Question Suggestions Before I Build a NAS

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by liquidsoap89, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. liquidsoap89

    liquidsoap89
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    Hey everyone,

    I'm currently in the planning stages with a NAS I want to build. I've never done this before, so a lot of this is on the verge of feeling overwhelming. To start things off...

    -It'll primarily be used for movie rips (which I haven't done yet, more on that soon).
    -Right now I'm planning on building something that will be significantly more powerful than necessary for a NAS, mostly because I want to encode things on this system instead of my main PC (though that one's more than capable of encoding if I chose to go that way).
    -I'm currently planning on getting 4 6TB WD Reds, and I'm thinking Raid 1 will be my best option (I have about 700 movies and TV shows to rip, and I can currently get a blu-ray down to about 6.5GB, which I'm happy with).
    -I've been quite impressed with Plex based on what I've seen, so I'm thinking I'll set up a Plex server.

    So, questions:
    1. FreeNAS, or Windows Server (2012 or 2016)? I can get Windows Server for free through school (hooray!), but I've heard lots of good things about FreeNAS. I'm moderately familiar with Windows Server, so that's certainly a plus, but does FreeNAS offer anything that Windows doesn't?
    2. I'm not quite clear on why I would want to set things up on VMs... Is that something I should be looking at? Alternative question: Docker? Are there any benefits to doing things that way?
    3. Is there any big reasons why I wouldn't want to rip/encode the movies directly on the server? I'd like to keep my main PC free for gaming/whatever, but not spending $2000 on a PC is an enticing idea if there are reasons I'd want to avoid doing that stuff on the server.
    4. In terms of security, is AV/anti-malware enough for the server?
    5. Right now it'll just be me using the server, but I'd like to build it to be expandable in the future (is this where being proactive with VMs will be beneficial?). By which I mean, eventually there could be multiple people watching simultaneously, and/or I'd eventually like to use the server for other things.
    6. On the topic of expandability, if I needed to expand the storage in the future, I'd presumably be creating a new RAID 1 storage pool. Should I just split up the 4 initial HDDs in to 2 different pools right away (for consistency's sake)? ie, 2 6TB storage locations, each mirrored.
    7. When it comes to encoding videos, I don't currently have atmos speakers, but that's something I'm looking at getting soon. As a result I'm planning on ripping the atmos track from the movies that have it available, which is fine (as far as I understand). If I was to just rip the 1 audio track (most likely 7.1 with atmos), am I right in assuming plex can transcode it to my current 5.1 system if I was to play stuff through my Nvidia Shield? If I'm not planning on playing movies in stereo on my phone, is there any benefit to ripping additional audio tracks?

    Sorry for the wall of questions (and there may be more if I can think of them), but I appreciate any advice you can give me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
  2. mickevh

    mickevh
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    With 4 X 6TB discs, RAID 5 would yield more storage for your money (18TB for RAID5 versus 12TB for RAID1) whilst still availing the ability for drop a single disc without any loss of access whilst in degraded state.

    However, for a SOHO media tank use case, there are those that argue that RAID "isn't worth bothering with" because you have copy of the media on the discs they were purchased on. Therefore, use "Just a Bunch Of Discs" (JBOD - ie no redundancy at all) and accept that when a disc dies, you loose access until broken disc is replace and media re-ripped. The "penalty" is loss of access whilst replacing your disc and re-ripping, plus the time it takes to re-rip. The "benefit" is you get all 24TB of storage usable.

    It's a value judgement, there's not "right" an "wrong" way to do it.

    If you plan to use a "software" RAID implementation, (as opposed to a "hardware" RAID controller,) beware that for many OS's the OS needs to be "up and running" before it can start the RAID software and make storage available. Thusly, with a software RAID, you cannot "boot" the OS from any RAID array as by definition at boot time, the RAID isn't running yet and thus it's storage is not available.

