Epyc build - need advice

One of our color ripping systems needs replacing and I was thinking about options.

Let’s start with the need case:

  • GMG Color Server; fairly pedestrian needs
  • 10Gbe (we have to move lots of data to the system for GMG jobs)

I have found that a more powerful CPU is really advantageous as the system has to do a lot of heavy lifting when building color profiles and then ripping print jobs that can be a thousand files deep. It’s all math as files are prepped and then moving files to the printer. The software doesn’t use print drivers - talks directly to the printers. It’s amazing software and does incredible work - licenses typically run USD$15k plus per install.

Screen-grab of antiquated system to be replaced - mostly cause the blue logo is fun to look at! :slight_smile:

Screenshot 2021-07-31 084723

That is the primary need of the system.

Secondary:

  • data backup; 30TB resides on a Promise RAID array hanging off my 3975 Pro build; would be nice to batch incrementally backup data for redundancy on this machine; critical data gets backed up to the cloud now

Initial thoughts:

  • AMD Epyc CPU (can always use the power)
  • Linux system with VMWare/ other running an instance of Win 10 or Server 2019 for the GMG software?
  • client load is light; typically just one remote connection using screen share

Part of my thinking on Linux is the power of the platform but my son (16 YO) is really keen on software tech; likely going on to study software engineering. He enjoys tinkering and spends lots of time in the cloud on Linode building systems. This would give him another challenge.

There is some really interesting hardware out there:

I also find that if you hunt around enough, you can get pre-built systems on deep discounts from Lenovo, HPE, etc. if you know what you’re looking for and understand the tech.

What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts on this build. And thanks!

Epyc systems are expensive. Threadripper less so. Still not cheap, but much more affordable. Pick a 16 or 24 core model, plenty power for your use case. Max out the RAM within your budget, 128GB is feasible within reason.

As for your son, give him his own Epyc server so he doesn’t jeopardise your business when, not if, he screws up. Use an entry-level tier, like the 3000 series Epyc line. Both Asrock and Gigabyte have mITX boards for this, complete with SoC, so only RAM and NVMe drive required (plus of course PSU & case) for a working system. No idea where to get one over State-side, but the Gigabyte MJ11-EC0 (3151 SoC: 8 core/16 thread) is reportedly available from a Polish (!!) supplier for around $500 US, plus shipping. See the Gigabyte website for more details on this particular board.

I’m sure you can find steep discounts if you hunt around long enough, but how much is your time worth? And if you’re not buying in bulk (1,000+) most vendors won’t even acknowledge your existence! OK, that’s a bit exaggerated, but discounts depends on volume and for one unit? Not gonna get much, I’m afraid. Or you’re lucky and get in touch with a friendly company that allows you to join in on their volume order.

Good idea! But Linode can continue to be his sandbox. He doesn’t have to tinker with this system once it’s built and running.

Doesn’t take long - this HPE for example.

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Getting closer to choosing the hardware and shifting focus now to software setup.

If we setup the machine to serve mutliple uses, what recommendations do people have to the base setup?

  1. Ubuntu with VMWare Workstation Pro / Player
  2. Ubuntu with VirtualBox
  3. Proxmox

We’d stick Windows Server 2019 or Windows Pro 10 in one VM to host the color server. Another VM could host the network data storage (UnRAID, TrueNas)? A third could be a sandbox for transcoding?

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