CasparCG computer build

I’m looking for the appropriate hardware for a couple of servers. The idea is having 6 to 8 channels with NDI outputs. Half of them with network producers, the other half with Decklink producers.

I narrowed it down to some options:

  • Intel W-2255
  • Intel i9-10900X
  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X (still trying to figure out which motherboard supports ECC though)

Intel options are basically the same but the consumer side lacks ECC support. Is this a game changer? I’ve been using i9-7900X processors and “gaming” motherboards before and the stability was weird. Some NDI channels would hang now and then (sometimes just lagging seconds or minutes behind) and the whole system (not the server) needed a reboot. Does ECC helps in that regard? I’ve seen everywhere in the forum workstations with these specs and same thing with the recommended hardware (dated many years ago).
AMD has a great cost-performance ratio but never use them and can’t guarantee they work properly. Has anybody use them 24/7 without issues?

Those models are just for reference between segments. I took the features of the i9-7900X and translated them to current hardware but I choose that CPU for the clock speeds (taking the Flash producer into account). I think with HTML templates that will change soon and high single-core speeds would not be required as much.

About the graphics card, those servers I built previously had Quadro P2000 and they performed well until I started playing with routes and NDI producers/consumers, so the question would be: Is this card a bottleneck for that in terms of memory bandwidth or the problem is somewhere else? Looking at the specs I see the memory bus is 160bit vs a P4000 with a 256bit bus. Is this a key factor for routes and multi-channel performance or should I look somewhere else?

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I have experimented with 4 NDI signals (SD) with dedicated network between intel based producer and consumer. Mostly, it goes well without any delay/cranky audio for more than a day or two but less often a reboot is required after consuming for an hour or so. Experimented with both P2000 and P4000. I have used routes, it may be adding to issue besides multiple NDI generation. Due to this uncertain behaviour, could not continue with NDI usage. Also observed no issue while consuming these NDIs in OBS.

So you experienced exactly what I did.
I was planning 6-8 1080p50 NDI channels :man_facepalming:t2:
I should then turn into a more modular approach or an all SDI workflow (unless NDI becomes stable enough)

I have systems with up to 16 SDI all SDI outputs. But these are running in 1080i50. The machines are quite impressive and expensive. I use them for a studio decoration with multiple monitors and run multiple CasparCG severs (2.0.7) on each of them. That works better that having all channels in the same server. But probably only because 2.0.7 is still 32bit. For 24/7 play out to air I would not recommend more than 2 or 3 channels per machine, as it runs smoother and the boxes can be cheaper. You do not loose everything in case of a hardware failure, but only a few channels.

Never thought about that. I should modify and test the launcher to support that, right away! (current setup looks for running processes with the same name and kills them all before launching them)

That is impressive indeed.

A little explanation about why NDI:

NDI was a choice because the project will use PTZ cameras (both SDI and NDI) and will scale over time:
At least, for the initial deployment it will use:

  • A RTMP server box (to receive, record and send streams) it notifies the next box the availability.
  • A CasparCG middle box (receives RTMP streams and SDI inputs and outputs each one of them over NDI and to a multiview output) This is the server I was asking about.
  • A CasparCG “mixer” box, receives all NDI inputs and mix them as needed with graphics, with multi-output support (aspect mostly, 16-18:9, 1:1, 9:16-18). Those outputs get pushed back to the RTMP box
    This servers will have a tailor made client to apply graphics and transitions and the user only needs to select which inputs will use and switch between them. Same story with the content.

In case of further scaling the systems, more “mixers” would be added (for parallel simultaneous channels). So NDI will work right away (given a good network infrastructure), where SDI would need more routing and distribution hardware.

Can anyone confirm a broad 24/7 use of NDI? I think @macbab commented on this somewhere but can’t recall if it was a venue or a 24/7 installation.

I noticed this too… Audio gets popping and crackling sounds on stable networks on the NDI producer but not in OBS.

Interestingly, I tried the same. RTMP stream of CCTV Camera, NDI stream from Android phone and 4 SD-NDI signals. While displaying above 6 signals in multiview mode using “mixer 3” over 50 inch monitor, the resolution is very poor (as each signal is using pixels 1/9th of 720x576). Any trick to improve this multiview output ? I haven’t tried multiple aspect ratio.

For a multiview you can set up a 1080p channel with a screen consumer and load all the SD layers there.
If you use dedicated NDI outputs for each input on the same server, I guess channel grid would do the job with the same setup

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Thanks, this will help to great extent.

Using this launcher you can set it up to start the server at login and add startup commands to play each input with PLAY and then MIXER FILL to place them where they should be, so within a couple of seconds you can get the multiview working without interaction, even if the system or the server gets restarted.

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Thanks again, till date managing with MIXER GRID only.