Question Switching from VM to Physical Home Server

Jun 12, 2020
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Hi All,

I've been hosting a minecraft server and web server on my PC in a ubuntu virtual machine for some time now. PC Specs are in signature. I have 8 cores allocated to the VM and 8GB RAM as well. The minecraft server uses 4-6GB of RAM most of the time, and I don't see any more needed in the future. It works smoothly but I want it to be on 24/7 and also host a few other things (apache server etc) alongside it. I've considered provisioning an Azure VM but a year of that would cost about 300, and it seems like a better long term investment to purchase/build a server with similar specs and be able to keep it. I've determined that there are three options; Build a "server" (1U, 2U form factor), build a regular ATX PC with regular components, build a regular ATX PC with server components, or purchase a prebuilt server (new or refurbished). I intend to install Ubuntu Server on it.

My budget is 350-400 bucks. I would like to have at least the same performance I have (in my VM) right now. If possible, I would prefer that thinner U2 or U1 form factor but that might impact expandability. What types of add-in/PCIe cards can I put in a U2 server? After doing some research I found that the main distinguishing features of server systems are the ECC memory and less CPU burst because it needs to be stable over long periods. I'm not sure how important buffering (ECC) is for my application, could someone please give input? Again, mainly Minecraft server and web server but I might do some databases and potentially use it as a NAS later on, so room for expansion is desirable. Future expansion plans would likely benefit from more cores and disk bays, correct me if I'm wrong. I've noticed that the clock speeds on server CPUs are a bit (sometimes more than 1ghz) lower than on chips like my Ryzen 9. Will this make a noticeable difference in operation? Current-gen servers and server CPUs are also more expensive than the consumer options at the same specs. Would the advantage of a proper server CPU justify the price difference here?

If I go the route of using a regular PC for the job, I was thinking something like this build. Should I change anything? The benefit here is the higher clock speed of the CPU and the higher RAM speed as well. It isn't a "server" build, but is it not advisable to use consumer parts in a 24/7 server? It would not be running at peak demand all the time, but the minecraft server would be up even if nobody is on.

If I purchase a refurbished server, I would be looking at something like this: https://www.newegg.com/dell-poweredge-r710-rack/p/2NS-0008-5BN30. My concern with this is the age (2009 CPU), RAM speed, and low clock speed. Would the low clock speed and RAM speed present a performance issue? Would driver issues of any sort arise? It's a server OS so I wouldn't think so. On the other hand there is a whole 64 GB of RAM, and 8 CPU cores total! I am assuming ram is ECC since this is a server.

I haven't looked much into building a rackmount server myself, but how would you do that? What are the different parts that need to be compatible? In a PC for example the motherboard and CPU need to work together and all the components need to fit the physical dimensions of the case. What are some size terms to know when looking into servers? Are all server mobos the same size? Does the age of a server CPU matter if it is in new condition and has good clock speed/core count? Does RAM speed matter in a server?

Sorry, I know it is a lot of questions but I want to make a good choice with this server. Thanks!
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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The only reason for a 1U or 2U is if you're putting several of them in a rack.
At this level, the "server" is just software.

There is nothing wrong with consumer level parts running this 24/7.
 
Jun 12, 2020
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Alright, thanks. Would you go with the build list I put together, or the refurbished server? Anything I should change on the build?
 

faalin

Judicious
Personally i would not buy a server, I have 2 HP dl380 G6 and a HP DL380 G8 and they are loud if not kept cool.

Building your own rack mounted server isnt hard, it all comes down to the case, i use this case Chenbro RM41300-FS81 that has one of my old computers in it, Asus Rampage 3 extreme, i7 980x. Which is being replaced with the computer below

Just bought a Dell Precision T6510 for $350 2x E5-2637v2 32Gb ram and Quadro K2200, pairing this with my LSI 9260 -16i raid card it has become a beast for storage and backup server. This new tower is whisper quite and if it didnt have some blinking light on the front i couldnt even tell it was on.

On a side note most if not all second had servers do not come with an OS and licensing one is not cheap. Luckily the company i work for bought new 2016 licenses a few years back and i got their old 2008 keys.
 
Last edited:
Jun 12, 2020
45
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Personally i would not buy a server, I have 2 HP dl380 G6 and a HP DL380 G8 and they are loud if not kept cool.

Building your own rack mounted server isnt hard, it all comes down to the case, i use this case Chenbro RM41300-FS81 that has one of my old computers in it, Asus Rampage 3 extreme, i7 980x. Which is being replaced with the computer below

Just bought a Dell Precision T6510 for $350 2x E5-2637v2 32Gb ram and Quadro K2200, pairing this with my LSI 9260 -16i raid card it has become a beast for storage and backup server. This new tower is whisper quite and if it didnt have some blinking light on the front i couldnt even tell it was on.

On a side note most if not all second had servers do not come with an OS and licensing one is not cheap. Luckily the company i work for bought new 2016 licenses a few years back and i got their old 2008 keys.
Thanks for the info. I was thinking to install Ubuntu server on it, which as far as I know does not have a license fee. If I build a proper server out of server components, at most how many years old should the CPU be? There are some old Xeon's on Newegg that have solid specs at a very good price but then again there is the issue of age. As long as the specs are good, does age matter much? What are good places to look for these parts?
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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Thanks for the info. I was thinking to install Ubuntu server on it, which as far as I know does not have a license fee. If I build a proper server out of server components, at most how many years old should the CPU be? There are some old Xeon's on Newegg that have solid specs at a very good price but then again there is the issue of age. As long as the specs are good, does age matter much? What are good places to look for these parts?
You need to look at components that meet the requirements for the use.
Here, a Minecraft server.
 
Jun 12, 2020
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I wouldn't buy that ancient server.

The parts list you propose isn't bad. Maybe more RAM, but thats about it.
Okay. If I go the route of building that PC, would an intel system with i5-9400F be a better option, stability wise? Or should I stick with the ryzen?
 
Jun 12, 2020
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You need to look at components that meet the requirements for the use.
Here, a Minecraft server.
Alright. Minecraft servers don't benefit much from multithreading based on my research so a higher core core clock would be better. Seems like the ryzen has that advantage over all the other options.
 
Jun 12, 2020
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We usually have 6-10 on at one time but there are a few days where we have 15 at once. I'd like it to be able to handle 20 at once and my internet speed is fast enough for sure, so that is not a bottleneck.

As a side question, how do you install an OS on a computer without integrated graphics or GPU, for example that dell server? I think I read somewhere that server mobos have a little graphics chip on them. I guess I could just plug in the GPU from my computer into this one for the installation.
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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We usually have 6-10 on at one time but there are a few days where we have 15 at once. I'd like it to be able to handle 20 at once and my internet speed is fast enough for sure, so that is not a bottleneck.

As a side question, how do you install an OS on a computer without integrated graphics or GPU, for example that dell server? I think I read somewhere that server mobos have a little graphics chip on them. I guess I could just plug in the GPU from my computer into this one for the installation.
Yes, it probably has a rudimentary graphics interface.

But this is one of the many hassles trying to use "server" hardware.
A server OS would generally install from a network interface, when you are remoted in to the main controlling device.
 

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