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Trebron74

Motherboard/CPU initial unRaid Server

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Hello Community.

 

I'm pissed with my single drives attached to my Computer and want to start a NAS that allows me to re-use my bunch of 3 TB drives (5) and offers great flexibility. This could be cheap and old HW reuse, but I do want to put some load on the server as well...

- Plex with 2-4 simultaneous Transcoding up to 1080p, no 4K in the foreseeable future of 3 years...

- Some docker containers such as Plex, or some research VMs (No Gaming) for Linux/Win

- Support for 10-14 Drives including parity, cache and SSDs (Docker, VM)

- Headless would be nice as the box would not be at the desk.

- less power consumption over high performance and high idle consumption.

- system might idle 50-70% of the 24h

 

I picked a Case (Antec nineteen hundred) and PSU (be quiet dark power pro 10 650W) already, but struggle enormous with the selection of the CPU and MB...

Budget for the Server would be 500€ without Case & PSU or Drives (CPU, Ram, MB, Controller cards if necessary, Cables,...)

 

I've spent 2 days on the search already but get more and more confused. I don't mind going 1-2 generations back

 

Could you guide me to a reasonable solution?

Thanks in advance :)

 

 

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You've already picked the Antec 1900, so we're going with a full ATX case.  The other choices you need to make are how much CPU and a server grade or consumer grade motherboard.

 

For the CPU Passmarks are your friend.  The rule of thumb is 2,000 Passmarks per simultaneous 1080p stream in Plex when transcoding is required.  Do you need transcoding?  If so, and leaving some CPU for unRAID and Dockers, you'll need a 9,000 - 10,000 Passmark CPU which is fairly high end - Core i7 or Xeon territory.

 

For the motherboard the question is whether you want server grade features like IPMI, ECC RAM, dual LAN, etc.  I think ECC RAM is a good idea for a fault tolerant, always-on server and IPMI would work well for you since you want to run headless.  Assuming you go in that direction ASRock, Supermicro and Asus have some good choices.

 

We can probably offer some more specific ideas with the answers to two questions - do you need transcoding for all 4 streams, and do you want a server grade motherboard?  Also, if there are any specific brands that are more available where you are, let us know since that differs quite a bit between the US and Europe.

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I run an i5-4690s and don't have a problem with 4 transcoding 1080p streams. That is probably right at the max of the CPU though. I would suggest looking for an older Xeon on eBay (that's what I'm doing right now).  I'm looking at the v3 Xeons. Can really say about the ecc RAM as I don't use it and haven't really had any problems. Server motherboards are kind of expensive so I would look for a enthusiast one that supports xeons.

 

Also as the person above said look up the passmark score of the CPU you are looking at and use the 2000 rule.

 

 

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Yeah ... Quite a big price tag then...

So I assume 2 concurrent streams often, but 4 simultaneous rarely.

I would prefer server grade MB and Xeon CPU over a Gaming level.

 

I'm still in the very basic decision phase: Actual (expensive but more future proof) or older (cheaper) Setup?

How far back in the Xeon Generation would you go (raising the chance to get used parts)?

Is it worth (with the given 2-3 concurrent external streams needing transcoding) to invest into an Xeon E5, or will be Xeon E3 architecture be sufficient?

If server grade, is it an good idea to look for SAS onboard (what do I need to attach SATA drives to the SAS adapter?)

 

 

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A higher end E3 will meet the needs you've laid out, and an E5 would be a nice way to future proof.  Older parts can be a real bargain if you're just looking for horsepower but you'll pay a penalty in power usage.  People have built some monster E5 v1 and v2 boxes using decomm'd server parts off eBay, but at the expense of 100w+ servers (or very expensive chips if you get a current version).  A modern (1150 or 1151) E3 is a nice compromise of horsepower and lower power usage if you don't really need all the cores and PCIex lanes of an E5, but you can build a great server box with an E5 if you want to go that way.

 

If you get a motherboard with SAS onboard you just need the right breakout cables, typically something like this but it will depend on the final components you purchase.

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Ok, selected the Supermicro X11SSL-CF with 8 SATA + 2 SAS onboard, IPMI and look for the Xeon E3-1260L v5 with Passmark of 10.000 and an TDP of 45W

 

I do hope these 2 work together nicely and be very energy efficient by providing lots of performance.

Do you see any issues, incompatibilities with unRAID, performance lacks?

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Excellent choice.  Pop in a couple of 16GB ECC modules for 32GB using only 2 modules and you'll have a superb server !!  :)

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That's a nice board and I think it will work well for you, accommodating all the drives you plan for.

 

I'm a little suspicious about the E3-1260LV5, though.  I'm not sure how it can deliver 10,027 Passmarks while running at 2.9GHz when the Xeon E3-1275 v5 delivers 10,254 while running at @ 3.60GHz.  I don't have direct experience with the Skylake Xeons yet but the math doesn't add up there.  That said, I wouldn't hesitate to use an 80w Xeon if you can get a better price on one.  While the lower power "L" chips will use less power at max and slightly less overall, the idle power draw is probably very similar.  And usually the 80w chips draw more power at max because they're doing more work...  It's hard to tell these days how Intel bins some of these chips, though.  If the 1260L really gets over 10,000 Passmarks and costs around the same as an 80w chip then it would be a very nice unRAID platform.  It doesn't have integrated graphics, but you picked a motherboard with onboard graphics so you've got that covered.

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... I'm a little suspicious about the E3-1260LV5, though.  I'm not sure how it can deliver 10,027 Passmarks while running at 2.9GHz when the Xeon E3-1275 v5 delivers 10,254 while running at @ 3.60GHz.

 

I think they both deliver as promised.  Note that the E3-1260L v5 is designed for low power operation (TDP 45w), so it's inherently more efficient than it's higher powered "cousin".  But most significantly vis-à-vis their relative PassMark calculations -- the PassMark benchmark is by nature CPU intensive ... and this is exactly when the Intel CPU's will bump up the clock to their "turbo" frequencies to gain maximum "horsepower".  Note that although the 1260L's base frequency is only 2.9GHz (compared to a base frequency of 3.6GHz for the 1275);  the Turbo frequency is 3.9GHz ... nearly equal to the 4.0GHz turbo frequency for the 1275.   

 

When the PassMark performance test is run, clearly either CPU will ramp up to Turbo speed -- thus the very close performance figures.  And the 1260L will do it more efficiently ... consuming a max of 45w compared to 80w for the 1275.

 

... I'd say it's a very good choice  :)

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I'm working on it... but can't find the downside (except the 50€ difference which might be eaten up over time by power consumption)

 

CPU-Monkey comparison of Xeon E3 1230 v5 & E3 1260L v5

Passmarks

E3 1230 v5 @ € 267,85

E3 1260L v5 @ € 320,15

 

=>  Very similar performance (9629 vs 10067 PassMark ... favor of the 1260L)

=>  1260L much more power efficient (45w TDP vs 80w)

=>  1260L has a slightly higher turbo speed for single core; slightly lower when all cores are in turbo mode .. probably a wash

=>  As you've noted the 1230 is less expensive

 

Personally, I'd go for the 1260L, just for the better efficiency.  It'll run cooler; can ramp up to the same performance level while drawing just over half the power; and in the great scheme of things a 50€ difference is really irrelevant.

 

But either would be just fine.

 

 

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When the PassMark performance test is run, clearly either CPU will ramp up to Turbo speed -- thus the very close performance figures.  And the 1260L will do it more efficiently ... consuming a max of 45w compared to 80w for the 1275.

 

... I'd say it's a very good choice  :)

 

Makes sense, thanks Gary.

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