Chucking a Xeon moterboard from a mini workstation

I’ve been toying a bit with the idea of getting a HP Z2 Mini G3 Workstation or similar and chuck the motherboard from it and put it in a smaller server. You can get one with a Xeon E3-1245 V6 for only $120 off ebay. There’s only one sata connector so you’ll have to use a m.2 to sata adapter, but it uses a 200W power brick so it should be able to handle a bunch of disks. (You’ll have to make a power brick to sata power adapter though.) It can take up to 2x16GB ecc so-dimm so you should be able to run a pretty decent sized zfs nas on it.

+ Xeon cpu and motherboard that can handle ecc memory for $120
- Not itx sized
- Lacks sata ports
- Lacks power for sata disks
- Lacks pcie

If I’m already fiddling with power these might be a vailable alternative. Some of the motherboards from the HP SFF workstations looks like matx, only downside is that they use weird power connectors but it looks like there’s adapters for those on Ali. The motherboards seems to come as LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, and that should be enough for a nas or smaller server.

HP Z210 sff - Sandy bridge LGA1155 - Max 32GB ram
HP Z220 sff - Ivy bridge LGA1155 - Max 32GB ram
HP Z230 sff - Haswell LGA1150 - Max 32GB ram
HP Z240 sff - Skylake LGA1151 - Max 64GB ram

The HP Z2 G4 SFF have a similar motherboard but uses Coffee lake cpu and those are a step up in price.

As always, consider what you get for this over more modern hardware.

In this instance a Core i3 14100 is about as powerful as a Xeon E3-1245 V6 and costs $139.99 (14100F goes for $119.99). The 14100(F) does also support ECC, but you do need to find a motherboard with ECC support.

I see no benefits whatsoever going old Xeon over Core i3 in SFF, for mATX maybe (better PCIe lane connectivity, motherboards with SAS).

Damn, i3-14100 is a good catch. Regarding performance, its not just about as powerful, rough performance is +50% in ST and +100% MT.

So half the price, double the performance and going by TDP it will likely be around 20-40% more power efficient.

Getting DDR5 unbuffered ECC modules + motherboard will be pain though.

Edit: asrockrack has very nice miniatx and miniitx boards with ipmi and solid 10gbe nic, but prices are truly workstation grade (W680D4U-2L2T/G5)

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There seems to be a lack of socket 1700 motherboards that don’t costs $500-ish or run the ecc memory in non-ecc mode.

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Yep, but then again you could get a six core 8500G for $170, an ASUS AM5 board with ECC support for $200, and ECC RAM, so… :person_shrugging:

Not really convinced that a Xeon is worth it, but then again I know practically nothing about your use case and while the Xeon might be sub-optimal it’s not really a dumb or bad idea either.

Which one is that?

Almost any asus and some asrock boards. Even cheapest ones like prime declare ecc support.

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Asus Prime with B650M and A620M chipset seems to be pretty cheap.

An AMD 8500G is of course a whole lot better, but a HP Z230 with 32GB ecc ram costs less than just the AMD cpu.

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The HP sff motherboards also have the advantage that they have one x16, one x4, and two x1. On the Z240 they’re all PCIe 3.0 and mixed 3.0 and 2.0 on the other ones. Newer matx motherboards usually only have one x16 and a x1.

Yeah - Intel Socket 1700 only support ECC with the W680 tax, which completely undo’s the cost saving of a cheap CPU. I don’t know how Intel even managed to wedge that restriction in, because the chipset has nothing to do with ECC.

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Are you planning to just put a heat sink on the cpu and big fans in a server case? Otherwise I would assume that the cpu cooler mounts are proprietary on these boards. I know that is true about the HP EliteDesk sff (G1).

I think recasing means you need to shim the bottom of the motherboard in the new case too.

Last, I have heard that the atx power adapters for these HP boards can be quite low quality.

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For the HP Z2*0 the cpu cooler seems to be standard, it’s just the power connectors and front usb connectors that are complicated.

Right but the cpu cooler is mounted to the case directly… you will at least need some new hardware

Bah! Apparently HP don’t want people to use their stuff.

NOTE: In the PCIe Gen3 (x 16 electrical/x 16 mechanical) slot, if it is not being used for a graphics card, only cards certified as After Market Options for this platform are supported.

I was thinking more like a raid card.

Check this out…

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