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Some help getting direction...

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Ok so everytime I think I have decided on an approach to fit my needs I find a reason to debate things and a lot of times change my direction. Let me start at the beginning, here are my requirements:


1) NAS – 6 spinning drives + 2 SSD for cache and VM (may add more for cache pool but not right away)

2) Docker – Run 6 or so containers, the heaviest being Plex.

3) VMs – One Windows for gaming with passthrough GPU and the others more than likely linux for light duty goofing around (like reading Unraid blogs and youtube)

3.1) Gaming needs are somewhat light these days, looking forward to some retro gaming with Warcraft III reforged and may get back into Dragon Age, Diablo, Skyrim...

4) Don’t want anything too large like rack mount or full size server case. Mid tower seems to be the sweet spot.

5) I am CPU agnostic.


Nothing too outrageous in these requirements, except the drives and the GPU passthrough. What happened is I figured with my modest requirements a Ryzen 7 (or even 5) would do the job without the pricetag of the Core i7 but… when pricing them out I cam out to within $50 of a Ryzen 5 2600 and a core i7 8700… hmmm. The issue being that for the AMD I would want three PCIE x16 slots, 2 for video (I don’t want to have to passthrough my primary card) and 1 extra for an LSI 9211 or similar. Then throw in the restriction of 1 PCIE runs at x?? and 2 run at X?/X? And if you plugin something this slot you lose that port and my head starts to hurt. Intel would allow me to give up an x16 slot and give me more options of cheaper boards.


So let’s break this down:

Case: I think I have decided to go with a Fractal Define 6. I was considering the Node 804 but that means I am limiting my board choices to Intel since I could find an AMD Micro ATX with three x16 slots.


CPU: Will an i7 8700 give me enough cores? Or should I really be pushing for the extra cores in the Ryzen 7?


Motherboards: AMD when I look at the chipsets it is apparent that I should probably stick with the higher end x370/470 in order to keep PCIe speeds up and at least 6 sata ports, or am I over thinking this and should I just put in a decent HBA and run half the drives off that card. With Intel it looks like I could go either with the Z370/390 or H370 without giving up much and still get a 2 PCIe-x16 slot board in a smaller form factor.


Video: the Nvidia 1660 series for the passthrough GPU and a lightweight for Unraid to use on the AMD or the onboard for Intel (which saves me a slot and somewhat offsets the price difference in processors).


Have I missed anything obvious, or any experiences with the above that might sway me one way or another. I also have never used an HBA card in a PC before, what things should I be aware of when going down this route for compatibilty and stability.


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