Choosing parts for a new server
So I've got to figure out what parts I need for a reasonably fast server without going overboard on cost.
This all happened weeks ago but I'm going to write down what I decided to I can come back later and figure out how correct my decisions ended up.
I want to build a proper home server but I can't really justify spending several thousand on a modern server like an Epyc. As cool as that would be I don't think I could really justify the price.
Threadrippers are out as well as even a 1950X is still $600 dollars. As well as expensive motherboards and cpus the DDR4 EEC RAM is also costly and a decent server that will be running virtual machines will probably need a reasonable amount. So after dreaming about about my own personal Epyc server for awhile I talked myself out of it.
Fortunately by way of a blog article on linuxserver.io I found out about serverbuilds.net a site that writes guides about picking out second hard obsolete server parts for use as affordable home servers.
I followed the Anniversary 2.0 guide a fantastic list of available parts and recommendations for building a server using Intel's LGA2011 socket. With the possible parts narrowed down it became an easy if time consuming process to figure out parts.
I know I want to eventually put the server in a server rack along with other stuff like a UPS, router, patch panel etc. So I wanted a server rack case that looked nice. I pretty quickly settled on a SilverStone 4U case. This did have some implications that I only realised hours into researching motherboards.
The SilverStone case is much shorter than a typical server rackmount case so it only fits ATX motherboards. Most of the dual socket boards are E-ATX. So this narrowed down my choices to a handful fo Supermicro boards.
I decided on a pair of E5-2650 v2's for the cpu's. They seemed like the best balance of physical core count, clock speed and price.
I got two 32GB sticks of EEC ram, heatsinks, a bigger ssd to go along with the HDD's I already had from my old machine and a power supply with 2 EPS connectors.
I brought the CPU's, motherboard and ram through Ebay but the rest I was able to source from Australian retailers and the motherboard was the only part that I couldn't get from an Australian seller (the board shipped from China). So all in all shipping costs were pretty reasonable.
The Final parts list:
- Motherboard: X9DRL-iF
- CPU: E5-2650v2 x2
- RAM: 32GB M386B4G70BM0-YK0 Samsung
- The ram is something I'm unsure about. It's DDR3 ECC so it should work fine but ram compatibility can be hit and miss. They were a pretty good price for the capacity compared to DDR4 but if they don't work it will suck.
- Heatsinks: XE01-2011 x2
- These are passive heatsinks that I'm a little worried won't be able to sufficiently cool the cpus but they were on special and are almost 500g of copper so if cooling is an issue I can probably hack some way to fix a 80mm fan to the top and get a better cooler out of it.
- Case: RM400
- USB Cable: G11303050-RT
- The case has usb 3 to I need an adapter to get the front panel usb to work with this old motherboard
- PSU: SilverStone Strider Gold S 750W
- Probably way more watts than I need but I wanted to find something local with x2 EPS connectors and this was the cheapest available
- SSD: 1TB Crucial drive
- HDD: 2TB drives from assorted manufactures x5
All in all the cost came to about $1400 AUD which was a little more than I was expecting but not more than I was willing to pay. Far cheaper than building a more current gen system but whether or not it has reasonable performance I'm not sure. I hope to use this machine to experiment with virtual machines, kubernetes, ZFS, webpack compiling and run a Minecraft server. If everything works out of the box I feel like it should be sufficient for those use cases.