Serve recordings from WMC PC or NAS

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Serve recordings from WMC PC or NAS

Post#1 » Fri Nov 28, 2014 5:54 pm

I have been playing around with a HDHomerun Prime and WMC for the first time for a couple of months. I added a Xbox360 to the living room and am happy enough that all the family can use it better than the crappy Comcast HD DVR that constantly locks up or gets full.

I've started wiring up the house with Cat 6 and have a 24 Netgear GB Switch ready to go now. I have a 3tb HD in my PC with is an AMD Phenom X2 2.7Ghz. I also have a Dlink ShareCenter DNS325 sitting around with no drives in it. I was wondering which is going to provide better performance...storing tv and movies on the PC that runs WMC or on the NAS. Or maybe another NAS. I never thought this DLink was super fast when I used it, but it may have been the super cheap POS hd I bought to put in it. I will have 2 Xbox360 extenders to watch live tv and recordings and maybe a tablet or two every now and then streaming recorded tv and movies from the WMC recordings. I could end up adding 2 more Xbox360 extender, but I seriously doubt it. But I want to be able to handle it if I do.

So my question is which will provide better service to possibly 4 extenders. The PC or NAS. Or like I said, another NAS alternative. My thinking is my PC is the bottle neck because the data is coming down and going back out and that could be multiplied by 1 or 2 downlink streams if there is recording going on simultaneously or or 1-4 uplink streams depending on how many extenders are accessing it. It seems the NAS is a better idea because it offloads all the recorded tv streams from my PC.

Also, would I be able to get any additional throughput and make the PC the choice just by adding another NIC?

Thanks!
droopie
 
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Post#2 » Fri Nov 28, 2014 9:35 pm

The PC will provide the better performance. A NAS will actually double the load on the PC NIC because all of the data going to or coming from the NAS will have to pass through the PC enroute to its destination.
richard1980
 
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Post#3 » Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:21 pm

richard1980 wrote:The PC will provide the better performance. A NAS will actually double the load on the PC NIC because all of the data going to or coming from the NAS will have to pass through the PC enroute to its destination.


So it sounds like setting up NIC teaming will give me the biggest bang for the buck. I think I have room for 2 more HD in my PC case, but I may upgrade cases since this one is cheap and one of the HD mounting puts them right on top of the PCI-E power connector for my Video card and it can't be plugged in.

Which leads me to another idea....what if the 2nd NIC is on a different subnet and connected directly to the NAS via a Xover cable? I already have this 2 bay NAS...thinking of some way to get some use out of it.
droopie
 
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Post#4 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:01 am

As said, most of the traffic to the xtenders will go through the PC. Has to,for a lot of playback scenarios (DRM'ed content, transcoded content, etc). I recently built out a new WMC setup including a QNAP NAS as storage backend (18 TB)... so a couple of comments that you might consider:

Doing the NAS way is a little trickier than using the disks local on the PC, for a couple of reasons. One is getting access permissions right between the extenders, PC and the NAS. Some NAS devices I've heard can't get it right, the QNAP OS can be configured to work right. Local disks on the PC, adding the extenders tends to "just work" as WMC sets the permissions on media libraries for you during extender setup.

Since you mention that you're running Cat6 and have a gigabit switch, you might be overworrying a little about bandwidth usage. Since the HDTV or DVD playback streams usually wind up around 10-13 mbits/sec, you can pump a fair number of streams back and forth through a decent switch and decent (and decently setup) gig NIC. I can run a few extenders on my gig network playing back content from my NAS without issue, that with the proposed scenario of traffic routing through the PC. I think your Phenom is up to that, don't have any other info on your NICs or memory, but it's doable.

I'm not sure whether the extra storage your 2-bay NAS provides makes it worthwhile over a new case (nMedia or Silverstone, for instance) where you can add more drives. You can always as well consider this and any RAID configurations your motherboard might provide (SATA RAID from the motherboard), or multiple disk configurations in Windows or something like unRAID.

