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Plex is a media server app that organizes all of your personal media and makes it accessible anywhere. This means that you can stream your favorite media to any computer, tablet or on your TV. Plex server software is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, FreeNAS, and the Raspberry Pi. Installing a Plex server is easy, and using the server is even easier. (For more Plex content, visit our Plex category page.) (Related:  Check out our blog on how to turn your computer into a home media server)

The Plex media server is more than just a storage device for your movies, music, and photos. The Plex server can be installed on a PC, Mac, Linux, or even a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device, and used to stream your media to your various devices. Playing media on your phone or tablet is a snap with the “Plex client” apps. Plex can also be used to record and stream live TV. In many cases, Plex can be installed on a PC, Mac, Linux, or NAS for free, but you do need to have a Plex license.

Latest update: 7. May 2021 at 12:18 pm

Plex is a great multimedia tool that lets you stream all your entertainment content from virtually any device. Simply put, Plex is like a DIY Netflix or Hulu.

With Plex, you can access podcasts, live streaming and DVRs, TV shows, movies, music and photos. It’s amazing how you can access your media content from any geographical location at any time. More than that? You can get the most out of Plex by purchasing a Plex Pass subscription.

If you want your housemates to enjoy all kinds of entertainment, you should invest in the best cheap plex server. Fortunately, there are several options available to you, from Plex NAS hardware to out-of-the-box Plex servers and DIY options.

What you should know about the Plex server

Powerful and very affordable. The NVIDIA Shield TV does a good job with Plex.

Apple Mac minis are excellent Plex servers because of their operating system and hardware.

The best cheap plex server if you know how to configure it.

Photo by

What you should know about the Plex server

Powerful and very affordable. The NVIDIA Shield TV does a good job with Plex.

Photo by

What you should know about the Plex server

Apple Mac minis are excellent Plex servers because of their operating system and hardware.

Photo by

What you should know about the Plex server

The best cheap plex server if you know how to configure it.

Last updated on 08.05.20 at 14:55 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

6 best plex servers in test

Professionals

  • Can support 2-3 transcodes
  • Expandable memory
  • It’s versatile.
  • Fast performance

Disadvantages

  • Fairly slow when transcoding some video formats

The NVIDIA Shield TV is truly one of the best budget Plex servers on the market. This is a great buy in terms of versatility. It is a device that can be used as a Plex media server, game console, smart home hub or streamer.

Using the NVIDIA Shield Plex server gives you the assurance that 3 people can stream content without delay. Powered by the NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor and 3GB of RAM, the responsiveness is breathtaking.

NVIDIA Shield TV is available in Standard and Pro versions. The standard version comes with 16GB of internal storage, while the Pro version has a 500GB hard drive. While the 16GB shield can accommodate a large Plex media server, you’ll still need an external hard drive for data storage.

You can be confident that NVIDIA SHIELD supports various video compression formats for decoding. This includes formats such as MPEG 2, H.264 and H.265 HEVC. The sound is pretty good, but the device doesn’t perform as well when transcoding formats like VP9, VC-1, Xvid, etc.

The NVIDIA SHIELD TV can handle multiple streams without a problem. However, this number may vary according to the characteristics of the medium, the number of streams to be transcribed and the number of elements to be transmitted simultaneously. In general, this Plex server should support 2 or 3 simultaneous transcodings.

This device runs on Android 9.0 and Chromecast 4K. You don’t have to worry about power consumption or fan noise when using the NVIDIA SHIELD TV.

Professionals

  • Ultra-fast SSD storage
  • opportunities for machine learning
  • Incredible transcoding possibilities
  • It doesn’t overheat

The Apple Mac Mini has always been the main low-cost PC for the Plex server. Surprisingly, Apple never stopped improving this desktop computer. They just released a new Mac Mini that now runs on the Apple M1 chip.

Apple’s new M1 chip has completely transformed the Mac Mini into a small beast. It is supposed to offer a better processor and better graphics performance than the previous models.

For reference: The Mac Mini comes with an octa-core graphics processor, 256GB of memory and 8GB of RAM. You can also buy a model with 512 GB of memory. Your choice of course depends on the size of the Plex media server you want to build.

With 8GB of RAM combined, the Apple Mac Mini should be able to complete all tasks fairly quickly. Combined with a super-fast SSD, you get absolute performance.

Unlike other low-cost Plex servers, the Mac Mini’s M1 chip features a range of machine learning technologies. Don’t forget that machine learning can automate speech recognition, video analysis, image analysis, etc.

While the new Apple Mac Mini is incredibly powerful, you don’t have to worry about the processor overheating. All this thanks to an advanced cooling system.

