Low power and low noise home server.

Ponury Typ

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Oct 28, 2015
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Hey there folks. I am looking for a server (tower, not rack) for home that will run WS2012 R2 (IIS + FTP +MySql Server + plex + vpn + other goodies) + Hyper-V (freenas + pfsense + cs 1.6 server for me and my mates ;] + some testing vms for work). But the trick is that i need it to be low power and most the importent, it need to be low noise server. The plan was to grab HP MICROSERVER G8, put there Xeon E3-1265L v2 + 16 GB ECC RAM + 4x 4TB HDD's in Raid 10.

But, is there any other alternative to this HP server (low power / low noise) that is more future proof? Maybe i should look for some dell/lenovo/hp workstation/server and do couple modyfications to make it quieter. Or should i build server by my self from scratch ? Any tips ?
 
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EffrafaxOfWug

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Feb 12, 2015
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From your proposed workload, I think you'd end up seriously constrained by a) only 16GB of RAM [realistically you're probably going to want at least 2-4GB for each of them] and b) only 8TB of usable storage space.

Personally I'd go the BYO route with a board that'd take at least 32GB of RAM in an enclosure with at least six drive bays. What are your constraints, especially in relation to cost? For a low noise solution I would advise picking a chassis known to be quiet rather than taking a dustbuster and trying to make it less unbearable. Cue my usual plug for my U-NAS enclosure which I love :)
 

Ponury Typ

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Oct 28, 2015
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From your proposed workload, I think you'd end up seriously constrained by a) only 16GB of RAM [realistically you're probably going to want at least 2-4GB for each of them] and b) only 8TB of usable storage space.
16GB RAM - Ye i know, that why i am looking for alternative solution.
8TB HDD's - Its way more than enough for me.

Personally I'd go the BYO route with a board that'd take at least 32GB of RAM in an enclosure with at least six drive bays. What are your constraints, especially in relation to cost?
Well it can be 500$ server as well 2-3K $ server. There is no budget on it.

But You need to know that server will be idle 90% of the time (since i do most on my work on my beastly notebook that is running i7-4900mq + 32GB RAM) and i will use only rdp + ftp connection to him ( i need him runing 24/7 as my backup for IT armagedoon scenario :D). So i dont think there is need for 2-3k$ server (unless it makes server ultra quiet - then yes).

I was searching internet for "stuff" :)D) and i found Lenovo Server TS140. Idea is to buy it in basic version (with this pentium or whatever cpu is there) add 32GB of ram, E3-1265L V3 and 4x 4TB HDD's. But the only question is how silent is it ? Lenovo says on www that is 40% more silent that its old model. Any ideas ?

I would advise picking a chassis known to be quiet rather than taking a dustbuster and trying to make it less unbearable.
Could You name some of this ? I heard that HP ML towers are quiet, is this true ?
 
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lmk

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Dec 11, 2013
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@Ponury Typ

The HP ML and the Lenovo TS and TD servers can be quit(er) - some more than others.

Off the top of my head they can range anywhere from higher 20s, to 30s, to 40s dBA.

However, it seems a universal thing, now, that as soon as you use a 'non-recognized' (i.e. not supported/branded HP, IBM, etc) PCIe card, then the default BIOS action is to ramp up the fans - in order to make sure nothing overheats (since apparently it cannot understand and read the temps). Thus, as it defaults to high(er) RPM = more airflow/cooling = more noise.

Lots of posts on the internet about people trying to bring it back down:

Specifically with Lenovo, some people have downgraded to the original BIOS version (prior to this feature being added).

Some people just accept and buy the vendor supported cards - e.g. HP badged LSI RAID card or AMD video card, etc.

Some have tried swapping fans, but in certain models the BIOS will not post/boot without the 'recognized' mfg. fans, etc, etc, etc.
 

TheHaughom

New Member
Oct 28, 2015
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I don't find HP ML Towers very quiet. Well, quieter than a regular rack server, but not something to put in your office.

I'm currently waiting for the Intel Xeon E3 v5 processors (coming Q4), and the Gigabyte mini-ITX motherboard.
Putting those in a Fractal Node 304 along with 6 disks, 32gb DDR4 ECC RAM, HP H220 HBA and a CM G550m Power supply.
Maybe a closed loop watercooler on the CPU.

Should be around $1500 total, and probably pretty quiet as well...
 

Ponury Typ

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Well i was thinking about E3 v5 CPU's as well (they got this sexy 25W 4C 8T unit) but i cant wait until end of Q4 when they will be available back hire (Poland).
 

EffrafaxOfWug

Radioactive Member
Feb 12, 2015
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From reading other people's experiences with off-the-shelf servers on this site, I never got the impression that things like the ThinkServers would be quiet enough for my needs which is why I went with the BYO option once the U-NAS enclosure was available in the UK (it's basically the same enclosure that QNAP NAS units use but with modifications for putting generic kit in it).

The availability of home server cases is much better than it was a couple of years ago when I started my builds but I don't like the mounting mechanism in the Fractal Node 304 or the Silverstone DS380 which have been fairly popular (can't live without hot-swap caddies myself). If you're happy with four device bays then your choice of enclosures is a whole lot bigger - I've used the cheap'n'cheerful CFI A7x79 in this regard for a three different builds.

As far as mITX boards goes (which is your best bet considering fairly low requirements), the easiest/cheapest way to get >16GB of RAM is probably to buy a C2750 board, mITX ones can take up to 64GB of DRR3. Newer and more expensive and harder to get hold of, but with more CPU grunt and (probably) better compatibility with virtualisation are the xeon-D boards, most of which will let you stick in up to 128GB of DDR4. Pretty much all of them will come with enough SATA ports to run four drives plus a couple more for the OS.
 

canta

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Nov 26, 2014
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Thinkserver TS140 would be a best price $280 with e3 v3 and 4gb ecc unbuffer.

you can install regulard desktop ram (cheaper) when ecc is not your concern.
tha maxmemory is 4x8G ddr3 ram

if you need to expand or something, adding HBA or NIC or other is easy.

yap. e3 V3 is low power :D.. I have 3 TS140 that move to SM 2/3/4U server case.. one i3 and two e3.

if you are focusing on a tank and reliable, SM 3U/4U server rack is the best with solid built

I have norco, rosewill 4 U server and AIC (broken backplane) including 4X3.5 "raid" converter..

SM is still the best in quality and robustness..
 

Ponury Typ

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Oct 28, 2015
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Well i did some reasearch and i came up with new plan.

I will go with Lenovo ThinkServer TD350 powered by 2x E5-2630LV3, 128GB of DDR4 and 4x4 TB WD RED in Raid 10 for storage, 2x1TB SAS Raid 0 for performence and finnally 2x m.2 nvm 512GB SSD in RAID 1 for host os . I have only one question. Do we have any info about e5 v5 chips ? Are there comeing soon since E3 V5 just had it premiere or it will come later in 2016. Is it worth wating for them ?
 
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pricklypunter

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Nov 10, 2015
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In my experience, there's always something better just around the corner. There is really no way to keep up with the pace of technology or you will end up waiting forever on some new feature or widget coming to market. If it is a deal breaker for your client, sure wait on it, if on the other hand your current proposal meets the budget requirements, gets the work done and is available, I would say go for it and catch the latest and greatest available at the time on your next upgrade :)
 
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