Help me with spec to replace Microserver for UnRaid use

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Hi, long time lurker, and looking to upgrade my N40L micros server that's been running UnRAID for the past 10+ years!

Its a dual core AMD Turiton 1500 CPU with 8gb Ram - 4 x 3tb WD Red in the array with parity set, so 9tb usable, and a Crucial MX500 SSD as a cache drive.

Im using it for a number of dockers - Sabnzb, Sonnar, Radarr, Unifi, Emby Server, and a TFTP server, I then have a single Ubuntu VM running LibreNMS as a network monitor for the network.

Its getting long in the tooth, unifi takes a while to push settings to my USG and i wanted to use more VM's, i have a Win10 machine that does a few things that my mac can't do, so doesn't get used a lot, and would like to virtualise that - as a Mac user id also like to run a virtual instance of OSX to mess about with stuff in a VM before making changes to my live system.

Will be looking into using Zabbix to replace LibreNMS - so that will need a VM too.

I used to build PC's about 15 years ago, but not touched one since, just used them (and macs) so don't really know where to start.

Doing some reason, it seems Ryzen seems a good choice - would a Ryzen 8 core 2700x be overkill?

I was going to re use the storage from the Microserver, so would be looking at

Case (its going under the stairs, so didn't want a massive one)
PSU
CPU/Fan
Motherboard
Memory
Possible 2 x M.2 drives (maybe 2 x 512, or 1tb)

Budget was around £500-£600

I was thinking of 2 x M.2 drives as i was toying with running a cache pool in unraid - currently have a single 250gb ssd which has all my app data, my VM, my docker image etc, if was to add a few more VM's, i'll need more space, and i thought that if there was a cache pool, then if one dies, at least the other is still running - i also see people run an 'unassigned' drive for VM's and stuff, wondered on the benefits of that over doing the cache pool.

I was guessing that i need to allocate at least 1 core per VM (can you share them? not well up on the virtualisation side, i have one VM running with one core assigned to it cause it would work otherwise)

Bit of a long post, so i'll not rattle on any more, grateful for any help on what to get, i dont want to buy super fast gear and never get the use out of it, but i also dont want to but something cheap and then see me struggle in the next few years,

Thanks
 
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Soldato
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I did pretty much exactly the same upgrade as you are planning on one of my UnRAID boxes when Ryzen launched, 1700 (non x so 65wTDP), 32GB and a 970 EVO, it’s ideal for a docker/VM environment for hone use and more power efficient compared to my Xeon builds, in the early days we had crashes/stability issues due to power states, now it’s not an issue.

Unless you have a specific need/usage that would benefit a directly passed through SSD, then you don’t need to. Same with GPU usage, the 1700 is capable of way more transcodes than I will ever need, but I got a stupidly cheap deal on an M2000 so I have one to play with.

My general advice is go for it, it’ll make a world of difference, and 1st/2nd gen Ryzen is stupidly cheap relative to what you get in terms of performance.
 
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thanks for the reply.

Been doing some more research, and as a starter for 10, I put the following components together as usable:

AMD Ryzen 5 3400G Processor
ASROCK B450M PRO4 (SOCKET AM4) DDR4 MATX MOTHERBOARD (chosen as it has dual m.2 slots to run below m.2 drives in a cache pool)
2 x WD Blue SN500 High-Performance NVMe Internal NVMe SSD - 500GB
Node 804 case

Thats about as far as i got - no idea on a PSU or which is the best memory to get (either 16 or 32gb)

Above gets me to £450 odd quid, so not a lot left for ram and psu.

