thinking about building a new unRAID server, could use some feedback... - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-12-2016, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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thinking about building a new unRAID server, could use some feedback...

first off, I kind of have a bit of sticker shock... how did it get so $$$ so quickly?
16 Item(s) in your shopping cart: $1,859.72

  • 1 Intel Xeon E3-1230 v5 SkyLake 3.4 GHz LGA 1151 80W BX80662E31230V5 Server Processor $274.29
  • 1 Supermicro X11SSL-CF Motherboard $259.99
  • 4 Kingston ValueRAM 8GB 260-Pin DDR4 SO-DIMM ECC Unbuffered DDR4 2133 (PC4 17000) Server Premier Memory Model KVR21SE15D8/8HA $179.96
  • 1 NORCO RPC-4220 4U Rackmount Server Chassis w/ 20 Hot-Swappable SATA/SAS 6G Drive Bays (Mini SAS Connector) $329.99
  • 1 Thermaltake TR2 Bronze 700W SLI/CrossFire Ready Continuous Power ATX12V v2.31 / EPS v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified 5 Year $52.99
  • 2 LSI LSI00402 1 meter internal cable SFF8643 to SFF8087 (mini SAS HD to mini SAS)--Avago Technologies $49.98
  • 4 Seagate Desktop HDD ST4000DM000 4TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive $475.96
  • 2 Crucial BX200 2.5" 480GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CT480BX200SSD1 $236.56
so that is my thought for a decent unRAID v6 happy server/VM/etc... of course, I will need another unraid key as I would like to keep my existing v5 running as a backup... so that brings the price very close to $2K... that seems like a lot really...

any thoughts/suggestions/have I lost my mind/did I miss anything/etc?




NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-12-2016, 02:17 PM
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Xeon, ECC, Supermicro, and Norco is how it got so extensive.

I went with a 6 core AMD and DDR3 RAM. Unlike the lower end Intel setups this can run ESXi, which is what I was after.

Now whenever I do another server I'll probably go the Xeon route with ECC memory. I've already got the Norco and storage (4 TB HGST NAS for most).

I also got one of those server pulled IBM M1015 SAS cards for 8x SATA drives so I don't rely on my motherboard for the array. It also helps with ESXi for passthru.

Basically if the money isn't an issue get what you listed. To get a good cheap server look into AMD.
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-12-2016, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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But I like supermicro, Norco, etc..
Oh well, guess I need to search u Der the couch cushions for spare change...
But other than the OMG price every seem reasonable?
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-12-2016, 08:57 PM
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Take a look at the Dell Poweredge T20 with the Xeon E3-1225 v3. They're $489 right now with 4GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive. You'll have to add a SATA card to use more than 4 hard drives, but it will accept four 3.5" and two 2.5" drives without mods.

Well, Duncan, he's just this guy, you know?
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post #5 of 11 Old 06-13-2016, 07:09 AM
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Check out a used Supermicro 24-bay server on ebay for under $300. They're used but are a complete server without any drives. There's a huge thread that discusses it (look for the one about the Norco 4220 alternative). The one caveat is that the power supply and case fans are extremely loud so you might want to consider replacing the PSU with a standard PC PSU. The case fans can be tamed with a speed controller or simply replaced with quieter fans. The server comes complete with a Supermicro motherboard that can support dual CPUs, CPU (you can find both AMD and Intel versions), memory, and 8-port PCI-X SATA controller cards. I bought one of these a couple of years ago and I love it. I have since replaced the innards with my own hardware. I've been running unRAID for over 8 years on various hardware configurations.
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-14-2016, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
Check out a used Supermicro 24-bay server on ebay for under $300.
actually, I did that... and then decided that wasn't exactly the route I wanted to take...(but is similar)
so, I ended up changing my build plans accordingly...
1st, I decided to really use SAS, as in use a backplane that supports SAS expansion not just break out cables, makes cabling a whole lot easier and nicer...
my current Norco/D525 unraid setup is a mess HDD cable wise... I dread opening that chassis...
so keeping that in mind, plain old SAS is a no go due to max HDD size issues & speed... SAS3 would be really nice, but too much $$$ currently... SAS2 = 24Gbs, the fact the unRAID only spins up the drive it needs, and my usage should mean that I may get close to 24Gbs but it should be plenty, at least 98% of the time... and a slowdown here and there shouldn't kill me...
the $300 SM servers I found were all plain old SAS, the couple SAS2 servers were all either more $$$ then I want to spend on the hardware provided or way too many drive bays... I don't need >24 drives... my current unRAID is 6 drives... 1P + 5D... when I run out of room I just replace the Parity and the smallest drive with whatever is the current happy price point/TB drive at the moment... been working out well so far... and it cycles out old drives before they fail...(use old parity drive to replace the next smallest drive also...)
now, with unRAID V6 and all its fanciness... looks like I might need more drives... but still 24 should be plenty...
so I picked up a SUPERMICRO 846E16-R1200B BAREBONE SERVER CHASSIS WITH 24x TRAYS INCLUDES RAILS, $380 + a real SAS2 backplane seemed like a good deal... until I noticed the $100 shipping... that kind of blows...
but I didn't notice that until it was too late to do anything... so I paid more than I wanted for just a chassis + power supplies... but hey, it seems like a nice chassis...
and there is a SAS3 backplane available for it if the need arises
also, unconfirmed, but some have claimed the 1200W power supplies are quieter then the 900W? not really a huge point for me, as it will reside in the basement/crawlspace, but hey... maybe...

