Overclock.net › Forums › Specialty Builds › Servers › Whitebox build vs HP Microserver N54L
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Whitebox build vs HP Microserver N54L

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My purpose for the server will be education, focused on systems administration. I want a system that I can spin up several VMs (potentially tens of VMs). An internal HDD will be needed for data storage and backups. An SSD will be practically mandatory to maintain IOPS, 2 for RAID10 would be ideal if the budget supports it. I am also looking for a few NICs as one VM will be dedicated to pfsense. I have a budget of $450-600, but will lean towards the cheapest option available that fulfills my needs.

I am considering an HP Microserver N54L. Prices for this are ~$150; however I would need to spend ~$150 straight away on 16G RAM. This N54L has a 2-core AMD processor at roughly 2.3Ghz. An SSD would cost ~$125 (rough guess), an internal 1TB HDD for storage ~$75. A few Intel NICs cost ~60 for a total of $575.

My other option is a Whitebox. I already have a case and a Corsair PSU, so if I can manage to find a CPU and motherboard for ~$150, I can copy the part list from above to get the same approximate cost. This option makes more sense IMO, because recent AMD processors have 6-8 cores at around 3Ghz; I feel like these allow me more headroom to expand my VM count.

Can anyone weigh their opinion on this decision? If anyone weighs towards the Whitebox solution, can you recommend me a processor and motherboard that supports virtualization (VT-d) costing around $150 bundled? Can anyone recommend me a brand/model of 16G RAM, an SSD, a 1TB HDD, and dual NICs?

Thanks in advance for any replies, have a nice day.

Edit: Changed RAM requirements from 32G to 16G; you can't find 32G of RAM for anywhere near $150 smile.gif
Edited by PsycoCarrot - 3/6/14 at 10:35am
post #2 of 12
do you live near a microcenter? smile.gif
Red Queen
(8 items)
 
Silvia
(7 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel I5-7600k Asrock Z270M Extreme 4 GTX 1060 Galax HOF 
Hard DriveOSCase
Crucial MX100 windows 10 pro enthoo evolv matx tempered glass 
  hide details  
Reply
Red Queen
(8 items)
 
Silvia
(7 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel I5-7600k Asrock Z270M Extreme 4 GTX 1060 Galax HOF 
Hard DriveOSCase
Crucial MX100 windows 10 pro enthoo evolv matx tempered glass 
  hide details  
Reply
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Pretty out of the way, but I can visit one. I wanted to put a feeler out online to get opinions before I spent the time and gas money to get to my nearest MicroCenter.
post #4 of 12
You're not spinning up 10's of VMs on a 2-core AMD. Why don't you hit up eBay or the used server market and grab a still in warranty G5-G7 series HP or a newer Dell with dual socket Quad core Xeons in it and at least 16 gig of RAM.

http://savemyserver.com/

You can get a 4xQuad G5(16 total cores) for under 600 + shipping FYI.
Edited by PowerOver9K - 3/5/14 at 6:10pm
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Will a rackmount unit be terribly noisy/power hungry? I haven't done a huge amount of research into it because I am unfamiliar with server-quality parts. I will do this next bit of research when I get off of work today biggrin.gif


I checked MicroCenter for bundle deals, here's what I found:


16GB RAM: Critical has 2x8 for ~150, I haven't checked ECC prices yet. I will upgrade this to 32GB whenever money allows.


http://www.microcenter.com/site/products/amd_bundles.aspx
FX-6350 + 970A-G46 mobo bundle for $159. Has 6 cores, TDP of 125W. Supports 6x SATA6GB/s, 2x USB3. I notice that this is AM3+ socket, how much will this matter for upgrades? There are also a few of the A6/8/10 processors to be had in the $150 price range - will they be useless for me due to the embedded GPU? I suppose I would be interested in a CPU that has a low TDP because I plan on running these 24/7/365... FX-6300 can be had for a bit cheaper and has a TDP of 95W, possibly an option.


http://www.microcenter.com/search/search_results.aspx?N=4294945779+39&NTX=&NTT=&NTK=all&sortby=pricelow
Regarding solid-state drives, there are multiple ~256GB options around $150. Can anyone recommend an SSD brand? Would it be worth it to opt for 2x 128GB SSDs and try RAID1? I will still be using a 1TB internal drive for backup and data storage, so having RAID1 on the SSD will allow further redudancy.


http://www.microcenter.com/search/search_results.aspx?Ntk=all&N=4294966885+4294944464&cat=1000Mbps-%3a-Network-Interface-Cards-%3a-Wired-%3a-Networking-%3a-Networking%2c-Modems-%3a-Micro-Center
For a NIC, I was looking for 10/100/1000 ethernet. My options all appear to be within the 40$ range, but there is only one option that allows for dual ports: TrendNet Gigabit PCIe x1....is this a worthwhile NIC? I've read to just stick with Intel, I'll give Amazon a search later to see what I can see.


