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FreeNAS build questions...again

Hello all,
I’m assembling parts for a NAS build, can anyone make a recommendation on AMD ryzen processor to use?
I’m not sure what FreeNAS really requires. How many threads do you need to run a basic storage server for 1-3 users at a time?
Adding Plex to 1-2 devices at a time, with transcoding, would increase the CPU needs to what?

Depends on what you’re transcoding.

But for just a storage server CPU from 8 years ago still perform well.

So you would say that a 4c/4t ryzen 1200 would be fine?

Pretty much, though I’d stay away from first gen ryzen unless you get it for dirt cheap since the newer stuff is similarly priced and outperforms by a large margin.

If you transcode with Plex you will need to have a dedicated gpu for any real performance because the load on the CPU is massive for transcoding and not all that great seeing as the default is to re-encode with H.264 with the veryfast preset. So if you want high quality transcoding you need like a R9 Ryzen or a high end R7 overclocked because hardware accel on Nvidia GPU’s is superior.

For transcoding for 3 people on the fly it will be a challenge. What most people do is keep the cpu end low and just try to achieve direct play as much as possible at the offset of storage space. Direct Play is just based off of how much IOPS you get from your hard drives and with this method you have dozens of concurrent streaming.

If all your users are on your local network then the hell with transcoding just focus on Direct Play because you can save money on the CPU and cooling and just throw the savings at more drives.


my mistake, I would be using direct play instead of transcoding ( this is what I see mentioned all the time and should have researched what this entailed). I plan to have some of my DVDs ripped so that I can stream them over the network as well as having back-up ISOs incase the DVDs are damaged in a player.
I do have an old RX580 I could throw in if need be but I’d rather not have the power draw if I can help it.

I’m looking at the 1200 & 1600 AF models, so they’re second gen essentially.

Won’t work. Hardware encoding is only available with Nvidia GPU’s.

really? I thought you could use GPU acceleration on encoding. Oh, well.
If it ends up being an issue I guess I’ll have to look for a EVGA 2060 KO. I’ve heard those are really good price/performance.

Kind of. It uses the hardware video encoder, not the the general GPU, if I understand it correctly. And AMD and Nvidia have very different ways to use the hardware encoding, so it is twice as much work to support both.

Well, who would have thought that you couldn’t get rival companies to come together on a standard to improve things for the consumer and not just look after their own wallets…

For direct play, you will use hardly any cpu. I used a J3455B link as a FreeNAS server with Emby for a while and it direct played just fine.

If you do end up needing transcoding, you can either use software trans coding (CPU) or hardware accelerated (GPU). For software, you want ‘all the threads’ probably limited by your budget. For hardware accelerated, you’re probably going to want Linux, as FreeBSD GPU support is weak (you may be able to find a solution, but I haven’t). Conceptually, to integrate with FreeNAS, you’d have the FreeNAS box store the media and the Linux box would read from the FreeNAS box, then transcode and send to client. Plex has a page with more info on what hardware acceleration they support link. A powerful and cheap option for Plex/Emby/Jellyfin server is an old laptop or NUC with an intel quicksync gpu, as discussed on episode 21 of the self hosted podcast link.


@blooper98 Thanks for all the good info. It will take me some time to get through all of this.

@JediAcolyte - you might also want to consider just buying a 2nd hand Qnap or Synology off of ebay. I played around with FreeNas for a long while and eventually I realized that I am getting a lot more out of a half-priced last year’s model 4 bay Synology. For transcoding Qnap seems to have better hardware and you’d probably enjoy that a lot more both from a support and stability perspective.