    For this reason, when using software RAID, one often employs a separate "boot/OS" disc which is plane-jane and contains nothing but the OS, albeit it is "vulnerable" in that said disc enjoys no RAID protection and when this boot/OS disc dies, you have no OS until you replace the disc, reinstall the OS and reconstitute/recover the RAID configuration to allow you to get access to your "data" discs. (Again, another reason many argue that for a SOHO media tank, JBOD is a better bet - thence you have no "recovery" of the RAID configuration to worry about, just build a new OS.)

    In businesses, to avoid such issues, we use hardware based RAID controllers. Thence the RAID arrays are spun up before the OS even starts to load and we can install the OS into partitions RAID protected. (Nerds might care to contemplate the affect on the Windows page file IO in such scenarios. :D ) Good hardware RAID controllers, server hardware, buses, etc. are not cheap.

    With regard to media ripping - and I submit this is a very personal opinion - I never understood the "point" of buying Blu-Ray and then crunching it down to something less good to save space. Surely if one buys Blu-Ray it's because one want good PQ, so why would one then actively do something to make PQ worse? If space saving is a problem, save oneself the hassle of re-encoding and just buy DVD instead.

    I'd rip Blu-Ray as is, and deal with space management as a when required. Indeed, when sizing the required disc capacity, I would ensure there's a very healthy amount of free capacity for future expansion. Thence, by the time I run out, disc capacity per dollar will (probably) have fallen and I can just buy new bigger discs.

    However, I am aware that others argue that newer CODEC's than employed by Blu-Ray can create smaller files for the same subjective PQ - but it seem like a "make work" project to me. Crunching down to avail incompatible playback clients would be my only good use case for transcoding, but even then I'd be doing that "as well" as the original rather than "instead" which would be yielding more storage consumption rather than less, ('cos I'd have two copies of everything, one full fat original, one crunched down to older mpeg2 for compatibility.)

    Others will doubtless disagree - it's an interesting debate with (again) no real "right or wrong" position - again, a value judgement.

    Beware sizing discs to hardware: Some chassis (RAID controllers, OS's, etc.) have limits on the max size of disc they can handle.

    If you run a general purpose OS, there's no problem ripping on the server - though of course it needs a suitable optical drive an software, (MakeMKV is my favourite.)

    The ease and convenience of future storage expandabilty depends on the RAID software/hardware you use. You'll have the read the manual of your prospective purchase I'm afraid - there's lots of options available.

    I've been watching this forum for a few years now; I think you'll find you can ask as many questions as you like here with a good chance of getting them answered sympathetically. It might perhaps help maintaining the "legibility" of the the discussion of each question if you numbered them, thence respondents can cite the number of the question they are engaging with (without having to constantly quote the question) as I think it's likely that some people will only speak to a subset.
     
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  3. Sloppy Bob

    Sloppy Bob
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    Another option for your OS would be Xpenology, which is basically the software a Synology NAS runs on.
    With it you can run SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID) which would be like RAID 5 giving you single disk redundancy, but, you can mix and match your drive sizes which you can't do with traditional RAID.

    I'd also concur with compressing your movies. It can seem advatageous to save space and I selectively do it using x265 on movies that are not overly "cinematic", however compressing a bluray down to 6.5GB is a huge amount of compression and will have a large effect on the quality output of both the video and audio (if you're compressing the audio).
    The main thing I'd have against that is what happens when you upgrade your system?

    You've got a bigger, better TV and your rips don't look that good anymore or your new amp plays HD audio and you're stuck with basic DD5.1 as you compressed it to save space.

    I looked at building one a number of years ago. Instead I bought a used 8-bay Synology.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
  4. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    Agree with the others I wouldn't compress, life is too short ...

    What I would typically do however is only rip the main movie and soundtracks\subtitles you need. This can save quite a bit of space if you are not bothered about the disc structure and extras etc.