Just a few thoughts.
-Alan
webminster
 
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-Alan

Post#5 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:17 am

One other comment... The Phenom X2 is dual-core is it not? Recommendations have been to try to have at least 8GB or RAM or more for at least 3 extenders, 10-12 for up to 5 extenders running concurrently. The Phenom should be able to handle 3 extenders running, but might be pushed some for more than that running concurrently. So consider the PC hardware as well, since you say you want to be able to grow.
webminster
 
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-Alan

Post#6 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:03 am

webminster wrote:One other comment... The Phenom X2 is dual-core is it not? Recommendations have been to try to have at least 8GB or RAM or more for at least 3 extenders, 10-12 for up to 5 extenders running concurrently. The Phenom should be able to handle 3 extenders running, but might be pushed some for more than that running concurrently. So consider the PC hardware as well, since you say you want to be able to grow.


Mine is a 6 core with 16gb of RAM. So I hope I am good there.
droopie
 
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Post#7 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:29 pm

webminster wrote:As said, most of the traffic to the xtenders will go through the PC. Has to,for a lot of playback scenarios (DRM'ed content, transcoded content, etc).

All of the traffic to or from an extender will have to pass through the host PC. Extenders do not grab content themselves...they create a WMC session on the host PC, and that session is what grabs the content and pushes it to the extender.

webminster wrote:you might be overworrying a little about bandwidth usage.

I agree. The described scenario will barely put a dent in the bandwidth of a single gigabit NIC, even if you store your recordings on the NAS. However, storing recordings on the NAS doubles the load on the PC NIC during recording or playback and introduces latency, so storing the recordings on the PC is the better option from a performance perspective.
richard1980
 
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Post#8 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:03 pm

richard1980 wrote:
webminster wrote:As said, most of the traffic to the xtenders will go through the PC. Has to,for a lot of playback scenarios (DRM'ed content, transcoded content, etc).

All of the traffic to or from an extender will have to pass through the host PC. Extenders do not grab content themselves...they create a WMC session on the host PC, and that session is what grabs the content and pushes it to the extender.


Yes, I believe that's true... said "most" as a bet hedge... thought I'd read about a scenario where My Movies would try to arrange a playback direct to extender.

All said, I wonder if a 2-bay NAS is worth the effort, depends on the NAS and how much space it will provide. I wouldn't bother with teaming, or crossover cables or any of that. You'' have plenty of power with the PC and the gig network to do this. In this case I'd do a value decision on which is easier and more interesting for you - doing the NAS approach or moving to a case where you can add the disk space you need... and deciding if and how you want to protect the data.
webminster
 
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-Alan

Post#9 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:12 pm

richard1980 wrote:
webminster wrote:As said, most of the traffic to the xtenders will go through the PC. Has to,for a lot of playback scenarios (DRM'ed content, transcoded content, etc).

All of the traffic to or from an extender will have to pass through the host PC. Extenders do not grab content themselves...they create a WMC session on the host PC, and that session is what grabs the content and pushes it to the extender.


This is true IF you are using WMC in the extender. However, Xbox 360's are DLNA compliant. So if you share your NAS shares directly on your network the Xbox can grab them directly for playback and totally bypass the host PC. Admittedly the Xbox Video player is a little blah, but Plex now has an Xbox App and Media Browser, I think, does or is about to have one. Your media will have to be in a format that the Xbox can natively play, though like MP4 or AVI.
Wilky13
 
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Post#10 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:22 pm

webminster wrote:As said, most of the traffic to the xtenders will go through the PC. Has to,for a lot of playback scenarios (DRM'ed content, transcoded content, etc). I recently built out a new WMC setup including a QNAP NAS as storage backend (18 TB)... so a couple of comments that you might consider:

Doing the NAS way is a little trickier than using the disks local on the PC, for a couple of reasons. One is getting access permissions right between the extenders, PC and the NAS. Some NAS devices I've heard can't get it right, the QNAP OS can be configured to work right. Local disks on the PC, adding the extenders tends to "just work" as WMC sets the permissions on media libraries for you during extender setup.

