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We all know the Pi can play 1080p video no problem, but is it fast enough to act as the basis for a file server that can stream 1080p video over its wired network connection?

I'm thinking of using mine as a media server of sorts to stream 1080p HD video, (with DTS-HD audio), and I am interested to know if anyone else has tried it or if the Pi is up to the task.

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I tested network throughput with iperf and it can push around 90 Mbps of TCP through happily. If I recall corectly, Full HD video requires around 25-35 Mbps, so my guess would be that yes.

You may want to consider something faster than a SD card to store media files on. While a Class 6 is probably enough, Class 4 probably isn't.

UPDATE: I did a more realistic test of I/O - reading from SD card and pushing the data over the network.

On Raspberry Pi (Raspbian):

nc 192.168.105.225 337 < /dev/mmcblk0

On another machine on the same LAN (bridged):

nc -l 337 > /dev/null

The router (bridge) showed 44 Mbps of traffic being pushed by Pi. Considering that I have a Class 4 SD card this implies that I/O on Pi is not a bottleneck at these speeds.

Resource consumption during a test (it's quite high): top

I will try with an attached USB hard drive soon to see if it can push a full 100 Mbps.

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    Thanks for that. Sure, a USB hard drive (externally powered) seems like what I'm going for in terms of storage at present. – berry120 Jun 14 '12 at 14:44
  • I retested just to be on the safe side and it is actually slightly less - around 90 Mbps, but still well enough for streaming. – Tibor Jun 14 '12 at 14:52
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    A Class 6 SD card should be capable of 6MBps read speeds (6 Megabytes per second), so unless there is some limitation in the Raspberry Pi SD interface, a class 10 card should be more than capable of saturating a 100mbps (100 megabits per second) once protocol overheads are taken into account. – Mark Booth Jun 14 '12 at 15:18
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    @ppumkin iperf tests only network performance. If I recall correctly, it sends 0123456789 repeatedly. Will do a test with SD card I/O soon and let you know. – Tibor Aug 3 '12 at 10:14
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    I am not happy, of course not :) But it is understandable. Even TCP itself is quite a resource-intensive protocol. It has to calculate checksums all the time, fragment data, take care of retransmittions, .. – Tibor Aug 3 '12 at 10:53

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