Old techie, new to the forums, building something new

Hi, I’d love to talk junk with Ya’ll. A bit of background. I’m 63 years old. Been in hardware / programming / databases all my life. Need to work till I die to support my little girl who has a ton of special needs. Need a new career direction.

My intent is to build out a new platform for learning stuff. I am unabashedly an AMD fanboy. I just like the underdog. I am decidedly NOT a gamer. My game of choice is Empire Deluxe which I must admit to many thousands of hours playing over the last three decades. I did play Morrowind through to the end. Beyond that, talk to my son. :slight_smile:

So… I’m on a budget. You will see the “budget” choices below. I just ordered the following from Newegg:

Asrock Taichi
Rosewill case
G.Skill 32g RAM
Ryzen 5 2600
Samsung 1tb M.2 SSD
Dell monitor

Will order an AMD RX 580 8gb card. Basic card. As it happens I have about 10 tb of hard disks from an old server. I will use the M.2 SSD to boot from, plus for the StoreMI to speed up some of the spinning rust. Or just go back out and get

Sandisk 240gb SSD

Which I hear good things about, to use for the STOREMI.

What I want to do with this hardware is to install a Type 1 hypervisor, almost certainly XEN. Make that a base of my new work direction. I have used Windows Hyper-V but I want to go open source. ATM I am using VirtualBox on my wimpy little Dell AllInOne with Windows 10 (home) installed. I shrank the Windows install to free up 100 gb and then built several Linux mint installs. I will confess that while I have tried to do Linux over the years it was just too… fussy shall we say? Or I was! :smile: Trying again.

So Xen on bare metal. Then Linux on that. I’d like to get into MariaDB. I have 25+ years of Microsoft Access / office automation plus C# plus SQL Server automation using C#. So MariaDB is an obvious choice for feeding my DB and programming addictions.

Not that I know anything whatsoever about any of this stuff. But that never stopped me in the past. :sunny:

And finally, the Ryzen 5 2600 is just a placeholder for next year when AMD drops the other very big boot with 7nm Ryzen. I’m dreaming of a 16 core 32 thread Ryzen 7 cpu to drop into this system along with another 32 gigs of RAM.

Hey, a man’s gotta dream. Assuming that AMD sets me up, that system with XEN should make an absolutely awesome server for launching my next career. If / when I make more money, maybe a threadripper. It just wasn’t in the budget ATM.

Anyhow, it is too late to change directions so please no “you shoulda bought” kinda stuff. Other that that, comments welcome! If you are using Xen on Ryzen, do chime in. This looks like an absolutely stellar foundation for the future. Anyone doing MariaDB please comment.

I have a lot to learn. Should be fun.


I have no advice; enjoy the journey! :beers:

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Hi Jw.
Hardware wise it looks like you have a solid set of components. Several of these I am considering for my new build also. The mobo and memory to be specific. I have always had good experiences with Asrock mother boards and G.Skill memory.
I come from a hardware background. Electronics technician that worked on flight sims for a coupla decades working on everything from hydraulics to component repair on the host computer.
The Thor case is one of my favourite cases that I have owned. Plenty of room, good airflow, and looks nice. Mine is white. The only problems I can remember having is the quick mounts for the bays came out quickly in favour of old school mounting screws. And when you move it around be careful to not grab it on the front right side. That part slides out for access to the drive bays and if you hold it there it stands a chance of slipping out and causing you to lose grip.
I don’t have any experience with EVGA so have never used any of their power supplies, but I read good things about them.
Like you I use AMD products. I have been building AMD systems since the AMD 386-40 chip came out.
Like the guys said, enjoy the ride! If I can help let me know.

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Welcome to the community.

Looks like a decent setup to me.
Pretty decent components, so i have not really much to add to this.
Asrock X470 Taichi is a decent board, with allot of connectivity features for its price.

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Fellow AMD fanboi, though I am more about their cooperation with Linux than them being an underdog. Also rocking an Asrock Ryzen system with a 580.

Your system seems solid.

My only suggestion would be to give plain ol’ KVM a try for virtualization. It’s well supported, suitable for production use, and simple.

The following boot paramaters are very helpful for Ryzen based workstations with RX580 cards at the moment:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="blacklist.radeon=1 amdgpu.powerplay=0 rcu_nocbs=0-11"
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Might be worth the bump to 2700 given the workload at some point in the future. The R5 will hold its value pretty well I’d say so sell that in 6-12 months after you know a bit more about what you’re after.

You’d probably get a kick out of mssql on Linux.

Mono and .net on linux is a job skill in short supply. I bet you could work remote /contractor and have more work than you can stand at a good rate.

Welcome. Will look over the proposed setup more later. You might be better off with Linux as a bare metal host vs xen but experimentation never hurts


VicTarr I also got my start as a tech. In the 70s I was a Data Systems tech in the navy. I moved into programming in the 80s. Started consulting in the 90s when I lost my job.

You say you are planning a new build? I’d love to follow your build.

My last build for personal use used a hex core AMD which was not exactly earth shattering shall we say. But it did have the cores that Intel was refusing to provide. :grin:

I do database stuff where cores and memory matter. Also vms where again cores matter. I am really looking forward to a high performance system that is actually affordable! Ryzen looks like it.

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Wendell, thanks for the reply. The 2600 is just a reasonably powerful stake in the game while I wait impatiently for the 16 core Ryzen 3700 AMD is about to drop on Intel’s head. :grin:

Mono and dot net is a draw for me. I built a powerful sql server for a client and then wrote an app to automate it from c#. Fascinating and fun. At the time I was embedded in windows but doing it in Linux /mysql /dot net would be fun.

