Looking for server build recommendations.

Discussion in 'DIY Server and Workstation Builds' started by Leo Levosky, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. Leo Levosky

    Leo Levosky New Member

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    I'm looking for recommendations for a server motherboard.

    The server is basically going to be used as a Satellite TV recorder and general media storage. I think the TV server software will be TVheadend unless someone can recommend something better. It also needs to run LMS Squeezebox software and probably JRiver. All the TV programmes will be edited to remove commercials etc. so I don't think it needs to do any transcoding. I'll probably use Emby too.

    I'd like to use an existing ATX case and the ATX form factor also gives me the option to add other expansion cards.

    The main requirement is for something that uses as little power/energy as possible given that it will be on a lot of the time.

    I'd like to be able to try out running virtualisation software on the machine, but the Satellite TV card manufacturer says it is not possible to use the TV tuner card in a virtual environment. If the server supports virtualisation passthrough I'm not sure why this is not possible and the TV card manufacturer did not seem to be able to explain this.

    I have seen some Supermicro boards that use AMD processors that look great but they only seem to be available in mini-ITX.

    A SAS port to allow one cable to multiple Sata drives would be great. I'm not sure if I'm using the correct terms but hopefully everyone knows what I mean.

    Any advice much appreciated.
     
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  2. Owen

    Owen New Member

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    Any budget or size restrictions?

    Also surprised that TV card cannot be used in an virtual environment...

    Could run a Supermicro C246/C242 board with a 35w Core i3 8300T? Server Boards | Super Micro Computer, Inc.
    Or a Atom C3000 board? Embedded / IoT Boards | Super Micro Computer, Inc.

    If you don't want to do transcoding maybe this will not apply to you, but I recently found this out the hard way: If you want to use the iGPU (of say a Core i3) for transcoding make sure the motherboard supports it and it's not disabled because of the BMC/IPMI graphics.
     
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  3. Leo Levosky

    Leo Levosky New Member

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    The size is the thing I'm really stuck on. Budget is flexible within reason. I don't mind paying more if I can use the board for something else later as needs change. A management interface could be useful later too.

    With size I find a number of ITX boards that meet my requirements but then I don't have the option of more expansion cards later if I need to. I also have an ATX case that I would like to use. This is mainly because I don't like most modern cases. They all seem to be aimed at gamers and flashy lights!

    Why does Supermicro make it so hard to search it's products? I'd like a low wattage AMD based server if possible but can't do simple searches on the Supermicro website, or am I missing something?
     
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  4. Owen

    Owen New Member

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    i don't think it's so hard to search, in your case i would check the links above and on the filters select UP (uni processor) and TDP up to 45w and also uatx and see what your left with. Search a couple of models on Idealo.com. See what fits in your budget. There should be something!
     
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  5. Leo Levosky

    Leo Levosky New Member

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    Well I guess I'm doing something wrong then. I clicked the server link, selected upto 35W and got one mini-ITX board.
     
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  6. Owen

    Owen New Member

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    ah, you might need to select everything below that tdp aswell or if you just select CPU type and then you can use a 35w cpu if you choose...

    edit: i just re-read the above, its not super clear. Do you know what i meant?
     
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  7. Leo Levosky

    Leo Levosky New Member

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    That is fine if you know what to select. I think I give in. I tried Newegg as well as I thought it would be easier but found that hopeless too.

    That is why I turned to this forum. I didn't think my criteria was so hard but I get better results just using Google than I do via Supermicro. I expected to be able to select ATX, AMD and the number of Intel NICs and get a result but it doesn't seem to work like that! It seems easy to find good boards if you want mini-ITX but not ATX. I've even tried Amazon but the search results on Amazon all seem to be "sponsored" items and if I then find something interesting I click on customer rating and get shown a complete list of items that have nothing to do with my initial search!

    What I need is a website that specialises in server motherboards but I can't seem to find one.
     
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  8. Michael Hall

    Michael Hall Member

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    Yeah, Supermicro only makes EPYC 3000-series boards in Mini-ITX. Doesn't look like ASUS, ASRock, Gigabyte or Tyan make any EPYC 3000-series boards, either.

    Otherwise, there's Ryzen (AFAIK, only Ryzen Pro officially supports ECC, but apparently it works on the regular ones, too), or a (probably used, at this point) Opteron 3200/3300/4200/4300 HE or EE.
     
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  9. Leo Levosky

    Leo Levosky New Member

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    I don't mind going Intel if I really have to but I found it equally hard to find an ATX Intel board that suites my needs. That is probably just due to my having no clue what I should be searching for. It looks like 1151 is the newest socket - is that correct? I have no idea what is the best Intel CPU to search for. A few years back Atom used to be really slow but I don't know if that is still the case. I tried searching for Xeon but all the results I got back were from really old motherboards or higher wattage. Again, that is probably because I really don't know which Xeon I should be searching for.

    I thought that the Supermicro Epyc 3000 board looked really good. A bit pricey for me here in the UK but I could live with that. Is there an Intel equivalent in ATX size?

    I did look at Ryzen Pro but the wattage was higher than I'd like and it seemed as if I was building a desktop machine when what I really want is a server.
     
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  10. Owen

    Owen New Member

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    I know everyone is different but I normally find it easy to find stuff when i know what i am looking for. When i was reading your posts I had the thought that you do not really know what you are looking for and i guess that's why you came here. Hmmm

    if I were you I would really try to define what you are looking for. Maybe try to prioritise your requirements into must haves and nice to haves. I do not know of any server only retailers or search engines in the UK. If you can post your requirements from 'must' to 'nice' thenguys and girls on here can give some good recommendations or pointers. :)
     
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  11. Leo Levosky

    Leo Levosky New Member

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    Sorry I thought I had. Must haves are ATX, low wattage, PCIe slots, at least 6 Sata connections or preferably one SAS connection to support multiple drives (not sure if SAS connection is technically correct but I'd prefer one motherboard connection to at least 6 Sata drives), must run Linux (probably Debian server), enough CPU power to run a TV server (probably TVheadend) and some media servers such as LMS/Squeezebox server.

