Building my first homelab server! Help would be appreciated!

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Chynamane

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Jun 28, 2023
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So i recently i've gotten into learning networking and cloud, and would like to have my own private server/cloud instead of paying google/amazon and all the rest of cloud based softwares. I've looked into synology and qnap for nas, but for the price of them I realized i could just build my own at half the cost. I would like to run my own nas, create backups, plex , home assistant and few VM's. I also would like it to be as power efficient as possible.

Currently the components I have are:

- ASRock Rack E3C246D4U2-2T mATX Dual 10GbE IPMI 8xSATA DDR4 ECC Intel QSV LGA1151
- i5 9500t ( I am wondering if i should go for a XEON cpu instead)
- 2x 64gb kingston ecc ram 2666 but the (i5 9500t does not run ecc memory, is ecc memory necessary?)
- 4x 10tb ironwolf pro hdd
- 1x 512gb m.2
- 1x 2tb m.2 wd black sn850x
- cheap mATX case with 4 drive bays


which OS should i run? should i change any of my components? PSU options? should I add a gpu?

All your thoughts will be appreciated.
 

rtech

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Jun 2, 2021
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You sure that Mobo will take that CPU?
With Xeon CPU ECC ram might be must check with mobo manual
cheapo case with 0.5mm thick steel walls might might give you nasty vibration problems
You should not cheap out on PSU cultists has some nice list

Id go for Linux because is the most common option in my experience most walked patch tends to be the easiest
Debian,Suse,Ubuntu
 
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Chynamane

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Jun 28, 2023
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Thanks for your input! The case I have is a DeepCool MATREXX 40. It seems like it has decent airflow from the front, top and back for a push pull configuration. But I was also looking at the "Fractal Node 804" as it has expandable HDD slots. Also from what i've seen on the manual it says it can take LGA 1151 Coffee lake. But from what I know only the i3 9300 takes ECC ram. I've built a gaming PC, and yes PSU's can never be cheaped out on. Although I do have a corsair cm550x do you think that would be enough to power everything? Im still learning linux, I've heard of unraid and true nas what are those like? As for xeon cpu's I was looking at a the XEON E2278g on ebay, which has 8 cores, do you think its overkill? also there were people selling the cpu that has ES on them (ie. E2278g ES and has XEON CONFIDENTIAL on them) are they real?
 

TLN

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Feb 26, 2016
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I have somewhat similar setup: EPC612D4U-2T8R: mATX with 10G and SAS controller onboard.
Running ESXi, passing through graphics cars (3060Ti) and USB controllers for desktop VM , SAS controller into storage VM and etc.
Seems like a great plan to me. I would not necessary stick with ESXi, but I'm familiar with it, so why not.
 
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rtech

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Jun 2, 2021
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In manual i have not seen any mention if that Asrock mobo supports Core CPUs
ECC ram has a lot of advantages for miniscule performance penalty for your workload.
As long the case construction will kill vibrations its alright Hot-swap is not really necessary if you want to cheapen out.
- 550W is plent for this setup if you want to future proof the build do a search for PSU calculator on internet.

My reccommendation is to create VM per each service so you gain separation plus one borked thing in one VM will not affect you whole server
TrueNAS non-core is BSD based have they improved their HW support or whats the state of their driver support?
TrueNAS scale is Linux based so hardware compatibility should better.
Unraid i have no experience with. I only have experience with Debian,Suse,Ubuntu you cant make bad choice here as you are beginner pick whichever appeals to you most and you think can utilize the experience in future.

With ES/QS CPU you can run into compatibility issues search for ES QS thread here on this forum.

That motherboard has max ram per stick is 32G
 
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Chynamane

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Jun 28, 2023
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Thanks you guys! This forum and community is so informative, I did not think I was going to get a response so quick. You guys are awesome!!!

I was referring to this picture btw. That's why I thought coffee lake might support it. But I think I'll go Xeon just to be safe. I am thinking of getting this for CPU
- Xeon E-2276G
for RAM
- 2x HYNIX 32GB (1X32GB) 2RX4 PC4-2666V DDR4 ECC REG SERVER MEMORY ( just to start out )

When you're saying to create VM per each service you mean to create them in Ubuntu OS or something like Proxmox ? I am a bit confused to as I've only started tinkering with VirtualBox few months ago. Seems like I got long ways to go...I feel like I have no idea what I am talking about. lol . But i hope you guys can understand.

I have somewhat similar setup: EPC612D4U-2T8R: mATX with 10G and SAS controller onboard.
Running ESXi, passing through graphics cars (3060Ti) and USB controllers for desktop VM , SAS controller into storage VM and etc.
Seems like a great plan to me. I would not necessary stick with ESXi, but I'm familiar with it, so why not.
What do you mean passing through graphics cards and USB controllers (is that what KVM's are for?) I have several GPU's I can put in the server. But I was not thinking of it. My friend was telling me I could build a steam cache in the server as well. Would I need a GPU for that?
 

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TLN

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Feb 26, 2016
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When you're saying to create VM per each service you mean to create them in Ubuntu OS or something like Proxmox ? I am a bit confused to as I've only started tinkering with VirtualBox few months ago. Seems like I got long ways to go...I feel like I have no idea what I am talking about. lol . But i hope you guys can understand.
Proxmos is a hypervisor (ESXi is another one). Ubuntu is OS
You can install Proxmox and run five VMs: Ubuntu, Ubuntu, Debian, Windows and etc. All together on same host.

What do you mean passing through graphics cards and USB controllers (is that what KVM's are for?) I have several GPU's I can put in the server. But I was not thinking of it. My friend was telling me I could build a steam cache in the server as well. Would I need a GPU for that?
You can pass-through devices into virtual machines. For example, I'm running dozen operating systems and give access to USB controllers (keyboard and mouse) and graphics card (display output) to one Virtual machine. In that case I can use that little server as normal desktop, but besides "normal Windows OS" there's 10 more operating systems running.

I've posted my build long time ago here: Currently swapped that 2060 with 3060 Ti and very happy about overall experience.

I actually got a long plan about mounting TV above my main monitor and running some sites/apps in 24/7 and that would be perfect scenario for that. On the other hand I was playing Modern Warfare on my old server just fine (with 2070 Super).
 
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Chynamane

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Jun 28, 2023
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oh wow, that's really cool. So technically, with the server I am currently building and this workstation I have from my previous job. (Dell Precision 7920 with 256gb of ECC ram I think, a single Xeon silver 4210R and a 2x RTX A4000). I can connect the server running a hypervisor, have it pass through my workstation and use the hardware in the workstation with the other OS's?
 

Chynamane

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Jun 28, 2023
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I use to do a lot of graphics and ad's in Toronto. I haven't touched the Dell workstation since I left my old job, they just told me to keep it. From what I know it's quite new. I don't know what to do with it. lol. I mostly use my gaming PC, as it can run all the harsh software I use anyways.

I'm kind of changing career paths and wanting get into IT. Coming from business marketing and graphic design, I feel like IT knowledge would be great have as the world is leading towards Networking, Cloud and AI. I'm currently studying for ComTIA A+. I find all this server building and implementing different types of VM's really interesting.
 
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