Am i barking up the wrong tree with any of this?
Board has 4 sata ports to run the WD reds i already have, no where to plug in the SSD i already have but could get a sata card i guess
 
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actually i think the NVME drives may be overkill as the board will only run 1 m2 slot at NVME speed, assuming unraid will only work at the slowest speed, so i won't get any benefit of faster drives - can shave a few quid off with just a pair of crucial m.2 500gb SSD's if that's better or doesn't really make a difference

Ram could be Vulcan T Force 16gb kit (2x8gb) which would get me going, the board/cpu only supports 32gb max, so i could put 2 more 8gbs in the other 2 slots at a later date?

is 2400 Ram OK, i wont be overclocking the system - needs too be stable
 
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Given the speed of both NVME and SSD drives, in your case there will be no noticeable advantage in having two pooled cache drives. I have a 250Gb SSD cache on my Unraid server and it happily deals with four Windows VMs and a number of dockers. Regarding the VMs, you can indeed allocate the same core to more than one VM. Performance will be impacted if you’re running both VMs at the same time but by how much depends on what the VMs are running.

2400Mhz RAM will be perfectly ok. I run a 2700 with 32Gb of 2400Mhz RAM and have zero issues. 16Gb will also be enough to get you started and even long term. Unraid and it’s dockers are frugal things. It’ll be your VMs that will gobble memory but that depends on what they’re running and if they’re running at the same time.
 
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Thanks for the reply

The cache pool was more of a redundancy thing. If i have my vms on there, app data and other stuff, then anything that gets written to the array, my thinking was if I had a ssd failure, I still had one with all the data on, but as I backup the app data to the array anyway, I could do the same with the vms so negates the need for ssd redundancy? Maybe then I just get a 512 NVMe that runs fast?

redundancy of the cache drive just seemed like a good idea at the time!
 
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I have a separate Unraid share for my VMs set to use the cache disk. The Mover should move changes on the cache disk back to the HDD the VMs are stored on. Same for the dockers. The data is stored on the cache and the Mover copies it back the regular disk. It’s a “cache” drive for a reason - it’s not a permanent store.

If you’re happy with the extra cost of a NVME then I’d go for it simply because I would too! However, I genuinely think the performance difference will be unnoticeable.
 
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thanks - food for thought then.

You've confused me about the mover function though. I understood it that the mover only 'moves' data that you copy to an array share that is set to use the cache drive - so example, a 'data' share is set to use all disks in the array plus cache. You copy to the unraid NAS, and data gets to the cache drive first, then at a specified time, the mover 'moves' the data to the array, removing it from the cache drive and giving the speed benefit of the faster non parity cache disk.

If the share is set to 'cache only', example 'app data' or vm disk images or docker image, then the mover wouldn't get involved in moving them as they are 'cache only'

You mentioned that your docker data and vm share is cache (and array?) - but if that is the case, doesnt the data get moved from the cache to the array so doesnt exist on the cache for long?
?

In my setup, because my app data share/docker image and vm share is cache only which seemed to be recommend on the unraid forums, i have to use the community applications to backup the app data to a share in the array, and dont yet backup my vm - was reading how to do this, and seems there is a script available on the unraid forum to automate this.
 
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some more reading sees (i think) that if i use both m.2 slots on the motherboard, then i have to sacrifice a data port

* M2_2 and SATA3_3 share lanes. If either one of them is in use, the other one will be disabled

so that means I'm down to 3 sata ports, and i need 4 for the 4 WD reds that are going in - is there a cheep/decent option to use a card to add some extra data ports?
 
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Yes, it’s either the SATA or the M2 port, not both. It’s an easy problem to solve (as eluded ti above). Usual suspects are an LSI based HBA flashed to IT mode, my normal weapon of choice is a Dell H310 as I prefer the port placement over the H200, but both are £30 cards, they have two SAS ports on them that will break out to 4xSATA3, put the SATA SSD on the motherboard ports as the HBA won’t do TRIM. A well known auction site will sell you a pre-flashed card if you don’t fancy it yourself, for the minimal price difference and ease, it may be worth spending the extra £5.

Nothing wrong with your CPU choice, but i’d usually go with an older CPU as something like the 1700 is stupidly cheap at present, unless you have a specific need for faster single core performance, down side is no APU, but the 2400G is an option. Also some boards will boot without a GPU, but a £5 GPU is hardy going to break the bank and makes initial setup easy.