    Windows Server 2016 if you can get is good and will run pretty much anything you can do on Windows. You can use storage spaces which give similar functionality to SHR and allow you to add more drives etc as required.

    If you are buying a prebuilt NAS then you won't get a Blu ray drive to rip from so will still have to rip on your main machine. Having said that if you buy a prebuilt NAS there is no messing about with bits and OS etc.

    700 movies and shows is going to take you a relatively long time to do so again a straight rip vs compression is going to be a lot quicker.
     
  5. liquidsoap89

    liquidsoap89
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    It sounds like some extra details are needed in terms of encoding.

    I got a blu-ray drive recently and put it in my current PC to test different types of transcoding settings out. It's still a work in progress, but I'm getting close to having something I'm happy with.

    1. Right now I've settled on only ripping the main video file, the best audio track available, and English subs. This cuts out all the extra fluff.
    2. When I transcode this file, I use audio passthrough to keep the sound quality the same; and I'm currently using h.265 compression on the video.

    This results in a video that is almost indistinguishable from the original copy. I understand that there is a loss in quality, and I can see slight differences if I freeze frame both versions and swap between them; but the amount of space saved is substantial (and it's genuinely impressive how similar they look).

    This is still something I'm not 100% sold on though. Like you've all mentioned, the time saved by not transcoding each video will be monumental, but it'll come at the cost of space (which comes at the cost of $$$). I reckon I'd need close to 18TB of space for my current library (which is always expanding), which would be doubled if I stick with RAID 1. And with 4K out now, that number would rise faster in the future.

    I don't think I can bring myself to go JBOD, especially if I end up transcoding the videos. That will be such a big time loss when a drive eventually fails; to me the extra money spent on redundancy is more than worth it. I will most likely still be keeping my disks, but even just ripping them all again would take ages.

    I'm planning on buying an SSD for this system to act as the OS drive, and potentially act as a cache for any future things I may do.

    RAID 5 (and its alternatives) has been something I'm seriously considering. From what I've read though, it becomes less effective with larger storage pools. My current thinking is that the straight up safest option is RAID 1. If I was to make 2 separate 6TB RAID 1 pools, I could set up future RAID 1 pools exactly the same way to keep things consistent, obviously at the cost of space. If I wanted to expand my storage in the future (and keep the RAID 5 trend going) I'd need to buy 3 new drives as opposed to just 2... Which isn't necessarily and issue I guess, considering I get more space from that.

    Would RAID 5 be suitable in this case? With my current planned purchase I'd be getting 18TB of space, which should be enough for my current library (ripped, no less), but I'd need to look at expanding that basically as soon as my library is all converted.

    Hmm... You guys may have swayed my decision. Not transcoding the videos means I don't need a $430 Threadripper CPU (or all the other moderately expensive parts I'd considered), which would reduce the cost of this machine significantly! Which of course allows for more storage options right away...
     
  6. mickevh

    mickevh
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    The thing about RAID 5 being a "less effective solution with more discs" is, I suspect, a reference to the increase in write times and complexity as the number of discs in the stripe grows - though we're probably talking about of the order of 10+ discs rather than half a dozen or so. In the past I've built plenty of servers with 6 disc RAID5 arrays (actually 5 disc RAID5 plus 1 hot spare,) albeit for no better reason than the server chassis had slots for 6 discs and that (in our view) was the best way to use them.

    "At home" I do different: For reasons of accident/history/what discs I had to hand at the time, my home media tank is two RAID1 pairs (the two are different sizes) with a separate OS disc (which isn't SSD, but probably will be whenever I end up with a "spare" one.)

    As you say, RAID1 is much simpler albeit that the "overhead" of storage lost for redundancy is 50%. Also, you've a better chance of taking disc from a RAID1 pair and reading the content "somewhere else" if the host machine completely bricks. Because of the way data is distributed across discs using RAID5/6, it's much harder to reconstitute RAID5/6 type distributed parity arrays elsewhere.

