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Skrumpy

Unraid Server Design (I need YOUR expert help/advice!)

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Morning gents,

 

I have been out of the scene for 1-2 years now and really haven't kept up on the technology. I am looking to rebuild my server to optimize performance, increase storage, and just have a little fun. I am looking at a budget of $3-4000ish, more is OK (by me), less is better (per the wifey).

 

Current rig:

 

image.png.8e39bf19656ad9b9defd51b5bf522cf2.png

 

I'm also using a secondary server to run my Emby (pretty minimal specs) media server, i5-8400 w/8gb ram. I had an Emby docker at one point, but it just wasn't running smoothly on the ASUS box. Ideally I'd like a fully self-contained machine. The Emby server runs on Windows currently and slows down to a crawl and needs to be restarted every couple of days for no apparent reason.

 

Usage:

1) Primarily a media server for friends/family. Often multiple people (10+) connect and utilize the machine throughout the day.

2) Secondarily a virtual gaming machine?? I was looking into this back in the day, and think it would be nice to have a gaming machine built into the server. I know there were some technical difficulties back in the day, but I would like to replace my aging gaming laptop, if possible, with the same unit. Maybe even let friends use a gaming VM machine?

 

What I'd like:

 

  • Fully self-contained server (so I can run Emby docker on my server w/o performance degradation).
  • Minimal maintenance, would prefer not to have to clean dust from it every few days or listen to a jet taking off (but this is lower priority).
  • MORE SPACE! - Currently at 14 TB (4 tb DeskstarNAS) and I'm sitting at 94% HDD utilization. Looking to archive some spacious movies (4k+) into the near future, so will need lots of room to grow.
  • Speed - I'd like some future-proofing in the machine if it's going to be used as a virtual gaming device. Maybe even allow other people to access the gaming machine? I also want a smooth experience for media server users.
  • Decent and reliable hardware. I don't do cheap for the sake of cheap, but I don't do expensive for the sake of expensive. I don't mind paying for quality hardware that I know is reliable vs taking a gamble on cheap garbage.
  • Remote management. I'd like to be able to restart & manage my server remotely if necessary. So many times I go on vacation expecting to be able use it only for it to go down once I get to my destination.

 

Any and all help would be greatly appreciate mates. I don't mind doing the legwork myself, I just would prefer utilizing the experience of pioneers. Thanks!!

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I don't know much but at least for remote management I use a VPN server plugin for unraid. And to monitor I use pulseway, that so far makes the job for me. Maybe there's something better.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

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I was more thinking along the lines of IPMI for management.

 

I'm not so sure what kind of system I would really utilize for my needs.. now I am thinking of the following:

 

1) Gaming VM #1 (myself) - 8 cores

2) Gaming VM #2 (friend) - 8 cores

3) Gaming VM #3 (wifey) - 8 cores

4) Unraid docker VM (to run Emby for ~3-4 concurrent remote users) - 8 cores

 

The only processor out there that makes sense is a Threadripper.. but I am having a tough time deciding on that given that the Ryzen 9 are out and TR 3rd gen is supposed to be due out sometime this year. Not sure if a dual mobo system with a Ryzen 9 would make sense.

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15 minutes ago, Skrumpy said:

I was more thinking along the lines of IPMI for management.

 

I'm not so sure what kind of system I would really utilize for my needs.. now I am thinking of the following:

 

1) Gaming VM #1 (myself) - 8 cores

2) Gaming VM #2 (friend) - 8 cores

3) Gaming VM #3 (wifey) - 8 cores

4) Unraid docker VM (to run Emby for ~3-4 concurrent remote users) - 8 cores

 

The only processor out there that makes sense is a Threadripper.. but I am having a tough time deciding on that given that the Ryzen 9 are out and TR 3rd gen is supposed to be due out sometime this year. Not sure if a dual mobo system with a Ryzen 9 would make sense.

8 physical cores or 8 logical cores?

 

If the former, TR isn't a good choice because of the design having 4 chiplets with only 2 having memory controllers. That means 1 of your 3 gaming PC will not have direct access to RAM (and PCIe slot) and thus will likely have unreliable performance. Also, it may be a problem with IOMMU without ACS Override, which may or may not cause you lag issues.

In fact, I don't think there's any reasonably affordable CPU out there that will give you at least 24 physical cores with direct RAM access.

 

 

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5 hours ago, testdasi said:

8 physical cores or 8 logical cores?

