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PLEX - stream vs USB vs internal drive

mcdermott_c

Established Member
Hi

Im sure this has been asked before but couldnt find an exact question.

If im planning on runnig plex on a 2ghz macbook what is the best / smoothest way to play movies. Is it:

1. From a USB hd plugged into the mac (7200rpm with own power supply)
2. From the macbook internal hd (assume thats 5400rpm)
3. Stream across a 10/100 network from a freenas server using powerline ethernet adapters.

I know USB should have the fastest theoritical speed (450mb/s i think) but wondered if in actual fact plex handles streaming from a network source such as freenas better ?

Any thoughts appreciated. I should say i have both a freenas setup and a USB hd available already

cheers

chris
 

alanrob

Established Member
Depends what you'll be streaming.
If it's normal avi/mov/wmv files then all three will be fine.
If it will be 720p/1080p Hi-Def output then your network connection might struggle with high bitrate videos, but USB and internal drive will play them fine.
Saying that, I used to stream 720p mkv files on my 100MB ethernet without issue, but since going to Gigabit I can stream 1080p without any issue.
 

Neorion

Established Member
I stream blu and Hd rips over my N network. I have a powerline from my router in the living room to the main Pc, that streams to the macbook over the wireless no issues at all.

If you dont have N wireless then either USB or powerline will be fine.
 
Last edited:

James.1

Established Member
Since you are planning to watch on a MacBook why not look to stream over Wi-Fi, and keep your MacBook as cable free as possible, or are you plugging it into your TV?
 

mcdermott_c

Established Member
thanks for reply alan.

My movies include a mixture so there would be some HD stuff in there.
Using the USB hd plugged in the back isnt a problem my only thought was that streaming from the freenas server (which is upstairs) would be quieter than my USB hd which tends to be quite noisy.

I've used both setups on my macbook pro and I streamed movies across no problem however there was no HD stuff in there which as you say is where the 10/100 network might fall down.

The freenas server would be great if it streams HD to plex ok. I have set it up in my office upstairs with a 500gb hd in it but can add a couple of TB hds in it. The freenas server is only only on when I need it and is set to powerdown after ive gone to bed. I have also managed to setup a wee script that can shutdown the freenas server remotely at any point from a shortcut on the desktop. If I could just come up with a script which would allow freenas to go into hibernation (rather than shutdown) and again be woken up using a script - I would be in NAS / PLEX heaven !

thanks for advice

chris
 

mcdermott_c

Established Member
Since you are planning to watch on a MacBook why not look to stream over Wi-Fi, and keep your MacBook as cable free as possible, or are you plugging it into your TV?

Hi James
the macbook will sit in clamshell mode under the TV all the time. wifi i dont think would stream HD - SD probably fine but not HD ?
 

mcdermott_c

Established Member
I stream blu and Hd rips over my N network. I have a powerline from my router in the living room to the main Pc, that streams to the macbook over the wireless no issues at all.

If you dont have N wireless then either USB or powerline will be fine.

hmmmm thats interesting - i have a BT HUB 2 will need to check to see if its wireless N or not
 

James.1

Established Member
I think the Home Hub 2 does have wireless N. You could set it up just as an access point.

Does your NAS have a wake-on-lan feature?
 

mcdermott_c

Established Member
Hi James

my NAS is a home made freenas which is basically a PC with everything stripped uot apart from hard drive and network card.
Im not sure in there is an option for wake-on-lan feature but thats a good suggestion, If it does I shroud be able to come up with a script which will wake the PC up and boot the freenas software right ?

cheers chris
 

alanrob

Established Member
Hi James

my NAS is a home made freenas which is basically a PC with everything stripped uot apart from hard drive and network card.
Im not sure in there is an option for wake-on-lan feature but thats a good suggestion, If it does I shroud be able to come up with a script which will wake the PC up and boot the freenas software right ?

cheers chris

It's your motherboard or LAN card that tells if it's able to wake on LAN and if it can then it should boot into FreeNAS as if you had powered it on yourself.

As for Hi-Def - if you stick with 720p output then your streaming will be fine which ever option you choose no matter if it's 10/100 wireless or gigabit that you use.

Neorion - are your blu/hd rips in 1080p? If so, how did you get them to stream over N? I gave up with wireless with 1080p as it's was just too slow for the amount of data.
 

James.1

Established Member
I imagine you'll have the ability to do wake-on-lan, might need to enable it from the BOIS, (I don't know really as it's been a while since I used a PC).

You'll need this if your NAS can do wake-on-lan.
 

Jowl

Established Member
Freenas needs to support your network card's WoL feature - I had to run a beta version to support my network card (in the motherboard). It does work well, and I was booting from a 2.5" hdd in 45 seconds with a 3 x 500gb SATA drives in RAID5 for storage.

I'd be extremely grateful if you could send me the script that you wrote to shutdown your freenas server. I was planning to go to a Thecus N0503 for my NAS needs as that has WoL but also offers RAID expansion....at a cost! I may have to have another look into Freenas (particularly has I still have the purpose built hardware for it)
 

jms_uk

Prominent Member
I haven't done it for a while but I'm fairly sure I've had 1080p content streaming over a wired 10/100 Ethernet configuration :) These days though, streaming isn't really a requirement so I adopted the bang-for-buck approach and use 2tb USB hdds plugged locally into the MacBook media centre via a USB hub (to give me more available ports)
 

alanrob

Established Member
I haven't done it for a while but I'm fairly sure I've had 1080p content streaming over a wired 10/100 Ethernet configuration :)

It will work for movies that don't have a lot of fast action and tonnes of CGI.
I could stream the likes of Liar Liar in 1080p over my 10/100, but The Matrix was a nightmare with constant pauses and picture break ups. Not the best way to enjoy a movie ;)
 

mcdermott_c

Established Member
thanks everyone for advice.

Will try it all out when I get chance and see which works best for my needs.

Jowl I will post the script when I get 2 mins no problem

cheers

chris
 

jms_uk

Prominent Member
Gotta be careful with Powerline products.. The real world throughput is often considerably less than the advertised maximum (e.g. 200Mbps), often as low as 80.. which *should* be enough for most uses but worth considering... also strongly dependant on the quality of the wiring in your house
 

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