Advice on small home-server upgrade

legen

Active Member
Mar 6, 2013
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Hello!

I have outgrown my small home-lab server and looking for a good bang for the buck upgrade.

The current server is a X10SLH-F-O with 16GB ram and a E3-1271 v3. Been optimizing this thing for years pushing in more and more VMs, LXCs, dockers etc but now i have finally reached its limits. One can only squeeze in so much on 16GB ram and 4 cores. To continue with my next home project i need to find some upgrade parts.

So i ventured back here to STH since i have been out of the server-game for a good while now trying to get information on whats the best hardware to replace it with. Im looking for more cores and ram since those are the limiting factors. I don't have any big requirements, 64 (or 128 gb ram) and at least 14 cores would be my goal.

I see the E5 v4's have gone down considerably in price on ebay. Are those (for example the E5-2680 v4) the go-to CPU nowdays if one wants good bang for the buck on ebay? Are there any good priced motherboards i should keep a look out for?

Thanks!
 

RTM

Well-Known Member
Jan 26, 2014
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Other than bang for the buck, what do you care about?
  • Price? (do you have a budget you would like to stick with? how are you with buying used hardware?)
  • Power consumption? (Should it be as power efficient as possible? or would you rather have more performance per buck?)
  • Noise?
  • Size?
 

legen

Active Member
Mar 6, 2013
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Thanks for the reply,
  • Price? (do you have a budget you would like to stick with? how are you with buying used hardware?)
No set budget but i am looking at used hardware that is a couple of generations old to keep the price down. I read this thread https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/ebay-intel-xeon-e5-2680v4-168.29838/ and the E5-2680 v4 for around $168 sounds like a good price.
  • Power consumption? (Should it be as power efficient as possible? or would you rather have more performance per buck?)
Dont know if i can be that picky when it comes to whats available on the ebay-market but the E5 v4's seem to have a TDP of ~120W which sounds ok. But again im not sure what the options to the E5s are.
  • Noise?
It will be running in my basement but i intend on putting a standard desktop PC cpu cooler on it to make it more silent.
  • Size?
ATX
 

Markess

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2018
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Thanks for the reply,
  • Price? (do you have a budget you would like to stick with? how are you with buying used hardware?)
No set budget but i am looking at used hardware that is a couple of generations old to keep the price down. I read this thread https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/ebay-intel-xeon-e5-2680v4-168.29838/ and the E5-2680 v4 for around $168 sounds like a good price.
  • Power consumption? (Should it be as power efficient as possible? or would you rather have more performance per buck?)
Dont know if i can be that picky when it comes to whats available on the ebay-market but the E5 v4's seem to have a TDP of ~120W which sounds ok. But again im not sure what the options to the E5s are.
  • Noise?
It will be running in my basement but i intend on putting a standard desktop PC cpu cooler on it to make it more silent.
  • Size?
ATX
I like to (over-cumpusively) record power consumption at various points in a new build. I've found that, for configurations with similar power supplies & RAM count & etc, you can expect ~10-15w more at idle for an E5 v3/4 over an E3 v3 system. As for the E5s, all the ones with higher core counts use the same/similar die so all will have similar idle power draw. v4 isn't much more power efficient than v3, but they casn work with faster RAM, have more features and are newer of course. YMMV.

If you go with E5, make note of the motherboard's socket configuration, as there's two types: square and narrow. There's fewer heatsink options for the narrow pattern, but there's a few Noctua that fit and I've been very happy with my NH-U9DXi4 on a Fujutsu board using the same CPU that you linked above. Socket Compatibility Overview | Noctua Compatibility Centre

These are your E5 v4 CPU options (scroll down to "Broadwell-EP"). This list includes most (all?) the OEM models, which is helpful when searching Ebay etc.:
List of Intel Broadwell-based Xeon microprocessors - Wikipedia

And v3: List of Intel Haswell-based Xeon microprocessors - Wikipedia

For some reason, used motherboards are super crazy expensive, at least in the US, and as CPU prices go down, motherboard prices seem to be going up. There's boards with both C612 and X99 chipsents that have iPMI in case you need it. Not all X99 will work with E5s and/or RDIMMs though, so make sure to check manufacturer's specification pages if you're looking at any X99. I know that new boards are still available as well, with basic ones with IPMI going for ~$280(US) & up at NewEgg and ~$325(US) & up Provantage . Not sure what's available closer to your location though.
 
