Jump to content
RESET Forums (homeservershow.com)
tinkererguy

What about building WHS2011 box with Z68 Motherboard (like ASUS P8Z68-V PRO) at $300, with Intel Core i7-2600S (65 watts) $300?

Recommended Posts

tinkererguy

What about building WHS2011 box with Z68 Motherboard (like ASUS P8Z68-V PRO) at $300, with Intel Core i7-2600S (65 watts) $300?

 

I realize $600 sounds very steep. But consider this. I already an ATX case, memory and disk drives, and a reasonably efficient power supply.

 

So longevity (I'd like to get 4 years out of this rig) and efficiency are my primary concerns, as electricity costs over 4 years really add up (hundreds per year for Xeon servers, at 18 cents per kilowatt hour).

 

Hope I'm making a bit more sense now.

 

So, I've only begun to do a bit of research/shopping, my first time looking at building from the ground up in years, frankly.

 

The new Z68 based motherboards that begin to ship this May seem to be a possibly good choice for WHS 2011, replacing the short-lived H67 LGA1156 socket based Sandybridge motherboards from Jan 2011.

 

I'm looking for the following attributes, especially given it's an always-on device:

 

1) efficiency (with built in graphics)

2) ATX form factor, with many choices (many memory types can be used, many PCI slots)

3) decent SATA and USB3 flexibility (not a fan of adding eSATA cards or RAID cards, want to use USB3 to backup to external USB3 enclosure I have for off-site backup)

4) UEFI (should I wish to boot from 3TB someday)

5) a little more future proof, with newer LGA1155 socket (that replaces LGA1156 socket), not that it's likely I'll ever replace the CPU. Read more here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/297178-28-intel-2600

 

For a review of an upcoming ASUS motherboard, read:

"Intel’s Z68 Approaches – ASUS P8Z68-V PRO Preview"

http://livetechnoguide.com/intels-z68-approaches-asus-p8z68-v-pro-preview/

so it would seem that the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO, which has the LGA1155 socket, and a non-NEC USB 3.0 controller, may be a good way to go (I've had issues with NEC).

 

Of course I'm fishing for alternative opinions on this as well, that's why I post here, of course. Particularly a motherboard with low watt burn when idle, yet has all the attributes I require.

 

According to Integrated Graphics Efficiency Results (admittedly a dated Jan 2011 review):

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sandy-bridge-efficienct-32-nm,2831-8.html

it's clear to me Intel beats AMD for watt burn, especially when idle:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sandy-bridge-efficienct-32-nm,2831-10.html

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-review-intel-core-i7-2600k-i5-2500k-core-i3-2100-tested/21

 

So now for the CPU, the only LGA1155 Core i5/i7 I spot with reasonable watt burn is the Core i5-2390T at 35 watts, or the Core i7-2xxxS series at 65 watts, according to this Core i3/i5/i7 overview site:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_core#Sandy_Bridge_microarchitecture_based

 

Core i5-2390T at about $195 and 35 watts max:

Part # CM8062301002115

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_i5_microprocessors#.22Sandy_Bridge.22_.2832_nm.29

http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=53448

$195 according to this Intel site:

http://ark.intel.com/ProductCollection.aspx?familyID=42912&MarketSegment=DT

 

But it has only 2 actual cores and only 3.0MB of cache, and I may do some fairly heavy crunching with my WHS2011 someday and would like a bit more headroom.

 

So digging into the i7 series, there's only one i7 model at the low watt-burn end, it's the quad-core:

Core i7-2600S at about $300 and 65 watts max:

Part # CM8062300835604

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_i7_microprocessors#.22Sandy_Bridge.22_.2832_nm.29

http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=52215

 

$300 retail according to this Intel site:

http://ark.intel.com/ProductCollection.aspx?familyID=28037&MarketSegment=DT

 

but doesn't really appear to be shipping from anywhere quite yet, and here it shows $359 for example:

http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/INTEL-I7-2600S-2.8GHZ-8M/2347906.aspx

 

So it would seem I have some weeks to mull this all over.

 

Opinions?

Edited by tinkererguy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tinkererguy

I may wind up booting the whole thing from a USB key withy ESXi 4.1U1 fyi, and then running WHS2011 in a VM, with excellent I/O speed to the drives (native RAID support not necessary).

 

Or I may wind up using WHS2011 native, and running VMs.

