How do you guys determine if a server on eBay is a good deal or not?

smccloud

Member
Jun 4, 2013
303
10
18
I'm starting to plan out my network upgrade for when I get a house and am just wondering how everyone determines if a server on eBay is a good deal or not. I know HP is out for me (BIOS policy) but I want to get a good deal.

Currently winning for me is this Dell PowerEdge R610 auction although I know I'd have to upgrade the iDRAC to something higher. But some additional RAM & a SAS HBA + SAS Enclosure (like the SGI Rackable SE3016) would be great for my current and future needs. My question is, what all do I need to look for to determine if the server is an OK deal, good deal, great deal or bad deal?
 

Mike

Member
May 29, 2012
482
16
18
EU
Buy the hardware based on computational requirements. (Power)Efficiency and density is an art that will safe you money, not the 100 dollar difference last year's rackmounts bring you.
 

mrkrad

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2012
1,244
52
48
I'd stick to 5600 class cpu's like L5639/L5640 and the Perc H700 raid controller for the R610! That's what I rock!
 

smccloud

Member
Jun 4, 2013
303
10
18
Buy the hardware based on computational requirements. (Power)Efficiency and density is an art that will safe you money, not the 100 dollar difference last year's rackmounts bring you.
I want to virtualize a FreeNAS box (pass through on a SAS HBA), Ubuntu 14.04 Server (UniFi Controller), CentOS 6.5 Server (PBX in a Flash), Ubuntu 6.10 (for managing my switch), a Windows Server 2008R2/2012R2 machine (WSUS). The only things I think the server I linked is light on is RAM & NICs and those can be added.

I'd stick to 5600 class cpu's like L5639/L5640 and the Perc H700 raid controller for the R610! That's what I rock!
As long as the RAID controller it comes with is supported by ESXi, I'm fine. At most, it will run a RAID5 array for VM storage with all my data sitting on a ZFS pool. Not sure I would need the hex core CPUs either, I figure most stuff I need can run fine on two cores other than FreeNAS which would get 3 cores. That would leave me with a core left over for ESXi itself.
 

dba

Moderator
Feb 20, 2012
1,478
181
63
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
I'm starting to plan out my network upgrade for when I get a house and am just wondering how everyone determines if a server on eBay is a good deal or not. I know HP is out for me (BIOS policy) but I want to get a good deal.

Currently winning for me is this Dell PowerEdge R610 auction although I know I'd have to upgrade the iDRAC to something higher. But some additional RAM & a SAS HBA + SAS Enclosure (like the SGI Rackable SE3016) would be great for my current and future needs. My question is, what all do I need to look for to determine if the server is an OK deal, good deal, great deal or bad deal?
For in-home servers, I like to look at: 1) Acquisition price 2) Operational cost (electricity) 3) Noise 4) Ease of use - quality BIOS, etc. 5) Compatibility - e.g. widely supported chips and up to date drivers 6) Likely resale value 7) Size and friendliness of the community supporting the hardware.

That generally rules out new high-end equipment as too expensive to buy, really old equipment as having compatibility problems and high operating costs, and niche equipment for multiple reasons. What's left is popular used gear 1-4 years old from respected larger manufacturers. From there I wait patiently for a good price! My favorite tool for price checking is eBay, where I use the "Advanced" search to look for "Sold listings" to get an idea of the lowest commonly-seen market price. Anything below that is a good deal.
 

smccloud

Member
Jun 4, 2013
303
10
18
For in-home servers, I like to look at: 1) Acquisition price 2) Operational cost (electricity) 3) Noise 4) Ease of use - quality BIOS, etc. 5) Compatibility - e.g. widely supported chips and up to date drivers 6) Likely resale value 7) Size and friendliness of the community supporting the hardware.

That generally rules out new high-end equipment as too expensive to buy, really old equipment as having compatibility problems and high operating costs, and niche equipment for multiple reasons. What's left is popular used gear 1-4 years old from respected larger manufacturers. From there I wait patiently for a good price! My favorite tool for price checking is eBay, where I use the "Advanced" search to look for "Sold listings" to get an idea of the lowest commonly-seen market price. Anything below that is a good deal.
How does one really determine the operational cost of hardware though?
 

Pri

Active Member
Jul 30, 2014
122
50
28
Look up the power consumption of the components. The CPU's and Hard Drives will have TDP's reported online and you can discern the power consumption from that and from other components such as the motherboard, fans and memory through deduction.

