Epyc vs Threadripper for homeserver & NAS

Epyc or Threadripper

  • Epyc

    Votes: 9 56.3%
  • Threadripper

    Votes: 5 31.3%
  • Ryzen 3950x

    Votes: 2 12.5%

  • Total voters
    16

jeffarese

New Member
Sep 10, 2019
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Hello.

I'm upgrading a server I have at home and I'm looking at Epyc & Threadripper CPUs.

My needs are:
  • 1 VM as main development server which also acts as CI/CD running tests
  • Multiple VMs for testing
  • VPN & firewall
  • Media center (automation with Plex, Sonarr, Radarr...etc)
I currently have aprox 80TB and I'm planning on keep increasing this storage a lot, so I need plenty of room for storage expansion.

I also need to have some NVMe drives in RAID 0 / 10 for some very intensive IO tasks.

I do NOT need GPU power.

Looking at the new Epyc 7002 series they actually seem cheaper than current Threadrippers, the only thing it's holding me back in that regard is that at least here in Europe Epyc motherboards are pretty hard to get get.


Also, is there any reason to chose Threadripper over Epyc in my use case? high frequency is not needed for my use case at all, so I think it would be a waste of power.

In any case, which boards would you recommend? Anybody have similar setups?

Thanks!
 

alex_stief

Active Member
May 31, 2016
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Don't forget about Epyc 1st gen, especially since 2nd gen boards are hard to come by. I just received my 2 new Epyc 7551 today. That's 32 cores each for only 1200€.
If you can work around the NUMA issues of first gen, it is a viable option in my opinion. Current gen Threadripper is the same in that regard.
 
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jeffarese

New Member
Sep 10, 2019
8
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1
That's another option to consider, yes.

The new series are a little bit more efficient, but maybe if I get a good deal it can be better value to buy an Epyc 1st Gen.

Which board are you using?
 

alex_stief

Active Member
May 31, 2016
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Supermicro H11DSi.
I originally planned on making the upgrade to 2nd gen Epyc. Currently using 2x 7301 with DDR4-2133. But with no boards available, insane price drops on 1st gen Epyc and affordable DDR4-2666, I changed my mind.
 

Patrick

Administrator
Staff member
Dec 21, 2010
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I will say this. We still bought some EPYC 7401P systems up until the Rome launch. The EPYC 7002 chips are absolutely great as well. To me, if you are going to many cores and virtualization, getting EPYC and having server motherboards and more memory channels is worth it.
 

jeffarese

New Member
Sep 10, 2019
8
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1
Would you have any recommendations about motherboard?

My budget is ~ 1600€ for both mobo and CPU.

I was looking at Supermicro H11SSL-i, althought it bothers me buying a board for a 7002 series without PCIe 4.
 

Philmatic

Active Member
Sep 15, 2011
126
85
28
I’m in the same exact boat as you (Running dual E5-2670’s on ESXi and have 10 or so VMs running, including 130TB storage server, Sonarr/Radarr, Plex, and tons of other things in their own VMs) and I keep going back and forth between Epyc and TR. If you don’t mind, I’ll make an unpopular recommendation:

Get a Ryzen 3000 CPU, and pair it with this motherboard: Asus Pro WS X570-ACE. You get IPMI-like features, ECC support, NVMe RAID support and three PCIe 4 slots that support 16x/8x/0x or 8x/8x/8x configurations that are probably good for you if you are not going to get a performant GPU.

Epyc 7002 looks FANTASTIC, but the motherboard options are weak right now and the 128 PCIe lanes are a waste unless you have some serious NVMe storage needs or run a GPU render farm. TR needs to die and be folded into Epyc. It’s a weird third kid that did great in school, but can’t seem to find it’s purpose in life.
 

jeffarese

New Member
Sep 10, 2019
8
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1
Thanks for your answer Philmatic.

I actually have a desktop with a Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master, so if I considered that option I could even use that board.

The problem with AM4 is that it's pretty limited in regards of RAM. Theoretically you can get 256GB, but unbuffered DDR4 sticks are 16GB nowadays with some super new models of 32GB appearing (with low availability), so it would be 64GB-128GB max.

I also think Threadripper is weird, but it offers more PCIe lanes and more RAM than Ryzen while being easier to find good boards than with Epyc.
 