so now the plan is to find (any thoughts on these?) :
  • cheapish fairly recent dual xeon/MB/mem combo deals like those used in the >$300 dollar SAS1 servers as that should be plenty for now....
  • get a cheapish SAS2 board (LSI2008 flashed to IT maybe?)
  • get a couple HDD's to start with, but use an existing SSD(s) for cache (probably mounted inside case/connected to MB SATA port to help with SAS2 24Gbs limit)
  • get new unRAID key (I want to keep my existing D525 unraid as a backup... seems like a good idea... finally have real redundancy...) maybe upgrade to latest v5?, currently it is a very early v5 beta... not even a RC... but it has been stable, so why change? but change can be good too... not sure...)

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-14-2016, 11:18 AM
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You could have picked up the older Supermicro server setup for much less and then upgraded the backplane to SAS2 for less than what you paid for just the chassis. My setup has more than high enough transfer rates for what I use it for. I have breakout cables in my setup and they take up very little space, unlike the original PCI-X controllers that required individual SATA cables. Monoprice has some nice thin breakout cables that are not expensive.

FYI - unRAID is up to version 6.1.9 (stable) and 6.2.0 beta (with dual parity support). The only caveat is that it requires 64-bit compatible hardware to run it on. You're way behind the curve if you're still running version 4.x. It has been vastly improved since then.

You may only need 6 drives right now, but trust me, you will eventually need far more than that. The amount of data you can accumulate over time will surprise you.
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-14-2016, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
You could have picked up the older Supermicro server setup for much less and then upgraded the backplane to SAS2 for less than what you paid for just the chassis. My setup has more than high enough transfer rates for what I use it for. I have breakout cables in my setup and they take up very little space, unlike the original PCI-X controllers that required individual SATA cables. Monoprice has some nice thin breakout cables that are not expensive.
true, but it seems like everyone has bought up all the used SAS2 boards, and the ones that are still around are either for the 2U chassis or they want too much for them...
besides, cost isnt everything... just want it to not hurt soo much...

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
FYI - unRAID is up to version 6.1.9 (stable) and 6.2.0 beta (with dual parity support). The only caveat is that it requires 64-bit compatible hardware to run it on. You're way behind the curve if you're still running version 4.x. It has been vastly improved since then.

You may only need 6 drives right now, but trust me, you will eventually need far more than that. The amount of data you can accumulate over time will surprise you.
yup, ever since the SageTV Docker was released, I have been really reading up on the progress of unRAID V6.x
and hence the new server build...

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-14-2016, 05:06 PM
 
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Just some food for thought, I went a similar but different route. I had been mulling over several options for my storage server upgrade, including the Norco and Supermicro alternative route. I ended up going with a 3rd option which I hadn't seen discussed here much. I opted to go the route of the used server route, but instead of Supermicro I went with a Rackable (SGI) half depth server and storage box. The Server was a 2u case based around a Tyan S7012 dual Xeon board. (can be had for around $250) And the Storage box is a Rackable SE3016 SAS Expander based 16 bay 3u box. (~ $150) Like the Supermicro cases, these needed to be modified to be quieter for home use, but that was fairly simple and straight forward. I also bought a somewhat beefier server than the bottom end $250 model, that came in around $350 but included Dual Xeon x5560 and 48GB of RAM which came in handy for my virtualization plans.

Assuming you're just looking for a light server load the base model and storage box can be had for less than $400. I really liked this route because the form factor was so much handier in the cramped space I have to deal with. (those Supermicro cases are soooo deep) Mine has been rock solid since I built it (running Server 2012 R2 + several VMs) and the storage speed has been great. I'm still a believer in good ol fashioned RAID so I went with an HP p410 RAID card which I picked up on ebay for next to nothing, an internal/external SAS adapter to connect it to the storage box. Right now I have 4 of my old 2TB drives that are just being used individually, an array of 6 6TB drives, and 6 free bays for another array when I decide to expand. It's fast enough to saturate both gigabit NICs I have dedicated to the host machine.

But if you wanted to go the unRAID route or use any of the software based parity packages, you could just as easily put a standard SAS HBA in instead of RAID controller and go that route.
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-14-2016, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
You may only need 6 drives right now, but trust me, you will eventually need far more than that. The amount of data you can accumulate over time will surprise you.
AMEN to that! I just bought 4 X 6TB drives to replace some 3TB's I just put in about a year ago.

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post #11 of 11 Old 06-17-2016, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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my SM 846E16-R1200B case arrived...
wow... makes my Norco look like cheap crap, and I like my Norco, its a great case, but the supermicro is just all around better... the drive trays just feel solider/or something, all the fans have tach + pwm... I think the built in power supply supports PMBUS (need to look that up to be sure...) does unraid support PMBUS?
now, I just need to wait impatiently for the rest of my parts to show up


as a side note, I just remembered, I have a perfectly fine, new Revodrive 3 x2, 240GB PCIe SSD just sitting here? any reason I couldn't use that as a cache? looking through old posts, apparently it shows up as 4 x 60GB? is that a bad thing?
has there been any updates in the last 4 years or so?
anyone have any first hand experience? how did it work out?

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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