    For a home media tank, I think the only really good argument for RAID5 over RAID1 is you get more bang for your buck.

    I've never used it and don't know much about it, but the SHR Sloppy Bob mentions seems worth considering. SHR seems quite flexible in terms of future expansion and leveraging the best capacity from a fleet of mixed disc sizes. Perhaps, we can prevail upon SB to speak further to SHR as it sounds like he knows it well.

    I use ZFS as a file system (under Linux - as you may have guessed I work in IT, so building things like this is not something I find daunting.) Some of the turnkey "FreeNAS" type offerings seem to be ZFS under the covers too.

    I've never seen it stated as such, by ZFS underlying design ethos seems to be "don't loose data" and it seem to have lots of features to assist that vision - such as various checksums and journaling, dataset snapshotting and, one of my particular favourites, a mechanism ZFS calls "scrubbing" to check (and if possible) correct any "silent corruption" (AKA "bit rot") that occurs when your back is turned.

    One slight word of caution, if you will indulge: Whilst it's great (er) "fun" to play tunes on storage (some people make a career out of it) do try and keep sight of what it is you are trying to build in a home media tank: For example, hosting data that is not irreplacabe, doesn't need huge throughput, is "write once, read seldom," etc. etc. (insert own goals here.) It's sometimes easy to get swept along in a wave of enthusiasm for technology and end up spending a load more money building some mega-server that isn't strictly needed - though of course, ultimately it's your dime. (Be honest IT guys - we've all done it. "Yes darling, it's very clever that you can watch TV on the computer, but why don't you just turn on the television?" One of mate's girlfriends retort when he'd put a TV card in his PC! :D )

    Incidentally, if you're not up to speed on RAID - Wiki's articles are quite a good read.

    I would agree about not spending massive money of fast CPU's and loads of RAM for a basic file server. That's not to say you cannot (off line) transcode a file on such a machine if wanted to - it'll just take longer to run.

    On the other hand, if you want to host virtual machines - that can really eat up the RAM and (depending on what you have the guest machines doing) CPU. I've got VMWare on my box to host some images of old and long deceased computers, though I hardly ever have cause to turn them on. Without any vGuest running, it ticks along on less than 1GB RAM used. But if I spin up 2 or 3 vGuests, it soon chomps through the 16GB I have fitted until I turn the vGuests off again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
  7. liquidsoap89

    liquidsoap89
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    I noticed with ZFS that it required 1GB of RAM for every TB of storage space. Is that an old requirement or is that still the case? I was only planning on getting 8GB or RAM for this system, which would end up being overkill if I drop the video transcoding side of things. Needing 24GB of RAM just to get things going is a tall order.

    SHR does sound interesting, but because I'm planning on buying identical drives from the outset I don't think it'll benefit me. It would be good for expanding things in the future, but I don't see a reason why simply creating a new RAID pool would be an issue for me.

    I also think your point about recovering info from a RAID 1 drive is something worth considering. It's obviously a much simpler process to recover data if none of it is spread across multiple drives.
     
  8. Sloppy Bob

    Sloppy Bob
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    SHR is Synologys own Hybrid RAID system.

    Single disk (SHR-1) or Dual Disk redundancy (SHR-2). Note that any form of RAID is not backup. If you feel you need backup for your media server (I do) then you should have a separate backup. RAID is not for that. THe purpose of RAID is to continue uninterrupted service if there's a disk failure hence I use SHR-1 (which itself is similar to RAID 5) and a full backup of data I feel is important.

    First off SHR is only available on Synology sytems or using the open source version of it which is Xpenology. I'm sure there are other Hybrid Raid sytems but I don't know anything about them.

    The main benefit of SHR is expansion and drive mixing. In my NAS I run 4TB, 6TB and 8TB drives and as long as you follow a few simple rules then the drive pool is seen at it's max size per disc.
    If you started a traditional RAID 5 array with 4TB drives then every drive you put in after, regardless of size is only seen as 4TB.

