When you start to play something, are you sure the item is actually analyzed? If you hit play, you can see something in the alert screen like this:
That means it had to analyze the file first before actually playing it. The analyze would only kick 1 worker up and that wouldn’t change until playback started.
Once started, you should see a message like:
Apr 13 00:50:46 gemini rclone: smu5ej34ujbdoip1cm3mlk92q4/6r2233tos804bi1rk81q8pca4av6m822cu1pas7bsfsbdm8bn3f0/e3bu5bn6169e17722g02efnlr8vdhaqv3d4dci7clehq9og6gf4qufllas0q1veb0bmb22sphv1kk: confirmed reading by external reader
and you’ll see the extra cache workers pick up. I have my plex locally on SSD so I leave the transcode directory alone and my settings are as follows:
I also have HW acceleration setup and once something needs to be transcoded, you’ll see:
Not sure if that helps or not, but those are my settings and I never get a stutter or buffer. Start time is probably anywhere from 1-5 seconds majority of the time as I keep everything analyzed and my only difference is that plexdrive definitely started almost always in 1-seconds at most.
Once playback starts for me, I notice no difference in rclone or plexdrive.