diy low power small footprint server guides

sdsth

New Member
Jan 10, 2018
6
0
1
40
I'm looking for guides or perhaps a comparison tool to help me pick hardware for a low power small footprint home server. The inspiration is to create a powerful DIY microserver to replace my NAS and provide a little more power/flexibility.

requirements:
low power usage
small footprint
1 gig ethernet

totally not necessary but nice to haves:
light gpu (mining coin/android emulator)

Uses are:
24/7 uptime
File backup
folder hosting (smb)
light virtualization to play with
storj/siacoin storage server
web host
software development
vpn server

Current thinking:
ubuntu server
xeon d processor (which one?)
supermicro motherboard (which one?)
I currently have two 1 tb drives. Eventually I think support for 4 x 4TB bytes would be enough for my needs.
16 Gig ram to start with, probably want to end up with 32-64 in a few years
small microatx case
150 watt power supply

Budget: 500-750, but not set in stone.
 

nk215

Active Member
Oct 6, 2015
316
92
28
46
The uATX and 64gig memory requirements severely limit your choices. Basically you are locked into DDR4 memory prices with either an E3-12xx v5 with X11SSM-F or E5-1600v3/2600v3 with X10SRM-F for example to stay within budget with a single 16g memory stick. The CPU you can get for those E3-1230v5 for example is not that great in performance (but awesome in saving electricity).

Another option is Xeon-D 1521; Still expensive D4 memory. The above 3 setups run you around $600 with just MB/CPU/16g DDR4 single stick.

Step the size up to ATX and you can take advantage of the DDR3 prices with E5-2600v1/v2 with significantly more computing power.
Another option is to stay with uATX but within a 32g limit (older generation E3/i3). When you need more than 32g, just get a second setup. E3 setup with 32G UDIMM for around $350 is about right.
 

sdsth

New Member
Jan 10, 2018
6
0
1
40
The uATX and 64gig memory requirements severely limit your choices. Basically you are locked into DDR4 memory prices with either an E3-12xx v5 with X11SSM-F or E5-1600v3/2600v3 with X10SRM-F for example to stay within budget with a single 16g memory stick. The CPU you can get for those E3-1230v5 for example is not that great in performance (but awesome in saving electricity).

Another option is Xeon-D 1521; Still expensive D4 memory. The above 3 setups run you around $600 with just MB/CPU/16g DDR4 single stick.

Step the size up to ATX and you can take advantage of the DDR3 prices with E5-2600v1/v2 with significantly more computing power.
Another option is to stay with uATX but within a 32g limit (older generation E3/i3). When you need more than 32g, just get a second setup. E3 setup with 32G UDIMM for around $350 is about right.
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll look everything up and see if I can cross anything off. The $600 setups you mentioned sound doable, I have the drives, so all I need is the case and power supply. But how much more performance/power savings/future proof am I getting over the $350 setup you mentioned?
 

Evan

Well-Known Member
Jan 6, 2016
3,071
512
113
X10srm you could today run a cheap 4-core v3 or v4 and can go all the way to 22 cores v4 but more affordable cpu’s being 10 or 14 cores.
Again move to an ATX board and get double the ram slots and a cheaper board.

Plug and play would be the d-1521 in a supermicro mitx case sc721
 

nk215

Active Member
Oct 6, 2015
316
92
28
46
The X11-SSM-F board is a great board for its size. The main drawback is that you traded PCI and RAM slots for a smaller size. To stay within the budget, you are limited to processor such as the E5-2609v3. This is about as basic as you can get in the E5 v3 family.

As far as performance goes, it's significantly slower than the E3-1230v2 (the $350 setup). It's main advantage is in future proofing (more memory and the ability to replace the CPU in a year or 2).

The $350 setup is basically the end of the road with DDR3, most likely you'll run into the 32g memory limit way sooner than the computing limit of the E3-1230v2 for your purpose (file server, light virtualization, web host, software development -- basically a step up from your NAS). Keep things in perspective, commercial NASes with E3 class CPUs are in the $2,500+ range.

If you only need a 2 or 3 VM that needs to be 24/7 and turn on the other host as-needed then a dual cheap setup makes a lot of sense.
 

sdsth

New Member
Jan 10, 2018
6
0
1
40
The X11-SSM-F board is a great board for its size. The main drawback is that you traded PCI and RAM slots for a smaller size. To stay within the budget, you are limited to processor such as the E5-2609v3. This is about as basic as you can get in the E5 v3 family.

As far as performance goes, it's significantly slower than the E3-1230v2 (the $350 setup). It's main advantage is in future proofing (more memory and the ability to replace the CPU in a year or 2).

