Question Help with Custom Builds: Media Server, Gaming Servers, Security, Router, WiFi and Lighting

Apr 15, 2019
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I would like to get some feedback and input from the community on some plans I had for making a really cool [network/systems/setup] for my planned house (not my current house as I want to build a house when I get enough money and time scrapped together). My setup isn't intended to be the biggest or best, just something that meets my intended needs for a few years without needing upgrades. Thoughts and suggestions on Hardware, Software, Design and/or Implementation Instructions are all welcome. I know some stuff on a lot of different things, but with this communities help I know I can get better. I also know their is some sweet refurbished and used deals to be had on enterprise equipment, but since I'm not doing this immediately those deals will be long gone. If you want to recommend one and provide the reasoning based on the hardware/software that would be helpful so I can look for a similar deal when i start purchasing.

First thing is I want a 4 post server rack for easy management and a central location for everything that can be sound "proofed" (at least reduced a lot). I know this will make my cable runs a lot longer, but I figure I will either keep things 20% within their maximum run limits (HDMI is 50' so that means 40') and except additional latency or add repeaters inline.

Unless anyone knows a way to get a DIY modem that's not much more, I'll do a store bought ($180 for a Netgear CM1000 for gigabit internet). Which I might not get gigabit internet, unless the price is right. I'd also have a router which again I think I'd like to have a personally built router in a 2U server chassis, but a regular server mountable 24 port router will probably be cheaper. I need to connect a lot of items upto (4 desktops, 1 media server, 1 modem, 1 printer, 2 consoles, 6 smart TVs, 4 WiFi access points and then a security system or several IP cameras or both). I know Linus has gone pf-sense which sounds great, but I'm open to other options.

Of course a custom gaming pc is on the list! I'm thinking a large 4U case to easily accommodate everything. I'm thinking a really good system, but just below enthusiast. Something like {processor with 12-16 threads, 3GHz+ base clock; mobo with 2 M.2 M-key NVMe SSD slots, 4 DIMM slots, 3 PCIe 3.0 x16 slots; RAM 2x16GB, 3200MHz, CAS14; PSU fully modular, 700+W; Powerful Video Card; Boot SSD 2TB, NVMe 3.0x4; Acceleration SSD 512GB, NVME 3.0x4; HDD 7200 RPM, 5TB; Windows 10 Pro; a few case fans; a case (custom if there is nothing that works)}. I would have the cabling to a nearby room for three monitors; 7 port usb hub for keyboard, mouse, speakers, headset, mic and flash drives; a second usb hub/cable & an HDMI cable for VR.

A second gaming pc for the wife of course :)! Still large 4U but not as good (she doesn't play that much and she wouldn't want to spend the extra to match mine) something like {processor with 4-12 threads, 2.5GHz+ base clock; mobo with 2 M.2 M-key NVMe SSD slots, 4 DIMM slots, 3 PCIe 3.0 x16 slots; RAM 2x8GB, 3200MHz, CAS14; PSU fully modular, 500+W; Great Video Card; Boot SSD 2TB, NVMe 3.0x4; Acceleration SSD 512GB, NVME 3.0x4; HDD 7200 RPM, 5TB; Windows 10 Pro; a few case fans; a case (custom to get it right if there is nothing that works)}. I would have the cabling to a nearby room for two monitors; 7 port usb hub for keyboard, mouse, speakers, headset, mic and flash drives; a second usb hub/cable & an HDMI cable for VR.

Additional desktops, but those will be later when the kids are old enough to game with us.

A plex media server, I am a pass subscription holder. This would be better in someways to my gaming system, I want to be able for the entire family to watch stuff and potentially all transcoding. Something like {processor with 12-16 threads, high clock rate; mobo with 1 M.2 M-key NVMe SSD slot, 4 DIMM slots, 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 slots; RAM 2x16GB, 3200MHz, CAS14; PSU fully modular, 700+W; Boot SSD 512GB, NVME 3.0x4; HDD x8, 7200 RPM, 10TB; Windows Server; a few case fans; a case}. My thought is to load up windows 10 (pro so I can remote into it) and plex server on the ssd (could go sata but intel 660p is cheap and faster as long as I only use like 1/2 the drive, which probably wont do that much), then use storage pool trick to "RAID 10" the HDDs (http://www.cornercoregeeks.com/2013/06/tricking-windows-and-create-software_23.html) thus allowing me to add drives as needed. Unless I'm wrong on something and you can add drives to a hardware raid 10 without reformatting everything.

