I’ve built a lot of PC’s over the years. I got fed up with the constant hardware upgrades tbh. They were mostly for WFH reasons and Plex server requirements (low performance). Some of them were for gaming (high performance) The requirements for gaming stopped when I finally jumped at the XBox One S when launched and more recently, a Stadia setup in late 2019
I hate the rat’s nest of wires too, so I go cloud/WiFi where I can.
After Plex (Plex Pass) killed the integrated play-from-cloud feature - which worked OK - a few years ago, I’d been looking for an alternative. I don’t particularly like having my own digital library on a local device which could fail, go missing, need updating and also need constant backing up to somewhere else because of these reasons. I have GDrive for that.
So I was on the edge of building a simple standalone PC to act as a Plex server for streaming to Plex clients with a sync’d link to my GDrive.
Then I came across ‘fooling’ a Raspberry Pi into thinking a Google Drive account was a connected USB device. And also setting up & running a Plex server instance on the RPi too. And boom - all my media stored in GDrive is streamed from the cloud to my Plex clients again via the RPi. So if I delete or add to my GDrive, a quick Library scan on that folder from a Plex client and everything is up to date. Works flawlessly too, although my Android TVs, Chromecast Ultra’s and RPi are connected to my router via Ethernet rather than WiFi. Most Plex clients are on WiFi, but they work fine streaming the online content.
No PC hardware and a very small box handles it all.
Cost about £40 all-in and transcoding of cloud media in real time is back baby! (<- I’m very happy about this)
A heatsink/fan is recommended to stop the Pi in extreme situations when cloud music is playing in one room at the same time as a film in one room and another film in another room. The temp rises fast