HP Microserver Gen10 vs Budget MiniITX FreeNAS Build - 500€ - Europe

Miguel Antunes

New Member
Aug 3, 2019
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Hi guys!

This is my first post here.
I want to purchase a NAS/Home Server for running FreeNAS and other services in one or two Ubuntu VMs like Home Assistant, OpenVPN server, Plex Media Server and others. The server is going to run 24/7 in my bedroom so silence and low power consumption are a must.

As said on the post title my budget is around 500€ without drives (including tax), give or take.
For around 520€ I can buy a top configuration HPE Proliant Microserver Gen10 with the Opteron X3421 CPU and 8GB of DDR4 ECC memory. While doing some research I noticed that there were some people that did not like it.

Keeping this in mind I'd like to know if I can build a computer similar to to the Microserver Gen10 and stay under my budget.

I'd like the motherboard to be MiniITX, or MicroATX if it costs less.
Small case with at least 4 3.5'' drive bays.
8GB of ECC memory.
Intel Celeron, Pentium or i3 CPU.

I've been thinking on something along the lines of:

Intel i3 8100 - ~140€
Crucial/Kingston 8GB of DDR4 ECC memory - ~65€
Fractal Node 304 case - ~100€
Seasonic Focus Gold 80Plus Gold - ~80€

Which leaves me 115€ for a motherboard, which I can't find any that supports ECC memory. I thing I can go lower on the CPU, but the MiniITX server motherboards from ASRock or Supermicro seem to be very expensive and I can't seem to find them for sale in any of the most well known european online retailers.
I can consider an integrated CPU solution, but those seem to be even more expensive.

I'd also like to know your opinions on the Microserver Gen10, if possible.

Thank you very much.
Miguel from Portugal
 

EffrafaxOfWug

Radioactive Member
Feb 12, 2015
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The biggest downside of the HP microserver is the rather anaemic CPU; for file-serving duties it's adequate, for running VMs I suspect you'll find it very slow. Similarly, 8GB of physical memory is very, very little unless the RAM requirements of your VMs are very light indeed. IIRC FreeNAS itself recommends a bare minimum of 8GB RAM without leaving any spare for VM functions.

On the motherboard front, are features like IPMI a must-have? That's one of the big differentiators between cheap consumer level boards and the server boards that Supermicro et al make and if you can get away without it, and there are plenty of non-server bargain-basement motherboards that should allow you to use ECC UDIMMs with the i3 8100 such as the H310CM-ITXac if you're on a very tight budget.
 

Miguel Antunes

New Member
Aug 3, 2019
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The biggest downside of the HP microserver is the rather anaemic CPU; for file-serving duties it's adequate, for running VMs I suspect you'll find it very slow. Similarly, 8GB of physical memory is very, very little unless the RAM requirements of your VMs are very light indeed. IIRC FreeNAS itself recommends a bare minimum of 8GB RAM without leaving any spare for VM functions.

On the motherboard front, are features like IPMI a must-have? That's one of the big differentiators between cheap consumer level boards and the server boards that Supermicro et al make and if you can get away without it, and there are plenty of non-server bargain-basement motherboards that should allow you to use ECC UDIMMs with the i3 8100 such as the H310CM-ITXac if you're on a very tight budget.
Hi @EffrafaxOfWug,

FreeNAS isn't a must. I just mentioned it because it seemed like a good option.
I want a solution that allows me to have a file server at home without compromising my data (Personal pictures, documents, etc... Nothing mission critical.) and to run all the other services I mentioned (in a VM or not). In the file server side of things, if a simple RAID 1 under Linux is enough for that I'm more than happy. I plan on buying two 2TB/3TB drives in the beginning and use them in RAID1 for redundancy. In the future, if the storage runs short, I want the possibility of expansion.

IPMI isn't a must have, but would be a nice thing to have.

That board you mentioned supports ECC, but uses them in Non-ECC mode. I guess that ECC dims would be a waste here.

I placed a bid on a new Supermicro X11SCL-F motherboard on eBay. Even though it's a MicroATX board, it supports ECC memory, IPMI and RAID. If I get it cheap it'll be a nice start.
 

EffrafaxOfWug

Radioactive Member
Feb 12, 2015
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412
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Not quite sure how I missed the spec saying it'd run in non-ECC mode, d'oh!

I mean, uh, glad you spotted my deliberate mistake and actually confirmed the spec for yourself!

Did Intel take steps to close the "loophole" of people using chips like the i3 8100 to do server-lite builds in desktop motherboards then? From a quick search around I didn't see any 1151 boards that supported ECC outside of the usual server mobo suspects. Been too long since I looked too closely TBH as I've been eyeing AMD for my new build for years.

Good luck on getting the X11SCL-F, it's a good workhorse.
 

nick9999

New Member
May 3, 2019
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In Germany you can get a Fujitsu D3644-B for around 150 Eur, which is a microATX board supporting ECC. Sadly hase no IPMI unless a Xeon is used, then you get Intel AMT. Not sure if you can get your hands on one in Portugal though. If you can get that Supermicro you are better of.
 

