KODI Server Performance Upgrade

  • Posted on: 17 May 2018
  • By: charm

Recently I came across an interesting old (2009) article by Don Woligroski on Tom's Hardware entitled Gigabit Ethernet: Dude, Where's My Bandwidth? At the time I stumbled upon the article I was transferring some media from my main desktop system (which I use to rip and encode media) to  our KODI server. The files were transferring slower than I expected and slower than I remember on other hardware I've had in our server.

Our KODI server currently sports an Atom-based fanless motherboard. It's a fairly old motherboard (though not as old as the board before) but the CPU is underpowered compared to the Core 2 Quad I once had in the system.

After some research I found a (used) motherboard (Gigabyte GA-H67MA-D2H-B3) that I think I can finally put in our system without breaking the bank, but will satisfy some of my want list:

  • Core i-Series motherboard
  • SATA III capable (The 8TB drive is capable of 6 MB/s)
  • Gigabit LAN (one other candidate didn't have onboard Gigabit)
  • Enough PCIe slots for a video card plus at least a couple of PCIe cards

There are some down sides to this board. Obviously the newer the better. M.2 would be a nice feature to have, but since I already have a 2.5" SSD and I don't have an M.2 SSD it doesn't really make a difference. Here's what I don't like about the GA-H67MA-D2H-B3:

  • It's fairly old
  • Supports Crossfire X but not NVidia SLI
  • No 20 pin USB 3.0 header on the motherboard (need an adapter to use the SPEC-01 cases' USB 3.0 front ports)
  • Only 2 RAM slots
  • Only 2 of the 6 SATA headers are actually capable of 6MB/s. The box advertises 6MB/s SATA III, but it's not on all headers, so only 2 drives can be used at SATA III. If I were to buy a second 8TB drive I'd have to buy a new board or a controller card.
  • No USB C header (would be nice for the future)

Don wrote his article with Windows in mind. I'd planned on testing both boards and providing statistics, but things got very busy here and I ended up just replacing the board. The new system specs are as follows:

Hardware:
Processor: Intel Core i5-2300 @ 3.10GHz (4 Cores), Motherboard: Gigabyte H67MA-D2H-B3, Chipset: Intel 2nd Generation Core Family DRAM, Memory: 4096MB, Disk: 120GB Samsung SSD 840 + 8002GB Seagate ST8000VN0022-2EL, Graphics: Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce 210, Audio: Realtek ALC892, Monitor: SAMSUNG, Network: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411

Before replacing the motherboard I transferred some episodes of a television show I bought recently. The episodes transferred at a meager 7 MB/s to the Atom-based system. When I replaced the Atom-based board with the H67MA-D2H-B3 the peaks hit over 80 MB/s with most of the transfer hovering around the mid-70's. This might not seem like a big deal for a few DVDs, but when you're moving 30GB+ Blu-ray files it makes a big difference.