Requesting Advice: New Homelab Setup

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IT4Gov

New Member
Nov 16, 2023
3
0
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I've been a viewer of the YouTube channel for a while....I am looking for advice on rebuilding my current homelab setup.

Current Setup: Kinda a complicated mess....
Corsair 1000D Case (Dual System Setup).
4x480mm Radiators
24x120mm Noctua Fans
2xD5 Pumps (currently 1 pump is dead and 2nd one is starting to make noise sadly)

Gaming/Streaming PC:
AMD 3950x
RTX3080Ti
64GB Ram
1x500GB SSD
1000watt PSU

unRaid Server:
Intel 10100
16GB Ram
3x1TB M.2 SSD (ZFS Cache Pool)
1x8TB SATA HHD (Parity Drive)
3x8TB SATA/SAS HHD (Main Array)
1xCoral TPU AI Module

The issue I'm running into is I really don't use my Gaming PC anymore outside of playing a mobile game I typically play on my Iphone/Ipad when I'm traveling for work. It's extremely lightweight game, so really complete overkill playing it on the Gaming PC, just more convenient when I'm home and not traveling to sit down and play it with mouse and keyboard vs on Iphone/Ipad. So typically, I power off the Gaming side of the system and leave the unRaid server side running 24/7. I have all the fans and pumps of the water-cooling system wired to the unRaid server since its a shared cooling loop.

Power Draw:
-Running the unRaid server only w/ supporting water-cooling and fans.. averages around 231 watts via UPS reporting.....
-Running the unRaid server and Gaming PC w/ supporting water-cooling and fans playing the lightweight mobile game in windows 10... averages around 465 watts via UPS reporting....
The power usage alone is costing a decent amount monthly. especially for what the setup is really being used for.

Goals:
- I would really like to improve the performance of my unRaid server so I can play around with more things like VMs and such. Currently its running around 35-40% CPU usage just running the dockers for my media player and security system through frigate. Running my typical load, if I try to run a VM with 1 or 2 cores assigned to it, it causes playback issues occasionally viewing plex when CPU usage spikes... and sometimes crashes my frigate docker when CPU spikes to 100% usage randomly. so lately I've just stop trying to use VMs on the server to maintain reliability with my dockers and security system.
-I would like to reduce my power draw, I feel like the combined power draw from the water/air cooling system is not worth continuing down that path... Especially now that i just found out I'm down to a single degraded D5 pump which would need replaced if I continue to use this setup.
-I would like to experiment more with VMs, was thinking of using Proxmox as my hypervisor and then run unRaid in a VM as my NAS... but I'm also debating forcing myself to learn VMware. At work it's the hypervisor they use, and it could lead to future career benefits if I can gain experience using it.
-I think I'm going to walk away from water-cooling and trying pure air cooling for my next build. The benefits of water just don't seem to be a benefit for me in the future with the needs of this home lab setup. It would drop my power usage and simplify everything.

Build Ideas:
Case: Thinking of going with small rackmount next to desk so I can mount rack switches to learn and play with home networking more. So, I am trying to figure out a good solid air-cooled style server case that accepts ATX motherboards... I think I want to go minimum 5U, the reason I say this is I have a friend who recently built a rack mounted gaming PC and he had to return the 4U case, because the height of GPU wouldn't fit. I don't think i will put a GPU in this build going forward, but I want to give myself the opportunity if I change my mind down the road. Plus, I feel a larger case with give better options for larger CPU air coolers and cooling in general. SilverStone Technology RM51 5U Rackmount Server Chassis looks like a decent option, still researching this...

CPU/Motherboard: I'm debating going with a Erying 13900H or 13620H motherboard setup for performance to watt value.... or something like a traditional ATX motherboard with Intel 13500.

Storage: currently I use an LSI 9211-8i SAS controller in my unRaid server. I have 24TB of usable storage, but 13.6TB of it free and I have been using the same drives since 2019 so capacity isn’t an issue now. I’ve debated going away from the SAS controller to free up the x16 slot on the motherboard… 2 of my 4 HHDs are already SATA, so I’m only using the SAS controller for 2 drives. I thought about replacing the 2 SAS drives with SATA and run them all off the motherboard for now. I may even buy slightly larger SATA drives to increase my capacity or maybe reduce down to 2 or 3 drives only… I only bring this up, because I’ve had to replace the SAS controller twice now since I built my unRaid server.
 
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slidermike

Active Member
May 7, 2023
120
47
28
Since there is a professional opportunity with one hypervisor go that route, otherwise proxmox is a great choice. Get that intel cpu because you will use the igpu (they are power efficient and good for encode/decode).
Max out the ram if you can, probably 128gb.
Ditch the sas drives/controller and follow through with your plan of fewer, larger drives. This too will decrease power draw.
Be aware that both VMware and unRaid are hypervisors but you can run one on the other in a lab/home.

If you are not tied to frigate, have you used blue iris with codeproject ai?
Everyone has their preferred system. I did not like frigate, eyespy or shinobi, bi is mine. Just be aware bi requires a windows os so you would want to sping up a win vm.

Unless you need one, I would hold off on adding a video card but if you do then watch "spaceinvader one" unraid latest video where he goes over his switch from amd to Intel and adding a video card. There is a script and drivers that allows you to basically put the add in video card into idle power mode when not used. Reducing power draw.

Good luck and enjoy!
 

slidermike

Active Member
May 7, 2023
120
47
28
BTW, about new, fewer, larger capacity sata drives.

This would be my recommendation. Dual actuated drives by seagate.
If I were going this route (no tech budget after building my epyc earlier this year) I would check these guys for price and availability of the drives.
My personal comfort for home is OK to save $ on recertification drives but that's a decision you will have to make.

Anyway, in case you were not aware dual actuator in sata is a thing and can work for you in unRaid. ;)