    You can see on the Synology website how it works - DiskStation Manager - Knowledge Base | Synology Inc.

    And calculate the difference here - RAID Calculator | Synology Inc.

    Personally I think RAID 1 or 10 is overkill for a media server, espcially as you have the backup of the discs and should at least backup your own encoded rips.
    It's a huge waste of drive space when RAID 5 would give the security of redundancy and a backup is available.
    Under no circumstances would I rely on RAID 1 being my "backup". It isn't.
     
  9. liquidsoap89

    liquidsoap89
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    Oh make no mistake, I'm not considering this a backup solution. I haven't looked at how I would back this up, primarily because I just don't want to spend the money on that right now. It's something I'll look at in the future, but as this will all be brand new, I'm kind of making the assumption that a back up wont be necessary right away. I'm aware this is not the best way of looking at things, and it will be a huge PITA if 2 of my drives were to fail, but the price of backing it all up on top of the price of just initially setting it all up is too much at this point.

    Though your point of RAID 1 being overkill is a good one, and it's making me consider RAID 5 more now. My only concern is that if I'm buying all the disks at the same time, the likelihood of multiple drives failing at a similar time would be higher, no? If I create 2 6TB RAID 1 pools, worst case scenario is that 2 of the paired drives fail together, and I lose half my data (well, I guess the worst case is all 4 drives fail...). But if 2 drives fail in a RAID 5 setup I'm toast. Perhaps this is an issue that SHR would help with, but I'm planning on building my own system, so I don't think that will be an option.
     
  10. mickevh

    mickevh
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    I've some recollection that that calculation is only the case if you intend to use a feature called de-duplication as the de-duplication mechanism needs to cache lots of stuff in RAM. If you don't run de-dupe, then I doubt it's anything like as much.

    It's anecdotal of course, but I'm running 4TB of storage and at time of posting my server is ticking along at less than 700MB RAM used for everything (including the OS and all services.) My expertise (or lack of) at interrogating Linux isn't up to discovering what is being used by what. :D
     
  11. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    It is also the rebuild time that can be a factor and if another drive fails whilst the raid set is being rebuilt. The larger the drives in capacity the longer the build both initial and rebuild takes. During this time the raid set is not operating at full throughput capacity.

    You haven't mentioned your budget as these things can mount up quickly.

    Also I would be aiming to make the rig as low powered as possible. With a Threadripper processor I would be interested in what it idles at. My desktop for example doesn't drop much below 100W at idle and if that was on 24/7 then that's over £100 of electricity per year in keeping the thing switched on.

    All 3 suggestions on the thread will work and we have our own preferences for them, whichever you go you just need to make sure it covers everything you want.

    After upgrading from a 4 Bay HP Microserver I ended up building a 24 bay rack mount server with a Xeon v3 proc with 16GB of ram. The expensive single part was the RAID card which drives all 24 drives, this will do RAID 5 and 6 amongst other things with a 2GB buffer and battery backup. This was nearly £1000 new but managed to get it on the forums for £150 :)

    This card allows me to read and write without any penalties that might here about with RAID5 writes.

    I have RAID 6 for one array and RAID 5 for another, I use Storage Pool for a third array and still have 6 drive bays free to expand when I need to.

    Storage Pools on Windows server seems to be very much like SHR and allow to use multiple drives of varying sizes and whether you want parity or even multiple parity.

    I like Windows 2016 as it allows me to run various apps that I use.

    Re backup solution you do need to think about this. What else are you going to store on your NAS. I don't for example backup Movies but I do back up my photos and videos as well as documents and some other files. The server backs up these to a drive and also a cloud based backup. It keeps backup set relatively small.
     
