[SOLVED] Makeshift Server without GPU

Jan 12, 2019
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I recently built a new desktop and am looking into converting my old computer into a dedicated storage box (DAS).

I have about 60TB and growing worth of data to store so housing it in a single computer is getting slightly unreasonable. outwitting both my new computer with 10GBit Ethernet, I was wondering if it would be possible to remotely control my old desktop without any form of GPU or integrated graphics. No GPU= less power draw and more PCIe slots for sata adapters.

Obviously, I have no intent to use the old computer for work or even browsing- I just need to get it to a state where I can manage it from the main computer. I thought about just taking a GPU out of the computer after it's started up but hot-swappable PCIe isn't exactly a thing, as far as I'm aware.

Let me know if you have any ideas and TYVM in advance.
 

AllanGH

Commendable
Mar 10, 2019
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You might check into the BIOS settings. If you have a "Halt on Errors" entry, and set it to "None", you potentially can bypass the GPU check, and run it headless. Of course, you'd administer it via SSH, over the network.

A good use case for Linux, of course.
 
Reactions: fishinacup
Jan 12, 2019
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So.... assuming that option is out of the window, what would you all recommend? Below are a few options:

-Run a low end (maybe a RX 570) off of a PCIe x1 slot via breakout board and undervolt
-Swap out the 1600x for a ~$100 Ryzen APU
-Buy a purpose built HDD enclosure (8-12 bay) that would be more expensive but possibly less issue prone, albeit with few IO options

feel free to list any options I'm not thinking of.
 

AllanGH

Commendable
Mar 10, 2019
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Honestly, I'd free-up the slots and go for the APU.

################

It does occur to me that it might be a worthwhile inquiry to pose to some of the MB manufacturers, to see if a conditional branch can be inserted into BIOS initialization code:
If video_hardware_present
initialize video hardware;
else
route typical video output to serial console;
fi

Then again, customizing the BIOS code isn't entirely out of the question, if a person was of the mind that doing so would make for a relaxing Summer project.
 
Reactions: fishinacup
Jan 12, 2019
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I am certainly not PC fluent enough to start messing with a BIOS, myself. It would make a ton of sense to see SSH control over normal ethernet though. There are so many old PCs that are just tossed where they could very easily be re purposed (and no reason to waste power on a GPU that's doing nothing).
Might see what the APU used market looks like when I have a little more free time and after the Ryzen 3000 launch. Should be able to get fairly close to break even if I sell this 1600x (though honestly not sure who would bother to buy it).
 

bignastyid

Titan
Moderator
So.... assuming that option is out of the window, what would you all recommend? Below are a few options:

-Run a low end (maybe a RX 570) off of a PCIe x1 slot via breakout board and undervolt
-Swap out the 1600x for a ~$100 Ryzen APU
-Buy a purpose built HDD enclosure (8-12 bay) that would be more expensive but possibly less issue prone, albeit with few IO options

feel free to list any options I'm not thinking of.
A cheap GT 710 would be plenty since all you need is a basic display adapter.

If you want to run without a monitor you'll need a headless adapter/display emulator.
https://www.amazon.com/Headless-Display-Emulator-Headless-1920x1080-generation/dp/B06XT1Z9TF/
 
Reactions: fishinacup
Jan 12, 2019
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Just for archival purposes, I ended up opting for the GT 710. I opted for this configuration for its slightly lower cost than a Ryzen APU but more importantly to maintain the higher CPU performance of a 1600x vs an APU which will be very useful, given that I'll be running software RAID with double parity. Nothing is set up yet but the network card, GPU, SAS card, ECC RAM, and HDDs are shipped.

-Ryzen 1600x
-GT 710
-LSI x16 SAS connector
-10Gbps RJ45 Network card
-x16 WD elements 10tb external hard rives (I'll be shucking these to cut costs, as they're actually WD RED 5400rpm drives)
-16gb ECC 2400MHz DDR4 RAM
-x2 240gb SATA SSDs running in RAID 1 for the OS
 

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