I was originally planning to start a server here for some basic usage, and my local Kijiji is pretty rough. Where else do folks get their used harddware? I found a local(Ish) refurbisher in Toronto, but that’s a big jump from Ottawa. I think another part that is hindering me, is that I don’t know specifics of products that I am looking for, but I am struggling to find things both not ridicilously priced (seen 10 year old servers on local groups for damn near release pricing.)
I’m looking for I think a /somewhat/ recent Xeon based server/workstation, to do split duties between running a VM(or potentially docker containers) for media playback (on plex now, but likely moving to Jellyfin soon). The secondary VM would be running a small SAMBA environment, and likely random game server things that occasionally would get spun up. (not something my group does often, but there are times we get into minecraft, or arma once in a while.
So, I suppose with needs listed, what’s a XEON model I should be looking at, and where can I find a decently priced setup?
Unless it’s dirt cheap it’s probably not worth it unless you “need” ECC memory. They’re usually not very efficient (compared to new desktop hardware) and may lack instructions and/or functionality you potentially would make use of especially when it comes to audio/video related applications. There certainly are situations when server grade hardware is preferred but this doesn’t seem to be one.
Your best bet is probably are outlet stores by Lenovo/HP/Dell etc if they have one in Canada, sometimes you can get really good deals.
Other considerations are power consumption and noise. XEON systems have both in abundance. I know Canada has cheap electricity, but with power comes heat, which you then have to A/C out, so a double whammy on your energy bill. My suggestion would be the Jonsbo N1 case (example, hunt Aliexpress for better deals?) with the Gigabyte MJ11-EC0 EPYC 3151 mainboard, 2x16GB RAM (DDR4, so fairly cheap, your call for ECC or non-ECC), a 1TB NVMe stick for the OS, some caching and your VM’s and a pair of 8TB HDD’s (different brands, new/refurbished from ebay or similar) in RAID1 for long term storage. If budget allows, upgrades for RAM and storage are possible.
Mind, the board is quite expensive (about 500USD, pre-tax!) but it comes with CPU installed so actually fairly good value. I have one and considering getting another at one point (when finances permit). A 1TB NVMe drive is about 100USD, which is the (current) sweetspot. Having said that, the trend is for pricing per TB to come down and 2TB drives are already getting close to that 100USD mark when on sale. Keep your eyes open!
When using the Gigabyte board mentioned above in a system with more then 4 SATA drives, the board has a Mini Slim Line SAS 8654-4i connector. It’s hardly mentioned in the documentation, but with a suitable cable you have another 4 SATA ports available.
In BC there is the government auction site where govt and possibly universities off load their old hardware. See if Ottowa or Ontario have something like that? Or another 3rd party auction site.
Other than that I see servers pop up on Craigslist. (from what I understand in Ontario isn’t used as much as Kijiji)