 

Either way, the Intel VT-d and VT-x features are important to me, and both processors I'm looking at appear to have it:

http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/intel_core_i5_2500k_and_core_i7_2600k_sandy_bridge,2.html

 

Intel Virtualization Technology (VT-x)

Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d)

Edited by tinkererguy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tinkererguy

And I realize I'm limited to one physical CPU socket and 8GB of RAM with WHS2011, which is part of why I'm considering running ESXi 4.1U1 (I have a valid license for it) on this overkill system, to really leverage my always-on investment these next 4 years:

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/2151-how-many-cpu-sockets-will-whs-2011-recognize/

 

So yeah, it would appear I need to start poking around here again:

"VMware Compatibility Guide"

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php

and the Whitebox guides here:

http://www.vm-help.com/esx40i/esx40_whitebox_HCL.php#MB

http://ultimatewhitebox.com/motherboard

 

I realize my home-brew system won't be truly supported by VMware in any meaningful way, but this research is really just to look for potential show-stopper types of issues with the components I have and those I plan to purchase (I know my quad-port PCI Express gigabit card is supported, that's key).

Edited by tinkererguy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
diehard

tinkererguy, If you really want 2 CPU's, you can use Small Business Server Essentials 2011. You get to backup 25 PC but loose the Silverlight web stuff but gain a 2nd CPU and more memory and Active Directory. All the WHS2011 addin should still work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Citezein

I may wind up booting the whole thing from a USB key withy ESXi 4.1U1 fyi, and then running WHS2011 in a VM, with excellent I/O speed to the drives (native RAID support not necessary).

 

Or I may wind up using WHS2011 native, and running VMs.

 

Either way, the Intel VT-d and VT-x features are important to me, and both processors I'm looking at appear to have it:

http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/intel_core_i5_2500k_and_core_i7_2600k_sandy_bridge,2.html

 

Intel Virtualization Technology (VT-x)

Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d)

 

The VT-d feature is only available in very few motherboards. I'm using it on an ESXi install using the Intel DQ67SW board, but most consumer boards don't support it, despite the CPU and chipset supporting the feature. Just do your research carefully.

 

Personally, your build seems overkill. You can spend $600, or you can spend $300. Personally, I'd spend $300 now and $300 in another three years for something much faster than your $600 now buys you. In fact, I did spend about $300 for the DQ67SW and i5-2400. Those two gave me four cores and a great bang for the buck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pcdoc

What about building WHS2011 box with Z68 Motherboard (like ASUS P8Z68-V PRO) at $300, with Intel Core i7-2600S (65 watts) $300?

 

I realize $600 sounds very steep. But consider this. I already an ATX case, memory and disk drives, and a reasonably efficient power supply.

 

So longevity (I'd like to get 4 years out of this rig) and efficiency are my primary concerns, as electricity costs over 4 years really add up (hundreds per year for Xeon servers, at 18 cents per kilowatt hour).

 

Hope I'm making a bit more sense now.

 

So, I've only begun to do a bit of research/shopping, my first time looking at building from the ground up in years, frankly.

 

The new Z68 based motherboards that begin to ship this May seem to be a possibly good choice for WHS 2011, replacing the short-lived H67 LGA1156 socket based Sandybridge motherboards from Jan 2011.

 

I'm looking for the following attributes, especially given it's an always-on device:

 

1) efficiency (with built in graphics)

2) ATX form factor, with many choices (many memory types can be used, many PCI slots)

3) decent SATA and USB3 flexibility (not a fan of adding eSATA cards or RAID cards, want to use USB3 to backup to external USB3 enclosure I have for off-site backup)

4) UEFI (should I wish to boot from 3TB someday)

5) a little more future proof, with newer LGA1155 socket (that replaces LGA1156 socket), not that it's likely I'll ever replace the CPU. Read more here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/297178-28-intel-2600

 

For a review of an upcoming ASUS motherboard, read:

"Intel’s Z68 Approaches – ASUS P8Z68-V PRO Preview"

http://livetechnoguide.com/intels-z68-approaches-asus-p8z68-v-pro-preview/

so it would seem that the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO, which has the LGA1155 socket, and a non-NEC USB 3.0 controller, may be a good way to go (I've had issues with NEC).

 

Of course I'm fishing for alternative opinions on this as well, that's why I post here, of course. Particularly a motherboard with low watt burn when idle, yet has all the attributes I require.