This small device is ready for anything in terms of connectivity and expansion. It has 2 USB-A ports, 2 USB-4 ports, HDMI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6.

You’re probably wondering if Plex supports hardware transcoding on the M1 chip. Surprisingly, he does, and he’s very good at it. It can support 2-3 transcodes of 4K streams and up to 6 transcodes of 1080p to 1080p.

Professionals

  • Fast and powerful processor
  • Lots of storage space
  • Supports 4K video
  • Silent fan

If you’re looking for a device that can run a Plex server relatively quickly, check out the Intel NUC 10.

This is the latest NUC model from Intel, with some of the best features on the market. Unfortunately, you have to spend a little over $500 to buy this device.

With the Intel NUC Plex server, you can easily create a powerful entertainment system. The Intel NUC10i7FNH has a lot of power.

We’re talking about a 256GB M.2 based SATA SSD, 16GB of RAM, a Core i7-10710U processor, and a 1TB SATA3 hard drive that’s only 7mm thick.

This mini processor also features the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620. The GPU is pretty good, as it can handle 3 4K displays.

One display can be controlled through the HDMI port and the other two through the Thunderbolt 3 port.

The Intel NUC10i7FNH mini PC runs Windows 10 Pro, which means you can enjoy an excellent Windows experience.

Accessing your digital files will be easy as the Intel NUC is equipped with the latest Bluetooth 5 and Intel Wi-Fi 6 technologies. You’ll be able to enjoy immersive 4K video and high-definition sound without unnecessary cables.

Unlike other devices, the Intel NUC 1 has a very quiet fan. This fan provides excellent cooling for the CPU.

In general, you can observe an increase in temperature when the processor is loaded. Highly recommended as one of the best budget plex servers.

Professionals

  • It is affordable
  • Has a large number of connections
  • Fast performance
  • Good for transcoding

If you’re still looking for the perfect cheap Plex server, you should go for the Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p. It is a powerful desktop computer that can be used as a media server. Moreover, it has a compact size, so it does not take up much space. Below are other features that make it one of the best Plex server devices.

For starters, this PC is equipped with premium hardware to provide a hassle-free home media server. Other computers and devices can access ThinkCentre M92p media files without delay.

The M92p is powered by a 3.2 GHz Intel quad-core i5-3470 processor. You’ll appreciate that the i5 is good enough for transcoding on a Plex server.

To ensure high performance, this processor is combined with an Intel HD Graphics 2500 integrated graphics processor, a 500 GB SATA hard drive and 8 GB DDR3 RAM.

In terms of connectivity, the Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p isn’t bad either. It has several ports, including 4 USB 3.0, 4 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, an RJ-45 Ethernet port and a display port.

Finally, this desktop runs on Windows 10 Professional, and a mouse and keyboard are also included.

Professionals

  • Ideal as a Plex server for 4K content
  • Scalable RAM
  • Low energy consumption
  • Multi-tenant access

Disadvantages

  • You must buy the discs separately

The Asustor AS5304T is one of the most affordable Plex servers on the market, especially if you need more storage space for your entertainment collection and reliability.

This device has always been a staple for most people when upgrading their old home servers. Let’s take a look at what makes the Asustor AS5304T NAS the best Plex server for 4K.

First of all, this device is designed to handle a variety of tasks with ease. Performance is due to the quad-core Intel Celeron J415 processor. Additionally, the AS5304T is equipped with 4 GB of DDR4 RAM. Which one is the best? You can upgrade your RAM to 8 GB at any time.

Another great feature of the AS5304T is the dual 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port. These compounds are very good because they promote rapid action. With link aggregation, they can reach speeds of up to 5 Gbps. Despite all these features, the AS5304T does not have a high power consumption.

Now that the ASUSTOR AS5304T is equipped with a powerful processor, it should be able to handle 4K content transcoding with ease. To watch 4K HDR content, simply use Plex pass or another third-party player.

Moreover, this NAS device is equipped with a download center that makes it easy to search and download contents. No more BitTorrent, torrents and trackers.

Don’t forget that the ASUSTOR AS5304T has 4 bays to accommodate your drives. Unfortunately, you will have to buy them separately.

Finally, this device is cross-platform, so multiple users can access it. You can connect to your NAS from a tablet, PC, smartphone or laptop.

Professionals

  • It’s pretty fast.
  • Numerous connection functions
  • Equipped with 2 micro HDMI ports
  • Low-noise system fan

Data-intensive server work requires a device with a lot of memory. That’s exactly what you get with the Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 8GB. If you have very specific requirements and are looking for a cheap Plex server, the Raspberry Pi 4 8GB should suffice.

