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headless Plex sever build help

Joined
Nov 28, 2016
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I am building this to replace a legit Mac Mini 2012 with 2 external HDDs running as a (99% of the time headless) Plex server. I'd like to spend money where it matters and not on things like the video card. It's been about a decade since I last built ANY computer, so I would appreciate any advice. I know I'll be getting an i7 CPU, 250 or 500GB SSD, 16GB RAM.

I saw the CustoMac Mini Deluxe but I need help on these items:
- motherboard - I don't need WiFi or bluetooth since I'll be Ethernet entirely. Suggestion on a cheaper one?
- CPU cooler - is the Thermaltake Slim X3 Low Profile or Zalman CNPS8000B Low Profile good enough? which one?
- video card - cheap HDMI card? I'm not gaming with this at all. I usually screen share from my laptop to make changes.
- case/box - I'd like to get the OS hard drive and an external 3.5" HDDs (media HD) inside the box, will I need to get a full sized box because of this?

Thanks in advance! Apologies if I posted something incorrectly.
 

nobodynose

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Joined
Sep 30, 2012
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Motherboard
ASRock Z370M Pro4
CPU
i7-8700
Graphics
RX 560
Mac
iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Classic Mac
iBook, iMac, Quadra
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
I am building this to replace a legit Mac Mini 2012 with 2 external HDDs running as a (99% of the time headless) Plex server. I'd like to spend money where it matters and not on things like the video card. It's been about a decade since I last built ANY computer, so I would appreciate any advice. I know I'll be getting an i7 CPU, 250 or 500GB SSD, 16GB RAM.

I saw the CustoMac Mini Deluxe but I need help on these items:
- motherboard - I don't need WiFi or bluetooth since I'll be Ethernet entirely. Suggestion on a cheaper one?
- CPU cooler - is the Thermaltake Slim X3 Low Profile or Zalman CNPS8000B Low Profile good enough? which one?
- video card - cheap HDMI card? I'm not gaming with this at all. I usually screen share from my laptop to make changes.
- case/box - I'd like to get the OS hard drive and an external 3.5" HDDs (media HD) inside the box, will I need to get a full sized box because of this?

Thanks in advance! Apologies if I posted something incorrectly.
Since you said you want to fit two drives in the box, the Apex MI-008 case probably isn't for you. You can use the Bitfenix Phenom or Prodigy from the Buyer's Guide, both have plenty of room for drives. Other case possibilities for you (sticking with the MiniITX form factor) might be the Coolermaster 120 or 130 (also in the Buyer's Guide), though since you're getting an i7 you probably want to stick with a case with plenty of air space inside for cooling.

You probably don't even need a discrete GPU for your purposes - just use the Intel HD 530 graphics that come with the CPU.

If you want to go cheaper on a motherboard, consider micro ATX rather than MiniITX, noting that you'll need to choose an mATX case if you do so. Your system will be a bit bigger, but you can usually save some money, as there are less expensive micro ATX components (motherboards, cases) available.
 
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