 

According to Integrated Graphics Efficiency Results (admittedly a dated Jan 2011 review):

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sandy-bridge-efficienct-32-nm,2831-8.html

it's clear to me Intel beats AMD for watt burn, especially when idle:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sandy-bridge-efficienct-32-nm,2831-10.html

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-review-intel-core-i7-2600k-i5-2500k-core-i3-2100-tested/21

 

So now for the CPU, the only LGA1155 Core i5/i7 I spot with reasonable watt burn is the Core i5-2390T at 35 watts, or the Core i7-2xxxS series at 65 watts, according to this Core i3/i5/i7 overview site:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_core#Sandy_Bridge_microarchitecture_based

 

Core i5-2390T at about $195 and 35 watts max:

Part # CM8062301002115

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_i5_microprocessors#.22Sandy_Bridge.22_.2832_nm.29

http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=53448

$195 according to this Intel site:

http://ark.intel.com/ProductCollection.aspx?familyID=42912&MarketSegment=DT

 

But it has only 2 actual cores and only 3.0MB of cache, and I may do some fairly heavy crunching with my WHS2011 someday and would like a bit more headroom.

 

So digging into the i7 series, there's only one i7 model at the low watt-burn end, it's the quad-core:

Core i7-2600S at about $300 and 65 watts max:

Part # CM8062300835604

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_i7_microprocessors#.22Sandy_Bridge.22_.2832_nm.29

http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=52215

 

$300 retail according to this Intel site:

http://ark.intel.com/ProductCollection.aspx?familyID=28037&MarketSegment=DT

 

but doesn't really appear to be shipping from anywhere quite yet, and here it shows $359 for example:

http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/INTEL-I7-2600S-2.8GHZ-8M/2347906.aspx

 

So it would seem I have some weeks to mull this all over.

 

Opinions?

 

 

Sounds like you already did your research and I agree with most of what you are stating however I do have a couple of comments. First the Z68 is more interesting to enthusiast than it is to a home server. The only "real" benefit it offers is the addition of quick sync support to the "H" series which does not do anything for home servers. Granted, if you are going to wait anyway then why not but personally $300 for a server board is probably not the best value assuming you are going to use it as a server. Assuming you do not use this as a VM, you will not be buying better quality but rather features that will most likely not be used in WHS. Although I have used VM systems, I am still in camp of building a box for a single purpose. Data to me is too critical and there are enough limitations in WHS 2011 backup that I do not want to complicate things. You have listed some killer components for an enthusiast build but you really need to look at the storage requirements such as RAID cards and drives as that is what truly matters in WHS and will do more for safety and performance than any motherboard will do. In addition, it will help you far more in overcoming inherent limitations in 2011. I am now on my fourth WHS 2011 server and I can tell that performance is not the key as even my Core I3-530/540 ‘s never go above 30% even during real time transcoding. What is key is storage strategy as the backup scheme in 2011 next to useless if you have more than 2T that require backing up. Ultimately you have to buy what is right for and your use case so I am just giving my opinion, and don’t get me wrong I want a Z68 motherboard, but I would rather put in on my desktop rather than a home server where it can be utilized to its full potential and I can make use of those extra features. Just my two cents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dagamer34

Unless your CPU is going to be constantly churning with data, I see little reason to get a low-power CPU, as the wattage associated with CPU ratings has to do with heat dissipation[\b] not power consumption. An idle stock Core i7 will use the same amount of power as an "S" version, but the latter is not allowed to pass a certain thermal limit. I'm also not sure "low power" and "virtual machine" can be comfortably said in the same sentence.

 

But I do wish you the best of luck. I'd personally avoid ASUS if you will be running WHS 2011 as a host OS, as their motherboard drivers don't like installing themselves on server operating systems like Windows Server 2008 R2. Sure, you could do it yourself, but why put forth the extra effort when MSI and Gigabyte make it a much easier task?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Citezein

I'm also not sure "low power" and "virtual machine" can be comfortably said in the same sentence.

 

My ESXi VM server runs very cool and quiet at idle. With five hard drives and an i5-2400, the server idles around 55 - 60 Watts. I consider this very good performance, as my old P4 server idled at 120 Watts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pcdoc

Every use case and expectation is different but I agree with Citezein. It is not so much whether or not it is on a VM as much as what each is going to do. The subject of building high end home servers keeps coming up and for the most part you have to decide what your budget, power bill and needs will allow. It goes with out saying that my 2600k will work as a WHS but do I really want that? VM's do generally require more CPU power but it goes back to what you are using it for. I have run a core I3 as VM several times with no performance issues at all (more ram was helpful though). Remember that if your VM's are serving your network your performance bottleneck will be your network not the server. If the applications of each VM does not translate to the user experience due to other constraints than the extra performance will not be well served (no pun intended). The punchline is what matters is that you are happy with your purchase, the performance, and the power consumption. As I have a minimum of 4 PC's on 24/7 and I live in So Cal, power is an issue for me. I could care less about power draw on my main system which is not on all the time but my HTPC's and servers I care. I want what is coming out of wall as well as heating up the room to be as little as possible and be able to maintain an acceptable performance. My core I3 server has 14 drives in it and draws about 80 watts out of the wall, and my other server has 10 drives and draws about 68 watts and both are extremely quick for this use case. If I could get that to 60 by a motherboard or CPU change I would do it as these are dedicated servers. Even with I3's they are incredibly over powered and idle most of the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tinkererguy

This is all excellent information, and I love that the "big picture" is getting "painted" by so many folks with different perspectives, which helps a great deal.