I'm probably going to go crazy with providing ports to every room in the house, but I also want to do Wifi. I'm thinking of doing 4 "router" really just access points {1 each for the two large capacity spaces (family and living rooms); 1 for the rest of the house; 1 for the back patio}.

I plan to have a console or two, printer and like 4-8 tvs (some smart and some not).

A security "system" whether its a bought and ready to go or lots of POE IP cams that I connect to a switch and house another server to deal with. I do like the phone accessibility and two way communication features and also want to record to my own storage without some stupid monthly fee. A friend recommended the blue iris approach and that i pick out a POE switch and some cameras.

I also like the idea of smart lighting in and out side of my house. I currently have 4 Philips Hue light bulbs I've tried out with a bridge that i really like. If I was to do it for my planned house though I'm guessing I would need about 150+ lights (bulbs and strips) and 25+ switches which means 3+ hubs. This is a ridiculous bill if I solely use Hue lights and devices. That's what I have priced below, but definitely don't plan on doing it, just need something to beat :). My guess is IFTTT somehow. I also saw BLE beacons which I could incorporate in my house and have cheap BLE wrist tags for family and guests and then do proximity based lighting and effects (super dreaming here, but the online community has worked magic before).

Currently here is what I'm thinking:
Rack: $195 https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816132075
Rack Rails: $137 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JZCWX3Q/ref=sspa_dk_hqp_detail_aax_0?psc=1 (x4)
Rack Shelf: $29 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008LUW45K/ref=sspa_dk_hqp_detail_aax_0?psc=1
Rack Patch Panel: $65 https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIAHFE86U1281

Modem: $190 https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16825124028&Description=netgear cm1000&cm_re=netgear_cm1000--25-124-028--Product
Router: $351 https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIABMT6SF7840&ignorebbr=1

Media Server: $4275 https://pcpartpicker.com/list/Mq79MZ
CPU: Intel i7-8700
Cooler: Noctua NH-D9L (Plus an additional fan)
Mobo: ASRock H370 Pro4
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws V (2x16GB) DDR4-3200 CAS14
SSD: Intel 660p 512GB M.2-2280
HDD: Toshiba N300 10TB 3.5 7200RPM SATA III (x8)
PSU: Seasonic FOCUS Plus Gold 850W Fully-Modular ATX
OS: Windows 10 Pro
Case: NORCO 4U Rack Mount 16xHot-swappable SATA Bays
Add-On: Avago Tech? LSI MegaR?AID PCIe to 4 SAS ports
Add-On: StarTech SAS Cable to 4 SATA ports
Softawre: Already Own Plex Subscription Pass

Gaming PC: $2298 https://pcpartpicker.com/list/fXGVpG
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700x
Cooler: Noctua NH-D9L (Plus an additional fan)
Mobo: MSI X470 Gaming Plus
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws V (2x16GB) DDR4-3200 CAS14
SSD: Intel 660p 2TB M.2-2280
Accel: Samsung 970 Evo Plus 500GB M.2-2280
HDD: Toshiba N300 10TB 3.5 7200RPM SATA III (x8)
GPU: Gigabyte RTX 2080 WINDFORCE
PSU: Seasonic FOCUS Plus Gold 850W Fully-Modular ATX
OS: Windows 10 Pro
Case: NORCO 4U Rack Mount

Wife PC: $1565 https://pcpartpicker.com/list/xpJTyX
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600
Cooler: Noctua NH-D9L (Plus an additional fan)
Mobo: ASRock B450 Pro4
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws V (1x16GB) DDR4-3200 CAS16
SSD: Intel 660p 2TB M.2-2280
Accel: Samsung 970 Evo Plus 500GB M.2-2280
HDD: Toshiba N300 10TB 3.5 7200RPM SATA III (x8)
GPU: Gigabyte RTX 2060 OC
PSU: Antec High Current Gamer 850W Fully-Modular ATX
OS: Windows 10 Pro
Case: NORCO 4U Rack Mount

Ports:
Cable:
WiFi: $403 https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Networks-802-11ac-Dual-Radio-UAP-AC-PRO-US/dp/B015PRO512

Security: $2055
Ubiquiti Cloud key gen2 plus: $215 https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-UniFi-Cloud-Gen2-UCK-G2-PLUS/dp/B07JDRG3FL
Switch: $280 https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Networks-US-16-150W-UniFi-Switch/dp/B01E46ATQ0
Cameras: $1560https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D2OOODY/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_pXpTCbH5P710Z3