  12. liquidsoap89

    liquidsoap89
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    The system I was originally planning on getting was going to cost about $2000 Canadian. That was with a Ryzen 7 CPU (sorry, I said threadripper earlier, I meant Ryzen 7), 8GB or DDR4 RAM, an NVME SSD (for the OS), an X470 motherboard, a dual port NIC, 4 6-8TB WD Reds, and a 550 watt PSU with a gold rating. The intention was to do the transcoding on this, allowing for my main desktop to be free; I'm now just about in the "no-transcoding" boat, so I'm currently looking at what a similar system would cost with an i3 and Z370 motherboard.

    I don't know what the idle power use would be for a Ryzen 7 2700 CPU, but that might be irrelevant if I decide to go with an i3. That was a consideration though. The 2700X had a substantially higher power usage than the 2700, and I decided the slight performance boost wouldn't be worth that extra power.

    Hardware RAID on a rack server is kind of the ultimate goal, but that's years down the line for me. I'll be more than happy with a desktop server until then.

    As for what it'll be used for: Initially, it'll mostly be movies. I don't keep much on my current PC that's deathly important, and I use OneDrive for a lot of things, which I'll probably continue to do at least for a while. That's part of the reason why I haven't considered how I'll back this up yet. Sure, I don't want to go through the hassle of re-ripping hundreds of movies, but for the immediate future I'd prefer to save however many hundreds of dollars it would cost to do so. That's definitely something I'll look at at a later time though.

    And finally, I think I'm sold on Windows Server 2016. It's familiar to me, which will make troubleshooting easier, and it'll be free (bonus!). Presumably going down this route would mean I could take advantage of VMs later on if need be (once I upgraded the CPU and RAM).

    With all that out of the way (mostly), I think I've just got 2 remaining questions:
    1. Would an antivirus/anti-malware combination be adequate, or are there other security measures I should be looking at?
    2. If I was to rip whatever the best audio source was in a blu-ray (say 7.1 trueHD with Atmos), am I right in my understanding that a Plex server will transcode that down to 5.1 on my current 5.1 system, and then wouldn't need to transcode it when I eventually get an Atmos system?
     
  13. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    Windows 2016 comes with Defender built in now. Some people swear by it as its free, others swear at it. :) It should be sufficient for your needs as normally when touching stuff it would done via the desktop\other device that has its own AV on too.

    What is your current setup TV and sound ? The bigger TV\projector the more compression you will notice :)

    I don't use Plex as I just use Kodi and that will play anything you throw at it and downmix if required to a lowered output if you AVR\TV does not support it.

    Transcoding should ideally be avoided if possible and normally things will play the DTS core track if they cannot play DTS Master HD for example.
     
  14. liquidsoap89

    liquidsoap89
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    I've currently got a 55" 1080p TV. I am waiting anxiously for the right OLED TV to come out before I upgrade (hopefully next year). The TV's part of my 5.1 system with an Onkyo TX-NR656 receiver. That'll allow me to upgrade to a 4K TV, and add a pair of Atmos speakers. I'll likely upgrade the receiver at some point as 7.1.4 would be the ultimate goal.

    I figure if I'm trying to save HDD space I'll just rip 1 audio track (whatever the best one is), which is why I was wondering about transcoding (I might be getting that confused with downmixing).

    I'll look at using Kodi when I get this server set up, but I don't like how slow it is on the Nvidia Shield, which is why I'm looking at using Plex right now. From what I understand Plex is good at downmixing as well.

    Thanks for the responses! You're all giving me valuable information, and I appreciate it.
     
  15. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    Interesting most people recommend running Kodi on the Shield, why is it slow?

    Your 656 receiver should handle all the soundtracks and if you have 5.1 only then it itself will downmix as required :)
     
  16. John7

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    4K rips are native H265 and file sizes are between 40-60Gb approx. per movie (keeping the uncompressed audio stream).
     
  17. liquidsoap89

    liquidsoap89
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    It's not slow, like... "Slow".

