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Home Central Machine with VMs - General Discussion

Budget (including currency): 

Country: US

Games, programs or workloads that it will be used for: 

Other details (existing parts lists, whether any peripherals are needed, what you're upgrading from, when you're going to buy, what resolution and refresh rate you want to play at, etc): 

 

Will someone please let me know if this is posted under the wrong heading?

 

I recently watched this video from Linus: 

 

 

And it got me thinking about the concept for my own use. This would be at least a few years away so specific hardware may be more relevant by then, but I was wondering what peoples thoughts are on a system like this? We have two gaming rigs that usually used at the same time playing together, I have a small workstation that could really be beefed up a little, but almost everything there is CPU not GPU dependent.

 

I have no experience at all with VMs, so I have a couple of general questions and I was hoping anyone who knows about this topic could describe their experience with it.

 

First, since my workstation is not GPU dependent at all, and I'll never be using the workstation and one of the gaming rigs at the same time, would it be possible to run it and a gaming rig off the same GPU? Do VMs even work that way?

Second, how hard would it be to reconfigure how many cores are allocated to each VM? Like, say I allocate 8 cores to the workstation but find I only really need 4 after using it for a few months. Can I easily put those cores to use in one of the gaming rigs or split them between the two? Or if I want to add another machine down the road?

Finally, we frequently play on local modded minecraft servers. I usually just start it up on my rig and have both the server and client running on it. Would it be possible/reasonable to set up a VM just for that purpose? From what I've seen, these servers only use 1 core, so could/should I make a VM with just 2 cores to run a server like that? Would that one need a GPU?

 

As I mentioned, hardware will likely change, but just to give an idea where my mind is on it now, I'm thinking something along the lines of the Threadripper 3960X since it has 24 cores. I think that's more than enough for me. 8 on each gaming rig, 4 for the workstation, 2 for the minecraft server, and that leaves 2 more if I want to add something new or need to run VM software or something like that. For GPUs, I really don't know what's reasonable for this. Maybe something like the 3070 by that point? Or the RX6800? By that point these cards will be a couple of years old. Since storage is changing so quickly, I'm not even going to ponder what would be good right now for storage.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, drurya96 said:

Budget (including currency): 

Country: US

Games, programs or workloads that it will be used for: 

Other details (existing parts lists, whether any peripherals are needed, what you're upgrading from, when you're going to buy, what resolution and refresh rate you want to play at, etc): 

 

Will someone please let me know if this is posted under the wrong heading?

 

I recently watched this video from Linus: 

 

 

And it got me thinking about the concept for my own use. This would be at least a few years away so specific hardware may be more relevant by then, but I was wondering what peoples thoughts are on a system like this? We have two gaming rigs that usually used at the same time playing together, I have a small workstation that could really be beefed up a little, but almost everything there is CPU not GPU dependent.

 

I have no experience at all with VMs, so I have a couple of general questions and I was hoping anyone who knows about this topic could describe their experience with it.

 

First, since my workstation is not GPU dependent at all, and I'll never be using the workstation and one of the gaming rigs at the same time, would it be possible to run it and a gaming rig off the same GPU? Do VMs even work that way?

Second, how hard would it be to reconfigure how many cores are allocated to each VM? Like, say I allocate 8 cores to the workstation but find I only really need 4 after using it for a few months. Can I easily put those cores to use in one of the gaming rigs or split them between the two? Or if I want to add another machine down the road?

Finally, we frequently play on local modded minecraft servers. I usually just start it up on my rig and have both the server and client running on it. Would it be possible/reasonable to set up a VM just for that purpose? From what I've seen, these servers only use 1 core, so could/should I make a VM with just 2 cores to run a server like that? Would that one need a GPU?

 

As I mentioned, hardware will likely change, but just to give an idea where my mind is on it now, I'm thinking something along the lines of the Threadripper 3960X since it has 24 cores. I think that's more than enough for me. 8 on each gaming rig, 4 for the workstation, 2 for the minecraft server, and that leaves 2 more if I want to add something new or need to run VM software or something like that. For GPUs, I really don't know what's reasonable for this. Maybe something like the 3070 by that point? Or the RX6800? By that point these cards will be a couple of years old. Since storage is changing so quickly, I'm not even going to ponder what would be good right now for storage.

 

 

It's not really economically smart for homes as it's probably a bit cheaper for one to buy PC's for each user. It's a neat idea, but really only feasible for business solutions where there are dozens of clients. 

 

I guess you COULD use something like a rpi4 for the thin clients and have a PC run as a server. 

