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Improved PLEX performance (Synology DS918+)

Hello Rob/Team...Long time watcher of your video's and invaluable tutorials so first of all, thanks.

I've been using a DS918+ with 8GB RAM and 4x10TB (one for redundancy) for a number of years. Until recently, PLEX was running on a Mac Mini and worked flawlessly for ten years but its just died so moved the whole operation to the DS918+ and now running Plex and the ARR's under Docker.

All set up and running with the aid of TRaSH guides online and for the most part am happy.

BUT, need advice on optimising the system when it comes to remote playback.

Wondering if SSD caching may be the way to go or if I should consider some kind of conversion regime for the library ...not a challenge i relish having been someone who for YEARS converted every single file I acquired using handbrake.

On the LAN, high quality files seem to function without issue, as they should...but the CPU load appears to be unbearably huge (100%) when transcoding just 2x1080P files remotely. I've followed some online vids and guides on optimising settings but any further targeted guidance would be much appreciated ...

Plex installed on Docker might not have access to the transcoding engine. You may try to install an app and compare.
Adding SSD for caching or as a volume will not improve transcoding. But it will feel faster to use the app.
I would use offline transcoding and generate an additional 720p or lower res. files for remote streaming. Plex will be smart enough to pick the right video file to avoid transcoding on the fly.
I hope this helps.

Thank you for your support, this keeps us going.
Hi mate!

I'm afraid you won't really see much of any improvements by the integration of SSD caching in Plex playback. Just to check, when you talk about online guides and using optimization, were you referring to the graphic driver fix here:

I'll assume yes, but I just wanted to check. Additionally, does the system automatically transcode these files when you remote playback? As if you have a solid enough remote connection (i.e good strength ISP) in those locations, then you should be running without transcoding.

Last thing? How high is % usage when these files are played over the network/LAN as mentioned? I am trying to get a scale of 1) the density/quality/compression of these 1080p files and 2) why these remote transcodes are necessary.

Cheers and I hope I can be of help!
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Hello Robbie...good to hear back from you.

So, I can confirm that I followed your own online video guide regarding the graphic driver fix...I'll call it the the 'vaapi' one to save time.

Saw a drastic drop in CPU usage having amended the preference xml file and restarting plex in its docker container.

That said, I am still seeing Plex hogging CPU stands at 25% with nothin playing, either locally or remotely. I'm seeing this in both the synology resource monitor and in Plex's own dashboard for the 'system'.

Just tested a few of the jellyfish files at the lower end of the scale a la 3Mbps h264/hevc...h264 managed to play but with the hevc one, I could the grey stream progress bar racing across but it was caught up by the actual play stream...then froze.

I was testing this via 4G/cellular as I was primarily trying to test remote capability. I will have to enlist a user on a remote wired LAN also at some stage to see what that's like. CPU jumped to between 48 and 72%...the streams were shown as 'Direct Stream' - MKV-->MP4. Down to about 40% for the same files on my own LAN.

Interestingly, of the 8GB RAM installed, 4.04GB is being used by PLEX alone...that's huge...I reckon Plex must be doing something in the background and being a RAM hog...but even looking at the process logs (in Synology), the running processes don't add up to any where near that much...So I'm missing something.

Having had to move from running PMS on what seemed to be a very powerful Mac Mini to the Synology ...whilst I like the fact all my apps are now under one eco-system...i can't help feeling underwhelmed by the current performance. I'm due an upgrade in the next few months so will have to research a unit that has a little/lot more 'ooomffffph' under the hood.

Thanks for the advice as always...any further input would be greatly appreciated.

***UPDATE - So I've just been rooting around in the PLEX settings and under LIBRARY...decided to set a number of the options to 'Never'...things like 'Generate video preview thumbnails' and 'Generate intro video markers'...this has drastically reduced the CPU load from in excess of 50% with no streams running to 2.6% with 3 'Direct Play' 1080P streams on the Local and 2 remote. ***

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