If you’re tired of switching between streaming services to find out exactly which one contains the content you want to watch at the moment, it might be time to create your own media server.
Of all the possible media servers, Plex is the easiest way to host all of your shows, movies, podcasts, and music in one easily accessible place. Depending on how you set up your Plex server, you can even stream your content from home, wherever you are.
The best thing about a Plex server is that it doesn’t require a dedicated machine to run, but it is often helpful to have one specific hardware Plex server dedicated to use solely for that purpose. The key is to make sure that the car can handle whatever you throw at it.
Plex Server Requirements
The Plex server relies more on CPU than anything else. It takes a lot of processing power to transcode video streaming, and if you add subtitles and other video add-ons, then even more power.
Plex officially recommends Intel Core i3 or faster as the minimum processor, although a faster one is generally recommended. Plex doesn’t use up a lot of RAM either. As long as you have at least 2GB of RAM, you should have no problem running Plex Server. Of course, increasing the amount of RAM never hurts, especially if you plan on using your computer for other tasks at the same time.
If this all sounds complicated, then the good news is that you can purchase a variety of pre-made Plex Server hardware devices. All you have to do is install the appropriate software on them. We’ve rounded up the best out-of-the-box options to help you get your Plex server up and running with minimal effort.
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Best Prebuilt Plex Servers
If you don’t want to build your Plex server from scratch, a finished machine can work just as well.
Raspberry Pi 4
The Raspberry Pi is a pint-sized computer that can do most tasks just as well as a regular PC, but for a fraction of the cost. You can buy a Raspberry Pi 4 for less than $ 50 on Amazon.
While a little technical know-how is required to set up, there are hundreds of tutorials to help you navigate the machine.
The Raspberry Pi 4 is not the most powerful device in the world and not the best choice for streaming and transcoding movies from a distance, but if you want a Raspberry PI device on a Plex server to play movies right in your home, this is a great option. to connect directly to the screen.
Nvidia Shield TV Pro
The Nvidia Shield TV Pro is one of Plex‘s most powerful server hardware devices. The hardware is powerful enough to handle transcoding of several different things at once, and additional onboard storage can be added via USB sticks and microSD cards.
You can stream directly to the Nvidia Shield through multiple antennas. As an added benefit, the Shield is a great device for streaming games, emulators, and more. The Nvidia Shield TV Pro is a great choice, whether it’s a general-purpose device or a dedicated Plex computer.
Lenovo M75Q Tiny
The ThinkCentre M75q Tiny is a compact and powerful computer that is an excellent choice for Plex server hardware. It slightly exceeds the minimum requirements and has an AMD dual-core processor clocked at 3.4GHz.
With a 500GB hard drive, it has ample storage space for movies and TV shows, but it also has four USB ports for connecting external drives.
Given the small size of the Lenovo M75q Tiny, it fits comfortably under most TVs for direct connection, but can also be remotely placed at home for streaming. The best part is that the M75q Tiny only costs $ 340.
Intel NUC Mini PC
The Intel NUC Mini Pc is a powerful little device at a low cost. It is equipped with an Intel Celeron processor with a clock speed of up to 2.3 GHz and a 500 GB hard drive. It has no RAM by default, although there are two expansion slots. It will support up to 8GB of RAM and has an additional Thunderbolt 3.0 port. It starts at $ 148 and is one of the most affordable options for a complete Plex server.
Once you find the hardware that suits you, all that remains is to install the Plex software on the machine. The software will allow you to stream your media to any compatible device in your home, or to remote devices outside of your home. For those on the go, the Plex server is a great way to access your media library without having to install dozens of movies on your laptop or tablet hard drive.