Using these methods you can get a very close idea to the power consumption. Then you just figure out what your energy supplier charges per watt and do the maths for how much it would run 24.7 over a 30 day period.
 
Last edited:

dba

Moderator
Feb 20, 2012
1,478
181
63
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
How does one really determine the operational cost of hardware though?
The most important component of operational cost is watts. I calculate watts times hours run times electricity rates to get an idea of the $/year that I'll spend to run the hardware. A $100 eBay quad-CPU mega-server from 2008 that idles at 600 watts might be just as fast as a $800 new single-CPU mini server from today, but could cost $800/year more to run.

Here is a funny example: You can buy a used Cisco catalyst 6500 chassis on eBay for around $150, and with patience turn it into a pretty nice switch/router for far less than buying a new network switch. Here is a chassis on eBay that can get you started. It's pretty impressive for the price. Unfortunately, when you plug it in, you'll be adding two 8,700 watt power supplies and nine huge fans to your monthly electricity bill! Ok, silly example but you get the point that acquisition price is not the only variable.
 

smccloud

Member
Jun 4, 2013
303
10
18
The most important component of operational cost is watts. I calculate watts times hours run times electricity rates to get an idea of the $/year that I'll spend to run the hardware. A $100 eBay quad-CPU mega-server from 2008 that idles at 600 watts might be just as fast as a $800 new single-CPU mini server from today, but could cost $800/year more to run.

Here is a funny example: You can buy a used Cisco catalyst 6500 chassis on eBay for around $150, and with patience turn it into a pretty nice switch/router for far less than buying a new network switch. Here is a chassis on eBay that can get you started. It's pretty impressive for the price. Unfortunately, when you plug it in, you'll be adding two 8,700 watt power supplies and nine huge fans to your monthly electricity bill! Ok, silly example but you get the point that acquisition price is not the only variable.
For the server I specified (not including the SGI Rackable enclosure nor disks in it), I calculate approximately $30.53 per month. Based on the eXtreme Power Supply Calculator. This includes 6 2.5" HDDs, the SAS HBA & a Quad Port NIC. Based on my current electrical rate of (gotta love MN winters).
  • Energy Charge Winter $0.073930 $34.16
  • Fuel Cost Charge $0.026797
However, in a house I think the heat would help reduce the amount of energy used to heat the place offsetting that a bit (but hurting it in the summer). Still not to bad and if someone knows how much power a SGI Rackable enclosure uses empty that would be nice to know.
 

FMA1394

Active Member
Jan 11, 2013
624
186
43
Look up the power consumption of the components. The CPU's and Hard Drives will have TDP's reported online and you can discern the power consumption of other components such as the motherboard, fans and memory through deduction.

Using these methods you can get a very close idea to the power consumption. Then you just figure out what your energy supplier charges per watt and do the maths for how much it would run 24.7 over a 30 day period.
TDP is not power consumption. It's a measure of how much heat it produces.
 

Pri

Active Member
Jul 30, 2014
122
50
28
TDP is not power consumption. It's a measure of how much heat it produces.
Usually the hotter things run the more power they are consuming. It's an indicator that something is going to be an energy guzzler. I know it isn't a reflection of the power consumption, I think everyone on this forum already knows that.

Most component makers will not tell you actual power consumption so the TDP is sometimes all you get without purchasing the parts and running a wattage meter on them.
 

mrkrad

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2012
1,244
52
48
lower end cpu's leak more power which is why an e5606 runs at 80 watts and an L5639 runs at 60 watts!
 

smccloud

Member
Jun 4, 2013
303
10
18
lower end cpu's leak more power which is why an e5606 runs at 80 watts and an L5639 runs at 60 watts!
No they don't. It just depends on the number of cores, clock speed & voltage. In the case of the E5606 & L5639, the L5639 has a lower core voltage which is why it uses less power.
 

mrkrad

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2012
1,244
52
48
The E5606 runs less at more wattage due to leaky bits, otherwise it would run too at the same voltage as the L5639!
 

Mike

Member
May 29, 2012
482
16
18
EU
The E5606 runs less at more wattage due to leaky bits, otherwise it would run too at the same voltage as the L5639!
I'm actually trying to patch my cpu, tired of all those bit-leaks.
Can't compare tdps, let alone a boxed cpu with something Intel will deny even exists.