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 Post subject: Advice for new pc
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:02 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:15 am
Posts: 3
Hello!

I plan to buy new PC for home and "merge" two current PC's (AMD Athlon BE-2400 and Intel Atom 525MW) into one. It will be used for:
1. server - webserver for few blogs, file storage (i have 100/100Mbps internet connection).
2. two separate workstations (me and my wife) - one for work with lightroom/phoroshop, virtual panorama software; second one for some games. Both for internet and simple software.
Software: Xen Cloud Platform 1.6 for virtualization as host, guest: 2xWindows 7, debian for web server, Freenas(?, not sure) for filestorage and XCP VM storage.

As this PC will be used at home (1 bedroom flat) 24/7 I need silent and not too high power usage.
So hardware I plan to use:
Cpu: Intel Xeon E3-1245V2
MB: Asus P8C WS (does have VT-d and ECC support).
Ram: 4x8GB (32GB total) Kingston 1600MHz (here i cannot decide which memory to use Non-ECC or ECC, price difference is 50EUR)
GPU: Sapphire 7750 Ultimate Edition (because of power consumption)
HDD: 2x60GB SSD, 1x640GB HDD (already have, and maybe will add more ssd and hdd's)
PSU: 550 Watt Super Flower Golden King Platinum Modular 80+ Platin (silent)
Case: Antec P280
Cpu Heatsink: Scythe Mugen 3

Next upgrade is planned after ~5 years (depends on requirements after 5 years).

So I need your advice about this configuration.
Actually it's hard to decide about case, gpu, psu, heatsing. And also ram - which to use Non-Ecc or Ecc?

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for new pc
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1696
Location: Switzerland
I don't understand what you're try trying to do or the rationale really but the main problem with you part selection seems to be the price. If you can afford that, fine.
The Asus board is likely to consume quite a bit of power and I don't really understand the point of getting such a board without ECC RAM. If you don't want the best reliability, it seems to me there are better options.
The main point of ECC in your situation I think would be to avoid VM-related accidents. With virtualized storage, it's more likely RAM errors will translate into data loss. VT-d may mitigate that depending on your configuration but I don't think if you should rely on it without having investigated the issue. Whether it's worth spending the cash and the watts on reliability depends on how the nature of your data. This board may not support the most solid type of ECC by the way.

And if you want reliability, don't forget to use non-0 RAID and a good UPS.
RAID shouldn't burn too much power unless you use power-hungry drives. The UPS will burn power but it's important as well unless you want to configure your software not to rely on stability (that would hurt performance badly).

I don't know how much noise these fans make but they're not the most expensive parts of the build and you can always try mods or other products if you're unsatisfied.
The thing I'd be most wary about noise-wise is your graphics card. I'd make sure it's not too noisy or that there is a compartible third-party cooling solution before buying.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for new pc
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:27 am 
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Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 4:20 am
Posts: 82
Trados- I applaud your use of the Xeon. I'm running the 1240V2 (I really prefer a discrete graphic solution) and I absolutely love it. In your case however I don't understand why you would go for a server Board.

As nothing that you listed seems mission critical I certainly don't see the need for ECC; and if that is the case why bother with the expense of a server MB? The Xeon does just fine on the majority of Ivy motherboard (except some Asus non-sever boards), and as OC's aren't o the table for the Xeon you can get away with a quality H77 MB. With the money saved from the ECC and the server board you can just about get an H77 for free.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for new pc
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:41 am
Posts: 708
Location: Denmark
The components chosen don't dissipate much heat so I would suggest orden a fractal design r4 or a corsair 550d as these case have covers to block any noise going upwards in the case.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice for new pc
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:15 am
Posts: 3
Thanks for reples.
Some answers:

HFat wrote:
I don't understand what you're try trying to do or the rationale really but the main problem with you part selection seems to be the price. If you can afford that, fine.

I'm trying achieve to use less PCs with more power in sum of two because one Xeon 1245V2 is more powerful than AMD Athlon BE-2400 with 8GB ram (too slow for Lightroom, Photoshop and games) and Intel Atom 525 with 4GB ram (unable to run games with lowest settings because no PCIe slot). Xeon power will be enough for L/P with iGPU P4000 and Radeon HD 7750 for games. All these will be passthroughted to VMs with Windows 7.
How much will cost to upgrade old PCs to next level when it's possible to work with L/P and play games? Almost same money. So there is no big cons to use one PC for required tasks.

HFat wrote:
The Asus board is likely to consume quite a bit of power and I don't really understand the point of getting such a board without ECC RAM.

Agree :) . I just don't really understand do I need it or not in my situation. There is no reason in desktop PCs, but when it works 24/7 as server?...

HFat wrote:
use non-0 RAID and a good UPS.

