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N40L - 16GB RAM, 12TB - build options


chomsky
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I've recently purchased a HP Microserver N40L, with 16GB & 4 x 3TB WD Red HDDs.


By reading some of the builds that people have done (NAS, Virtualisation, HTPC, PVR backend etc.) I've become overwhelmed by the options and would like some guidance on what I could use it for to suit
my needs.

 

Originally I purchased it as a cheap low power NAS (as I use an AsRock ion 330 as my HTPC / PVR backend.)

 

What I'd like to do:
- NAS (high requirement)
- Torrent box (high requirement)
- Virtualisation – for development, I'd like to be able to run various OS: Ubuntu, Windows 7, OSX (mac), iphone / android dev environments. (medium requirement)
- HTPC (xbmc) / PVR backend (mythtv) – does this defeat the purpose (adding a power hungry graphics card)? (medium/low requirement)

 (it may make more sense to continue using my low power (26W) AsRock Ion 330 as a HTPC, as the N40L is a microserver and too noisy to be kept in my living room.)

 

Also, what additional hardware (upgraded NIC, RAID card, remote access card, HD graphics card, audiophile sound card) will be required?

 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts ^__^

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Two things up front, 16GB RAM is not going to be stable on the N40L.  Yes, people have been somewhat successful but a reboot can cause only 8 to become usable.  the other thing will be your choice to virtualize with such a low power CPU.

 

I think other than that you should be okay.

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Thanks for the advice re: 16GB RAM. I haven't tested it yet, but advised that it was working prior to my purchase.

 

Given that the CPU is very low powered - would you advise against using it for my virtualisation requirement?

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Virutalization all depends on how many VM's you intend to run at one time.

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I think you're pushing it if you intend to run all of those at the same time.

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Remember, you only have 2 PCIe slots; a x1 and a x16, so you're going to have to be selective about which add-in cards you use. Unless you really have a need for an add-in NIC, you can skip that one. If you're willing to use drive pooling software (DrivePool, flexRAID, DriveBender, PoolHD, etc.), you can skip a RAID card too. Just some food for thought...

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I think you're pushing it if you intend to run all of those at the same time.

 

Based on my requirements above, what functionality would you recommend from the HP N40L?

 

Is this best suited as a NAS and virtualisation of Ubuntu OS & Windows 7 (both of these will be accessed by a single user - light usage.)

 

It would be great to also run the PVR backend on there.

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Perhaps I haven't phrased my questions in the correct manner. I will do further research on this forum and revise my request. :unsure:

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The first thing I would do is install a trial copy of Server 2012 and see how consistently those 16 gigs of RAM load.  Most people have not had luck with all 16 gigs loading ALL of the time

 

If you can load 16 gigs all of the time, then try ESXi and do the same.  Then start adding servers and see what kind of load it can take.  Only testing will confirm/deny what you can do.

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