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Rick Sanchez

Three PCs In One - Second Sever

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I am looking to upgrade my my main computer and my old NAS box. It isn't powerful enough to run the new UnRAID.

My old NAS runs on an Intel Atom, which I might re-purpose for a pfsense box or an off site backup.

Anyway, back on topic!

Currently my main, daily driver is:

Monitors: 2x LG IPS231 

Case: Define R3CPU: Intel i7 3820
Motherboard: MSI X79A-GD45 (8D)
CPU: Intel Intel i7 3820
RAM: 16GB DDR 3 
GFX: Geforce GTX 570

HDD: I have multiple SSD (One in the machine and three in my filing cabinet). I have 12-13 3.5" drives doing nothing, plus the one in my machine. - I will be transferring any data off them to my file server so I can dban/destroy them after the build is complete.
PSU: Can't remember
Cooling: Noctua NH-D15 
UPS: APC Power-Saving Back-UPS Pro 900

The idea/aim:

Is to build an 'all in one' rig to act as a second UnRAID server and as a daily driver. Reducing the amount of hardware I have lying around and my power bill wink.gif

I am hoping to reduce my chassis size, but have room for a few 3.5"  drives. I


have been looking at SFF cases that can hold a ATX/mATX motherboard, such as the Fractal Design Node 804 and the Silverstone CS80. Although I've seen others have had problems and I'm not convinced that I I need the CD/DVD drive built in anymore as I have an external drive as a backup. 

Currently, I think my uses are:

Business (web/coding/graphical editing) Work - Nothing that I can't do on my laptop if I had too.

General IT use:
- Document Processing
- Internet and Streaming Video

- Streaming - Receiving Plex, Youtube, Prime etc.

Gaming: Currently I play C&C and Cities Skylines. But, I want to play some decent games now, such as Far Cry. 
VR: I'd like to try it, if possible? - One arm.


What is my budget?

I honestly don't know?  £1,000 excluding the monitor?
- I will purchase items at best available prices over the next two months and I will re-purpose what I can in the meantime. The monitor is not the priority at the moment, but I would still like suggestions. happy.gif 



Edited by hilljd00

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It's possible using UNRAID as the host OS and running Windows in a VM with a video card passed directly to the VM. There's a whole layer of extra headaches involved in this setup. I would recommend dedicating a SSD drive to the VM if you go this route instead of using a container.


If you do use drive containers for ease of backing up, I find that creating multiple drives for different purposes helps keep bloat down. For example, for my Win10 VM, I have a drive dedicated to the OS, one for apps, and one for Temp files & Downloads.

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Dont know what it costs at your country. I would go with CPU i7 8700, GPU 1080 (or Ti, if budget), atleast 16gb ram (doenst really matter what, but atleast 2, same size, for dual channel), id suggest onboard GPU for unraid and the 1080 for your gaming/working VM.


Atleast 1 SSD for cache (unraid)/windows boot drive 500gb (250 would probably also work, better more then too less) 850 EVO.


HDDs as you need them.


Dont know SFF cases, but i would check here: https://geizhals.de/?cat=gehatx easy to filter

MB doesnt matter, just check what you want, as cheap as possible 

PSU doesnt really matter too, any 500-600 watt should be enaught, if u like energy efficience i can recommend you this: i bought it for my unraid server, dropped Watt from 112 to 65 (bc  not all PSUs have good effience if they only 10-20% used)

Edited by nuhll

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Motherboard is the tricky part and it does matter - it has to support hardware pass-thru or “VT-d” (Intel)/“AMD Virtualization” (AMD). Server boards should be fine but it's kind of a mixed bag with consumer boards. You'll have a better chance with success on gaming/extreme type boards. And just because the BIOS says it supports it doesn't mean it'll work.


Not all video cards will pass through even on a MB that is known to work.


Do not run a VM on a spinner, it is horribly slow.


Some games will detect running under a VM and may ban/block you.

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Sorry, I didn't reply! I didn't see the messages.


Has anyone else done this? That way, I can learn from their mistakes :) 


I'm certain that I will have to update my server case if I decide to go down this route. I am finding it hard to justify having two/three computers on almost 24 hours a day! - For work.

Edited by Rick Sanchez

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