I’m looking to build a VM server with a mix of old hardware and used eBay parts. This is not a “production” server; it is intended as a test environment/homelab so reliability isn’t critical. At the same time, I don’t want to have to rebuild it every couple of months if I don’t have to.
- Complete i5-3570k gaming rig w/24GB of RAM. Problem: the 3570K doesn’t support VT-d.
- 2 Xeon X5670 CPUs + ~30GB of ECC DDR3. Problem: They’re old, unsupported by ESXi 6.7, though Proxmox should work.
- Various video cards from an RX 480 to a Quadro FX 1800.
- Various SATA drives - 60GB Intel SSD, 3x1TB 7200 RPM drives, a 5400 RPM 2TB drive.
- Dell SAS 6/iR RAID controller. Only supports RAID 0/1, max 2TB drive size.
At first glance it seems I have a couple of options. Buy an i7-3770, Xeon E3-1245 v2 or similar to get VT-d and upgrade the Z77. This only gives me 4 cores and 8 threads though. And if I choose ESXi, I’d have to use “community” drivers.
Or buy an old X58 or 5520 mobo and use one or both X5670s. That would give me 6 or 12 cores, but I’d need to invest in more hardware (mobo, PSU, etc.) And I’d be using ancient hardware that may not be very reliable and more vulnerable to Spectre/Meltdown, etc.
Am I missing anything? Should I go with newer hardware but settle for fewer cores, or invest some more money for more (but older) cores?
The other dilemma is which hypervisor to use, ESXi or Proxmox. But that may be another thread…