Recommendation on home server?

Discussion in 'DIY Server and Workstation Builds' started by Jacen Li, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. Jacen Li

    Jacen Li New Member

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    I have around 100-120$ I can spend on a server, I'm only 13, but have a debit card so I can buy stuff online/ebay. Beginning to do tensorflow/machine learning/hosting some minecraft/csgo servers. I have a unused microATX case and a 500W 80+ white PSU (prob not the best for a server, but I have a limited budget)
    My current rig is a i5-8400+16GB DDR4+RX 570, pretty decent hardware.
    Want to have a server that I can leave on 24/7 for something. Want to get something like a dell r320 but those are a bit too expensive for me. Any reccomendation for other parts or places I can get parts for cheap/free?
    thanks for your help, and please let me know if I messed anything as this is my first time posting
    (I also have good experiance building PCs
     
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  2. pricklypunter

    pricklypunter Well-Known Member

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    Welcome young padawan :D

    You didn't mention what you will be running on said server, or what you plan to use it for, but you might want to look at the smaller, older Dell's, like the R210ii, if you can get one reasonable, or if you are game for some twiddling with things and rolling your own, maybe start with one of the DFI/ T6/T730 alike boards, posted in the deals forum etc :)
     
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  3. Jacen Li

    Jacen Li New Member

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    I'll be running some tensorflow, (nothing too serious, if its big, then I'll move to my main PC or use my dads workplace server (apparently he can use it for personal uses too)), tinkering with ubuntu/red hat linux, perhaps settign up a minecraft or csgo server, and perhaps in the future as a NAS, (we are currently using a 4 year old synology nas)
    thanks for the reply!, I'll look at the deals section
     
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  4. Rand__

    Rand__ Well-Known Member

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    Do you have a place were you can leave it on 24/7 where potential noise won't be a bother? Depending on what you get the noise might be quite audible...
     
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  5. Jacen Li

    Jacen Li New Member

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    ok, I have 3 options. 1. Leave it in the basement in a closet (with airflow) and leave the top open and use some of my extra 120/140mm fans (have like 4 120mms and 1 or 2 140mms) instead of the super loud 40mm ones, or 2. borrow some space at my brothers school, which has a pair of server cabinets but they aren't full, and he can prob get the comp sci teacher to let me put my server there, or 3. leave it a friends house who has a used 12U rack (he has a nice server, dual e5-2650 v3s) (he is also keeping another dell 1U e3-1240 v6 for one of my other friends) (my friends are really into computer science)
    or of course use my micro atx case and some fans, my main PC draws about 300W on maximum load and doesn't get too loud.
     
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  6. Rand__

    Rand__ Well-Known Member

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    Well its an important question not only due to noise, but also since it decides the size of the board you can get (yATX vs EE-ATX for example;))
     
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  7. ReturnedSword

    ReturnedSword Active Member

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    If you're starting out I'd suggest checking out your local schools/community colleges. They often have auctions for old equipment, or even give it away for free as long as you haul it away yourself. I probably wouldn't buy new or even better used stuff until you get the hang of things. TensorFlow probably won't have a high throughput on older stuff, but at least it will allow you to tinker until you gather more funds.
     
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  8. Jacen Li

    Jacen Li New Member

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    I'll try, IIRC a year ago the school was giving away a 1U storage server with some 80GB 15k rpm drives, not sure if that's still worth it or not
     
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  9. Evan

    Evan Well-Known Member

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    Generally not , small 15k disks are things of years gone by usually. But would need more info that that, if it’s free and say a Supermicro instead of s HPE, Dell, Lenovo etc then even the case could be useful for a future build.
     
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  10. Jacen Li

    Jacen Li New Member

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    yeah I'm out of school, when I get back I'll try to check on it. Its probably pre-core, though
     
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  11. jang430

    jang430 Member

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    Not sure if you've seen this site- Serverbuilds.net
    He builds NAS using old equipment, and lets you know what are considered value for money used parts. You might want to check it out and let us know what you think about it. Though he builds something called NAS killer :D, you can pretty much install anything on it, e.g. Unraid.
     
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  12. JDMWAAAT

    JDMWAAAT New Member

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    Hey, that's me! :)
     
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  13. BeTeP

    BeTeP Active Member

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    I did not know you were a member here.

    @Patrick, this is the type of person who I would like to see you doing a collab with. A true enthusiast, not a corporate shill.

    Or better yet, do an open competition who can build a better and/or cheaper storage system with parts from ebay.
     
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  14. JDMWAAAT

    JDMWAAAT New Member

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    Yep, I'm everywhere! I lurk a lot here, and I do a lot of reading. STH is a great place to hang out and learn stuff. I aspire to make my community as good as STH some day!
     
