Dear server experts! I am a researcher looking into buying a high-end server for some memory-intensive simulations (mostly finite-element method for those that are interested). I know that I'll need a minimum of 1TB of RAM, as many physical cores as I can get (for parallel computing), and an array of 15K rpm hard drives, but I have no idea of what else might be needed. I came across the following specs for a *refurbished* server and wanted some advice on anything I might be missing that will be necessary for its smooth operation, or anything I might need to watch out for. I have some comments in-line with the specs and some additional questions that I've included at the end of this message, and would really appreciate your advice! Thank you in advance:
Some additional questions:
- Dell PowerEdge R920 server 4U rack, supports up to 6TB of memory in 96 slots (I know this is discontinued and replaced with the R940)
- 4 x Intel Xeon 6-core E7-8893 v2 3.4GHz 37.5MB cache/processor (are there faster/cheaper newer processors, e.g. i5, out there? Do they offer the same amount of cache?)
- 64 x 16GB registered server RAM (does the brand of RAM really matter, e.g. between Hynix, Samsung, Kingston?)
- 10 x DELL 600GB 15K rpm 2.5" SAS Hard Drives (is there any need for a RAID configuration if my priority is speed of writing and reading? Should some of the drives, e.g. for the OS, be excluded from the RAID setup? What kind of RAID would you recommend?)
- 24 x 2.5" SFF SAS/SATA/SSD BAYS
- PERC H730P 2GB NV cache RAID controller
- IDRAC7 express (Is there a big difference between IDRAC7 and IDRAC8? Would the latter even be supported on the R920?)
- No optical drive (is there ever a need for an optical drive?)
- Redundant 1100W power supply (does "redundant" here mean two supplies with a total power of 1100W, or 1100W each? Is this enough for what I want to put in here?)
- Broadcom 5720 1GB quad port daughter card
- Up to 10 PCI-E slots: 8 x PCI-E 3.0 + 1 RAID slot + 1 NDC slot + 2 optional PCI-E slots (what are these, and what can I do with them?)
- E-VGA NVIDIA GEForce GTX 980 TI 6GB (Will this card even work on this system? Can the power supply handle it? If not, what would be a good supported alternative? I don't need GPUs for computation, but will it help when accessing the server remotely?)
- Rail Kit
- No bezel
Some additional questions:
- What would be a decent price for the above system (please note, it is refurbished)?
- Are there any components that are not included, but which will definitely be needed? If so, what are they?
- I heard that Intel will stop supporting/selling these processors after 2019. Is this a big problem?
- Any suggestions on a good-quality reliable UPS for this server?