Printer: Already Own https://www.amazon.com/Epson-WorkForce-Smartphone-Compatible-C11CC33201/dp/B0091UBCB6
Xbox One X: Already Own https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA6V67GT6086
Wii U: Already Own https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA7HA7ZM6909&Description=wii u&cm_re=wii_u--9SIA7HA7ZM6909--Product
TVs: $70
Living room: Already Own https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1235530-REG/samsung_un65ks8000fxza_ks8000_series_65_class_suhd_smart.html
Family room:
Bed room: Already Own
Office: Already Own
Chromecasts: $70 https://store.google.com/us/product/chromecast?hl=en-US (x2)

Smart Lighting: $10511
Bulbs: $266 https://www.amazon.com/Philips-464487-Equivalent-Compatible-Assistant/dp/B01M9AU8MB (x7)
Strips: $3440 https://www.amazon.com/Philips-Ambiance-LightStrip-Compatible-Assistant/dp/B0167H33DU (x43)
Strip Extensions: $5525 https://www.amazon.com/Philips-LightStrip-Dimmable-Extension-Assistant/dp/B0167H31CI?th=1 (x221)
Bridges: $80 https://www.amazon.com/Philips-Hue-Stand-Alone-Bridge/dp/B016H0QZ7I/ (x2)
Switches: $1200 https://www.amazon.com/Philips-Hue-Batteries-Installation-Free-Exclusively/dp/B079P5H2WG

Also posted at:
LinusTechTips: https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/1054956-help-with-custom-builds-media-server-gaming-servers-security-router-wifi-and-lighting/?tab=comments#comment-12484275
and
PCPartPicker: https://pcpartpicker.com/forums/topic/315593-help-with-custom-builds-media-server-gaming-servers-security-router-wifi-and-lighting
 
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kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Residential network design is modem (if required) -> router -> switches & devices.

Your WIFI choice is unusual. Look at the Ubiquiti UniFI system. Ubiquiti has WIFI APs, and POE switches that can all be managed from a single app. They also have a rack mountable router that can be part of the same management environment. I recommend the "smoke detector" style access points over repurposed routers.
You cameras are also unusual. Be careful about POE. Nothing in the description of those cameras says what type POE they support. Some devices support 24VDC, some 48VDC, some support both. You need to be sure your POE switch(es) support the correct "type" POE.

Recommendation:
Ubiquiti cloud key V2
Ubiquiti POE switch(es)
Ubiquiti AP PRO access points
Ubiquiti USG-PRO-4 router/security gateway
Ubiquiti also does make IP cameras.
 
Apr 15, 2019
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Initially i was a little worried about the price of what you were suggesting. I had heard about ubiquiti, but their products always seemed high priced, especially when I'm not a brand purest and have usually found mismatching to be noticeably cheaper. As long as the tech connects I'm good. With that being said I know getting everything from the same brand can lead to a more streamlined setup and operation.

The router was the cheapest reputable brand name router with ac wave2 mu-mimo utilizing 4x4 antennas. The cameras were the cheapest that supported "POE", a mic and speaker, and decent video quality (at least on "paper"). The switch was again the cheapest "POE" switch with at least 16 ports.

Can the cloud key gen2 plus do EVERYTHING without paying a fee?
I know the ads say that, but then to access camera feeds remotely costs or reviewing stored videos from the on-premise storage isn't possible and the videos also have to be on their storage or something else like that.

Looking into ubiquiti the cloud key gen2 plus is much cheaper then a full system plus software.
The switch is more, but is fully managed which would be nice now that I'm thinking more on it. 2.5x the price is just a little sticker shock.
The access points are equivalent in price to the Motorola, so I guess that's looks vs stand alone router functionality.
You are totally right, I couldn't find anything on the camera's I posted being 802.3af or 802.3at compliant which might have not ended well. Anything that specifically is compliant with the features I'm looking for are about the same price.
I think I'd skip the security gateway though and use VLANs, that would be fine for home use wouldn't it? Otherwise its $314 https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Unifi-Security-Gateway-USG-PRO-4/dp/B019PBEI5W

cloud key gen2 plus $215 https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-UniFi-Cloud-Gen2-UCK-G2-PLUS/dp/B07JDRG3FL
switch $280 https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Networks-US-16-150W-UniFi-Switch/dp/B01E46ATQ0
access points $403 https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Networks-802-11ac-Dual-Radio-UAP-AC-PRO-US/dp/B015PRO512
camera's $1560 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D2OOODY/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_pXpTCbH5P710Z3

This puts my security costs at $2055 (+314 if there is a definite need for it), instead of $1398 (which I see probably wouldn't work). That's not bad.

Also I LOVE the idea of doing out door WiFi, but don't have any plans for that right now. I will look into it though.
 
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