Since you mention that you're running Cat6 and have a gigabit switch, you might be overworrying a little about bandwidth usage. Since the HDTV or DVD playback streams usually wind up around 10-13 mbits/sec, you can pump a fair number of streams back and forth through a decent switch and decent (and decently setup) gig NIC. I can run a few extenders on my gig network playing back content from my NAS without issue, that with the proposed scenario of traffic routing through the PC. I think your Phenom is up to that, don't have any other info on your NICs or memory, but it's doable.

I'm not sure whether the extra storage your 2-bay NAS provides makes it worthwhile over a new case (nMedia or Silverstone, for instance) where you can add more drives. You can always as well consider this and any RAID configurations your motherboard might provide (SATA RAID from the motherboard), or multiple disk configurations in Windows or something like unRAID.

Just a few thoughts.
-Alan



I have been having a few instances where the Network Issue message pops up...usually it's from opening the guide, switching a channel and then switching right back to the channel it was on. I had brought an old 100mb switch from work home and thought maybe that was the bottleneck not having enough buffer. I bought a Netgear JGS524 off Ebay. It's got a 2mb packet buffer. I am worried that the network issues even infrequently is popping up just feeding one extender. I do NOT watch anything on the WMC PC. (Well every now and then I'll watch when I am on the PC, but no one is on the extender then). I am pretty sure my bottleneck is the fact I haven't dropped homeruns back to the 24 port switch into my office yet. I could only get one down here when I tried...I've bought a LONG drill bit to get better access with a bigger hole. So now my HDHR Prime, PC, Cable Modem all are run to a Netgear R6200 wireless router. I won't worry about this issues I am having until I drop homeruns for all my devices so the R6200 is only providing wireless access and not functioning as a wired router at all.
droopie
 
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Post#11 » Sun Nov 30, 2014 1:47 am

Wilky13 wrote:This is true IF you are using WMC in the extender. However, Xbox 360's are DLNA compliant. So if you share your NAS shares directly on your network the Xbox can grab them directly for playback and totally bypass the host PC.

But if you leave the WMC UI, are you still using an extender? Or as it is officially known, a "Windows Media Center Extender"...

I get what you are saying though, I'm just being funny.
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Post#12 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:08 am

droopie wrote:So now my HDHR Prime, PC, Cable Modem all are run to a Netgear R6200 wireless router. I won't worry about this issues I am having until I drop homeruns for all my devices so the R6200 is only providing wireless access and not functioning as a wired router at all.


Move all your devices to the 24port GIG switch except for the cable modem.
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Post#13 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:44 am

I just did that today. Everything except cable into switch. I enabled flow control on the mic and so far do good.
droopie
 
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Post#14 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:47 pm

The NAS will work ok to play recordings, but you can't really use it to record or as a buffer. Research that piece. Others have tried.

A piece of advice. Build small but easily scalable. It's easy to get caught up in the specs and over-build.

Here is my almost 5 year old system, that works perfectly...

i3-3220T CPU (because it's 35w)
8gb of memory
Gigabyte "Ultra-Durable" motherboard (because it never shuts off. Just bounces at 5am)
240gb SSD boot/OS drive, with enough space for recordings in case the other drives fill up
2 - 4tb Western Digital "green" drives for DVR and movies. I'm getting ready to shrink that to 2tb for DVR, and put the videos on NAS. That's the big change in 5 years.
2gb Asus video card, I forget the model. It was silent, and $30. Those specs beat out the others, lol
HDHomeRun Prime (at one time I had 2 running, but realized one never got used so I gave back the cablecard)
HDHomeRun (Original? The ATSC box, connected to an antenna)
Gateway IR receiver (because I liked the color)


This all runs on a gigabit network, connected to a Netgear 24 port managed switch, no bonding/teaming

Archer C9 Router

The server is connected to the main TV, and serves 4 Ceton Echos.

I've had them all playing HD channels concurrently, and never had a problem. No jitter, no nothing.

At one time I got overzealous and ran Plex Server on Windows 7 in a VM on the box, setting affinity for the cores so the VM had 2, and WMC had 2. 4gb mem each. Plex choked, but the host running WMC kept on chuggin.

You just don't need to build something that will make Kelly LeBrock appear in your bedroom. Unless you already have the parts, save your cash and start small but scalable. That's my 2 cents FWIW.
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