 

There were many things I could have stated more clearly, here's two of them:

 

1) VMs: I only occasionally use Windows2008R2x64 and Linux based VMs, and mostly for exercises or trainings or proof-of-concept work, but occasionally for network tool and other tests where it's nice to kick the tires for weeks at a time, and leave the VM running (idle) to test on a whim, as needed (such as SharePoint tests). Gigabit throughput is not concern/bottleneck for me. And probably 90% of any given month, the WHS2011 server CPU cores will be very nearly at idle. The spikes would be when I'm "playing" with VMs by day, or small rises in CPU use at night, as it gets new daily backups from WiFi and wired laptops (that wake up just for the 15-25 minute daily backups). ESXi 4.1U1 has very little overhead/performance impact (I've been using ESX for many years in production environments at work). When comparing disk or network I/O speeds of WHS2011 run natively, or in an ESXi-hosted VM, the speed should be very nearly the same, but I'll be doing some more tests to verify that soon as well (and check watt burn as well).

 

2) Motherboard choice

I had kind of thought about standardizing on ASUS, having used their boards a lot in the early to mid 90s when making custom builds. And I was thinking of buying a second identical motherboard for an affordable gaming system my son is building, which could wind up being a good donor motherboard someday down the road, should my WHS2011 motherboard go. But if the driver/chipset support really is better for Gigabyte or MSI, I'll give those a look as well, of course, stability matters far more to me. Given I've been using 64 bit drivers for my primary laptop for many years (since Vista 64 bit shipped), I'm a little surprised that ASUS support for W2K8R2x64-based WHS2011 (essentially identical to Windows 7 64 bit drivers) would be an issue, but come to think of it, I do recall reading others concerned about ASUS drivers as well. As I had mentioned in my original post, I hadn't bought a separate motherboard in many years, and have only begun researching this, and it shows! But you all are getting me up to speed in a hurry. And this is more fun (and more versatile, I need drive bays) frankly than spending well over $1200 on a roughly similar prebuilt WHS2011 Tranquil box shipped from UK, for example.

 

I wish I could find a graph of the watt burn of various Core i3/i5/i7 chips at idle, that could be interesting. Anybody spot one?

 

I also realize that over-taxing an underclocked/super-efficient CPU that winds up making routine tasks take much longer could be silly (and a waste of money given the higher cost), and I've seen some articles somewhere that make that argument. So it would appear shaving some serious $ off the cost, by skipping the 2600S, and going with 2600K might make plenty of sense, especially given the amazingly low watt burn I'm seeing folks reporting here.

 

I'm trying to stick to the already-complex CPU/motherboard topic here, but I should mention that I have years of WHSv1 experience with handling rebuilds (and RAID arrays) at several homes (and worksites), and dealing with my 3.8TB of PC backups is a whole 'nother topic. I'm working that out by "piloting" trials on a temporary/learning testbed now, using WHS2011 without RAID, with software RAID, and with hardware RAID. But that system burns 300-400 watts at idle, ouch! So my final build will likely be very sturdy, simple, and, well, boring, the way I like it. Messing around should be done in VMs, not tainting the actual WHS2011 instance with the tinkering I'm apt to do.

 

So, complex storage discussions probably belongs in another thread.

 

Back to motherboards and CPUs. If we could stick to first-hand-and-recent Gigabyte/MSI/ASRock? Sandybridge-based motherboard discussions in this thread going forward, that'd probably be helpful, as I try to make an educated guess at which Z68 motherboard is the way to go, possibly for many of us (I personally will still probably buy 2).

 

I'm hoping I don't blow it by being an early adopter, and I realize the risk of buying a Z68 motherboard the month it's released. Just look what happened with the H67 back in January:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/sandy-bridge-chipset-flaw-to-cost-intel-1-billion/11157

 

But posting thoughts here reduces the risk, as I get up to speed on the latest motherboards.

 

Thank you again everybody for your constructive/helpful feedback!

Edited by tinkererguy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...