First Build Virtualization with some of everything

PCI is backwards and forwards compatible at the hardware level. Generally where you have the most issues is at the OS level (Drivers, software incompatibility, etc). You are only limited in speed and bandwidth by the slowest generation on that interface. So if you put a PCI-E Gen3 x4 card in a PCI-E Gen4 x4 slot then you are limited to the cards Gen3 speeds.

Personally, I’d lean towards an USB 3 hub, rather than a PCIe card, unless you have an abundance of lanes like with EPYC. Even then, most cards get you 2-3-4 ports.

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Okay, talking with some others I think I might go desktop ryzen just because I do think it will primarily be a computer for desktop usage and I think that it might just be more painless to deal with buying the Ryzen stuff new then make sure to find a reputable seller for a good deal on an EPYC. But yeah I probably should get a hub regardless.

Personally, if you can afford it, I’d go with Intel and W680, having spent some time comparing both, but AM4 is pretty good as well.

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I had to chose between an old jet engine rack server in an out of the way room with questionable ventilation or a tower server in the office right behind someone’s desk. I went with a big BeQuiet case and RYZEN based server with 4 hard drives. It is very very quiet.

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I might be wrong but I heard that 12th gen gets a bit weird when you try to do certain virtualization because of the P and E cores. If that’s not the case, though, I maybe should be considering it.

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It ought to be perfect for a low power VM server that can ramp up to high performance when needed as long as it does not have weird problems. I’m sure any problems will get fixed at some point, you could just turn off the e-cores until then.

That’s good to know, I think though that sounds like it might be better to just go with Ryzen since if I want to reuse the computer but find the CPU isn’t the best fit rather then have one generation in 13th gen there will be the 3D VCache and at least one extra generation for it. Though maybe what I’m thinking about with that is a bad attempt at future proofing.

Yeah, Wendell said so in his vid and I have no reason to distrust that. That said, a 12400 is plenty powerful for a lot of stuff.

Yeah, bequiet!, Fractal and Antec make silent cases and I love the stealth in some of them (no side panels or RGB everywhere). The orange accents on some bequiet! cases are also really nice, but nothing beats Antec for me, because of its insane drive expansion.

I believe that can be worked around by pinning CPUs to VMs and that may not be something you want to do every time you create a VM. Ryzen is a better choice for virtualizing, but there are CPUs like the i5 12400 which lack E-cores, making it pretty good for virtualization (and 6 cores are plenty for a lot of stuff).

I know Zen 4 is more efficient both at load and at idle, but in all honesty, I believe for anything running 24/7 in a home, people should go with low-end to mid-range options, if they can help it. My TR 1950x with a RX 6600XT, a RX 6400, 2 USB PCI-E cards, 2x 10TB drives and 2x 2TB NVME SSDs and 4 sticks of ECC RAM operating at JDEC speeds (no OC / XMP) uses at idle with the Windows VM powered on (so the 6600XT) about 170W, according to my UPS.

Powering the VM down, the UPS goes to about 160W. Powering down the monitor, it goes to 120W. Powering down the whole TR system and monitor, the UPS goes to 0W. In the UPS, I do have a phone charging, a powered on Odroid N2+, RockPro64, RPi 4 and a portable monitor, a 12 port switch and a bunch of power bricks that don’t power anything as of now, yet these things barely sip power compared to the TR system. I would think they draw about 15W total at idle as they are now, my UPS doesn’t have the most accurate reading on the output.

So a 16 core 1st gen CPU idles at 120W. The TDP on the 7950x is about the same, but I would still think the system will idle at around 70W, with a VM powered on, probably around 80W. To me that feels like a lot, especially compared to what I’m used to from things like my Pentium G4560, Celeron J3455 and the HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 and Gen10 (celeron versions), which used to be on 24/7.

80 to 100W would be the power draw at full load with those. My TR goes to 214W when playing DOOM and 243W with spikes to 260W when playing Hitman 5. It can probably go much higher if I start other VMs at the same time. I don’t want to imagine what the consumption would be if I’d have the things that I want to run on SBCs running on TR.

My TR system gets shut down when not in use. Which, for self-hosting services, is not ideal, as you want these accessible, say on your phone, or on the TV box. This is one of the reasons I did not set up anything that I want on at all times on the TR box. I do have some testing VMs on it, but the only thing that stays mostly on is the Windows VM (I can’t get GPU passthrough to work properly on a Linux VM, which is infuriating).

Once I am done with that, I either shutdown the TR, or power on another VM for testing things. I am a big fan of splitting you daily PC from the home server. A NAS can serve both as a storage and as a hypervisor (although I like to keep mine separate). ProLiant MicroServers are nice, but the DIY route can give you a bit more oomph if you need it (or can be thinner if you don’t need 4x 3.5" drives).

I just realized you want it to replace your NAS too. I would highly advise you make a second small box as a NAS and make the build a tiny bit less powerful, so you do not have to keep the PC on 24/7. That NAS is ancient, but it could probably run Debian, but its limitations will still be there.

