Been using Plex for a while now with an old Dell Pentium4 and could not watch movies remotely without buffering or 1080i movies without buffering on TVs. So I decided to build a new dedicated PC to handle both Plex and VPN. I debated between an Intel G3440 or an I3 and finally chose the i3-4350 because of the PassMarks ratings for transcoding. I tested this box with 2 remote devices one streaming a 480p and another streaming a 720p movie. The TV's are now on a gigabit network so one of them was able to stream a 720p movie without the pc needing to transcode. CPU maxed out at 80% and movies played great so am very happy with this build. Plus the motherboard has 2 1GB nics so this server will also double as my VPN server when I am working remotely.
I did pay a little extra for the CPU and case fans but couldn't be happier with how quiet it made the PC while it sits working. We can be watching TV in the room and not even hear the PC until you actually get close enough to it to hear the whisper of the fans. One thing I need to make known about the Noctua NH-L9i cooler is the orientation it needs to be placed at to effectively cool the CPU. Since this fan blows air DOWN into the heatsinks, I had to rotate it where the fans were not being blocked by the memory sticks. Turning it in a direction where the small 80mm fan on the back side of the case can blow air directly in the CPU fins lowered the temps a few degrees.
As far as the CPU, I am surprised at how quickly the Haswell processors cool down after load has decreased. Meaning it can be sitting between 58C and 62C then in about 2 seconds drop back down to 35C then 31C sometimes 29C. I do think these new Haswell processors run hotter than Ivy Bridge because my Desktop PC that has an I3-3220 never gets above 50C but does always idle at 39C to 40C so not too concerned about that. But I am getting very good response times from this new 4th gen CPU so pretty happy with that.
The hard drive was a 1TB Seagate drive I had from an older server so I just reused that one and it's pretty quiet for the most part. Every so often you can hear the clicking of the drive but it's not terribly noticeable while watching TV.
The power supply is semi-modular so that helped a bit with tucking all these cables away where the front fan has an open area to blow air across the HDD and motherboard. I did not get a good picture of how it looked with all the cables tucker away but this case really has a lot of room provided that I did not put a DVD drive or video card in it. I just use an external USB DVD drive when I need it.
I was a little skeptical about getting a BioStar brand mother board since all my other PC's use ASRock boards but I like the Auto Power On feature. This feature saves me from having to set the OS put the PC to sleep at night so instead a scheduled task shuts it down at night then powers it back on the next morning ready to go. The motherboard looks pretty well built and has PCI Express along with BioRemote that allows you to remote control your PC from an Android or iOS device. The only thing I see lacking is software to control and monitor fan speeds via the operating system.
My daughter, who attends college 4 hours away, can now watch movies in her apartment without the usual buffering issues that plagued us with the older computer so she is happy about that. I can also watch movies now without issue on my Android tablet wherever I am at.
....and yes. the cat "helped" to. I couldn't get her out of the picture so just didn't bother fighting with her.