Media/back-up server build


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Hi, I'm building a new media server that will mostly be use to store and play 4k movies and HD music, as well as file backups. Media decoding will mostly be done on the client end. I'm thinking about the following components:

 

- Xeon E-2244G CPU

- Asus WS C246 Pro mobo

- A combinations of 4, 6, 12, 16TB drives, up to 16 drives

- 256gb SSD for cache

- 16gb ECC memory

- Mobo has 8 SATA ports, but will potentially get a SAS expander if I go over 8 drives. Is it just a matter of plugging in the SAS controller and  new drives into the expander at that point, leaving the original 8 drives untouched, or do I have to plan for that now?

- Will possibly throw in an old GTX 960 for decoding

- Will a 5-600 watt PS suffice?

- Fractal Define 7 case

 

First time doing this. Any comments would be welcome. Thanks

 

 

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2 hours ago, UnraidNewb123 said:

Is it just a matter of plugging in the SAS controller and  new drives into the expander at that point, leaving the original 8 drives untouched, or do I have to plan for that now?

Yes, you can untouch original 8 disks or plug all under expander.

 

Why use old gen 4-core Xeon, new gen 8-core CPU almost same price. TDP power issue concern ? ECC memory must ?

 

 

Edited by Vr2Io
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1 hour ago, Vr2Io said:

Yes, you can untouch original 8 disks or plug all under expander.

 

Why use old gen 4-core Xeon, new gen 8-core CPU almost same price. TDP power issue concern ? ECC memory must ?

 

 

Yes I would like an efficient CPU with the ability to use ECC memory

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On 4/11/2021 at 7:08 PM, UnraidNewb123 said:

Hi, I'm building a new media server that will mostly be use to store and play 4k movies and HD music, as well as file backups. Media decoding will mostly be done on the client end. I'm thinking about the following components:

 

- Xeon E-2244G CPU

- Asus WS C246 Pro mobo

- A combinations of 4, 6, 12, 16TB drives, up to 16 drives

- 256gb SSD for cache

- 16gb ECC memory

- Mobo has 8 SATA ports, but will potentially get a SAS expander if I go over 8 drives. Is it just a matter of plugging in the SAS controller and  new drives into the expander at that point, leaving the original 8 drives untouched, or do I have to plan for that now?

- Will possibly throw in an old GTX 960 for decoding

- Will a 5-600 watt PS suffice?

- Fractal Define 7 case

 

First time doing this. Any comments would be welcome. Thanks

 

 

That Xeon (E-2244G) is a 9th gen processor, which is 4c/8t.  They sell for just under $300 and support ECC RAM.  You could also get an i3-9100 (supports ECC and has Igpu for transcoding), which is 4c, so no hyper-threading.  But the cost is about $120 on the eBay used market, but can also be purchased brand new for about $150.

 

As for motherboards, I'm not familiar with the Asus board,.  Some of us here use the ASRockRack E3C246D4U, which overall has been very good.  See this forum post for more information.  If you go this route, the board can be purchased separately from the eBay seller listed in that post.  You could message the seller and ask how much for just the motherboard with RAM, which is what I did, allowing you to source your own processor.  Also, RAM should be installed in pairs, so you'll need two sticks.  You mention wanting 16gb.  I would aim for 32gb (2x16gb) because you'll probably end up using it.

 

You do not need ECC RAM w/ Unraid.  But if you want it, that's totally cool.  Just be sure that the motherboard and cpu support it.

 

I would go with a 500gb SSD over the 256gb, because metadata for something like Plex or similar programs can grow quite large (depending on settings) and if you use the cache drive for downloading or have a bunch of docker containers, you'll want some headroom.  Also, a larger drive should offer better endurance due to the ability to wear level over a greater number of cells.

 

A 500-600w power supply should be plenty.  I've seen systems 3x your goal operating in the 225-275w range and never more than 350w.  But you do want some overhead to account for startup and also expansion.  So IMHO 500-600w is a nice size.

 

As for chassis, I'v had several Fractal cases and find their quality to be excellent.  Just be sure to get something that offers enough drive slots for the disks you want to start with and more for expansion.  It takes a fair bit of time to install the server components into the chassis.  Swapping chassis is a pain.  And also opens the possibility of causing problems.  Sometimes it's better to "buy once and cry once" than to mess around.

 

Good luck.  Building one's first Unraid server is exciting and rewarding.  Enjoy!

 

 

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3 hours ago, DoItMyselfToo said:

That Xeon (E-2244G) is a 9th gen processor, which is 4c/8t.  They sell for just under $300 and support ECC RAM.  You could also get an i3-9100 (supports ECC and has Igpu for transcoding), which is 4c, so no hyper-threading.  But the cost is about $120 on the eBay used market, but can also be purchased brand new for about $150.

 

As for motherboards, I'm not familiar with the Asus board,.  Some of us here use the ASRockRack E3C246D4U, which overall has been very good.  See this forum post for more information.  If you go this route, the board can be purchased separately from the eBay seller listed in that post.  You could message the seller and ask how much for just the motherboard with RAM, which is what I did, allowing you to source your own processor.  Also, RAM should be installed in pairs, so you'll need two sticks.  You mention wanting 16gb.  I would aim for 32gb (2x16gb) because you'll probably end up using it.

 

You do not need ECC RAM w/ Unraid.  But if you want it, that's totally cool.  Just be sure that the motherboard and cpu support it.

 

I would go with a 500gb SSD over the 256gb, because metadata for something like Plex or similar programs can grow quite large (depending on settings) and if you use the cache drive for downloading or have a bunch of docker containers, you'll want some headroom.  Also, a larger drive should offer better endurance due to the ability to wear level over a greater number of cells.

 

A 500-600w power supply should be plenty.  I've seen systems 3x your goal operating in the 225-275w range and never more than 350w.  But you do want some overhead to account for startup and also expansion.  So IMHO 500-600w is a nice size.

 

As for chassis, I'v had several Fractal cases and find their quality to be excellent.  Just be sure to get something that offers enough drive slots for the disks you want to start with and more for expansion.  It takes a fair bit of time to install the server components into the chassis.  Swapping chassis is a pain.  And also opens the possibility of causing problems.  Sometimes it's better to "buy once and cry once" than to mess around.

 

Good luck.  Building one's first Unraid server is exciting and rewarding.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Great suggestions, I'll look into the 9100. I guess most of my decoding will either be done through a GTX 960 or on the client end, processing power might not matter much

 

I was looking at the Asus as it was a ATX board with more PCIE slots and SATA ports (8) for expansion into things like SAS controllers and 10GB lan cards down the road

 

What are some of the more commonly seen risks when transferring chassis? I might want to switch to a server chassis down the road as I accumulate drives, might be something to bear in mind

 

 

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3 hours ago, UnraidNewb123 said:

 

Great suggestions, I'll look into the 9100. I guess most of my decoding will either be done through a GTX 960 or on the client end, processing power might not matter much

 

I was looking at the Asus as it was a ATX board with more PCIE slots and SATA ports (8) for expansion into things like SAS controllers and 10GB lan cards down the road

 

What are some of the more commonly seen risks when transferring chassis? I might want to switch to a server chassis down the road as I accumulate drives, might be something to bear in mind

 

 

Keep in mind that the E-2244G (and other Xeons in this class) have a limit of 16 pcie lanes.  As for risks transferring to different chassis, basically every time one moves stuff around there is a risk of messing something up.  Maybe inadvertent static discharge, or improperly seated cables, or a bad cable.  Whatever. I have found that once my system is up and working, I do better to NOT tinker with it.

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