The $350 setup is basically the end of the road with DDR3, most likely you'll run into the 32g memory limit way sooner than the computing limit of the E3-1230v2 for your purpose (file server, light virtualization, web host, software development -- basically a step up from your NAS). Keep things in perspective, commercial NASes with E3 class CPUs are in the $2,500+ range.

If you only need a 2 or 3 VM that needs to be 24/7 and turn on the other host as-needed then a dual cheap setup makes a lot of sense.
So If I understand correctly, the e3-1230v2 setup will perform better than e5-2609 v3 and cost half the price, but very limited by RAM. What would be a comparable e5 in performance and price?

Secondly, could I also consider core i3/i5? Someone recommend i5-6500t to me. How does that compare? They mentioned chinese mini pc: Intel Quad Core i5 6500T Mini PC Windows 10 Desktop Computer Nettop barebone system NUC Skylake HTPC HD530 Graphics 4K 300M WiFi-in Mini PC from Computer & Office on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group.

Also, the dell t30 has the e3-1225v5 that supports up to 64 GB. How does that compare to the e3-1230v2? The TDP is higher, but will idle power usage be similar?
 
Last edited:

sdsth

New Member
Jan 10, 2018
6
0
1
40
The uATX and 64gig memory requirements severely limit your choices. Basically you are locked into DDR4 memory prices with either an E3-12xx v5 with X11SSM-F or E5-1600v3/2600v3 with X10SRM-F for example to stay within budget with a single 16g memory stick. The CPU you can get for those E3-1230v5 for example is not that great in performance (but awesome in saving electricity).

Another option is Xeon-D 1521; Still expensive D4 memory. The above 3 setups run you around $600 with just MB/CPU/16g DDR4 single stick.

Step the size up to ATX and you can take advantage of the DDR3 prices with E5-2600v1/v2 with significantly more computing power.
Another option is to stay with uATX but within a 32g limit (older generation E3/i3). When you need more than 32g, just get a second setup. E3 setup with 32G UDIMM for around $350 is about right.
I think the more I look into this the more I am leening towards the ATX card to save money. Looking into how much power an e5-2600 will use up during idle.
 

_alex

Active Member
Jan 28, 2016
874
94
28
Bavaria / Germany
So If I understand correctly, the e3-1230v2 setup will perform better than e5-2609 v3 and cost half the price, but very limited by RAM. What would be a comparable e5 in performance and price?
E5 1620v2 can be found really cheap and still do a good job with cheap ddr3. Also 1650 to 1680 when the price is right.
 

whitey

Moderator
Jun 30, 2014
2,770
866
113
38
I think the more I look into this the more I am leening towards the ATX card to save money. Looking into how much power an e5-2600 will use up during idle.
Figure 80-120watt range is my take depending on I/O cards and reasonable amt of disks/ssd's.

EDIT: That is a single socket config estimation btw
 
Last edited:

nk215

Active Member
Oct 6, 2015
316
92
28
46
Dell really went out of its way to make the T30 hard to upgrade. The power supply connector on the motherboard is not standard. PCI slots can only deliver 25 watts max each (can't use a decent video card there for passthru or whatever reason).

Other than that for $300, it's a great starting system.
 

sdsth

New Member
Jan 10, 2018
6
0
1
40
Dell really went out of its way to make the T30 hard to upgrade. The power supply connector on the motherboard is not standard. PCI slots can only deliver 25 watts max each (can't use a decent video card there for passthru or whatever reason).

Other than that for $300, it's a great starting system.
lenove ts140 is also near this price on sale. Would that be better?
 

nk215

Active Member
Oct 6, 2015
316
92
28
46
The TS140 is not equivalent to Dell TS30. TS140 is capped at 32G max memory. I don't think there's a TS140 that can take v5 and newer E3.
 

fractal

Active Member
Jun 7, 2016
312
69
28
29
I'm looking for guides or perhaps a comparison tool to help me pick hardware for a low power small footprint home server. The inspiration is to create a powerful DIY microserver to replace my NAS and provide a little more power/flexibility.

requirements:
low power usage
small footprint
1 gig ethernet
Sure sounds like a mac mini to me...
 

Joel

Active Member
Jan 30, 2015
811
162
43
38
Sure sounds like a mac mini to me...
But for these requirements:

Eventually I think support for 4 x 4TB bytes would be enough for my needs.
16 Gig ram to start with, probably want to end up with 32-64 in a few years
I know some folks are ok with external HDD enclosures (required for MM to get 4x4tb), but I hate them personally. Drives run hot, plus wires everywhere. Defeats the elegance of a Mac Mini.

OP: TS140 was mentioned already, but what about the Lenovo S30? E5 class machine, standardized ATX components. Not mATX, but can fit everything you're looking for. Available for cheap on the Bay of e...

Could get 64GB memory RIGHT NOW and be within budget.