PSU wise, you can run on a lot lower than you used to, the days of 1500w PSU’s are behind us, a 450W is more than adequate unless you are putting a high power GPU in.
 
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thanks for the tip on the H310 - looks a good option -

CPU wise, you mention the 1700, 8core 16thread, is that the Ryzen 7 1700? I don't see it for sale for much less than £170 (new) and maybe £120 used on a famous auction site - is that the right CPU and am i just looking in the wrong places? the 3400g i saw was £140 - i dont really need the faster single core performance, the 3400g just looked like a half decent option with it having iGPU and reasonably priced - Ryzen 2400g seems to be about £120, so £20 less than the 3400g - i noted you mentioned on another post its available for £80ish - if i went with a cpu with no GPU, whats the minimum graphics card i can get away with? i did half look before at a std cpu and separate graphics card, but new the cards were around £40+ for something basic and no idea what second hand stuff would work with the board.

PSU seem to be a mine field too - looks like a 'gold' type is best, and something which is at least semi modular? would the ENCLAVE 500W 80 PLUS GOLD MODULAR POWER SUPPLY be OK at £60
 
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feel like i have opened a can of worms now - if i go for a passive GPU card, then the CPU line opens up to me - and i could get a Ryzen 6 core 2600 for £120, is that a better bet than the 3400g with iGPU.

Had some time today, so put 2 ideas together.

with an iGPU (so 3400g in this case) could shave £25 off going for a 2400g instead

  • CPU Ryzen 3400G £139.00
  • Motherboard ASROCK B450M PRO4 £70.99
  • Graphics Not required due to IGPU £0.00
  • Ram VULCAN T-FORCE 16GB (2X8GB) DDR4 PC4-19200C14 2400MHZ DUAL CHANNEL KIT £59.99
  • PSU ENCLAVE 500W 80 PLUS GOLD MODULAR POWER SUPPLY £59.99
  • SSD MX500 500GB 3D NAND SATA PCIE M.2 x2 @ £59.99 each £119.98
  • Case Node 804 £95.00
  • HBA Dell H310 £30.00
  • Cables SAS to SATA Breakout - any others? £20.00
  • TOTAL £594.95
If i went for a passive GPU, and went for an 8 core CPU - could then look at any other cpu within reason, so a 6 core and reduce this by £40, going with a Ryzen 5 2600 6 core

  • CPU Ryzen 7 2700 £164.00
  • Motherboard ASROCK B450M PRO4 £70.99
  • Graphics MSI G Force G710 1024mb PCIE £32.99
  • Ram VULCAN T-FORCE 16GB (2X8GB) DDR4 PC4-19200C14 2400MHZ DUAL CHANNEL KIT £59.99
  • PSU ENCLAVE 500W 80 PLUS GOLD MODULAR POWER SUPPLY £59.99
  • SSD MX500 500GB 3D NAND SATA PCIE M.2 x2 @ £59.99 each £119.98
  • Case Node 804 £95.00
  • HBA Dell H310 £30.00
  • Cables SAS to SATA Breakout - any others? £20.00
  • £652.94
So in summary, a new 8 core 2700 plus separate GPU is another £55 more than the iGPU solution, but im guessing a much (by how much) better system - can we get a cheeper 8 core cpu?

I can then put in WD reds onto the Dell H310, M.2 drives on the motherboard in a cache pool, and then reuse the current 256gb SSD connected direct to the motherboard with 2 spare SATA ports then
 
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If you look on well known auction sites, aim to pay £80-90 for a 1700, the difference between it and a 2700 in this sort of usage are negligible, but they don’t go for that much more. GPU wise you can get something much cheaper/basic used for under £10 that will be stupidly low powered (it’s literally got to let you configure BIOS/update). I’d personally go with a NVMe drive and use one of them - flash drive’s are inherently reliable, that said if you prefer two mirrored then that’s more resilient and that’s got to be your call for your usage.
 
