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Advice on unRAID/Gaming VM motherboard

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
With the promise unRAID 6.2 is showing with virtual gaming, I've decided to give it a try. I've been wanting to both upgrade my gaming rig and build a NAS box for a while now, and this looks like it could be just what I need. Worst case scenario - it doesn't work as well as I'd hoped, and I just re-purpose it as a dedicated gaming rig and put together a second, more modest box for unRAID.

I was really hoping to swing a dual Xeon motherboard, but a minimum of E5-2600 series CPU's are required, and with the cost of dual 2011 motherboards, I just decided I don't have the budget for that, especially when I'd like to stay above 2.6 GHz on the clock speeds with as many cores as possible.

I'm waffling between the i7-5820K and i7-6800K. There's only about $40 difference, so I'm leaning toward the 6800K. That said, my head is spinning with motherboard options. Here are a few features I'd like to have:
  • USB port on the motherboard from which to boot the unRAID OS. This isn't a deal breaker, but it would be really nice to have.
  • Plenty of PCIe 3.0 slots. I will have one GTX 1080, plus perhaps a PCIe SATA controller or two. Since these CPU's don't have integrated graphics, I may add an second cheap GPU for use by the unRAID system (the 1080 will be passed through to my gaming VM). Lastly, I plan to add a 4-port Gb LAN card as well. So, yeah, minimum of five PCIe 3.0 slots - six would allow me to consider SLI at some point.
  • SATA3 ports - the more the better. I'll have at least six HDD/SDD's to start with. For the right board, I'll add SATA card(s) if needed.

I don't really have a feel for the X99 boards - which brands have been the most reliable, feature rich, etc., so I was hoping to get some suggestions based on others' experiences and research. I'm looking for rock solid and high stock performance. Overclocking, if at all, will be modest.

Budget? It would be nice to come in under $300 for a board that ticks all the boxes, but I'm willing to pony up more for an exceptional piece of hardware - up to $400, perhaps.
post #2 of 3
I have a similar setup to what unRAID offers except it's not unRAID.

ubuntu server with kvm + virsh with gpu pass thru and snapRAID and ZFS for pooling.
This is a completely free option, that you have full control over.
With unRAID, you have to pay, and you are stuck with what you've got.

unRAID has a few limitations that you won't have to deal with if you just go with a distro of linux as your OS and build your system off that. You will be able to do everything unRAID can do and more... and you won't have to pay!

Look at ZFS, SnapRAID, BTRFS for your storage pooling, and KVM + Virsh for your Virtual Machine setup with VFIO VGA passthrough.

This may help:
https://bufferoverflow.io/gpu-passthrough/
Edited by spinFX - 8/11/16 at 11:10pm
Ol'Faithful
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Ol'Faithful
(11 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Xeon x5660 P6X58D-E XFX AMD Radeon R9 280X Corsair Vengeance 24 GB Triple Chanel 6x4GB 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Lite-On DVD-RW Noctua DH-14 CPU Cooler Windows 7 Pro x64 Samsung 24" LED 1080p 5ms DVI (S23A300B) 
PowerMouseAudio
Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Gold Corsair M95 Onboard :S 
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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. I'm ok spending the money on an unRAID license. I view unRAID as a happy medium between the solution you suggested and a Synology or Qnap NAS box - control over the hardware without the full-on Linux server admin experience.

Any thoughts on an X99 motherboard?
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