True or false? Graphics cards and rack mounted servers...

Discussion in 'Chassis and Enclosures' started by mmmann, Dec 18, 2015.

  1. mmmann

    mmmann New Member

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    Hi. I'm building a security camera server and was looking to purchase something like a ProLiant DL320 (or a Dell or something similar) because I need (a) to rack the machine, (b) a Xeon processor for ECC.

    I'm going to need a consumer-level graphics card, like an nVidia 5-9xx series. Why? It appears that the software will eventually use the graphics card to perform some of the video manipulations, and, more importantly, I want two (2) monitors--one to the KVM in the rack, and another out to a fixed monitoring location. The client software could run on the 2nd monitor and, with the help of an HDMI extender, run out 30' to a fixed monitor.

    I think I've come across a terrible reality check: you can't get rack mount servers that take normal graphics cards, can you? All my hunting 'round the web says that (a) you at least need a 4U chassis and (b) most off-the-shelf servers cannot accommodate a real, double-wide consumer graphics card. One forum post I found said that in order to do this, you have to BUILD YOUR OWN SERVER, perhaps even being forced to use a consumer-level motherboard.

    True or false? If I need, say, an nVidia 5-9xx series card, can I not purchase an off-the-shelf server?

    Adjunct question (for bonus points): Is there another way to attach a remote monitor to a rack-mounted server, other than using the 2nd DVI or HDMI port on a graphics card with an extender? Note that I'd prefer to avoid building a small computer out there just to run Remote Desktop, 24x7. It's overkill, and it's a security risk, too.

    Please set me straight on the issue. Thanks!
     
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  2. j_h_o

    j_h_o Active Member

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    Lenovo ThinkServer RD650 have two (or more) full-height PCIe 3.0x16 slots/bays. Pull down the PSRef at Product Specifications Reference(PSREF) to get more specs.

    Supermicro also has machines optimized for GPU Super Micro Computer, Inc. - GPU-Optimized Supercomputing Server Solutions

    You can get IP-based KVM, or just KVM units that take CAT6 cable; you'd rack the sender next to the server, then run CAT6 out to the remote monitor, and put in the KVM viewer there. I've used stuff like Product Information --- Vista DVI for this in the past. How many display monitors do you want/need?
     
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    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  3. mmmann

    mmmann New Member

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    Fantastic reply! Thanks, j_h_o (once again).

    What would you (or any reader, here) do to provide touch-screen capability? I want the remote monitor to be "pokable" by the user, selecting different cameras, causing a clip to be recorded, turning audio on/off, etc. My research indicates that Windows can handle a non-touchscreen main monitor but a touchscreen 2nd monitor, so the remote HDMI thing (that can carry sound, too?) seems like a good idea. Can a KVM solution handle a touchscreen? Is there a KVM solution that can carry audio?
     
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  4. j_h_o

    j_h_o Active Member

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    Touchscreens are usually USB-based. So if you get a KVM with USB support, you can probably support touch.

    Yes, Rose (and many, many other manufacturers) support audio as well.
     
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  5. mmmann

    mmmann New Member

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    Note: I entirely skipped over Windows 8.x; I'm a desktop or command line guy. Please pardon this gap in my knowledge base.

    So when you connect a touchscreen monitor to a PC, you have to run a USB cable to it, as well? Always?

    Then an HDMI or DVI extender won't work--they don't support touchscreens? Or you'd have to run the extender out there IN ADDITION TO a 30' USB cable...which is probably impossible(?). I'm trying to keep costs down, naturally, not to mention adherence to the KISS principle. Am I definitely forced into an expensive KVM solution that supports video, USB, and perhaps audio?

    J_h_o, may I lean on you for some specific recommendations to serve as examples? It would save me hours of noobish hunting 'round the web.
     
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  6. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    You can run USB over IP just like HDMI over IP... I have a couple 'micro' video cards and USB and hDMI over IP adapters to play around with. They basically range from $30 equipment to $400+ for 4K with all the fancy bells and whistles.
     
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  7. j_h_o

    j_h_o Active Member

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    • How many screens do you need?
    • Do you have a specific touchscreen display selected?
     
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  8. mmmann

    mmmann New Member

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    I envision one, wall-mounted, inset remote screen. (On the rack, I believe I'll end up with three machines, so KVM-speaking, a total of four monitors.)

    The remote monitor should be flush- or surface-mountable, with power and data routed through a wall; something between 7" and 15" diagonal; 1080p is the preference; audio is a preference; few or no front buttons would be a good idea to prevent the end user from mucking it up (selecting different inputs, etc.)

    No, I haven't selected a monitor--not enough background smarts, yet.
     
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  9. Aluminum

    Aluminum Active Member

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    IFF:

    -It has the slots available (x8 or better ideally)
    -The card fits, typically full height, double width and 10"+ long for the powerful cards
    -The power supply provides enough PCI-e connectors (or enough 12V amps and you don't mind DIY cabling)

    Then you are good.
     
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  10. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    They make special ITX video cards I don't see a double-wide being a problem at all.. a 10"+ yeah, that might be :)

    I believe you said the video card isn't even needed right now though because your software doesn't use it... ? Why not wait and see then?
     
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  11. mmmann

    mmmann New Member

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    T_Minus, before I forget, I'd like to thank you (and j_h_o and et al.) for your collaboration.

    Answer: It's true that GPU-assisted video de/encoding is not yet supported. I would like to be ready for it, naturally. However, in addition, there are TWO OTHER very important issues:

    1) The vendor STRONGLY recommends a fast video card because displaying, say, eight cams on screen at once using built-in graphics has been known to stumble the main application (which I suspect is single-threaded). It basically does a "tail -f" on every camera's recording stream and displays the real-time videos inside an on-screen grid.

