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Build recommendation for Home Server

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Hi,

This is my first attempt after last 18 yrs to assemble my home server pc, the previous one i assembled was a pentium pc and technology has moved on quite a bit. The configuration I am after is in the picture below, basically I want a VM workstation server with multiple VM's.

 

1. 2 Windows VM - one for gaming latest games and one for kids (scratch, office, browsing etc) - I can live with one VM and have multiple logins if needed
2. VM for NAS & Backup + Connect 7 USB external HDD via a powered USB Hub - ultimately i want to move all of data from ext. USB HDD to NAS. 
3. VM for streaming media from VM#2 or HDD's
4. 3 linux VM's for home lab - learn about docker, kubernetes 

 

I need your suggestion on the server/pc configuration, the server will be in a study room under a table. I aim to build the same in xmas holidays so appreciate any response/deals where parts can be bought cheaper.

 

image.png.d28ebec7c887942594ebb5fa4b7dc6b9.png
thanks

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Something with a lot of cores like ryzen would be nice for virtualization 

CPU:R9 3900x@4.5Ghz RAM:Vengeance Pro LPX @ 3200mhz MOBO:MSI Tomohawk B350 GPU:PNY GTX 1080 XLR8

DRIVES:500GB Samsung 970 Pro + Patriot Blast 480GB x2 + 12tb RAID10 NAS

MONITORS:Pixio PX329 32inch 1440p 165hz, LG 34UM68-p 1080p 75hz

 

 

 

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What's your budget and localization? 

 

Also, word of warning, gaming on a VM might be something LTT showed on video, but it's not practical and the only OS that can make it work somewhat okay is UnRAID. Most other hypervisors have driver problems with passthrough of consumer graphics cards or downright don't support it. If you forget about the gaming part, the cost can be significantly reduced :) 

PC Specs - AMD Ryzen 5 5600X MSI B550M Mortar 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 @ CL15 - RX5700XT 660p 1TBGB & 256GB 600p Fractal Define Mini C CM V550 - Pop!_OS 20.04

 

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44 minutes ago, JohnDongus said:

Something with a lot of cores like ryzen would be nice for virtualization 

With the current AGESA update pushed to AM4 motherboards, Ryzen has become way more interesting for virtualization, yes. IOMMU was a pain in the arse.

PC Specs - AMD Ryzen 5 5600X MSI B550M Mortar 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 @ CL15 - RX5700XT 660p 1TBGB & 256GB 600p Fractal Define Mini C CM V550 - Pop!_OS 20.04

 

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10 hours ago, NelizMastr said:

What's your budget and localization? 

 

Also, word of warning, gaming on a VM might be something LTT showed on video, but it's not practical and the only OS that can make it work somewhat okay is UnRAID. Most other hypervisors have driver problems with passthrough of consumer graphics cards or downright don't support it. If you forget about the gaming part, the cost can be significantly reduced :) 

thanks @NelizMastr

my quote is between £600 - £1000 , based in UK, 

 

i will need gaming, how about then windows 10 pro and oracle virtual box running rest of VM's or is it a no go ?

 

10 hours ago, NelizMastr said:

With the current AGESA update pushed to AM4 motherboards, Ryzen has become way more interesting for virtualization, yes. IOMMU was a pain in the arse.

 don't know about IOMMU wil google to read more but based on your comment do i need to worry about it?

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20 hours ago, NelizMastr said:

What's your budget and localization? 

 

Also, word of warning, gaming on a VM might be something LTT showed on video, but it's not practical and the only OS that can make it work somewhat okay is UnRAID. Most other hypervisors have driver problems with passthrough of consumer graphics cards or downright don't support it. If you forget about the gaming part, the cost can be significantly reduced :) 

Windows 10 Pro and Hyper-V is the only one I consider viable for that type of approach, but the host OS is used for gaming as well as VM hosting. Graphics/GPUs in VMs is far too specialized for home hobby far as I see it, the whole can do vs should do thing.

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16 minutes ago, leadeater said:

Windows 10 Pro and Hyper-V is the only one I consider viable for that type of approach, but the host OS is used for gaming as well as VM hosting. Graphics/GPUs in VMs is far too specialized for home hobby far as I see it, the whole can do vs should do thing.

Yeah I honestly wouldn't trust the VM host operating system to be used for anything else than that, simply because of all the crapware people will install to get their programs and games going. Windows isn't exactly the most rock solid OS as it is, so compromising that even more just screams bad idea to me.