    Nice to haves are multiple network ports (one with remote management), 10GB networking would be great. ECC memory would be good and the ability to transcode if I need that in the future would be nice. I can live without all of those.

    I would also like the ability to run virtualisation software with hardware passthrough. It would be great to run the server virtualised from the beginning but people say TV cards don't work in a virtual environment. But it would be great to experiment. It's not a must but I would really like that as none of my current machines can do it.

    I think thats it.
     
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  12. Michael Hall

    Michael Hall Member

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    There's a handful of 45W Ryzens, but they're mostly Zen-based. The Ryzen 5 2600E and Ryzen 5 2700E are Zen+, though. No 45W Zen 2s yet. Also, depending on your workload, sometimes a higher wattage, higher performace, CPU will actually use less energy overall, because it may spend disproportionately more time idle. I'm just pulling numbers out of the air, but say a task takes an hour on some low-power CPU, using 45W. That's 45 Wh of energy used. If another CPU can do it in 20 minutes while drawing 120W, then sleep for the other 40 minutes at 5W, it only uses 43.333... Wh over the same 1 hour period. Of course, the higher-power CPU needs a beefier cooler to deal with the peak load...

    On the Intel side, yes, LGA1151 is the current low-end socket, with Pentiums, Core i3s and Xeon E3-12xx v5s being the usual choices for low-power servers. (There's also E3-12xx v6 and E-2xxx, but they're all > 45W TDP, except for a couple of embedded processors, which good luck getting hold of one.) Personally, I've got an i3 4160T in my NAS, and it's plenty powerful enough, but it's just a file server. I've got another dual Opteron 6272 system that does all the hard work.

    Yeah, Atoms are still pretty slow per core, but with up to 16-cores, can actually be moderately beefy. The top C3955 actually scores about 50% higher than my i3 on Passmark, for example, though its single-threaded performance is less than half mine (at about 2/3 the clock speed). Atoms, and Celerons and Pentiums based on the Atom core, are pretty common in the lower-end off-the-shelf NASes.

    There's also a bunch of Broadwell Xeon-Ds (D-15xx/D-16xx) <= 45W, but the newer Skylake (D-21xx) ones start at 60W. Atoms and Xeon-Ds always come soldered to the motherboard, and are generally mini-ITX, Flex ATX or proprietary.
     
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  13. PD_ZFS-User

    PD_ZFS-User New Member

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    Here's an new Asrock Rack Epyc 3000 board: ASRock Rack > EPYC3251D4I-2T

    The problem is that I haven't seen it for sale anywhere yet. If it suits Leo's requirements, he might be able to contact Asrock Rack and find out where and when it might be available for sale.
     
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  14. Michael Hall

    Michael Hall Member

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    Ah, I'd selected AMD and SoC, but it's listed under SP3, which is the EPYC 7xxx socket. There's also the EPYC3101D4I-2T. They're both Mini-ITX, and only have 4 SATA ports, though. OP might be able to rig something up using one of the M.2 slots and an M.2 to PCIe riser, but that's getting complicated.
     
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  15. Leo Levosky

    Leo Levosky New Member

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    Thanks for the replies but it doesn't look like I can get exactly what I want at the moment. I think I'm going to just use an existing PC as a temporary solution for now and hope that someone starts producing Epyc 3000 boards in ATX size. My reluctance to go mini-ITX is due to the TV card needing a slot, leaving no room for expansion later. None of my current PC's can do hardware virtualisation passthrough so I can't play with that but I am looking to replace my main PC with a Ryzen 3000 machine so I can try and get it working under that. I still don't know why TV cards will not work in a virtualised environment but everyone says they don't. Thanks again.
     
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  16. Awerellwv

    Awerellwv New Member

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    this board from Supermicro could be almost perfect for you. A2SDI-H-TF
    the only drawback is that's a mini itx, but maybe if you pair it with a pcie expander things could be more reasonable
    hope to be helpful
     
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  17. Leo Levosky

    Leo Levosky New Member

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    Nice board but I'm afraid that my case cannot take mini-ITX boards and it still only has one expansion slot. If only they made these boards in ATX size!
     
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  18. EffrafaxOfWug

    EffrafaxOfWug Radioactive Member

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    What sort of case are you using that can take an ATX board but not a mITX one? :S

    I've got no idea what's going on with the SM website these days as I can't seem to find anything on it any more, but they make FlexATX boards like the A2SDV-8C-TLN5F which have the C3000 CPUs and more than one PCIe slot.
     
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  19. Awerellwv

    Awerellwv New Member

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    I just checked on the website, and apparently the board has only one usable slot.
    in the key features it indicates that there is 1 pcie x8 slot with an option to use it on either one or the other slot.

    A2SDV-8C-TLN5F | Motherboards | Products | Super Micro Computer, Inc.
     
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  20. Leo Levosky

    Leo Levosky New Member

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    It's an old ATX case that was made before mini-ITX even existed so there are no mounting points for mini-ITX. I like the case because it is all aluminium, or to put it another way, I don't like newer cases that are all glass, plastic and steel.

    The trend now is also not to have 5 1/4" bays as well which means that you can't install 3 1/2" caddies for hot swap style hard disks. Although, I have not managed to find any good hot swap caddies recently. Anyone got any recommendations for these?
     
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