In this Plex Build guide, we will build a cheap server, that will be able to do almost everything you could ever want. On top of this, the server will have space for future expansion, meaning it can be upgraded in the future. Building a server can be much cheaper than buying one, as you don’t have to pay assembling fees, and it can also be a fun experience! If you’re nervous, don’t be, if you research you will have no trouble whatsoever!

This build comes from /u/JDM_WAAAT on Reddit.


The Plex Build

Type Item Price (eBay)
CPU Intel Xeon E5-2650 2.0GHz, 2.8GHz Turbo – 8-Core, 16-Thread $40
Motherboard Supermicro X9SRE-F-O LGA2011 UP – Single Socket $235
RAM Kingston 32GB (4x8GB) PC3-10600 $60
CPU Cooler ARCTIC Freezer i11 CPU Cooler $27
PSU Seasonic SS-650HT 650W  $45
Storage WD 2TB Refurbished HDD $45
Case Fractal Design – Define R5 $120
Total $527


If you are ever going to buy parts from eBay, follow these tips:

  1. Buy from highly-rated, reputable sellers
  2. When “Or best offer” is available, use it. Sellers will likely discount parts, often up to 30%.
  3. Shop around. There are many re sellers selling the same exact parts on eBay, find the one with the best price. If the cheaper user has a terrible reputation, they are probably not to be trusted.
  4. Scrutinize the details of the auction. For example, make sure CPU stepping / revision is correct to what you need. Make sure components are listed as functioning and not “for parts only”.
  5. Do not, under any circumstances buy QA/QC/QS/ES labeled CPUs. Only buy official used / refurbished Intel Xeon CPUs. Chips with this label are not guaranteed to work, and will most likely break, even if it is something as simple as a BIOS update.

Plex Build FAQs:

  • Q: Aren’t used parts unreliable?
  • A: No. Server-grade used components are designed to be more reliable than consumer-class components. They are often recycled / resold when the upgrade cycle happens at major institutions or businesses. Some are sold as new – old stock, where the components are new but were never used. Myself and many others have found that used server components are more reliable than even new consumer-grade parts. These parts are designed to run reliably for business, who may be buying in bulk, not just for a consumer.
  • Q: Why are the CPU’s so cheap if they are so fast?
  • A: Simply because of supply and demand. The market is flooded with a particular model of CPU, the E5-2670 V1 due to an unknown major company phasing out a massive quantity of these CPUs.
  • Q: Why are the supporting motherboards so expensive? (even if they’re used) 
  • A: The other side of the coin of “supply and demand”. The demand for motherboards to put the CPU’s in are high, and there’s only a finite supply of them.
  • Q: I’m nervous / anxious about building a computer with server hardware. How much different / harder is it than regular computers? OR – I’ve never build a computer but wanted to, can I start with this?
  • A: I’d argue that it’s actually easier and more straight forward than building with regular computer hardware. Just like with anything else, doing research is key here. The components are about 3/10 in building difficulty. But, if you research you’ll have no trouble whatsoever.
  • Q: Why should I do this? I want a i7-6700K or [other cpu]A: Because price/dollar ratio is important, and the goals are different. This isn’t a gaming machine, it’s for serving up content and virtualization. Not just for Plex!

After Building

After building your server you’ll need to install Plex Media Server, and then you’re good to go! This article may help you!

Let us know on Twitter and Facebook! if you need any help setting up your Plex Media Server!