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It’s probably better to buy some individual Devices and make a NAS for all of them for sharing files

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Just now, Drama Lama said:

It’s probably better to buy some individual Devices and make a NAS for all of them for sharing files

I understand the appeal...it's a really cool idea. However, in the end it's not cost-effective and will probably be more hassle than it's worth...

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Just now, jeanluckpiccard said:

I understand the appeal...it's a really cool idea. However, in the end it's not cost-effective and will probably be more hassle than it's worth...

I know it’s a cool idea you’re not the first person making a thread like this and you won’t be the last 

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Would it be possible to freely move core allocations around too? As in, could you set up a system like this where you could easily claim cores for a VM under heavy use from a different VM that is not in use at all? One of my biggest problems with separate devices is that I have a work PC with 8 cores that is often not in use at all, and never in use when I'm gaming. So if feels like I'm always wasting performance since something is always not in use.

 

16 minutes ago, jeanluckpiccard said:

It's not really economically smart for homes as it's probably a bit cheaper for one to buy PC's for each user. It's a neat idea, but really only feasible for business solutions where there are dozens of clients.

 

1 minute ago, jeanluckpiccard said:

I understand the appeal...it's a really cool idea. However, in the end it's not cost-effective and will probably be more hassle than it's worth

Thanks for your input, and if after looking at prices its obvious that its much more expensive I may not go this route, but I do think it would be cool and maybe worthwhile even just for fun.

 

17 minutes ago, jeanluckpiccard said:

guess you COULD use something like a rpi4 for the thin clients and have a PC run as a server. 

Could you elaborate on this? I have a rpi4, but its just sitting unplugged right now. No idea what to do with it.

 

4 minutes ago, Drama Lama said:

It’s probably better to buy some individual Devices and make a NAS for all of them for sharing files

I'm not all that interested in file sharing, though its a neat perk of a system like this. Is there likely some aspect of filesharing I'm overlooking?

 

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7 minutes ago, Drama Lama said:

I know it’s a cool idea you’re not the first person making a thread like this and you won’t be the last 

I didn't create the thread...just responding to his OP. 😀

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12 minutes ago, drurya96 said:

Would it be possible to freely move core allocations around too? As in, could you set up a system like this where you could easily claim cores for a VM under heavy use from a different VM that is not in use at all? One of my biggest problems with separate devices is that I have a work PC with 8 cores that is often not in use at all, and never in use when I'm gaming. So if feels like I'm always wasting performance since something is always not in use.

 

 

Thanks for your input, and if after looking at prices its obvious that its much more expensive I may not go this route, but I do think it would be cool and maybe worthwhile even just for fun.

 

Could you elaborate on this? I have a rpi4, but its just sitting unplugged right now. No idea what to do with it.

 

I'm not all that interested in file sharing, though its a neat perk of a system like this. Is there likely some aspect of filesharing I'm overlooking?

 

I have a couple of rpis...2 rpi0's and a rpi3 and have used Parsec to remote into my main PC. It seems to work pretty well, as long as your network connection is good. I use it all of the time to play games on my upstairs PC from my sofa downstairs. Of course, only one user can remote in at a time (I believe) Also, your rpi4 should make for a pretty good NAS or Plex server. I've thought about trying Nvidias GeForce Now, but I'm not sure if it will work on a rpi.

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1 minute ago, jeanluckpiccard said:

your rpi4 should make for a pretty good NAS or Plex server...

This point has come up again about a NAS server, but I don't really know what use that is. What would people typically use something like this for outside of a business setting?

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5 minutes ago, drurya96 said:

This point has come up again about a NAS server, but I don't really know what use that is. What would people typically use something like this for outside of a business setting?

I know people use it for different things. In my case, I have a cheap external HDD attached to a rpi3 which streams movies, tv shows and music to my downstairs tv. If you have pictures, etc, it can be set up to where any device can access it.

 

rpis make for pretty good NAS servers because they use very little electricity and can be on 24/7. The older gen rpi's suffered from slow I/O connections, but I believe they've remedied this with the rpi4.

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2 minutes ago, jeanluckpiccard said:

I know people use it for different things. In my case, I have a cheap external HDD attached to a rpi3 which streams movies, tv shows and music to my downstairs tv. rpis' use very little electricity and can be on 24/7 as file servers, etc.

That sound really interesting, I didn't know rpi could be used for something like that. I don't even know what you would call that though, can you link to any webpage explaining that? I'm sure I can find more from there, but I don't even know what to google to start.

