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Desktop Virtual Machine Server Farm

Your recommended desktop platform for server virtualization  

3 members have voted

  1. 1. If you were building a virtual server farm on a PC, what platform would you build on?

    • Z370 / Coffee Lake
      0
    • X470 / Ryzen 7
      0
    • X99 / Broadwell
      1
    • X399 / Threadripper
      1
    • X299 / Skylake-X
      0
    • Other
      1


I have a gaming rig that I love: i7-4790K / 32 GB RAM / GTX 1080 / 4 TB RAID.  Built it over 3 years ago and it handles modern titles in 4K without breaking a sweat.  However... it's not quite powerful enough, or upgradeable enough, to run a virtual machine farm.  RAM is maxed, LGA 1150 CPUs do not scale beyond quad-core... I can run a couple VMs, even while gaming, but my goal is to run five (5) VMs concurrently on Windows 10 with VMware Workstation: Active Directory domain controller, SharePoint 2019 server, SQL Server 2017 server, and 2x Windows 10 client machines (one on domain and one off domain).

 

What I cannot decide is: what platform should I build this on?  Here are my build constraints: minimum of 8 CPU cores, minimum of 64 GB of RAM, minimum of 6 x SATA for 3 x RAID 1 (would be willing to add a RAID card if needed).

 

My research so far: Z370 is attractive from a cost standpoint and the i7-9700K is an affordable 8-core CPU.  X470 and the Ryzen 7 2700X is even more affordable, yet I'm not sure how well it handles virtualization.  LGA 2011-v3 has the Broadwell line of CPUs and the X99 chipset, but at a significant cost increase for 8 or 10 cores whereas the Threadripper 2950X on X399 makes more sense here jumping to 16 cores for ~$900.  Then there's X299 and the i7-7820X.  As nice as a Xeon/Opteron would be, it's way outside of my price range, and I need a desktop PC so I can hook it up to my TV and use it for media streaming as well as a VM mule.  I might throw in a GTX 1060 for some lightweight gaming.

 

I added a poll for tracking with an Other option.  I'm curious to know what the community recommends.  I'm trying to keep the build under $4,000.

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It would depend on the budget. DDR4 is expensive, but DDR3 ECC isn't.

 

A lot of the newer platforms will get expensive quickly just due to memory alone.

However, if you go on Ebay and grab some used server hardware, you can get some really decent stuff for a pretty low price.

 

This would be going further back than Haswell, to the X58/LGA 1366 platform(Nehalem and Westmere). You can grab dual Xeon X5650(6c/12t) on Ebay for around 30 USD, 16GB of DR3 ECC for $32/apiece, and a server board for under $150.

 

The only problem with server boards is that they usually wouldn't fit in a normal case due to their wonky form factor, but if you can find a server case to go with all of this, you're home free.

Quote or tag me( @Crunchy Dragon) if you want me to see your reply

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Hey @Crunchy Dragon Thanks for the tips! I've noticed the unbearable cost of DDR4 memory (~$700 for 64 GB). I like your plan, been doing some poking around on ebay and it looks like ASUS makes an LGA 1366 server motherboard, dual socket, in ATX form factor which will host a whopping 96 GB of RAM, the Z8NA-D6C which comes in right around the $150 mark and the X5650s are a steal at $30. Stumbled upon the Z11PA-D8 which will accept up to 1 TB of DDR4 memory if I win the lottery.

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