.6-beta3u2 (Mac mini [Early 2009, OS X 10.8.4]), 802.11g/n WLAN
macman104



Joined: 12/01/2012 23:21:10
Messages: 25
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Great thanks, and yes, it may even be 8gb, couldn't quite remember off-hand.

I've seen a few threads regarding higher speed dual core vs. slower speed quad core. Any thoughts? Like I said, we are currently considering either an i5 or i7, last I looked somewhere in the 2.9-3.1GHz range.

sjk



Joined: 12/25/2009 02:24:48
Messages: 189
Location: Eugene
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My 4-year-old 2GHz Core 2 Duo Mac mini (originally 2GB, now 8GB RAM) has always been sufficiently powerful to run Air Video Server without any trouble with just me accessing it. I have no experience with multi-user access.

An i7-based system might be preferable if you intend on keeping it for awhile, as a better long-term investment. But an i5-based system could be enough since it sounds like it'll be dedicated to AVS.

H.264 video content (common with 1080p) can be streamed without live conversion, keeping processor usage significantly lower. I recently finished converting most of my video library to H.264 for Apple TV compatibility, with the added benefit for Air Video.

Hopefully other folks will chime in with more directly helpful info.

Air Video 2.4.13 (iPad 2, iPhone 3GS [iOS 6.1.3]), Air Video Server 2.4.6-beta3u2 (Mac mini [Early 2009, OS X 10.8.4]), 802.11g/n WLAN
macman104



Joined: 12/01/2012 23:21:10
Messages: 25
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Yes, the server will be dedicated to use as an AVS. I guess I would have to consider about taking the time and effort to convert the large amount of files to compatible formats to avoid the live conversion.

I do hope as well that others will chime in with their advice and ideas on this topic. There are a few random topics scattered throughout the forums, but not many recent ones

Yes, we do imagine keeping this around for quite a while, I also read that Intel is planning to release their new Haswell CPU this year, so might be worth holding out for a bit.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 04/03/2013 22:10:58

perfecblue



Joined: 04/18/2010 20:27:09
Messages: 6
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I have roughly the same usage as the thread opener for a while now (about 1 year). I'm on the AMD side so I don't know how well it compares to Intel's Core i5/i7. Here's my setup:

AMD Phenom II x6 1055t 6 Core CPU
8GB of RAM (used to be 16GB but took half out for other use)
Around 8 data disks ranging from 1.5 to 3TB

This is a dedicated machine for serving XBMC and AirVideo Server. So far I have around 3-5 simultaneous remote users streaming daily without any problems. I only use live conversion and no pass-through since subtitle displaying is essential in this part of the world. Each conversion thread is about 90-150MBytes in memory. Disk speed and buffer shouldn't be an issue as 6 of my drives are the slow WD Green drives with 4 of them on an external USB3.0 box.

You shouldn't need to convert those files on your own as I mentioned I do all my streaming via live conversions with no issues or complaints from the remote users. I'd imagine a sufficiently powerful quad-core Intel Core i5 should be no problem for your usage.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 04/04/2013 16:08:58

macman104



Joined: 12/01/2012 23:21:10
Messages: 25
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Thanks for the info.

I assume most of your data disks are external? USB 3.0 or 2.0? **Nevermind, I see you've updated your post regarding this**. Are those USB 3.0 connected through one JOBD box, or each through it's own USB connection. I'm evaluating something like this...
http://microcenter.com/product/386965/NexStar_HX4_35_Quad_SATA_to_USB_30_-_eSATA_External_Hard_Drive_Enclosure

Question, maybe for admins, but how well does AirVideo and maybe in the near future utilize multiple cores (2,4,6)?

Did you notice any difference when you switched from the 8GB to 16GB?

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 04/04/2013 16:13:20

perfecblue



Joined: 04/18/2010 20:27:09
Messages: 6
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Sorry for the constant edits on my thread. As I mentioned above, 4 of my disks are in a single external USB3.0 box while 4 of the rest are inside the case via SATA connection. The USB3.0 box (http://amzn.to/YUZbZf) is set to work in a JBOD settings. I don't see any problem with the externally connected disks.

So far the memory usage on the entire unit goes up to 6GB at times with 8GB of total memory. I haven't seen any problems wit this but if you plan on doing a little more work on the computer than you might wanna consider going all the way up to 16GB.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 04/04/2013 16:17:46

macman104



Joined: 12/01/2012 23:21:10
Messages: 25
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What USB box are you using, I'd be interested in a recommendation from someone that has a positive experience with one.

Great thanks for the link!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 04/04/2013 16:18:13

perfecblue



Joined: 04/18/2010 20:27:09
Messages: 6
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I'm using Mediasonic HF2-SU3S2 ProBox 4 Bay Hard Drive Enclosure (http://amzn.to/YUZbZf).

I have two of these and find them to be rock solid.
sjk



Joined: 12/25/2009 02:24:48
Messages: 189
Location: Eugene
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macman104 wrote:I guess I would have to consider about taking the time and effort to convert the large amount of files to compatible formats to avoid the live conversion.

I didn't mind taking time to eradicate all my AVI format files, also regaining a reasonable amount of disk space in the process. Kept HandBrake and iFFmpeg busy on my MacBook Air (currently my most powerful system) for a few weeks.

Btw, do you have sufficient network capability to handle the intended load?

Air Video 2.4.13 (iPad 2, iPhone 3GS [iOS 6.1.3]), Air Video Server 2.4.6-beta3u2 (Mac mini [Early 2009, OS X 10.8.4]), 802.11g/n WLAN
macman104



Joined: 12/01/2012 23:21:10
Messages: 25
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Yes, that is quite a task to be sure!

We just upgraded our internet service, and right now it seems like we're pretty ok with the network connection.
 
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