I know what I want to do. I don't know what to build. Looking for feedback.


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Background: I am a "experience beginner" Linux user: I know all the basics pretty well. I am an intermediate Python programmer: self-taught over 3 years. I have no real networking, NAS, RAID experience, but am patient so I believe I can start picking it up.

 

I have some idea what I want to do with my unraid server. I am not sure what specific parts / build to go yet. I am also uncertain if I should do an unraid server as one box, then a separate daily driver for work/play as another box.

 

I want to:

  • Play FPS games @ 144-240 fps. I am looking at an NVIDIA RTX 3000 series GPU. Not sure if Xeons would work here for a game like Apex Legends, or if I would need a consumer AMD/Intel. I lean heavily AMD for consumer CPU.
  • Work on AI/ML projects
  • Run a Python project (involves a LOT of video downloading + computer vision + OCR) -- since I am downloading 300-800GB/day, it makes using a paid VPS option unworkable. I'll need a workhouse drive for this. I might need to do it all on NVME to spare the HD so much IO.
  • Run a few Windows VMs. Win 7 or Win 10. Would like to be able to split/share the GPU as a resource across multiple VMs. Example: Take a 10GB graphics card, and assign 500mb to each VM and VM thinks it has its own discreet 500MB card. Not sure which RTX 3000 cards are capable of this, or if this is feasible.
  • Have a NAS for our small business. Would want 8TB of usable storage. So I am thinking of starting with 4 x 4TB HD running 2 disks at parity, 500gb-1tb nvme for cache drive, and 2TB nvme for main driver
  • Plex media server in the future -- don't need this now but will later this year

 

Thoughts and questions:

 

I have no idea how much RAM I need and if I should go ECC or not.

 

I have considered the old server gear purchased via ebay route. It looks like old server boards can be found for $100 and 6 core Xeon E5 can be found for $20-30 each. This seems like a great value, but I have read that you can't really compare 10 year old CPU core-to-core, clock-to-clock with modern CPUs due to architecture differences having a big impact (32nm v 7nm.)

 

Older server CPUs are also energy hogs. It seems like a cheap cost upfront to buy, but then you'll ultimately pay for it in the long-run on electricity costs. My understanding is using old server gear usually gets you more lanes than a modern consumer PC mobo/CPU. However, with the above, I am not sure I need that many or not.

 

Is the old server gear option a cheaper option or no when energy costs are considered? Could a dual Xeon E5 do what I need for the above? I am thinking high frames per second in FPS games would be the biggest question.

 

Another question in my mind is, when do I need to spin up a VM versus when do I just do a docker container?

 

If I went the old server gear build in for an all-in-one box, what specs would you recommend for the above needs?

 

If I went the consumer PC route I'd want something beefy that could handle my gaming / AI & ML needs, but also run as a NAS/VM. I am leaning towards a Ryzen 5000 CPU and an RTX 3000 GPU. What would your recommend as a build?

 

That about sums it up. I know just enough to know there is a lot I don't know, haha. Thank you for any feedback!

Edited by KBlast
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I read somewhere that I can pass through 1 GPU to 1 VM, but I can't split up 1 GPU into multiple "gpu resource pools" and then pass those through to different VMs simultaneously. If that's the case, then I couldn't use an RTX 3000 in this build - I'd need to take the 2-box approach. Make one server build, then one daily driver AI/ML build. Some of the projects I want to run require their own GPU per win 10 VM, but it doesn't need to be a super powerful GPU. 2gb is sufficient.

 

If it's true you cannot virtualize your GPU and pass through to multiple VMs, then I have come up with a one option: a dual Xeon CPU with an ASUS server board. The board has 6 PCIe x8 slots. I could fit GT 710 2GB GPUs in those slots to pass through. No NVME2 slot, but I could still use an SSD as a cache.

 

Here is the build. I've only listed 1 GPU, but I'd start with 2-3. This is also a good option because I found a great deal on the CPUs: $150 USD for a batch of 4.

 

Any feedback?

 

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Xeon E5-2670 V3 2.3 GHz 12-Core Processor 
CPU: Intel Xeon E5-2670 V3 2.3 GHz 12-Core Processor 
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12DXi4 55 CFM CPU Cooler  ($64.95 @ Amazon) 
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12DXi4 55 CFM CPU Cooler  ($64.95 @ Amazon) 
Motherboard: ASRock EP2C612D16SM SSI EEB Dual-CPU LGA2011-3 Narrow Motherboard  ($291.72 @ Amazon) 
Memory: Samsung 32 GB (1 x 32 GB) Registered DDR4-2133 CL15 Memory  ($92.00 @ Amazon) 
Memory: Samsung 32 GB (1 x 32 GB) Registered DDR4-2133 CL15 Memory  ($92.00 @ Amazon) 
Memory: Samsung 32 GB (1 x 32 GB) Registered DDR4-2133 CL15 Memory  ($92.00 @ Amazon) 
Memory: Samsung 32 GB (1 x 32 GB) Registered DDR4-2133 CL15 Memory  ($92.00 @ Amazon) 
Storage: Samsung 860 Evo 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive  ($109.99 @ Adorama) 
Storage: Western Digital Blue 4 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($89.99 @ Amazon) 
Storage: Western Digital Blue 4 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($89.99 @ Amazon) 
Storage: Western Digital Blue 4 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($89.99 @ Amazon) 
Storage: Western Digital Blue 4 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($89.99 @ Amazon) 
Video Card: MSI GeForce GT 710 1 GB GT LP Video Card  ($34.99 @ Amazon) 
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro 2 ATX Full Tower Case  ($146.98 @ Newegg) 
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply  ($99.99 @ Amazon) 
Total: $1541.53
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2021-01-06 20:12 EST-0500

 

 

 

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On 1/6/2021 at 8:16 PM, KBlast said:

If it's true you cannot virtualize your GPU and pass through to multiple VMs

This is true, Software to share a GPU between multiple VMs does not exist in the consumer market to my knowledge. 

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