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Build Advice White Box ESXi

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by nimbu, 2 Feb 2018.

  1. nimbu

    nimbu Well-Known Member

    28 Nov 2002
    Likes Received:
    Hi Guys,

    So my current ESXi server is playing up in a very strange way so I would like to replace it and was looking for some advise / thoughts.

    Intended Uses:
    I run a personal private ARK server for my tribe to practice boss and builds. I only host one map, but would like to eventually have a cluster of all the maps. I would consider this my only production use

    I'm re ripping my Bluray collection and converting to HVEC instead. So I would like to spin up a linux VM machine to do that , but it wont be permanent.

    Outside of this the servers main purpose is home lab testing and learning. In my job we dont actually have our own infrastructure hardware, so when I want to test out a product / solution im usually spinning up a VM.

    Also my AD skills are getting rusty so at some point I would probably want to setup a DC to fiddle, again non production stuff.

    Storage, I have a bunch of smaller SSD drives (128GB to 512GB) lying around so I am golden there. my biggest draw back has been memory rather than CPU cycles. I have always ended up lacking. The ARK servers need about 8GB each. I was running an i5 with 32GB RAM but I feel i might need more.

    So anyways coming back to my questions bit. I can see on ebay us lots of cheap deals on Tyan / SM Dual 1366 boards. (I have offices in the US and one of my team is happy to buy stuff for me and ship it). The boards support RDIMM's which again if you keep an eye on ebay you can pick up deals on, ive seen it out there cheaper than regular DDR3.

    The only thing im a little concerned about these mobos is the physical size and any special PSU requirements. Ideally I would want ATX or E-ATX at most. I am moving my rack to the loft, so would grab a short 4U case to throw it in.

    Looking at newer ranges (1150, 1151 and 1155) either puts me at 32GB max, really expensive memory options or very strange form factors with proprietary power requirements.

    I have also seen places like bargain hardware in the uk that do the ex data centre gear, but its rather large (my rack goes to a max depth of 550mm), proprietary PSU's and the thought of anything with 40mm fans makes me judder!

    So what would you guys do if you were looking to build something that gave best bang for buck and didnt sound like a typhoon going off.
  2. play_boy_2000

    play_boy_2000 It was funny when I was 12

    25 Mar 2004
    Likes Received:
    If you want absolute cheapest, data center gear is the way to go. Dual socket 1366 1 and 2U stuff is super cheap, reasonably power efficient (get a server with 32nm chips) and usually have 12 DIMM slots, so you can buy cheaper 4GB sticks. Things to watch out for are missing HDD sleds or just blanks (can be surprisingly expensive), custom power supplies (redundant PSU's are fine, just pull one and save it for a rainy day), dual socket servers with only 1 cpu (make sure you can get a heatsink for a second cpu) and servers with lights out management that you can't get upgrades for without a service contract.

    All that being said, sometimes two boxes are better than one. For your 24/7 stuff, depending on the load, a super low power server may be the way to go. I have a Celeron J1900 ITX with 4GB ram running hyper-v (with a SMB share for media - technically against the license terms, but meh) with a freePBX guest and it's been running solid for the past 3 years. I still have my dual X5660 and dual X5560 boxes when I need some grunt, but don't have to pay the power bill to run them 24/7.

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