Performance Improvements - SSD, Mesh...?


#1

I'm curious, is there any performance improvement with SSDs versus spinning drives? Specifically for fast-forward, rewind, and commercial/30-second skip? Is that a processor restraint, drive restraint, or network restraint? It takes 2 seconds or so to skip forward/back, sometimes more. Basically, what's the best way to improve performance? (4x Apple TVs, Synology NAS, 5k rpm drives, Nighthawk router close by)

Also.. I love Channels, just spent an hour explaining it to my Comcast installer who bought HDHR and Channels while still in my basement.


#2

You should take a look at my recent post...

I think the speed of the connection from the viewing device to the DVR server is the single-most-important link in the chain.

At the moment, my setup reports 300+Mbits/s from Fire Stick to DVR server. And the Mac Mini running the server reports 50+MB/s read speed of the drive (roughly 400Mbits/s), so I'm still limited by the speed of the WiFi connection, not the drive itself.

That being said, SSDs do have much better seek time than spinning platter HDDs. It would be interesting to see if an SDD would provide an even smoother viewing experience when jumping around the timeline.


#3

I feel a multi-disk RAID would give you better results. Also, that can be augmented by also using an SSD as a cache drive for your RAID.

Wireless is always a bit of a bottleneck. Your best bet is to keep as much of your network wired as possible.


#4

I think network speed is the biggest factor. I am on wired gigabit and skipping back and forth is instantaneous for me.


#5

I have a somewhat similar setup, synology using RAID6 with 5k rpm drives. My network is wired gigabit, however. I don't notice any delay when ff/rw/skipping.

The biggest performance improvement you can make is to run ethernet, rather than using a wifi connection.


#6

Also should be mentioned that if you use an airplay speaker with your TV, you will introduce a 2 second delay for everything. If performance is an issue, don't use these.


#7

I would note that if you can not run ethernet wires but have coaxial in those locations Bonded MOCA 2.0 devices are excellent.


#8

I use Channels on an ageing 2012 Macbook Pro with SSD over wifi to Apple TV and the advert skip feature probably takes less than a second. So there are probably many factors which help but I reckon the SSD helps the most as the files are usually quite large? It does also have 16Gb RAM.


#9

this is wrong.
here is a video: https://youtu.be/0gg0bAFQH3A
using 5k rpm hdds on a system with 2GB RAM. The only difference is that my Apple TV is plugged in.


#10

I use Apple TV with shows on NAS stored with HDD and it's virtually instantaneous. I would agree you should do ethernet if at all possible and the Apple TV 4th Gen vs. 4K switches from 100 Mb to 1 Gb ethernet which made a big difference for me.


#11

I haven't been using Channels for long, but I've been playing with this stuff since the first All-In-Wonder card. In my experience the most improvement will be in your network. As for the server itself, avoid transcoding, use an Intel CPU (I'm assuming Channels will use quicksync), and use a hard drive with a large cache. SSDs should be avoided if you do a lot of recording, and spindle speed and hybrids don't benefit streaming much.


#12

Interesting. In my work experience for shifting around and processing large files, SSD makes a big difference along with gigabit ethernet :slight_smile:
For Channels, I wonder if the performance varies between platforms and file systems too? e.g. NTFS/EXT3/AFS etc.


#13

Yes, SSD is fast. Much faster than reading from a spindle in HDD. It's great for local loading and editing. When all interactions are across a network, however, the drive speed of an HDD is not a bottleneck... its not even close. Also should be mentioned that although all drives fail eventually, SSD has a clear and finite number of times the storage cells can be written to before the drive fails. So, a lot of people might choose to avoid this for something that is constantly writing and re-writing 24/7. Especially if it is being used solely over a network connection and so, regardless of the drive speed, performance ends up being the speed of the network.


#14

I run a very old laptop running Ubuntu Linux, with 6TB external drive, but connected to LAN. Response is instantaneous.


#15

Well, sounds like I’ll be saving some money and investing in Ethernet cords versus SSD. Now I just need to figure out how to get it over to the living room. That or a good mesh network... Ethernet is probably a lot cheaper but without a doubt higher performance. Picture of my basement server, just because, basement isn’t helping.


#16

I'd think you'd be well-positioned to drill up from the basement to the inside of an interior wall, where you can cut a hole and install a junction box. Or, if you're squeamish about cutting into a wall, install a surface mount Ethernet port (eg. https://www.lowes.com/pd/rca-cat-6-ethernet-white-data-cable-box/3701476) on the baseboard.


#17

Running Ethernet Cable is best if you can. However, if that is a problem and you have COAX run to your basement and other places in the house you should could consider MOCA. I use this in a couple of hard to reach places. You just need 1 at the router and you can place others in multiple locations.


#18

But you have a full basement. And probably walls are drywall? You can do it.

Or like @VTTom suggested, just run the cables outside the walls (could use wiremold) and mount the jack on the surface of the wall.


#19

I asked this question, went on vacation, and forgot to check back. This sealed it for me, going to try to run some ethernet to the ATV and if I can't due that I'll upgrade to a mesh network or maybe even MoCA.


#20

Depending on the brand, mesh might introduce more problems because of additional bandwidth needed for all stations to talk to each other. You're better off skipping mesh and going to MoCA. Or, if wireless is still the way you want to play it, use separate access points connected by Ethernet to a switch, not wholly wireless.