PC Specs - AMD Ryzen 5 5600X MSI B550M Mortar 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 @ CL15 - RX5700XT 660p 1TBGB & 256GB 600p Fractal Define Mini C CM V550 - Pop!_OS 20.04

 

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4 minutes ago, NelizMastr said:

Yeah I honestly wouldn't trust the VM host operating system to be used for anything else than that, simply because of all the crapware people will install to get their programs and games going. Windows isn't exactly the most rock solid OS as it is, so compromising that even more just screams bad idea to me.

Still the best bad option ?

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thanks @NelizMastr, @leadeater

 

so the better (& simpler) option would be to

 

1. Use Windows 10 as host OS --> Play games in it and use for kids as a separate user login , as well as be able to RDP into it from my laptop if required.

2. Use Hyper-V to host other VM's that will act as NAS. Plex streamer & decoder and lab VM's

 

will other VM using Plex streamer & decoder face similar issue with access to GPU

 

Also what part list will you recommend please?

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2 minutes ago, bondlinux said:

so the better (& simpler) option would be to

 

1. Use Windows 10 as host OS --> Play games in it and use for kids as a separate user login , as well as be able to RDP into it from my laptop if required.

2. Use Hyper-V to host other VM's that will act as NAS. Plex streamer & decoder and lab VM's

3. will other VM using Plex streamer & decoder face similar issue with access to GPU

1. Correct. Make sure you use Pro, as Home doesn't have the Hyper-V feature and cannot be remoted into

 

2 & 3. Also correct. Plex won't be able to use the GPU, it'll be purely CPU accelerated, this is something any other solution would've run into as well, this basically means that your CPU will need to work harder, but 1080p isn't that hard on a modern CPU. 4K is not doable purely on CPU though.

 

Quote

Also what part list will you recommend please?

Considering you want all those VMs, 12TB of storage and still be able to game, your budget is rather tight I have to say. You'll need 32GB of RAM minimum to supply all VMs with ample memory and still leave a good amount for the main OS for gaming. 12TB worth of harddisks will set you back half your total budget.

 

This is a baseline I'd start with, not including the mass storage yet as that's simply not doable on this budget.

 

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 7 2700 3.2 GHz 8-Core Processor  (£221.47 @ Scan.co.uk) 
Motherboard: Asus - PRIME B450M-A Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard  (£85.49 @ Overclockers.co.uk) 
Memory: ADATA - XPG GAMMIX D10 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory  (£213.19 @ CCL Computers) 
Storage: Samsung - 860 Evo 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  (£67.14 @ Aria PC) 
Video Card: Gigabyte - Radeon RX 580 8 GB Gaming 8G Video Card  (£199.97 @ Ebuyer) 
Case: Fractal Design - Arc Mini R2 MicroATX Mini Tower Case  (£72.53 @ CCL Computers) 
Power Supply: Corsair - TXM Gold 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply  (£67.99 @ Aria PC) 
Total: £927.78
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-12-04 10:37 GMT+0000

PC Specs - AMD Ryzen 5 5600X MSI B550M Mortar 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 @ CL15 - RX5700XT 660p 1TBGB & 256GB 600p Fractal Define Mini C CM V550 - Pop!_OS 20.04

 

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thanks @NelizMastr really appreciate your help. I have some more questions :

 

At the moment I don't have a 4K TV but if i want to future proof myself and have 4K stream, then will you recommend I run Plex in the host OS so that it can use GPU {I heard some GPU support Plex or something like Plex Pass} ? I also want to be able to feed multiple streams from plex may be 2-3 at max but 1 of them 4K in future

 

From future proofing point of view {next 5-7 yrs} will you recommend I stay with these parts or upgrade, I can be flexible on budget if it gives me that level of future proofing.

 

I have 4-5 external USB HDD, Can I take them off from their casing and use or I have to buy new, if new which ones and what type of RAID shall i go for? Do I need a hardware RAID Card? 

 

You can see I am getting greedy now :)

 

thanks!

 

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30 minutes ago, bondlinux said:

1. At the moment I don't have a 4K TV but if i want to future proof myself and have 4K stream, then will you recommend I run Plex in the host OS so that it can use GPU {I heard some GPU support Plex or something like Plex Pass} ? I also want to be able to feed multiple streams from plex may be 2-3 at max but 1 of them 4K in future

 

2. From future proofing point of view {next 5-7 yrs} will you recommend I stay with these parts or upgrade, I can be flexible on budget if it gives me that level of future proofing.

 

3. I have 4-5 external USB HDD, Can I take them off from their casing and use or I have to buy new, if new which ones and what type of RAID shall i go for? Do I need a hardware RAID Card? 