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RTM

Well-Known Member
Jan 26, 2014
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Sorry for being a bit lazy here, but perhaps you can find some inspiration from this thread:

Main points from there (not just mine):
  • If you can make do without IPMI, workstations are often surprisingly cheap.
  • You may want to consider something modern, like new Ryzens, even if they (may) have fewer cores than you would like, they should have (much) greater single threaded performance.
 

Zedicus

New Member
Jul 12, 2018
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an H8SGL from supermicro and an opteron 6366HE might be the trick. super low cost now, lots of cores, low power, can mash in TONS of ram, IPMI, only downside is single threaded apps take a small hit, and the CPU series is old enough now that some of the newer instruction sets are not available on it. i used this build as a VM host for a long time, i only recently upgraded to Epyc and moved the supermicro build over to being a freenas box.
 
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Bert

Active Member
Mar 31, 2018
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an H8SGL from supermicro and an opteron 6366HE might be the trick. super low cost now, lots of cores, low power, can mash in TONS of ram, IPMI, only downside is single threaded apps take a small hit, and the CPU series is old enough now that some of the newer instruction sets are not available on it. i used this build as a VM host for a long time, i only recently upgraded to Epyc and moved the supermicro build over to being a freenas box.
I have that motherboard because I wanted to buy the chassis. I bought two opteron 6380 as I wanted to test it. For the price, it was a very good performer. I remember getting 80% performance of dual e5-2650 V4.

I think OP needs to set a budget to get a proper response. There are so many "cheap" options and any dual socket system should be an upgrade over its current solution.

IMHO Haswell/Broadwell systems are really good now as DDR4 prices are crashing down. There were very good deals one year ago or so as so many of these systems were retiring. Nowadays motherboards/barebone systems are not priced that well.

Ivy Bridge/Sandy Bridge systems should be sufficiently capable and they are very cheap as most people upgraded to Haswell/Broadwell.
 

legen

Active Member
Mar 6, 2013
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Shame that the used E5 motherboards are so expensive. I need to sit down and digest/research the information you all have provided.

Thanks for the replies and the different ways i could go forward!
 
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Bert

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Mar 31, 2018
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Shame that the used E5 motherboards are so expensive. I need to sit down and digest/research the information you all have provided.

Thanks for the replies and the different ways i could go forward!
Feel free to check the for sale forums. You can find used parts for a prices lower than ebay.
 

Servergeek

New Member
Feb 23, 2021
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Yeah its crazy how the 2011-3 motherboards are still pulling $300-400 used on ebay.

Workstation-wise its not much better either. Barebones systems go for 200-500 for single socket and 400-1000 for dual socket. But where you get hosed is the price of Ram, DDR4 is still almost double the price of DDR3, and for VMs you want as much as you can squeeze in.

Yes H8S/D mobos are dirt cheap and so are CPUs/RAM. Was looking at them for a server build. They look like a solid option honestly.

You can also find X9 Sandy bridge/Ivy bridge motherboards for fairly inexpensively too, unfortunately the ATX ones are still in the realm of $150-250. The wierd form-factor ones (Supermicro's extended extended atx I will call it) go for cheaper because fewer cases support them, but there are cheap rack chassis that will fit them well. There is also the ones that use riser cards (X9DRW) that are dirt cheap.


But if you can deal with the noise an actual rack mount server is a better option. If you search around you might be able to find a Proliant/Poweredge for a decent price used.

Honestly Sandy/Ivy is a pretty solid option, just get a dual socket board with a ton of ram slots and you are good to go. Most stuff is more ram-reliant anyways.
 
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Bert

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Mar 31, 2018
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I think low Xeon V3/V4 prices are the reason for high motherboard prices. Now, DDR4 prices are also going down so it is even more affordable to build a LGA 2011-3 system.

Shameless plug. I have one X10-DRC for sale. This one has an onboard SAS3 controller and it is only $330 and it comes with two cpu's installed:)