Silent ESXI Host

Discussion in 'DIY Server and Workstation Builds' started by Chris O, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. Chris O

    Chris O New Member

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    I'm planning my first home ESXI build and thought I'd ask you experts for your opinions on the components before I pull the trigger.

    I'll be running my Sophos UTM firewall, a Linux VM for file services and a Windows VM that I will access using RDP. The box will be sitting next to me in my home office and I'm sensitive to fan noise so I'm going for basically silent. I also tend to keep my hardware forever and try to keep the power bills down.

    Here's the proposed build:
    • Supermicro X10SDV-2C-TLN2F-O Intel Pentium D-1508
    • Fractal Design Core 500 No Power Supply Mini-ITX Case
    • Kingston ValueRAM KVR21E15D8/16 DDR4-2133 16GB
    • Intel DC S3520 Series SSDSCKJB150G701 150GB M.2 SATA3 Solid State Drive
    • 192w AC-DC Power Adapter, 12v 16A (from mini-box.com)
    I also think I'll need an HBA to do direct I/O to the file server VM but I haven't picked one yet. I'm open to suggestions. I currently have a couple of SATA drives that I need to move over from my Linux desktop and serve up over Samba/CIFS but I imagine migrating the file server to a ZFS pool next year.

    The firewall is pretty much in use all the time but the other VMs are pretty quiet.

    Thoughts? Feedback?
     
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  2. K D

    K D Well-Known Member

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    The X10SDV-2C-TLN2F-O has a passive HeatSink. I know it's only a 25W TDP part but it does get really hot without proper airflow. Depending on how the airflow over the heatsink is, you may want to rig 60mm fan on top of it.
     
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  3. K D

    K D Well-Known Member

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    I was running a similar workload on the same board (pfsense, windows 2016 essentials, turnkey linux file server for ISOs). It was a very light load and I did not have any issues but windows was always a little sluggish when I logged on directly to the VM. I ended up replacing it with a X10SDV-TP8F board for the additional NICs.
     
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  4. Chris O

    Chris O New Member

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    Thanks K D. I can definitely handle tuning the airflow with some additional fans. In addition to some direct CPU cooling, the Core 500 case can mount two additional 140mm fans in the top of the case.
     
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  5. nk215

    nk215 Active Member

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    I have a virtually silent E3 setup with a 4u heatsink/fan and a G3 PSU in Eco mode.

    Almost equally silent setup is an E5-2670v1 with water-cool.

    In both cases I have a small fan cooling the HBA card. These cards run hot during array rebuild and will crash the array if they get too hot.
     
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  6. Chris O

    Chris O New Member

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    Thanks nk215. I'll keep the HBA cooling in mind.
     
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  7. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    My thoughts:
    - XeonD fits your needs re: low power but it's huge cost for low performance/growth options
    - My home ESXI/AIO was an E5-2670 v3 in a mid-tower silent case w/noctua fans, I'm downgrading to an E3-1265L to save power/heat myself
    - If you watch ebay you can get the CPU and motherboard for $250 you also have options of E3-1230, 1270, etc, depending on needs they all idle really close to each other, but obviously a bit more than your XeonD.
    - I mention that because XeonD or E3 your hDD (that you didn't mention how many) are very likely to consume more power than one of these 'low power' systems, especially when you include the 10w a HBA utilizes. (8x HDD + 1x HBA = 40-90w depending on drives...) saving 10w or 15w between a XeonD and an E3 just seems silly in that case to me.

    I wold go with an E3 v3/4/5/6 (depending what your budget allows) instead of the XeonD.

    You can put min-fans onthe HBA be they're an AIC or onboard, I've done it and it def. is worth it to prevent them from locking up!~
     
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  8. Chris O

    Chris O New Member

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    Good advice T_Minus. I'm planning on hanging 3 spinny drives off the HBA.

    I woke up this morning thinking along the same lines.

    I found a E3-1275L on eBay this morning for $165. Would that be a reasonable start?

    Are you near Sacramento? If so, any local sources?
     
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  9. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    Yep, great CPU for price/power/performance in my opinion. I got the 1265L for 155$ if I recall so well within range of yours for that price/deal.

    For new I usually go Amazon or SuperBiiz (Bay Area) and if I have to then NewEgg. WiredZone and some other retailers (all online) often have good prices.

    For the E3 v3 though as they are generations old now I would go on ebay. I've been able to buy E3 v1/2 and v3/4 motherboards from $50 - $100 depending on model/options and some $200 or less including a 1U chassis. (Obviously 1U won't be nice for next to you but just some ideas on prices)
     
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  10. Joel

    Joel Active Member

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    Just curious why you're looking at the Fractal Core series instead of Define since quiet is primary concern?

    Core is optimized for high airflow, Define is optimized for quiet with sound dampening, etc. Put 120/140mm fans in there spinning <800rpm and you'll never hear them.
     
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  11. CiscoKid08

    CiscoKid08 New Member

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    The Define Nano is a neat case. Might the two case fans on their own be enough to cool a X10SDV-TP8F?
     
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  12. CiscoKid08

    CiscoKid08 New Member

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    And would the Nano or the Core actually fit a FlexATX board?
     
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  13. poutnik

    poutnik Member

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    I've got a NAS / VM machine with SuperMicro Xeon D-1541, with 1U passive heatsink. In all the cases it went through, I had to mount a fan right on it to induce better airflow.

    The best case for the NAS from my point of view - quiet, cool, ease to install, ease to modify - is by far the Fractal Design Node 804 - Node 804 . I'd definitely recommend that one to consider. It will even take a MicroATX board.

    Fractal Design cases are the best ones I have gone through (and I'm tampering with computers since the mid-1990s).

    Jiri
     
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  14. CiscoKid08

    CiscoKid08 New Member

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    I only need the case to hold (1) 2.5" drive. In a perfect world I could get a silent version of the sys-e300-8d.
     
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  15. K D

    K D Well-Known Member

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    I am running the X10SDV-8C board in an e200. I am using 2 m.2 drives. 1 with the onboard m.2 and one using a 1u riser that I got in the forums. Using 2 noctua 40mm fans to exhaust and replaced the passive heatsink with an active one. It's silent most of the time. Will try to replace the fan in the heatsink with a quieter 50mm fan.
     
    #15
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