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6 Best Cheap Plex Server in 2021

Streaming media is quickly becoming the norm for entertainment, whether it’s movies, music, or sports. In 2019, the average person spent 464 hours watching online videos, and that number is only going to continue to rise. But where can you find the best internet streaming services? The answer, of course, is right here at The Marbians! We’ve been reviewing all of the latest streaming services, and we’ve found six of the best on the market that will give you the best streaming experience at a very affordable price. So, what are you waiting for?

Plex started out as nothing more than a hobby of the company’s founder, but it’s grown into a highly successful media player and media server company. Plex’s popularity grew so much that a few years ago, it was sold to the public, which gave the company the freedom to grow even more. Now, Plex’s media player is the most-downloaded media player on the market, as well as the best rated. In addition to its media player, Plex also created a server called Plex Media Server, which lets users stream their media from one computer to another, anywhere in the world. It’s a very popular method of sharing media with friends, family, and the world.

Last update: 9. May 2021 at 07:16

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 09.05.20 at 16:35 / Affiliate links / Images from the 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.

  • The best cheap server racks for home use

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 a great 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, allowing it to easily function as a 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 computer 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 thanks to 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 3.5A USB-C power adapter.

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?

Plex is a client-server media player system and software suite comprising two main components. The Plex Media Server desktop application runs on Windows, macOS and Linux-compatibles including some types of NAS devices (see the Plex NAS section); The Plex Media Player application runs on a large number of platforms including Windows, macOS, Linux, BSD, Android, iOS, webOS, Roku, Chromecast, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The client applications are available for free download from the Plex website, and Plex Pass subscribers have access to a more feature-rich Plex Media Center application on supported platforms. When you’re looking for a NAS device to host your media collection, you’re spoiled for choice. But when looking for a server for your Plex media server, the choice is a bit more limited. Here are our top picks for the best Plex server, based on your needs and budget.

How much does Plex Media Server cost?

Plex is an awesome media center application that can do a lot more than just organize your music, movies, and TV shows. In fact, it’s so versatile, you can use it to run a complete media server from your home. And what’s great about Plex is that you can use it on all of your home theater devices, streaming from one central location. You can even have your friends and family remotely access your media library, allowing them to pick the content they want to watch. Plex is a media server program that organizes and allows you to play your media on all of your devices. It can be installed on your computer, and it is available as an app on Android, iOS, Apple TV, the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Chromecast, select Samsung Smart TVs, and many more devices. A Plex Pass membership gives you access to not only more storage space for your media but many other features as well.

How much RAM do I need for Plex server?

I know that there are a lot of threads on the Plex forums about how much RAM you need for good performance. There are even stories about people running plex on a Raspberry Pi with 2GB of RAM. The problem is that there is no clear answer, because the answer depends on so many things: the server version you’re using, the amount of transcoding you’re doing, and on your hardware. You’ve heard the name. You’ve probably heard the buzz. You may even have used it yourself. Plex is the popular media center software that’s both free and constantly expanding. With a Plex server, you can stream your media to pretty much any device out there. What does that have to do with RAM? Well, the more RAM you have, the easier it is for your Plex server to handle the tasks it needs to. So what is the right amount of RAM for a Plex server? Let’s take a look.

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