Is Hyper Threading necessary?


#1

So I’m building a box SPECIFICALLY for Channels DVR and I have a few decisions to make....mainly, what CPU to buy.

If this desktop is to be used solely as a ChannelsDVR box, do I benefit with HyperThreading?!

From my understanding, HyperThreading is beneficial in minimizing idle time of your CPU when handling many tasks. But for an OTA DVR box (in which I am only watching 6 channels), there are very few tasks that need to be done, and it’s very rare that I have more than 2 recordings happening simultaneously.

In fact, things happen with ChannelsDVR only as things get recorded, as LiveTV comes from the SD Tuner. So, given that the most complex tasks that are demanded are to watch/record content, and detect commercials, and these tasks only happen as shows air, I am challenged to believe hyper threading is truly necessary.

Can somebody please provide some input?


#2

Hyperthreading is not necessary. Some of the processor-based attacks have used hyperthreading as an attack vector (which is why the OpenBSD kernel disables hyperthreading by default). If you are using software-based transcoding, you will probably benefit from hyperthreading.

In reality, it may speed up your workflow to have a processor with hyperthreading. Also, the attack vector using it may be more a lab demonstration than an in-the-wild reality. Like most decisions, you must weigh your costs with the benefits to decide which solution fits your needs the best.


#3

Yeah I figured as much. I'm building a box STRICTLY for ChannelsDVR.

HT is beneficial for queueing up the next process in order to minimize a CPU running idle, which is not necessary here since the tasks are pretty much "one at a time". (Record, identify commercial segments, transcode when necessary).

I'll be using an i3-8100 CPU. I was considering the i5-8400 as that uses 6 cores, but after experimenting with UNRAID using an i5-4950 and finding that to be overkill, I am more than confident that a current gen i3 may very well be too.

I also looked into the Pentium G5600, but that's just a HT Dual Core CPU.....with HT not being a necessity, the i7 and the Pentium are a no-go for me.

Thank you!


#4

Curious.... why build a box when you could get a Synology NAS at a reasonable cost that offers a lot built in for Raid, Backups and much more. I was using a i7 Mac Mini for a while but decided to move it to a DS109+ Synology Box (others use a smaller one's) but I also run Plex/Emby on it and have a lot of video movies as well so storage was important. My experience is that the only issue is with Transcoding. In that case Hardware Transcoding should be important but I try to NOT use Transcoding for anything. The other thing that I am interested in that requires more CPU power is Virtual Machines and for that I am pretty much staying with my Mac Mini or similar.


#5

NAS units are robust in storage capability, but are anemic for CPU capability (for transcoding and such). I want something that I can basically set and forget.

With an i3-8100 CPU, I have Intel's very latest iGPU for transcoding, as well as 4 cores. Awesome for an HDHOMERUN Quatro tuner.

DVR does not require anything more than 1 mechanical HDD.

Also, for a build less than $500, the price is right....and is fully upgradable....RAM, CPU and HDD/SSD.


#6

Also of note, the i3 supports ECC RAM, whereas the i5 and i7 do not. (Don't ask why, as it doesn't make sense. But the i3 and Xeon support ECC, and other core models do not.)


#7

Dude, that is crazy!!!!

But wouldn’t the motherboard chipset also have to support ECC?


#8

True. Many MBs do support ECC, it's just a matter of finding them. (Although if you're building a purpose built server, I would recommend looking at NAS4Free. FreeBSD ZFS with jails is a much better implementation. And it has Bhyve for VMs when you absolutely cannot get BSD version compiled of whatever you need.)


#9

I’m actually going to use UNRAID.

I’m building a thin mini-it’s build, using an asus Prime H310T board....which does not support ECC sadly.


#10

As a new user of a NAS and Channels I can say with certainty that getting the DVR function off my HTPC and onto a small synology NAS was the smartest thing I ever did. No more big assed box taking up space and electricity, no more fan noise or updating the OS etc. Set and forget. It may take some time to get out of PC mode but think about it. Unless you just want to build something.
Sj


#11

Unraid is pretty much a set and forget setup as well.

Very efficient on the CPU resources, and it runs headless. I love it


#12

I looked into unraid and freeNAs oh 6 yrs ago but decided on a dedicated 3ware card instead. Which I still run but the NAS was just simpler and I was able to decommission the pc. Whatever works for you and it looks like unraid has come a long way too.
Enjoy!
Sj