Philmatic

Active Member
Sep 15, 2011
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Why do you need so much RAM? I thought I would need a lot so I loaded up my current server with 128GB and other than over provisioning all my VMs with tons of memory they’ll never need, it’s not being used at all.

I could EASILY squeeze:
Windows Server + DrivePool for storage
Plex
Sonarr/Radarr/SABnzb/qBittorrent
Homebridge
Channels DVR
UniFi controller
And a handful of other VMs

In under 16GB, 32 if you are feeling generous. It turns out these days you don’t need as much RAM as you would think, most software runs pretty well with minimal memory.
 

jeffarese

New Member
Sep 10, 2019
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I know that maybe I could do with that amount, but since I'm going to invest that amount of money now I want to future-proof as much as possible, if that makes sense.

The PCI lanes are welcome too of course. I'm planning on using one alone in a NVMe * 4 adapter, which already takes a x16 out.
 

Philmatic

Active Member
Sep 15, 2011
126
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Fair enough, I think the cost savings (for me at least) justifies the lack of RAM capacity and PCIe lanes, but if you are willing to spend, I would stick to the 7002 Epyc’s. They will generally be better supported with Registered ECC and IPMI, along with the significantly higher memory channels and PCIe lanes. I just wish SuperMicro had good H12 ATX options with PCIe 4.
 

ttabbal

Active Member
Mar 10, 2016
756
202
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For a server, I would go Epyc. The support for registered ECC is really nice as RAM prices are still higher and those tend to be a bit cheaper, particularly when you can find off-lease, though DDR4 is still a bit new for there to be a lot of that floating around. The PCIe lanes are nuts on those things, but we all like expansion..

For a workstation, I went TR as I have a few single threaded programs that can make use of the higher clocks. I was building to run GPU passthrough to a VM, so I wanted the lanes for that, and the added memory channels were nice. PCIe 4, I don't worry about as there isn't much available to use it yet. But if you're planning to run for a few years on that board, it's worth considering. I think TR has an interesting niche, it's not a huge niche though, so I wouldn't be too shocked if AMD dropped it eventually. I do think it's good for them to compete in the HEDT space though. More pressure for Intel.
 

jeffarese

New Member
Sep 10, 2019
8
0
1
Why do you need so much RAM? I thought I would need a lot so I loaded up my current server with 128GB and other than over provisioning all my VMs with tons of memory they’ll never need, it’s not being used at all.

I could EASILY squeeze:
Windows Server + DrivePool for storage
Plex
Sonarr/Radarr/SABnzb/qBittorrent
Homebridge
Channels DVR
UniFi controller
And a handful of other VMs

In under 16GB, 32 if you are feeling generous. It turns out these days you don’t need as much RAM as you would think, most software runs pretty well with minimal memory.
Ahhh, you got into my head... now I'm thinking about using my current X570 Master and buying a 3950x when it comes out. Being 16c/32t at 105W it could do very well for an all-purpose server/NAS.

I wonder if having PCIe 4.0 means that there could be new HBA cards that added the double of ports in a single card, that would take any expansion concerns out of my mind for sure, since I don't need GPU.
 

Philip Brink

New Member
Sep 14, 2019
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It may be worth waiting a month to determine how the threadripper 3000 series turns out. There are rumors of HEDT and workstation versions. The workstation versions seem to be Epyc-like with 8 channel ram, high pci counts, etc. May not be the option for your situation, but it would drop prices of the previous generation.
 

alex_stief

Active Member
May 31, 2016
666
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The rumors I heard were that "lower-end" Threadripper will be available this year, but the higher-end variant will not be drop before 2020. So that could be a long wait.
 

Ruklaw

New Member
Dec 12, 2016
7
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Can't conceive why anyone would need epyc for home to be quite honest, unless their home doubles as hosting for a popular website that needs serious SSD storage back end, or a ridiculous amount of compute power. Nothing listed in the first post justifies it.

Anyhow, for work usage have recently picked up a couple of the asrock rack
X399D8A-2T motherboards and 1920x threadripper CPUs, which are crazily cheap at £230 ex VAT.

With 128gb of RAM they're already way more powerful than the old Xeon boxes they're replacing, and will hopefully be compatible with third gen threadrippers should it transpire we need more CPU power - even if they don't plenty of scope to swap out for a higher spec threadripper from current parts if necessary.

Was very tempted to go for the Ryzen 3900x but the threadripper is only a little slower, and has way more expansion capacity.