    It's just not instant, which I'm really anal about. Slow interfaces are a big pet peeve of mine.
     
  18. Sloppy Bob

    Sloppy Bob
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    I don't find my Shield anything but instant.

    I've had some buggy media streamers in the past but the Shield is excellent. It scrolls through my large library like lightning.

    Perhaps using a different skin. I use Amber which is a lightweight one.
     
  19. mickevh

    mickevh
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    You might care to get hold of a (free) program called MediaInfo and point it at a few of your rips. Amongst lots of the details MediaInfo tells you about media, it shows the size of the various streams (audio, video, subtitle, chapters, etc.) within the media.

    Whilst "ever little helps," relative to the size of the video streams, audio streams are much smaller than videos and subtitles are almost trivial.

    When I'm ripping with MakeMKV, I tend to omit all audio/subtitles in any language I don't understand.

    Some movies use the subtitles for the foreign language segments. So for example, in the Star Trek discs I have, all the Klingon is subtitled using the DVD subtitling mechanisms rather than "on screen" (burned into the video image) subtitles, so I have to leave them in ('cos I don't speak Klingon.)

    Some movies include things like cast an crew commentaries in both alternate audio and/or subtitle tracks. Subsequent to initial ripping, one could probably remove any unwanted ones by remuxing using MKVToolNix or something similar. (It's a similar process to MakeMKV, except you don't have to go back to the original media, you can work with the ripped file.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  20. smackos

    smackos
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    As for the encoding part of the question you go with whatever suits you best OP. Again as above we all have totally different perspectives on what we term “good quality”, when we are all using different viewing equipment, different viewing distances, varying eyesight, varying thresholds on what we perceive as “enough” quality etc.

    Personally for example I purchased a GeForce 1050 Graphics card for around £150 a while back. That range of cards (not the 1030 range, that only has a DECODING block) has a dedicated GPU H.265 encoding block in it, and I can comfortably encode at high speed, and shock horror, can encode at decent quality. 1:1 a hardware accelerated encode, whether through GeForce or through QuickSync on Intel cpu’s Won’t match the quality of a long, slow number crunched software encoded version typical of handbrake for instance. BUT! Everyone forgets you can make up for that slight inferiority by just throwing slightly extra bitrate at the problem. So I’m basically encoding in H.265 but with file sizes equivalent to say a good x.264 encode, but I get the advantage of stacking up some 15 to 20 titles to do overnight and get an extremely decent picture for my efforts.

    As for audio, again go against the grain here. Since the likes of Android, iOS at hardware level, and PLEX and Infuse all support it I encode my movies using OPUS @ 260 k/bits, and I encode that from the HD audio file, not the Core track on a file. Since OPUS is closer to transparency than the likes of AAC or Vorbis at lower bitrates, I get plenty of “good”, clear, dynamic audio from the encodes with it. I’d say take a track with a decent opening like John Wick 2 and give it a try before knocking it. You might be surprised. But again, some will want genuine HD audio, which is perfectly fine, I get it.

    Just finishing up an encode now..


    30936947-2F18-428B-8E3A-812DB8678D0A.jpeg

    Currently I’m averaging 7.2Gb an encode, some I drop the setting down a single notch on, like Shaun of the Dead, Minority Report, or indeed in this case The Man From Uncle movie, that sort of thing, and some I put through at CQP I:21 P:20 B:18 when I want that little bit extra visual fidelity, The Marvel movies etc.


    Oh, and as for subtitles etc. I just rip all the English subtitle tracks on a title, then play the title in VLC before encoding. That picks up the forced subs track really well by default, on the likes of Avatar for example. Just right click on screen and under subtitles it’ll show what it’s automatically set as forced. Even then I just generally encode them along with the movie, that way I can always just flick through whilst playing under Plex, or Infuse and choose what I need, rather than sit and curse that I’ve got to re-rip a title again because I’ve missed something.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  21. ChuckMountain

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    Out of interest is Opus multichannel when you do the sound? Just wondered how it works on a regular setup with passthrough?