I'll use RAID 1 or 5 for web server and file storage, but Windows VMs will use passthrough SSDs. UPS will be upgraded later.

About fans. Decision made after reading reviews on SPCR. (Thanks).

cruelsister wrote:
I'm running the 1240V2 (I really prefer a discrete graphic solution) and I absolutely love it.

I need two GPUs. P4000 is good for L/P, Radeon HD 7750 is good to play games, and have low idle power usage.

cruelsister wrote:
In your case however I don't understand why you would go for a server Board.

ASUS mb have all necessary support - GPUs can work at same time separately (not like Supermicro X9SAE-V), has VT-d and ECC support.
Why I choosed Asus board? Because it have ECC support and it's + for system which will work 24/7. But then I started to check information and think do I really need ECC?
There are some other mb without ECC support.
So I still have question about ECC - do I need it or not for home server with virtualization.

kuzzia wrote:
fractal design r4 or a corsair 550d

I'll review them again.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for new pc
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1696
Location: Switzerland
It's a mistake to look at ECC RAM in terms of need/don't need or server/desktop since your build is atypical.
ECC is about reducing risks. Some risks wouldn't matter much in your situation I think, unless money matters very little to you. The main risk for you is most likely the risk to your data.
Software can compound risks. For instance you may have noticed that it's recommended to use ECC and solid hardware generally with some software. If you're going to use storage software that's not designed to be run on desktop hardware, you are taking more chances with your data than you would otherwise.
So you should think in terms of data. What would be the impact of data loss? Are you able to make regular backups and to restore without losing much of value? If losing some data and restoring the rest from a backup wouldn't be a big deal for you, ECC wouldn't bring much value.
The main reason people typically use ECC on servers and not on desktops is that data loss on multi-user servers is usually a much bigger deal than on desktops. But it really depends on the kind of data the computers are handling and on the cost of downtime.
Let me emphasize that most of the time ECC is useless. Serious problems cause by RAM errors are very rare. ECC is about not taking chances. It's the same deal as non-0 RAID: most of the time, you replace drives before they fail and the redundancy will in retrospect have been useless.
If you don't use ECC RAM, you can mitigate the risk by regularly testing your RAM. Rigorous testing of RAM (especially early in its life) will flag the bad RAM sticks which cause most RAM errors. Of course, sticks are likely to go bad between tests...

trados wrote:
How much will cost to upgrade old PCs to next level when it's possible to work with L/P and play games? Almost same money. So there is no big cons to use one PC for required tasks.

You could focus on efficiency for the 24/7 server and build a cheaper, less efficient and possibly noisier high-performance PC that would only be on when you need it. You'd get better performance and stability without running everything on a single box. Less headaches too.
But that's just the way I look at it. Your approach may work for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for new pc
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:04 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 581
Location: Germany
A few things come to my mind

-serverboards use extreme amount of power, compared to the bread and butter MSI Z77
-ECC Ram seems to be a must, because going VM you'd kill all your IT stuff by a single bitflip in RAM if ECC doesn't catch that flip (ECC does need slightly more power)
-You'll save next to nothing, if you switched one of your two PCs off before while using the other
-Using so many disks requires a SAS/SATA-Raid controller, which typically does not exist on any consumer grade MB
-as far i have learned, gaming inside a VM was a big problem before, because you didn't receive enough grafic power inside of the VM

If it was my project, I'd get a quiet NAS for storage, a small Laptop for my personal needs and a small mATX-PC with the 7750 for work/gaming. Personally i'd not want the risk that with one blow all my computer stuff can be obliterated into atoms...

Most people like us do have some kind of "backup-PC", which you then do not have.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for new pc
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:21 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1696
Location: Switzerland
Pappnaas wrote:
Most people like us do have some kind of "backup-PC", which you then do not have.

I assumed trados would use a different computer for backups. You can repurpose an old PC and only switch it on only when it's needed. Or you can backup offsite depending on how much data you have and on the turnover.
There's an advantage in terms of backup frequency when you have a 24/7 backup server but it's also more vulnerable than a backup server that's shut down most of the time. Depending on the value of the fresh data that would be frequently backed up, you'd want a standalone 24/7 backup server. But that's not a big deal for everyone.

Backups are of course paramount!
RAID, UPS and ECC are no substitute. I took this for granted but Pappnaas made me wonder if it was indeed understood by everyone...


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for new pc
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:15 am
Posts: 3
Thanks for replies.
For backups I have 1TB in datacenter and also CrashPlan software backups + 2 usb hdd.
So with data backups I have no problems.

I decided to build PC without ECC support - I don't have very important data. All important things are backed up to two different locations.
No problems with restoring.
Thank you, HFat.

I'll be pleased if some can suggest good mb on Q77 or Z77 chipset with VT-d and 32GB ram support.


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