Instead of doing a 16 core PC, how about a 6 or 8 core for your virtualization workstation and a 4 or 6 cores box for your NAS and virtualization (coming back to this later)? The cost is a bit higher, but the NAS and hypervisor will easily last you more than 5 years. Depending on your expectations, so will a 6 core.

If I didn’t get a good deal from a fellow forum member, I would have bought a 5600G or 5600X, which would have been powered on likely for longer. Or if I still wanted the PCI-E lanes (which honestly really came in handy for the way I have this system configured), an 8 core 1st gen TR.

This CPU launched in 2017. I will probably use it for 5 more years to come if I don’t sell it off and build a lower-end, but newer system (I knew I don’t need all the cores, unlikely I will need them with the amount of SBCs I have around).

If I were to build a system today, I’d go with 7600x or 12400. If I really needed more cores, 7700x. Anything over it is pretty much a waste for home usage for a virtualization PC workstation, unless you somehow find yourself able to make use of all the cores, like doing CAD or video editing.

If I were to use it as my primary PC, I’d have the iGPU run a desktop OS, virtualize Windows and another Linux VM for gaming that I can break by installing WINE and other junk in it (and keep a few snapshots of it if I need to revert it). I’d need quite a bit of expansion and a KVM with 3-4 inputs.

For programming and gaming on the side, depending on what kind of code you run, you may want the 8 core, so you can pass 6 core to a Windows VM for gaming and leave 12 threads (of which 2 physical cores) to compiling code. If you are using interpreted languages, 6 cores will suffice and split it half-half with the system.

I see people doing a very viable upgrade main rig and the previous one becomes the home server. You could transform your current XPS 8930 into a NAS and build a 7700x build for yourself. You downclock the XPS if it allows it for some more efficiency and you are up to the races.

Yeah, I think for sure the 8930 could be a NAS, only thing I was worried about is that it can only fit 1 more hard drive then the QNAP, though I think even replacing the QNAP might be a next year thing, while I don’t actively touch it at the moment I recently have it set up so it does back ups of the Home Assistant OS on my Pi that I might move to a virtual machine on the Ryzen.

Main reason why I picked a 7950 was just that I have a decent sized budget so I can afford a higher end CPU and it means I don’t need to worry regardless of hobbies and projects. Like we had talked about 3D printing in the past, but currently I don’t do anything with CAD.

I definitely feel like from these conversations, I can understand why my dad’s solution in the past to there being problems running verilog and CAD stuff on our laptops was just finding a sale and buy a high end prebuilt.

But since I’m not currently a student worrying about Verilog isn’t something that should be a priority.

For 10 people, a RAID 1 is more than plenty. Just get 10 or 16TB drives if you are worried about capacity. With that large budget, you can probably sneak some HDDs in if you downgrade here and there to something that you can make more proper use of.

I would keep it as a box where backups go, that is a nice to have and that anemic single core ARM CPU should still be able to handle that. But the HomAss thing, I’d move it to the XPS instead of the Ryzen. Again, you probably want your Ryzen build to be powered off when not in use, while keeping the XPS on as a NAS and hypervisor (well, I’d personally keep running containers on the Pi if I had it around, but that’s just me).

My desktop PC is in an Antec case, I could not afford the BeQuiet. To be honest it’s a fantastic case with sound deadening foam on the panels. It’s not got good airflow but I have a Corsair AIO Radiator for cooling the CPU and a stacked 120mm fan+radiator+fan at the back coolinging the R9 FuryX. You can air fry potato chips from the heat exiting the PC but it never thermal throttles even when running Playstation 3 games.

I am considering turning it into a Proxmox machine with Linux Mint running as a VM with pass through GPU, keyboard and mouse. I think the 64GB RAM and RYZEN 9 5900X can handle that. That way I could turn off my existing Proxmox server and save electric. With a 2nd GPU it could run Windows at the same time to my 2nd monitor.

Heck, I could even install TrueNAS on it and turn off my TrueNAS server.

At some point I run out of PCIe lines and a server CPU looks better. Could be mitigated with an expensive motherboard though.

Okay, that sounds like a decent idea, I do think I might have some containers on the Pi as well as move it into the Kitchen to do barcode reading. Just with the Home Assistant OS that the Pi is currently using I found unreliable when attempting to use Wi-Fi so by moving the Pi off Home Assistant it can be using Wi-Fi and there wouldn’t be a worry about ethernet connection.

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I’m looking at the bequiet and Antec website now and outside of Antec it being a bit unclear what the different numbers mean I find it hilarious how looking at it there is one thing about the Dark base pro 900 rev. 2 that makes me say maybe not and that’s the tempered glass panel with seemingly no option to just have a solid side panel. Because other than that, it kind of feels like a dream case.

EDIT: Though looking at it it’s big probably want a ruler to better understand the sizes of computer cases before deciding what case be it Antec, Fractal, BeQuiet or someone else to look for.

I would very much recommend the liquid cooler for the CPU. Have a 12-core Zen CPU in a Fractal Define 7 case, with an (overkill) 360mm (3-fan) liquid CPU cooler. Very quiet easy build, and with all the CPUs fully loaded, only seeing 52-54C on the CPU (and still dead quiet).