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20 minutes ago, jeanluckpiccard said:

I didn't create the thread...just responding to his OP. 😀

Oops 

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4 minutes ago, jeanluckpiccard said:

 

15 minutes ago, jeanluckpiccard said:

I use it all of the time to play games on my upstairs PC from my sofa downstairs

It looks like this thread on NAS is for storing movies etc. to harddrives, which is what I was thinking of with NAS. I was more interested in the streaming shows and playing games. I have a similar setup to what you described with my gaming PC upstairs and my TV downstairs, so when I want to watch netflix or other streaming service, I'm stuck using my OLD xbox 360. I actually originally bought the rpi4 for streaming but could never get it working for that on its own, but I never considered using it as an intermediate between my PC. Is this the kind of thing you're talking about?

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5 minutes ago, drurya96 said:

 

It looks like this thread on NAS is for storing movies etc. to harddrives, which is what I was thinking of with NAS. I was more interested in the streaming shows and playing games. I have a similar setup to what you described with my gaming PC upstairs and my TV downstairs, so when I want to watch netflix or other streaming service, I'm stuck using my OLD xbox 360. I actually originally bought the rpi4 for streaming but could never get it working for that on its own, but I never considered using it as an intermediate between my PC. Is this the kind of thing you're talking about?

I have a roku tv downstairs which receives a stream from my rpi plex server (which is upstairs). I should have mentioned, to use parsec your rpi would serve as the 'go between' for your PC and TV. I have another rpi directly connected to my tv. I'll then remote into my PC upstairs and start playing games. Your PC does all of the 'heavy lifting' and all the rpi does is stream. Hope that clears it up.

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1 minute ago, jeanluckpiccard said:

I have a roku tv which receives the stream from the plex server. I should have mentioned, to use parsec your rpi would serve as the 'go between' for your PC and TV. I have a rpi3 directly connected to my tv downstairs. I'll then remote into my PC upstairs and start playing games. Your PC does all of the 'heavy lifting' and all the rpi does is stream. Hope that clears it up.

That helps so much. I'll have to read up on it, but you may have just made my workstation obsolete... if I can just use my gaming rig as a workstation from the other room. Though I'm not sure that video calls would work well for that. Still though, that opens a whole new set of possibilities for my rpi4 I didn't even know existed, so Thanks!

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3 minutes ago, drurya96 said:

That helps so much. I'll have to read up on it, but you may have just made my workstation obsolete... if I can just use my gaming rig as a workstation from the other room. Though I'm not sure that video calls would work well for that. Still though, that opens a whole new set of possibilities for my rpi4 I didn't even know existed, so Thanks!

I'll also mention, they make for pretty good video surveillance servers (although a rpi4 is probably overkill) The software is free and allows you to log in and view the attached camera and review any recorded video. rpi0's are like $10 each and are perfect for this.

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1 hour ago, jeanluckpiccard said:

It's not really economically smart for homes as it's probably a bit cheaper for one to buy PC's for each user

To get back to the original topic of the thread, what about a single machine system for a home actually makes it more expensive? Compared to say 4 PCs, each with their own motherboard, cpu, power supply, etc. which components make the single machine system more expensive? I mean ofc the threadripper is expensive, but its like $1200 compared to 4 Ryzen 7 3700Xs at around $300 each, it seems the CPU price is at least comparable. Still more for the single machine since thats 24 cores vs 32, but it doesn't seem like an absurd difference for the cpu at least.

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5 minutes ago, drurya96 said:

To get back to the original topic of the thread, what about a single machine system for a home actually makes it more expensive? Compared to say 4 PCs, each with their own motherboard, cpu, power supply, etc. which components make the single machine system more expensive? I mean ofc the threadripper is expensive, but its like $1200 compared to 4 Ryzen 7 3700Xs at around $300 each, it seems the CPU price is at least comparable. Still more for the single machine since thats 24 cores vs 32, but it doesn't seem like an absurd difference for the cpu at least.

I'm certainly not an expert and I believe there is another thread on this same topic that explains this pretty well. You have to think...even 'economical' PC's cost at least a few hundred dollars, then you have the server which can easily run you upwards of $1,000-$2000, as well as the equipment. If you have multiple users trying to play games from a server, you need a pretty beefy GPU and CPU, as well as a lot of RAM. It makes sense for, say a business with dozens of user to use cheap thin clients as the savings eventually adds up. However, for a home with maybe 3 PC's it doesn't make much sense (although it's a really neat idea)

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9 minutes ago, jeanluckpiccard said:

I believe there is another thread on this same topic that explains this pretty well

I'm searching but no luck. Suggested keywords? I don't even know what to call the system

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