Miguel Antunes

New Member
Aug 3, 2019
7
1
3
Hi guys!

Ended up buying the Microserver Gen10 mainly for being a ready made solution and for its quietness and low power.
When it arrives I'll give you some feedback.

Thank you!
 

ullbeking

Active Member
Jul 28, 2017
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In Germany you can get a Fujitsu D3644-B for around 150 Eur, which is a microATX board supporting ECC. Sadly hase no IPMI unless a Xeon is used, then you get Intel AMT.
Hey @nick9999!! I was literally just about to purchase it until the lack of IPMI struck me.

I am already interested in Fujitsu servers and I already have a few.

What would you recommend for a Fujitsu server board with IPMI which is similar to D3644-B? I'm looking through their catalog now because I want to build a home server that is quiet. I expect this will be easier in a tower case rather than a rack chassis and I am planning accordingly.

So I would like to ask the following:
  • A recommendation of a Fujitsu server board with IPMI, like the D3644-B, as above?
  • Is it feasible to run a Xeon-E with 12-16 cores and keep this home server quiet with a tower chassis?
  • What kind of chassis would you recommend? (Rack or tower.)
Thank you!!
 

ullbeking

Active Member
Jul 28, 2017
395
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London
The biggest downside of the HP microserver is the rather anaemic CPU; for file-serving duties it's adequate, for running VMs I suspect you'll find it very slow. Similarly, 8GB of physical memory is very, very little unless the RAM requirements of your VMs are very light indeed. IIRC FreeNAS itself recommends a bare minimum of 8GB RAM without leaving any spare for VM functions.
I agree. I still recommend the MicroServer Gen8 over the Gen10.

[...] and there are plenty of non-server bargain-basement motherboards that should allow you to use ECC UDIMMs with the i3 8100 such as the H310CM-ITXac if you're on a very tight budget.
Whoa, this is a great recommendation!! I would look into this as a potential media server. @EffrafaxOfWug, you have kicked another goal!
 

Miguel Antunes

New Member
Aug 3, 2019
7
1
3
Whoa, this is a great recommendation!! I would look into this as a potential media server. @EffrafaxOfWug, you have kicked another goal!
Be aware that although the board supports ECC memory it works in Non-ECC mode.

I'd also like to ask another question, this time about storage.
I have around 150€ to spend and I thought about a few options:
- One 4TB HDD (WD Red or Seagate IronWolf - ~125€) and in the future another one to run in RAID1. I'd have no redundancy in the beginning, so I don't really like this option.
- Two 2TB HDD (WD Red or Seagate IronWolf - ~75€) and run them in RAID1.
- Three 1TB HDD (WD Red or Seagate IronWolf - ~55€) and run them in RAID5.

What would you think is the best storage option?
Is is worth it to buy WD Red or Seagate IronWolf vs Consumer drives like WD Blue or Seagate Barracuda?

Thank you,
Miguel
 

chaoscontrol

Member
Aug 15, 2019
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Be aware that although the board supports ECC memory it works in Non-ECC mode.

I'd also like to ask another question, this time about storage.
I have around 150€ to spend and I thought about a few options:
- One 4TB HDD (WD Red or Seagate IronWolf - ~125€) and in the future another one to run in RAID1. I'd have no redundancy in the beginning, so I don't really like this option.
- Two 2TB HDD (WD Red or Seagate IronWolf - ~75€) and run them in RAID1.
- Three 1TB HDD (WD Red or Seagate IronWolf - ~55€) and run them in RAID5.

What would you think is the best storage option?
Is is worth it to buy WD Red or Seagate IronWolf vs Consumer drives like WD Blue or Seagate Barracuda?

Thank you,
Miguel
I'd go with 2 2TB drives in RAID1 so you can expand with another drive later and convert to raid5 if needed.
 
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Miguel Antunes

New Member
Aug 3, 2019
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I'd go with 2 2TB drives in RAID1 so you can expand with another drive later and convert to raid5 if needed.
Thank you very much for you answer. I too think that option is the best, just wanted to get an opinion from you guys.

Another question:
Does anyone know which cables do I need to get to install an SSD using a caddy in the DVD Drive in the Microserver Gen10?
I know I'll probably need a SATA cable as I think none are included, but which cable do I need to get to power the drive?
 

ullbeking

Active Member
Jul 28, 2017
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Does anyone know which cables do I need to get to install an SSD using a caddy in the DVD Drive in the Microserver Gen10?
I don't know the answer but a HIGHLY related issue is that you need to ensure that the drives are mounted very well in the drive caddies.

I use a pair of Gen8's, and this was a major issue when I was setting it up until I discovered the it. I ensured that I had caddies, adapters, and screws that all fit together perfectly. I used the proper size screwdriver to assemble the entire caddy structure before inserting it in the server.

The difference was immense. Before I did this I was having a large number of very mysterious problems.
 
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