    2) I still need a second monitor. The second HDMI output on an nVidia card could be extended 30-40' to a flush-mounted LCD monitor.

    You caught me right in the middle of more research on the web. I'm getting mixed messages (as usual) from forums posts, online vendors, social.technet.microsoft, etc. Some say that HDMI can carry touchscreen; some say that the monitor must also be plugged into USB. Unfortunately, I don't own a touchscreen monitor (since I'm a desktop & command line guy).

    Question: Does HDMI carry touchscreen signals? Then an HDMI extender would work. Or must I have USB?

    **** EDIT: It seems that all touchscreens require an USB connection; it presents itself as a Human Interface Device (HID) to Windows. So one would need to transmit USB 30-40' which may not be possible.

    Question: How can I get audio out there? I know that HDMI carries audio; Blu-ray players do it and Windows can do it if configured properly.

    Question: How about a microphone? That might be asking for too much...
     
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    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  12. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    Everything you want to do you can do with HDMI over IP and USB over IP <100$ total for the lower-end stuff, which for security/cameras should work nicely. HDMI = Video & Sound (I don't know about touch), USB= Keyboard, Mouse, MIC, etc...

    Which software is it?

    The small cards I got to use are Radeon HD 6450 and Radeon R7 -- both are I believe "ITX" sized and have HDMI/DVI/VGA outputs. I haven't used them yet but they should fit any any full height slot.
     
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  13. Patriot

    Patriot Moderator

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    Generally it is mostly a powering and cooling issue... You could probably shove something like a 750ti in a server without power issues.
    I just pulled a GT430 out of a DL360 g6...

    The DL380Gen8/9 has gfx card kits... but somehow me thinks this is out of your price range.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. mmmann

    mmmann New Member

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    In response to both of the above posts,

    The software is BlueIris, a well-respected security camera software. I've demoed it; it works well but is (understandably) very CPU-intensive.

    As for cost: I can write the check, but since I believe this is going to be a separate, dedicated server, it would behoove me to choose wisely in allocating money between this and the main, up-coming file server. I'm still open to building this: I'm capable and it would be fun and it would (may) save money.

    It sounds like an IP-based extender would do the trick. If there was a 1-to-1 version (one input, one output) then I could extend the graphics card's 2nd output. Would such an extender be separate from the rack's KVM, or is there some way to bundle the entire solution together, such that you could punch up each machine at the rack and before closing up, select the surveillance server's 2nd video output as the KVM's input, and select the remote monitor as some sort of KVM auxiliary output? I've never used an IP-based KVM solution before. Who are the well-known vendors?
     
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  15. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    Blue Iris - A # of us here use it, make sure your CPU is powerful enough... especially with 8-10+ cameras.

    The whole KVM, IP thing you're talking about sounds expensive and complex if it's possible.
     
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  16. Naeblis

    Naeblis Active Member

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    and lanes, when i first saw this thread i thought of the w7100. They have 8GB of Ram and are single slot. if you got a Dual CPU e5 v3 server you should be able to slap a hypervisor on it and have it fulfill both of your needs.
     
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  17. mmmann

    mmmann New Member

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    According to the Terms of Service and Rules, links are allowed, so...

    It appears that the remote monitoring station could be implemented by using an HDMI Extender (e.g. HDMI Booster Extender Receiver - Good review) for the video and audio, an USB Booster (e.g. USB Active Booster Extension Cable -- DataPro) for the touchscreen HID, and/or plain copper if the remote monitor requires an 1/8" phono jack for audio. A shortcut like this is possible since I require only one such station (famous last words?) Prior to that, I'll do some Googling re: an IP-based Cat6 KVM with sender and receiver (e.g. Product Information --- Vista DVI) as per j_h_o's post. Though more expensive, it would no doubt be far more extensible. Any other on-site monitoring can be accomplished with an all-in-one or a tablet; remote monitoring will be via the Android/iPhone app.

    Now, back to building a server. It appears that I need a 4u case, a Xeon motherboard with a slot for a mid-length nVidia card (e.g. I have an old GTX 560i), a 6-8-core 3.{2-8}Ghz chip, 16-32GB of memory, and miscellaneous bobs and bits.

    Any suggestions / recommendations on such a server would be welcome. As I mentioned, I'm not averse to buying rather than building. I'll go off and Google "w7100" and "GL380" as per the prior posts. If the cost is a wash, I have no reason to build it out on my own (other than for the sheer fun of it!)
     
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  18. Jon Massey

    Jon Massey Active Member

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    I've put a W7000 in a C1100 with a homebrew EPS12->PCIE power cable. Works rather well
     
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  19. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    Supermicro 846 Chassis $200-400 depending on options you want, but make sure it has the back-plane that will support 1200w and then you can power drives + video card.

    Supermicro 2P motherboard for E5-2011 v1/v2 ($250+ currently, have purchased $1xx)
    E5-2670 v1 CPU (1 or 2) $90/Each
    DDR3-8GB RDIMM $15-25
    DDR3-16GB RDIMM $50-85


    Now if you want current-gen 2011-v3 stuff:
    RAM: $90-$100 (16GB DDR4)
    Motherboard: $350+
    CPU: $200/Each+

    I think you will find A LOT of us here run the Supermicro 846 (4U rack-mount) chassis with the E5-2670s just because of the price point of that CPU, and everyone currently unloading them (late 2015 for those reading in the future).
     
    #19
  20. mmmann

    mmmann New Member

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    > Supermicro 846...and everyone currently unloading them...

    Why are people replacing their Supermicro 846 chassis?
     
    #20
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