 

If the former, TR isn't a good choice because of the design having 4 chiplets with only 2 having memory controllers. That means 1 of your 3 gaming PC will not have direct access to RAM (and PCIe slot) and thus will likely have unreliable performance. Also, it may be a problem with IOMMU without ACS Override, which may or may not cause you lag issues.

In fact, I don't think there's any reasonably affordable CPU out there that will give you at least 24 physical cores with direct RAM access.

 

 

I didn't realize the memory bandwidth restriction. I wonder if this will be rectified on the Threadripper 3000 series due out this year?

 

What are the other alternatives? I haven't explored much but I'm assuming I'd have to go with an EPYC processor or equivalent to achieve what I'm looking for?

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11 hours ago, Skrumpy said:

I didn't realize the memory bandwidth restriction. I wonder if this will be rectified on the Threadripper 3000 series due out this year?

 

What are the other alternatives? I haven't explored much but I'm assuming I'd have to go with an EPYC processor or equivalent to achieve what I'm looking for?

It's a design choice for market segmentation. e.g. EPYC will have 4 chiplets with full memory controllers i.e. similar to the good old quad CPU design targeted specifically to enterprise uses (with the compromise being lower core clock - a poor choice for gaming VM).

TR is unlikely to ever have that since it targets the enthusiast market.

 

To be honest, I think you are a bit spoiled. 2 years ago, nobody but Linus Sebastian can afford having 3 VM with 8 physical cores per VM in the same PC. Now, people are already complaining that being unable to do that needs to be "rectified".

 

For your use case, I would say having 2 PCs probably will be a better choice than trying to force 3 gaming VMs into the same case.

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14 hours ago, testdasi said:

It's a design choice for market segmentation. e.g. EPYC will have 4 chiplets with full memory controllers i.e. similar to the good old quad CPU design targeted specifically to enterprise uses (with the compromise being lower core clock - a poor choice for gaming VM).

TR is unlikely to ever have that since it targets the enthusiast market.

 

To be honest, I think you are a bit spoiled. 2 years ago, nobody but Linus Sebastian can afford having 3 VM with 8 physical cores per VM in the same PC. Now, people are already complaining that being unable to do that needs to be "rectified".

 

For your use case, I would say having 2 PCs probably will be a better choice than trying to force 3 gaming VMs into the same case.

2 years is a lifetime in computer terms. Also, what you're referring to was 4 years ago (2015)... His most recent was 7 VM in 1 and that was 3 years ago (2016). He's done a multi-VR solution now. I don't think what I'm looking for is too crazy.

 

I'm just looking for a couple of decent gaming units, 1 OK gaming unit, and a place for my Unraid to sit in and process my media server off of. I think the challenge is kind of fun, I'm out of my element, but I enjoy pushing myself and learning a bit.

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Hey Skrumpy I'm in a similar boat as you, but I don't have the experience yet and my needs are lower. All I'm hoping to accomplish is a virtual 1080p light gaming (Dark Souls Remastered at the most) machine for myself, a virtual 1080p light gaming (WoW at the most) machine for my wife, a basic home media storage solution for my family with mobile streaming options (to tablet, phone, laptop, etc), and preferably a virtualized pfSense router on top of that. Bonus points for remote access options for management purposes. Both virtual machine peripherals would be in the same room as the server, not but 5 feet away.

I was planning on recycling some parts from my current daily driver build, and this PCPartPicker list (or similar) is what I've come up with. But the reality, similar to you, is that I don't know how beefy these things need to be. Does a Ryzen 7 2700 provide enough cores at sufficient speeds? How much RAM does a virtual light use (but still gaming capable) machine really need and at what speeds? Are there limitations on which GPUs can be passed through? How much utility bill benefit would I really observe going with a low TDP CPU vs say a Threadripper?

 

It's surprisingly hard to find people having done this in groups with discussions to peruse, unless I'm looking in all the wrong places. I agree with you that this should be fully accessible even on lower budgets today with the hardware capabilities we're seeing and the price drops we're enjoying (aside from RAM). 

 

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I recently did an upgrade and went with a Intel dual CPU solution and am very happy with it. My build is detailed in this thread here

 

 

 

The 8 core CPUs I went with were 290 each and the 10 core chips I wanted we're 500 each and I bought used ones. I think you'd be able to get 12 or 14 core chips for about 5 or 6 hundred each but at a lower clock speed like 2.5 to 2.8. My chips run at 3.2. My motherboard is awesome but it doesn't have IPMI. IOMMU grouping is fine and the onboard LSI HBA flashed to IT easily. Let me know if you have questions and I'll help where I can. Oh, I run 4 GPUs in it now.

 

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