1. You're making the host OS vulnerable piling more and more tasks on top of it, so you'll have to be careful with who accesses it. No admin rights for children is a good measure and use a strong password so that others can't get in. You can run Plex in Windows from what I've heard, yes.

 

2. 5-7 years for a system that needs to play games is quite utopian. This platform will get support for the latest CPUs until 2020, so that's pretty good. 

 

3. Some USB HDDs are sata drives with a USB converter on the casing, others have a USB port directly soldered to the harddrive's PCB. Those are useless internally. RAID card depends on which RAID level you're after, storage spaces can support most.

PC Specs - AMD Ryzen 5 5600X MSI B550M Mortar 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 @ CL15 - RX5700XT 660p 1TBGB & 256GB 600p Fractal Define Mini C CM V550 - Pop!_OS 20.04

 

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thanks @NelizMastr

which RAID will you recommend and how many HDD {4TB each, which model), will the Case be able to hold HDD and further expansion

 

Also Do I need SSD M2 for OS 

 

thanks!

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25 minutes ago, bondlinux said:

thanks @NelizMastr

which RAID will you recommend and how many HDD {4TB each, which model), will the Case be able to hold HDD and further expansion

 

Also Do I need SSD M2 for OS 

 

thanks!

If you intend to have more than 6 hard disks, then yes, you'll need a m.2 SSD or a HBA for the harddrives. 

 

Since your main OS will be Windows, you can use Storage Spaces. If you want safety (you need a backup plan anyway!) I'd personally configure mirrors. So two drives at a time in mirror added to the pool. RAID isn't really meant to be expanded on the fly, so this is probably the easiest way to do it. 

 

I might be spewing nonsense here, though, as I'm not 100% comfortable with storage spaces yet, so maybe @leadeater can shine more light on this. 

PC Specs - AMD Ryzen 5 5600X MSI B550M Mortar 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 @ CL15 - RX5700XT 660p 1TBGB & 256GB 600p Fractal Define Mini C CM V550 - Pop!_OS 20.04

 

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38 minutes ago, NelizMastr said:

If you intend to have more than 6 hard disks, then yes, you'll need a m.2 SSD or a HBA for the harddrives

  

Since your main OS will be Windows, you can use Storage Spaces. If you want safety (you need a backup plan anyway!) I'd personally configure mirrors. So two drives at a time in mirror added to the pool. RAID isn't really meant to be expanded on the fly, so this is probably the easiest way to do it. 

  

I might be spewing nonsense here, though, as I'm not 100% comfortable with storage spaces yet, so maybe @leadeater can shine more light on this. 

thanks @NelizMastr

so the HBA Card and m2 SSD will go onto same motherboard and will the HDD be able to fit in the case.

 

apologies for my silly questions, feels like now i am well into unknown waters!

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41 minutes ago, NelizMastr said:

as I'm not 100% comfortable with storage spaces yet, so maybe @leadeater can shine more light on this

Pretty much correct, if using Storage Spaces two-way mirror (supports many disks it just means two data copies across pool) is the best performance and most consistent. Parity basically always requires an addition dedicated SSD pair for jounral/write cache otherwise performance suuuuucks.

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28 minutes ago, leadeater said:

Pretty much correct, if using Storage Spaces two-way mirror (supports many disks it just means two data copies across pool) is the best performance and most consistent. Parity basically always requires an addition dedicated SSD pair for jounral/write cache otherwise performance suuuuucks.

Thanks for confirming my train of thought :)   I figured it'd be the easiest. And yeah, I honestly don't deal with parity setups a lot anymore, except on my main server due to storage contstraints (being a fuckton of 146GB disks and nothing larger than that :P ).

 

30 minutes ago, bondlinux said:

thanks @NelizMastr

so the HBA Card and m2 SSD will go onto same motherboard and will the HDD be able to fit in the case.

 

apologies for my silly questions, feels like now i am well into unknown waters!

The case I selected is good for 6 3,5" drives and the motherboard also has 6 SATA ports, so that's the current limit. If you run a NVMe SSD on the m.2 slot, you're probably fine without a HBA.

PC Specs - AMD Ryzen 5 5600X MSI B550M Mortar 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 @ CL15 - RX5700XT 660p 1TBGB & 256GB 600p Fractal Define Mini C CM V550 - Pop!_OS 20.04

 

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thanks all for your help here, i am now going through the videos, have kept the partlist and hopefully will get some good deals around xmas/boxing day and do the build!

 

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