The Raspberry Pi 4 8GB has been recommended as one of the best home NAS devices. It offers incredible performance with its 64-bit quad-core processor running at 1.5 GHz.

The power of this processor should be more than enough to run the Plex media server and perform various tasks.

As the name suggests, this device has 8GB of RAM, but you probably won’t be able to use more than 4GB. Other great features include PoE, Gigabit Ethernet, 2.4/5.0 GHz dual-band wireless, USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 5.0.

The Raspberry Pi 4 is equipped with two micro HDMI ports.  This is an improvement over the standard HDMI connections used in the previous generation of Raspberry Pi’s. The new micro HDMI ports support two monitors.

The Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 comes in four main types. You can buy a pure board, a basic kit, a starter kit or an extreme kit. If you don’t like any of these options, you can build your own canakit on the official website.

When you purchase this device, you get a set of 3 heat sinks, a micro SD card, a Raspberry Pi 4 enclosure, a silent system fan, a USB micro SD card reader, and a USB-C 3.5A power supply.

What is the best server for Plex ?

There is no clear answer to this question. All of the above Plex servers we have tested are excellent and should work just fine. In short, we all have different preferences, and my ideal Plex server may not be the right one for you.

How much does a Plex server cost?

Plex servers vary in price depending on brand, specifications and performance. You can buy a cheap Plex server for under $100. On the other hand, some Plex servers can cost up to $1000.

Is the Plex server free?

Plex is free, but the server is not. You need to buy a ready-made Plex server or use an old computer or laptop to host Plex and your media files.

Can I have two Plex servers?

Yes. You can run two separate Plex servers under one account. This allows you to manage both servers from any device. You can even stream media remotely from any of these servers. Just assign a unique port to each server and forward the ports from your router to the IP of each server.

PlexServer Requirements

To install a Plex media server, you need a desktop computer that meets the following requirements:

Operating system

Windows: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows 10

Linux : CentOS 7 (or later), Fedora 27 (or later), Debian 8 (or later), Ubuntu 16.04 (or later) and SUSE 15 (or later).

OS X : OS X / macOS 10.9 Mavericks or higher

CPU

Intel Core i3 or faster

RAM

At least 2 GB

Storage

A large internal and external hard drive must

Final thoughts

Now that you know what hardware makes a good Plex media server, all that’s left is to buy and install the Plex software.

This source has been very much helpful in doing our research. Read more about best nas for plex 4k 2020 and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best server for Plex?

So you’ve setup your NAS and you’re wondering what are the best Plex servers? Well, it all depends on your budget and your needs, but here’s what to look for… The first thing you’ll need is a server to run your Plex server. This is what you’ll connect to directly to access all your content, and it’s also where your all-important library files will live. There are several options here, and it largely depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re willing to pay a little bit more, you might be looking to get a more powerful machine that will be able to handle a lot of simultaneous 4K streaming. If you’re looking to save some cash, you could instead consider a machine that will play nicely with Plex, but fall short of 4K capabilities. With a little research, you’ll be able to find the perfect Plex server for your needs.

Is Plex worth paying for?

The free version of Plex is a great media center, but it has one big limitation: you can only stream to one device at a time. For $4 a month, you can unlock unlimited streaming, better mobile support, parental controls, and more. So, what’s the catch? There no catch, really. Plex wants to be the best media center possible for its users, and they’re not afraid to charge for the best experience. And that’s why they’re awesome. Plex is a pretty popular media management and streaming service that lets you organize your video, music, and photo collections in one place and stream them to all of your devices. It’s not a free service, but it’s also not expensive—$4.99 per month, or $39.99 per year—and there are many reasons to consider paying for it. (But then again, there are also reasons not to pay for it. We’ll get to that.)

How much RAM do I need for Plex server?

The amount of RAM you’ll need for a Plex server varies depending on the size of your library, if you want to transcode your videos, and how many people are streaming at once. The more people try to stream videos at once, the more you’ll need RAM to keep the server running smoothly. If you’re looking to set up a Plex server for a small family, with a few people streaming at once, 4GB of RAM will probably be fine. If you’re looking to set up a server to stream to your entire family, or to the whole neighborhood, however, you’ll want to consider a server with 8GB of RAM. If you’re planning on streaming in Ultra With the rise in popularity of digital media in recent years, many have been turning to streaming services like Plex to get access to their favorite movies, TV shows, and music. However, not everyone wants to pay an expensive subscription fee to a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. Fortunately, you can host your own digital media server at home—and all you need is a computer and an internet connection. With a little bit of extra equipment, you can set up a Plex media server on your computer and start streaming media to your various devices right away. But before you go out and buy a brand new computer to run your media server, ask yourself this question: how much RAM do I need for Plex server?

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