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ECC Home Server on a budget?

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So I'm trying to replace my ageing HP Proliant Microserver N54L. It's used as a general dogs body server, running Blue Iris, Plex and as my NAS server.

I'm on a pretty tight budget but the poor server is always at 90% + CPU because of the CCTV and I'm looking at adding a second camera soon.

Is there such a thing as a reasonably priced ECC home server build?

My MVP is 8GB ECC memory, with 4 threads on the CPU. 

I'd prefer a small form factor but that's like gold dust unless you throw a lot of $$££€€ at it. I've got to get this past my partner you see 😅

Any ideas? I'm not loyal to any particular brand, so long as it works.

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Many questions to answer yours:

  • What is your budget? 
  • Are you absolutely set on sticking with ECC?
  • Are you replacing the N54L because it's old and you're concerned about outright failure or just because it seems too slow?
  • How much storage (in how many drives) does your current Proliant have?
  • How much storage do you want your new build to have (or will you just re-use current drives?)


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Rough options.


1. Buy a 2nd N54L on ebay, say 50-100.

2. The most popular ECC server on this site was a GEN8 HP Microserver with either the XEON 1220 or 1260 CPU and 16GB ECC memory. Since the GEN8's are no longer manufactured be patient and wait for a suitable machine to appear on ebay. c400-500?

I like SD's mod described here for using the 5th SATA port.


3. I doubt it would be cost effective to buy a low spec. GEN8 and upgrade the CPU and memory.

4. If you can stretch to 650 then I'd buy a complete small workstation from DELL Outlet (the clincher here for me is that it will come with a W10Pro x64 license).

5. If you want to go even bigger then I'd start looking at the motherboard reviews on https://www.servethehome.com/, after which the sky's the limit … as is the price.


Having said all that … 'budget' and 'ECC' do not go together. You could probably get a relatively new low spec GEN8 for  c250-300.


Relative performances of machines here:



Of course you should have asked this question 2 weeks ago … before Black Friday … and everything above could be blown out of the water with offers. I saw a small DELL XEON server for 300 dollars ...

… then again XMAS is coming!

Edited by JackoUK

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I like Jacko's small Dell workstation suggestion....


...and Cyber-Monday is just a couple days away!



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23 hours ago, BSR said:

Many questions to answer yours:

  • What is your budget? 
  • Are you absolutely set on sticking with ECC?
  • Are you replacing the N54L because it's old and you're concerned about outright failure or just because it seems too slow?
  • How much storage (in how many drives) does your current Proliant have?
  • How much storage do you want your new build to have (or will you just re-use current drives?)


I don't really have a budget, just wanting to keep it low.

I'd rather have the ECC memory as this will be my home server for the next several years. It's uptime will reflect that

I'm replacing the N54L because it's maxed out running one camera. When I move out of my flat \ apartment, I'm going to have several (I've had one motorbike torched at a previous address and someone tried to hot-wire one here, mild paranoia has set in)

Current proliant has 4 drives. Wouldn't mind expanding on that, but MVP is non hot swap drives.

I'll likely move my current drives across.

I'll keep a close eye on cyber Monday deals but they're not as big a thing here in the UK

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Sorry - didn't realize you were UK based.


Possibly something like a Dell PowerEdge T30?  I believe it can fit all four of your drives, and the Xeon processor should handle the camera load better than your current one.  It's not mini-ITX but the footprint isn't too bad.


Only issue is the cheaper-spec'd ones don't have ECC.  I'm looking at one that is $569 (US) at Newegg.  Comes with 8GB DDR4 and one 1TB drive, but if you are really wanting to replace the RAM with ECC, you'll be wasting $$ on the 8GB in there.


There are a ton of refurb servers on Amazon (not sure about UK) in a multitude of ages/sizes/prices.  Some probably come with ECC and better processors than your current server.  Most of the better values are rack-mount, which may not appeal to you (or your partner). 


Not to veer off-topic, but I'm using Synology's Surveillance Station and am happy with it.  My vacation home has four cameras running on a fairly low-end NAS with (I think) an Atom processor.  It's usually in the 30-40% CPU range -- not too bad.   Possibly Blue Iris' requirements are higher, but I think you can run BI on Synology NAS as well.  Maybe get a NAS to offload the cameras to, or leave them on the N54L and move your PLEX and other storage to the NAS. 


Trying to think outside the box, as most of the better solutions I would gravitate to are going to be over $1K US.


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If money is no object then there will be something to match all your requirements here:




My best answer is:


1. If money is no object then a tinkertry'd system.


2. If there is a budget constraint and it has to be compact then a tricked out Gen8 microserver.


3. Otherwise a small XEON server or workstation.

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HPE MS Gen10 with x3421 CPU would give you a performance boost and keep you in a small form factor.

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I'll return to keeping an eye out for the newer gen microservers with a xeon and I'll also lookout for the Dell's.

My old man uses a Synology DS211j and he's pretty happy with it. But licenses for extra cameras cost an stupid amount last I checked.

Edited by Himaro

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How about:




… reconfigured with ...




(gotta be a low 45W CPU for thermals)


… and you'll have to source 8GB ECC memory.

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