Raspberry Pi 3b with Plex

I have a few spare Raspberry pis laying around (RPi 1, RPi2, RPi3b) and they aren't doing anything, so I figured why not install Rasbian on the 3b and see how well Plex works?

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model 3 when changed to use 1GB of swap space tends to perform pretty OK. I've only tested it with two 1080p video streams, both H264 and a 3903 kbps and 9842 kbps bitrates. Upping the swap space from 100MB to 1024MB really increased the load time of the streams though.

Two DirectPlay 1080p streams using H264

Update: These were direct play streams, which had no problems. I tested 3 direct play streams without issue. I tested a single video transcoded stream, transcoding down to 720p from 1080p and it hurts the CPU a lot more and the stream pauses and buffers a lot. So, depending on your Plex client, RPI3 won't be for you.

Single 1080p to 720p transcoded video stream

All the media is stored on a QNAP TS-451 NAS with 16GB RAM and 8TB HDD x4 (recommend picking up WD EasyStore 8TB/10TB drives when they go on sale for <=$179, since you can shuck them to get the WD Red drive inside). I have Plex setup on that as a backup, and it performs fairly well with a few 1080p streams; fairly well for a dual core Intel Celeron...

Initially creating your media library is pretty slow. I have 4TB of TV shows and 2TB of movies and just to create a TV shows library takes several hours. I'm not sure if this would be any faster if I had all my media on an external USB drive plugged in through a powered USB hub or not.

TV show library scan

Overall, pretty impressed. Of course, I doubt it will be able to handle 4+ 1080p streams with transcoding like my current Plex server (AMD FX-8350 Eight-Core Processor, 32GB RAM) does, but for someone who just wants to stream to one or two places on the cheap? Probably would work out OK.

I'm curious how well the new Raspberry Pi 4 Model B will do with Plex.