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Need Advice on proposed Server Build Hardware


Guru4PCs
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I have currently have 2 WHSv1 servers (HP MSS EX470 and Acer Aspire easyStore H340) plus I have installed and support 10 other WHSv1 Servers.

 

My objective is to build a new box and virtualize my 2 existing WHSv1 servers, a legacy WinXP desktop and I would like to add a SBSEssentials2011

 

I have a TechNet account so I can use Windows Server 2008R2 with Hyper-V or possibly Xenserver

 

 

I was thinking of using the following hardware config:

  • AMD A8 X4 3850 Quad FM1
  • GigaByte GA-A75-UD4H
  • Scythe KATANA 3 SCKTN-3000 CPU Cooler
  • NZXT H2 Classic Silent Case
  • Mushkin Blackline 4x4Gb DDR3
  • CoolerMaster Silent Pro M850

  • WD Caviar Black 2TB (OS and Virtual OS's)

  • WD Caviar Green 3TB (WHS2011 Data)

  • 4 x WD Caviar Green 2TB (WHSv1 Data (pre-existing) and WHS2011 Data)

I also have a Mediasonic (HF2-SU3S2) Pro Box 4 Bay Enclosure USB 3.0 & eSATA for future expansion.

 

The hardware excluding HDD would be about $650

 

After reading through much of the Virtualization topic on this forum I now think I need to add a couple of NIC (need advice on good/affordable) and SATA II or SATA III add-on cards.

 

Is there anything else I should be considering?

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Good start. Any reason you chose the less powerful AMD APU over the an i3? Here's my advice/comments....

 

- I would go with a SB i3 CPU and a H67/Z68 mobo. There isn't really any cost difference and the increase in CPU performance of the relatively weal APU is better suited to Virtualization. Not to mention better driver support.

 

- Last I checked Mushkin didn't sell 16GB sets, you do not want to buy an unmatched set. I would recommend these G.Skill units instead.

 

- I'm also going to suggest keeping the Host OS and the VMs on separate disks. You'll get better performance and if the drives goes your, VHDs are still intact.

 

- Be aware of the issues surrounding 3TB drives and GPT partitions. If you're cool with it, great. Otherwise I would just get another 2TB drive.

 

- The Mediasonic enclosure is going to be useless in this environment, find another use for it.

 

- The onboard NIC is more than capable for what you're doing with it. If you were using it as your firewall/router or want separate networks, then I would suggest picking up an Intel NIC they are well supported and will give you the least headache with a VM.

 

- For a straight up SATA expansion I use the cheap Syba ones from newegg. Never had a problem. For a RAID controller, if that's what you want, The highpoint RocketRAID 2680 or 2720 are the only budget option, but if you have the need and budget there are some nice ones out there.

 

I would also look at my VM server build on the Blog and the forum Thread. I've changed a few things since then most are in my signature. I run anywhere from 4 to 12 VMs at any given time without any issues. This is all with an older i3/H55 and 16GB RAM.

 

Have fun and Good Luck!

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Good start. Any reason you chose the less powerful AMD APU over the an i3? Here's my advice/comments....

 

- I would go with a SB i3 CPU and a H67/Z68 mobo. There isn't really any cost difference and the increase in CPU performance of the relatively weal APU is better suited to Virtualization. Not to mention better driver support.

 

- Last I checked Mushkin didn't sell 16GB sets, you do not want to buy an unmatched set. I would recommend these G.Skill units instead.

 

- I'm also going to suggest keeping the Host OS and the VMs on separate disks. You'll get better performance and if the drives goes your, VHDs are still intact.

 

- Be aware of the issues surrounding 3TB drives and GPT partitions. If you're cool with it, great. Otherwise I would just get another 2TB drive.

 

- The Mediasonic enclosure is going to be useless in this environment, find another use for it.

 

- The onboard NIC is more than capable for what you're doing with it. If you were using it as your firewall/router or want separate networks, then I would suggest picking up an Intel NIC they are well supported and will give you the least headache with a VM.

 

- For a straight up SATA expansion I use the cheap Syba ones from newegg. Never had a problem. For a RAID controller, if that's what you want, The highpoint RocketRAID 2680 or 2720 are the only budget option, but if you have the need and budget there are some nice ones out there.

 

I would also look at my VM server build on the Blog and the forum Thread. I've changed a few things since then most are in my signature. I run anywhere from 4 to 12 VMs at any given time without any issues. This is all with an older i3/H55 and 16GB RAM.

 

Have fun and Good Luck!

 

Thank you for the reply/feedback

I had started my research based on passmark scores (http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php) for some affordable desktop CPUs. I interpreted the following info to conclude that the A8-3850 was the best CPU I could get without dropping 30% to get an i5-2400

 

 

Desktop CPUs

 

1= CPU Name

2= Passmark CPU Mark (higher is better)

3= Rank (lower is better)

4= CPU Value (higher is better)

5= Price (USD)

 

=1= =2= =3= =4= =5=

AMD A8-3850 APU with Radeon 5953 65 44.10 $134.99*

Intel Core i3-2100T @ 2.50GHz 3263 213 25.29 $129.00**

Intel Core i3-2120 @ 3.30GHz 4063 139 28.02 $144.99**

Intel Core i5-2310 @ 2.90GHz 5765 69 23.91 $241.11**

Intel Core i5-2320 @ 3.00GHz 6354 51 NA NA

Intel Core i5-2400 @ 3.10GHz 6089 60 32.05 $189.99*

  • Thank you for the tip about buying the RAM in a pack of 1 x 4 not 2 x 2 so that they are matched
  • Can I keep the VM boot VHD on one HDD and use passthru for the other physical HDDs that will hold the data?
  • I will avoid 3Tb HDD until I can investigate further
  • I will mothball the MediaSonic until I have another use for it
  • Thanks for saving me $ on extra NICs
  • I will look into the Syba cards

Your help is appreciated.

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