    The other option for the op is not to rip all your 700 movies, radical I know ;)
     
  22. smackos

    smackos
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    Sure, OPUS supports multi-channel just fine. if the HD audio track is 7.1, like say Mission Impossible Rogue Nation then that’s what I get. The codec was actually designed originally in mind for low bitrate music, and even lower bitrate Voice Telephony. But, it actually surpasses everything up to and including MP3, Vob, Ogg, AAC and AAC-HE right up to transparency levels. By all means give it a quick and dirty encode with something, it will support up to 510 kB/s bitrate.. but that is about as close to overkill on a lossy encode as you can get really. I’ve no known problems with my hearing, and at 260 kb/s I find it plenty, so for the life of me I can’t see how much more I’d get by even adding another 50% and going to say 390 Kb/s, which many would still find a laughable bitrate. Maybe on a higher end system I’d notice, but not on my fairly average setup.
     
  23. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    What would the AVR show though would it be PCM as in x channel PCM? Presumably the client would have to decode first ?
     
  24. smackos

    smackos
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    No idea on that mate. I use the Apple TV 4K which by default decodes everything onboard anyway, and only sends passthrough with straight Dolby digital I believe. So I’ve no idea if OPUS shows up any differently on any other platforms, seeing as it’s automatically sent as LPCM with infuse anyway (like everything else with the app/Apple TV 4K.)

    (EDIT: but yes by default I’d imagine that indeed it would show up as LPCM on most platforms. It’s supported by the likes of Plex and Infuse, so either way you’ll have good compatibility on devices in general for decoding the audio as needed.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  25. liquidsoap89

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    Okay, here's a slightly different question.

    Are there any good suggestions for internal hard drive enclosures? A lot of the cases that I like the look of don't have hard drive bays large enough for anything other than 2 or 3 drives. I'm assuming I can buy a separate enclosure that I can screw to the inside of the case?

    Any suggestions/recommendations? I've found a couple of cases that do have slots for 8 or so drives, but if I can buy a mid tower case that I like the look of and customize it I think I'd rather go down that route.
     
  26. mickevh

    mickevh
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    Keep an eye on the power requirement if you are thinking of going with lots of discs - you need to ensure the PSU can cope. (I've seen kit that spins up discs one at a time to save overloading the PSU during power up.)

    HP's Micro-Server range has slots for up to four drives on the chassis. Mine's rather old and unavailable to purchase now, but it was fairly simple to repurpose the optical drive bay for a fifth HDD. There's a few "owners" threads on the HP hardware here at AVF somewhere.

    Years ago I bought a case from ThermalTake that had slots for something like 6 drives. I was aluminum (which has better heat constructiveness that steel) and all sorts of rubberised mounts and so forth to reduce the noise of the HDD's. That machine has been dead a while, (MOBO popped,) but I never had any complaints about the case.
     
  27. liquidsoap89

    liquidsoap89
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    An update!

    Thanks to the recent Newegg sale I've now got a NAS on the way. I ended up going with the following:
    -Fractal Design R5 case (with 10 slots for disk drives!)
    -Asus B360 motherboard
    -Intel i3 8100
    -8GB DDR4 RAM
    -250GB Samsung 970 Evo
    -2 10TB WD Reds (for a realistic total of about 18TB)
    -550 watt EVGA PSU (with an 80+ Gold rating)

    And to top it all off I'm moving from an 8 port switch to 16 ports, exciting!

    I've decided that encoding every movie wont be worth a year of my life, and I'm going to go with a JBOD setup. RAID 1 was tempting, but since I'm keeping my physical movies still I think the time I might need to spend re-ripping movies years down the road is worth the $750 I'm saving by not buying 2 additional HDDs.

    Thanks for all the help and suggestions!
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018

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