    #14
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  15. jang430

    jang430 Member

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    I'm a fan! :D . Though I long to see a more compact unit. your builds are ATX, EATX, and sometimes bigger. I like mine compact. I'm using Fractal Design Node 804 you see.
     
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  16. JDMWAAAT

    JDMWAAAT New Member

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    NAS Killer 4.0 has quite a few smaller options. Build is up on the forums and the website.
     
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  17. jang430

    jang430 Member

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    Thanks! Will check it out!
     
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  18. WANg

    WANg Active Member

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    For only 100-120? Eh...and you don't have an nVidia GPU (even a GTX750) lying around for CUDA tensorflow acceleration?

    Alright, let's start with the small steps.

    Buy an nVidia Jetson Nano (for 24/7 machine learning/tensorflow stuff - it has a CUDA friendly GPU), it's an ARM board, you can leave it on until the cows come home and it won't be obnoxiously loud or put a dent on the electric bill.
    Get an Amazon EC2 account (you should qualify for free tier) and put your CSGo/Minecraft stuff there - your money should be enough for a year of a t1.small instance or 2. Virtualization is the way forward, and unless your dream job is to be a data center goon, not having to babysit hardware is often a very good thing. Actually, maybe your dad should sign up for EC2 and keep tabs on your spending. You don't want to accidentally spin up a t2.2xlarge instance that runs up the bill at 33 cents/minute/instance.

    Hosting out of a university? In order to access your server remotely (ssh/RDP/VNC) you will need VPN connectivity (with an account there) to get past their firewall, and that requires you to be a student there. Hosting in your friend's house? You'll need your friend to give you remote access, and you will be subjected to his family's whims. If he gets in trouble for using too much power, everything is getting turned off, your machine included. Running tensorflow off your dad's work machine? Don't. Your dad might not be aware of the specifics of his workplace equipment acceptable use policies. You might end up doing something that can get him in trouble, especially if it throws a high CPU usage alert on someone's monitoring screen (I would certainly not be too happy if an employee from my workplace is using company property for doing something non-work related and draws my boss's unwanted attention. It's the same argument against running bitcoin miners at work - it's not your hardware to wear out, it's not your electricity to consume, and frankly, unless your job requires tensorflow, it'll be difficult to justify).

    As for sources of free/cheap hardware? Dumpster dive, volunteer at your local non-profit with a computer literacy program, hang around community colleges/universities, and sign-up for internships (if such a thing is available to you). Some companies (like mine) have hardware that we want to get rid of - you just have to poke the right person and ask nicely. Just remember that shipping often exceeds the residual value of the hardware, so free is not really free.

    Keep in mind that you are still at that age when people don't charge you for all the electricity you consume, or yell at you for all the server fan noise that your hardware makes. Once you are, you will be much less enthusiastic about running old server hardware in your home (I have no idea how your friend didn't catch hell from the parents for the power usage). I honestly don't encourage it, and unless your parents are okay with it, it's not a good idea (and even if it is, put it on a well ventilated shelf in the garage on a beefy circuit that is not connected to other stuff in the house) - run it by them first, give them an idea of how much it'll cost, and take this as constructive advice from a guy who used to do this in his youth living in a small NYC townhome, and doing it now as a married adult in a NYC apartment. Good habits should begin young, and part of that has to do with taking responsibility for things....things like accidentally tripping breakers in the house, generating high pitch howling from server exhaust fans, or running up hundreds of USD per month on utility bills for your tech toys. That has always been the dark side of running servers at home that people tend to gloss over, but it's real, and the earlier you are aware of it, the better it is for you.

    Now if your dad comes in here asking for advice on what to buy his boy who is taking up an interest in running servers 24/7, I'll probably tell him to get a used Xeon-D 1541 box from Supermicro (quiet, performant, compact and easy on the wallet/circuit breakers), and install a mid-level nVidia GPU for tensorflow - barring that, maybe a Gigabyte Gamer Brix Super-NUC OR an HP EliteDesk 605G4 (with the MXM slot) populated with an nVidia GPUs onboard. The whole thing will be around 500 and good for the next few years.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  19. Terry Wallace

    Terry Wallace PsyOps SysOp

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    You could also try to win an auction on something like this
    HP PROLIANT DL360p GEN 8 G8 2 x SIX CORE 2.30GHZ E5-2630 32GB 2 x 146GB SVR | eBay

    Currently bidding around $50 for the server cpus ram and 2 drives.
    The HP stuff thats gen8 gets you nice remote management and its easy to expand.
    As a starting point it will get you immersed in the enterprise side of server equipment and 24x7 machines :)
    Good luck and let us know what you end up with.

    Terry
     
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  20. Klee

    Klee Well-Known Member

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    If you end up with a 2011 v1/v2 board without any cpu's i'm willing to chip in a E5-2620 or two and some DDR3 ram if you live in the US.
     
    #20
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