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Cheers, they seem to hover around £110 at the moment so will keep an eye out. Understood with the graphics, will look for an el cheapo PCIe card in same place. Is that enclave psu ok or should I look at something else?
 
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Cheers, they seem to hover around £110 at the moment so will keep an eye out. Understood with the graphics, will look for an el cheapo PCIe card in same place. Is that enclave psu ok or should I look at something else?

If you have a look at completed listings you’ll see they go for less, it’s just a case of getting lucky. PSU wise I ran a 1700 with 570x on a Corsair 400w short term, 500w and not awful will be fine, though personally I like Seasonic and the brands that re-brand them.
 
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Just a heads up on the SSD side. You're looking at 500GB Crucial MX500, which even in NVMe guise have a stated read/write of only 560/510 MB/sec. For the same price (£59) you can get 500GB Sabrent Rocket NVMe with all the same features (Toshiba 3D NAND, wear levelling etc) and a five year warranty, but with read/write speeds even exceeding those of Samsung Pro (~3450/3000 MB/sec).
 
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Thanks, I had spotted the sabrent drive and was going in that direction, but then looked on the unraid forums and a few ppl had problem with these drives and trim in Linux, so I put that on one side

I’ve bought all the bits now, got sick of offering people a reasonable price on eBay for their 1700 CPUs when they want £130 for them, so opted for a new 2700

system as it stands


Ryzen 2700
Asrock b450m pro4 matx board
32gb Crucial balistix ddr4 2666
Western digital Sn750 nvme for cache
Crucial mx500 m.2 for other stuff
600w enclave modular psu
Dell h310 Hba
Node 804 case

I did buy a used graphics card from the great auction site but didn’t work, so nipped to OCUK this morning and picked up a 2gb GeForce 710, its cheep, it worked, so it’s staying in the system

everying above is in the case now, flashed the dell card to it mode, and I’m just running memtests overnight to check ram is ok, then will remove the wd reds from the old system, stick them in here and get the rest of the reconfigurations done

the initial reason for the crucial drives, was to put them in a mirror for a cache pool, so with the motherboard only have one fast nvme slot, both would have only run at 550ish speeds.

thanks for everyone’s help
 
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Soldato
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Strangely enough, I have struggled to pick one up below £105 recently for an ITX build I have on the go. They still go reasonably priced on the forums, but I keep looking at the 2600/2700 as better value options on eBay, then a cheap intel ITX board turned my head... now have 3 boards and 1 CPU... yea I know :rolleyes:

The MX500 is an AHCI based controller, so essentially runs at a maximum of 600MB/s less overheads. In practical terms, that’s not really an issue for many as gigabit is limited to roughly 110MB/s anyway for dumping data to it as cache, and if you have a local VM/docker doing the sort of IO workload that’d suffer on AHCI, you’d probably know about it ahead of time and give it a dedicated pass through drive. That said you can add a true NVMe drive via PCIe adapter quite cheaply and it’s not like you need it to boot the OS.

Either way, glad you got sorted :)
 
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Hehe. I go it mine new for 159 quid so it made sense for me. I don’t have access to the board marketplace yet :(

not happy with the crucial m.2. It running 48 - 50 degrees when the wd nvme is at 34 so I’m getting constant high temp alarms. Loads of space in the case. May return it and buy a wd m.2 (non nvme) as it seems hot to me.

for my setup, I’m gonna put docker, app data and vms on the nvme.

The 250gb ssd will be there as a temp download directory before stuff gets moved off to the array, so when stuff is unraring it doesn’t kill the nvme disk.

The 500gb crucial I was going to put my audio mp3s onto. They are on my Mac at the moment, and cause I have a whole house sonos system, I need to leave the Mac on. I didn’t want them on the array as the Mac is a bit particular with mounted disks spinning up and itunes that manages them goes pear shaped, so an m.2 which is instantly accessible as the iTunes share for my Mac will get the media off the Mac

that’s the plan anyway. I’m sure it will all change.
 
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