If anyone has any opinions on any of this, please chime in! Thanks for reading.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by PsycoCarrot View Post

Will a rackmount unit be terribly noisy/power hungry? I haven't done a huge amount of research into it because I am unfamiliar with server-quality parts. I will do this next bit of research when I get off of work today biggrin.gif


I checked MicroCenter for bundle deals, here's what I found:


16GB RAM: Critical has 2x8 for ~150, I haven't checked ECC prices yet. I will upgrade this to 32GB whenever money allows.


http://www.microcenter.com/site/products/amd_bundles.aspx
FX-6350 + 970A-G46 mobo bundle for $159. Has 6 cores, TDP of 125W. Supports 6x SATA6GB/s, 2x USB3. I notice that this is AM3+ socket, how much will this matter for upgrades? There are also a few of the A6/8/10 processors to be had in the $150 price range - will they be useless for me due to the embedded GPU? I suppose I would be interested in a CPU that has a low TDP because I plan on running these 24/7/365... FX-6300 can be had for a bit cheaper and has a TDP of 95W, possibly an option.


http://www.microcenter.com/search/search_results.aspx?N=4294945779+39&NTX=&NTT=&NTK=all&sortby=pricelow
Regarding solid-state drives, there are multiple ~256GB options around $150. Can anyone recommend an SSD brand? Would it be worth it to opt for 2x 128GB SSDs and try RAID1? I will still be using a 1TB internal drive for backup and data storage, so having RAID1 on the SSD will allow further redudancy.


http://www.microcenter.com/search/search_results.aspx?Ntk=all&N=4294966885+4294944464&cat=1000Mbps-%3a-Network-Interface-Cards-%3a-Wired-%3a-Networking-%3a-Networking%2c-Modems-%3a-Micro-Center
For a NIC, I was looking for 10/100/1000 ethernet. My options all appear to be within the 40$ range, but there is only one option that allows for dual ports: TrendNet Gigabit PCIe x1....is this a worthwhile NIC? I've read to just stick with Intel, I'll give Amazon a search later to see what I can see.


If anyone has any opinions on any of this, please chime in! Thanks for reading.

If you iLO into your average HP server the wattage it's pulling is between 300-500watts when it's under full load. They are quite energy efficient. HP servers aren't very noisy either except at the initial startup when it does the fan test.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerOver9K View Post

If you iLO into your average HP server the wattage it's pulling is between 300-500watts when it's under full load. They are quite energy efficient. HP servers aren't very noisy either except at the initial startup when it does the fan test.

Dell C1100 pulls a max of around 214W under full load (dual Xeon L5520s and 36GB of RAM). Super affordable on eBay.
post #8 of 12
Rack servers!? Really nice and is what I would recommend.

HOWEVER they are VERY noisy. Louder than my vacuum! So, because of that, I would only get one if:

a.) You plan to mod it with quiet fans or put in new case.
b.) have a place in your house to stuff it, so it doesn't bother others.
The Little Li
(18 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5 2500K @ 4.6 Ghz ASUS Maximus IV GENE-Z MSI 1070 Gaming Z 8 GB DDR3 1600 Ripjaws 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial 250 GB M200 1 TB 7200 RPM WD Black 1 TB 7200 RPM WD Black Noctua NH-C14S | 120mm Noctua Reduxes 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 10 64 Bit BenQ XL2411Z 144 Hz Das Model S Professional MX-Browns Corsair HX850 
CaseMouseAudioOther
Lian Li A04B Logitech G400S ASUS Xonar DX Phillips Fidelio X2 | Klipsch ProMedia 2.1's 
  hide details  
Reply
The Little Li
(18 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5 2500K @ 4.6 Ghz ASUS Maximus IV GENE-Z MSI 1070 Gaming Z 8 GB DDR3 1600 Ripjaws 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial 250 GB M200 1 TB 7200 RPM WD Black 1 TB 7200 RPM WD Black Noctua NH-C14S | 120mm Noctua Reduxes 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 10 64 Bit BenQ XL2411Z 144 Hz Das Model S Professional MX-Browns Corsair HX850 
CaseMouseAudioOther
Lian Li A04B Logitech G400S ASUS Xonar DX Phillips Fidelio X2 | Klipsch ProMedia 2.1's 
  hide details  
Reply
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by NateN34 View Post

Rack servers!? Really nice and is what I would recommend.

HOWEVER they are VERY noisy. Louder than my vacuum! So, because of that, I would only get one if:

a.) You plan to mod it with quiet fans or put in new case.
b.) have a place in your house to stuff it, so it doesn't bother others.

This is not necessarily true. 1U rack servers are generally the noisy ones, but a lot of recent generation rack servers (circa-2010 and new) are using PWM fans to thottle as needed. If you get a 2U or 3U rack server they use larger and slower fans, meaning more air and less noise. I run a Dell C1100 in my home office and my custom built storage box (Norco RPC-4224 case with bgears b-Blaster fans) is louder than the C1100. To put it into perspective, I have a 55 gallon aquarium in my home office with two Aquaclear AC-70 Hang-on-Back filters, and those filters aren't loud but the sound of trickling water is louder than my 2 servers, 2 computers, and some networking equipment.

I've done no modding to my C1100 either. Here's a video I made several months back to see how loud they start, and how quiet that can be:
post #10 of 12
If you plan on running that many VM's at the same time there is no way the N54L's cpu can handle that. Its a great little box but fits more into the file server/nas device category. VM's are going to be RAM hungry and then also need CPU cores. It also depends what your going to virtualize.

If your buying new, i cant see you building a rig for under $600 with enough cores and an SSD. As others have pointed out that budget lands you squarely in pre-owned category at least for the base system. Just make sure that if you get it used that it supports everything you need.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Servers
Overclock.net › Forums › Specialty Builds › Servers › Whitebox build vs HP Microserver N54L