Put together a list for my Zen 4 / 16-core build.

  • I am not a gamer, so going to use the 7950X built-in GPU. (Could always as a graphics card, later.)
  • Want more memory (max is 128GB).
  • Want essentially infinite storage. Have the spinning disks in an LVM volume group, and with striped volumes seeing ~800MB/s (pretty fast for backing storage).
  • Not seeing much use for more than one PCIe4 M.2 stick (but could add later).
  • With the 16-core Zen 4 generating more heat, would use the same (very effective) cooler.

My main use is software development, and I do make regular use of virtual machines. Have a token Windows VM (on an MSDN license), but rarely used.

In any case, the above is my factoriing.

The sizes are standard for the size of the motherboards: (E-)ATX, microATX, mini-ITX.

If you browse the bequiet!'s website, you have the option of choosing between windowed and solid panel cases. The windowed is always labeled “windowed.”

  • The Silent Base supports up to E-ATX (802 and 601, the 600 “only” supports ATX).
  • I don’t think there’s a non windowed version of the Dark Base 700, but looks like the Dark Base 900 has solid panels by default.
  • Pure Bases are smaller (“only” ATX and smaller). Pure Base 600 has solid panels, while 500, 500FX and 500DX are windowed-only AFAIT.

Antec has a somewhat more confusing lineup and a way larger product lineup. You probably want to look at the performance ones.

  • If you want a type-C front (or top) panel connector, go with P10C.
  • P10 Flux is kinda the same, but without type-c.
  • P101 Silent is the mother of NAS and home server cases, it has a buttload of HDD slots (8x 3.5", 1x 5.25" and 2x 2.5" and you can throw some more 2.5" drives around on the left side and maybe another 3.5" on top if you secure it somehow). You can remove some trays if you need space for long GPUs. Ii can attest the P101 Silent is easy to clean.
  • I believe the P82 silent is the slightly smaller version that lacks all that HDD expansion (only 1x 3.5" under the bottom shroud that now covers the entire base and 4x 2.5" plates - also lacks the 5.25" drive slot).
  • P7 Silent is a nice all-rounder.
  • P7 Neo is a slightly bulkier version which allows more airflow on the sides.
  • P110 Silent is such a failed design it’s not even funny.
  • P5 is another good NAS case, with 6x 3.5" bays, 1x 5.25" bay and 4x 2.5" holders and is probably among the easiest to work in (because it doesn’t have the bottom shroud), but it only supports microATX (good enough for a NAS build, but probably not what you are looking for).

Other cases from Antec are not worth looking into, they’re all windowed and kinda too flashy (in a weird way, compared to bequiet!'s or fractal design’s tempered glass cases). The value solutions are meh, although VSK3000 Elite has a 3.5" floppy slot, which would be really cool to convert into a floppy-like SSD slot for quick access. VSK200-U3 (what an asinine name) is a nice HTPC build if you go with a half-height GPU and microATX. ISK110 VESA U3 and ISK310 150 (oh my god!) are mini-ITX, the former mounts behind a monitor, the later only has a half-height 1 slot PCI-E cutout. I will take a note of these, I might be interested in them for APU builds.

Fractal’s website is making my pi cry.

Besides the Node, Core and Era, I don’t think Fractal makes cases with solid side panels. I cannot look on their site, but Torrent is their high-end stuff, Pop is their budget option, Era is high-end ITX, Node and Core are microATX / mini-ITX with just the basics, Meshify is mid to high-end.

Kinda curious what you like about it more than the P101 Silent. It does have 2x 5.25" bays instead of just 1, but has 1 fewer 3.5" bays. The aesthetics on the bequiet! is definitely a plus. I would look into a Silent Base, but I am kind of an antec fanboy. The Dark Base 900 (non rev. 2) is probably your dream case though.

I’ve not used a liquid cooler so the idea is to me a bit scary, I will say thinking about it more I probably don’t need as much storage as I have selected, I was planning to not run it at full power to make up for the fact that air coolers would normally lead it to a 95 degrees C target which I don’t want.

Honestly other then for whatever reason I think the bequiet’s angled area for the front IO not being on the very top being something I think looks nicer the only thing is that having USB C front panel is convenient as I prefer USB C for my main yubikey. The real answer is whichever case I get, if I’m willing to spend this kind of money on a case and computer, I should buy a good USB dock rather then rely on one from a job fair. But the P101 Silent does look really cool. Fractal has the option for solid side panels for the Torrent, most of their define cases, as well as the Meshify 2 and Meshify 2 C.

So the Rev 2 having that nice USB C is part of what makes the Dark Base so appealing to me.

EDIT : I decided to just fill in their general contact us form to ask them.

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I got confirmation from be quiet! it would be $30 USD + shipping and handling to get a steel panel rather then tempered glass. Given how expensive the actual case is as well as PC I think I might be willing to go for it just to avoid thinking about how temperature and humidity might lead to the window shattering in the future.