I must admit ignorance around the hypervisor. In Windows I simply installed server 8 and turned on the the hypervisor. Windows somehow slid hyper-v underneath itself and all was good. A pretty neat trick I think.

From my reading Xen will not be that simple. I’m thinking about blogging the experience. Does level1tech do member blogs?

And finally, once I get that sorted I’d love to get another m.2 drive and do the same thing with the Linux type 1 hypervisor. Throw the vms on their own m.2 and try a vs b benchmarks. No idea if one can swap out a hypervisor boot drive like that and mount existing vms.

Those are my interests. Hardware on the way. Build blog then hypervisor /vm to follow. Wish me luck! :grin:

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I see you are running a 2400g. That implies you used the graphics? I really wanted to go that route but the rx580 prices finally dropped enough I decided to just go with the 2600. If they made a 2600g it would have been a no brainer. How do you find the 2400g?

Do you use kvm? I’m interested.

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I would love to share my build but depending on your time-line I may be late to the game. With my financial situation I won’t be able to afford my parts till Dec/Jan time-line. So not sure if you will beat me to the punch.
I agree with you, AMD provided the cores and the speed at a time when Intel was a little stingy with any innovation unless you pup up big bucks. For a guy with a new family or a regular job and not the CEO of a company this was quiet a lot to ask. And yes, Ryzen looks like a good fit for this old school kid.
But you can be sure that I will update here on the forums as soon as I can afford the hardware.

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Welcome to the forums, my only advice on this thread is that if you have lots of experience with databases running on SQL Server you might find MariaDB somewhat disappointing(depending on what you are planning to do with it). Whilst it’s perfectly fine for many it lacks a lot of modern SQL functionality. PostgreSQL is where you want to be for a fully functional RDBMS that is Open Source and can hold its own against Oracle, SQL Server and DB2 etc.

Have fun,


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Nope. I got the 2400G because it was at a good price point when I bought it. I have 2160p displays with FreeSync, so I need the DisplayPort outputs from the 580. The HDMI output would be a limited to [email protected]

It’s my intent to eventually run a crypcurrency miner in the background on the on-board Vega core, but I haven’t been bothered to install the OpenCL stuff yet on my AMD systems.

Initial release was shaky as hell. Lots of freezes and instability issues, but those seem to be behind me, as either the result of updates, or boot options. Some distros, especially older stable distros, still have some quirks but I think this is a result of Ryzen still being uncommon and should be resolved with package updates. The hardware itself works well.

Yes, I use KVM pretty heavily, both personally and professionally. It’s been supported by all processors since the Core2Duo days, and just requires a kernel module that’s available in the mainline Linux kernel, so should just work out of the box. Only thing to note is that some board manufacturers disable virtualization in UEFI by default, so make sure it’s enabled.

For servers, I prefer using the Virtual Machine Manager. It’s Free Software and in every distro’s repos, so is a breeze to install. The configuration and tuning options in there are good for dialing in performance. The SPICE protocol for remote management is also baked in to that, and performance is decent enough even over the WAN that it can be used for out-of-band mantenance.

For casual desktop virtualization, gnome-boxes is a less feature-dense UI that works with the same libvirt backends.

I’d recommend virt-manager if you’ll be working with Maria and other server-centric stuff. Should scripting stuff be more your style, KVM can be enabled directly using Qemu as well, it’s just a runtime flag to utilize the kernel module.

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I personally doubt that we are going to see higher core count cpu´s,
then 8 cores on am4 in the future.
But of course only time will tell.

Maria/MySQL are interesting and unlikely to go away any time soon. I wish I could push you a little to write some kind of MySQL adapter for cockroachdb, that allows someone to use cockroach but connect from an old MySQL app.

Other thing I’d like to see in MariaDB/MySQL is pluggable binlog backends… Something that allows for binlogs to be RPC’d over the network, consolidated and stored more efficiently, and then retrieved by MySQL/MariaDB for relaying to slaves.

Also, I’d encourage you to grab a 2700x - you won’t use it most of the time, but going into opensource if you can get a couple of extra cores to run those few tests a little bit quicker when you’re in the flow, you should get them.

Also, gpu - shmpu, necessarily evil, 580 is probably overkill, get the cheapest you can get that’ll drive a pair of 4k desktops and save money there.

And get a cheapish at least 27" 4k or similar to fit more code and stuff browser reference windows.

MystryAngel, what are your thoughts on Zen2? AMD is moving to a new manufacturing node which means more “room” / less “power”. It just seems unlikely that for the desktop we are going to be left with just another slightly faster / slightly less power 2700x. Intel is trying to play catch up with more cores, it seems logical to press the advantage whilst AMD can in the core race.

HEDT in the ryzen space is where many of us power users live. I’d love to go threadripper, but the entire environment is more costly and out of my reach. Yet more than 8 cores is very useful to me.

Your thoughts?

Welcome to the forum, sweet deal on the ssd!

Ha now I wrote so much that I forgot to write the reason why I wrote this in the first place. Basically. What do you think? Why and for what is one better than the other?

I did also do some research on that, because I was curious. I´m currently using postgresql for a project, but that was more by coincidence tbh. Like I used JOOQ was making an API and I wanted to return the entire entity on every update, since I´m doing all my validation on the API as well, because I want that part to be consistent, because I want to make a android app later. With postgresql you can use returning to return the row or parts of it. So then I thought yeah why not try it and did it. I ended up needing to define triggers for every table to update the lastUpdated column, witch you don´t need to do in mysql, witch is a minor annoyance because when you have that column in every table it´s very much boilerplate code. Though, looking back table inheritance seems to be a thing and I maybe should try if that works.

Posgresql also takes data integrity much more seriously. By default in MySQL if you alter a table and say set the precision of a decimal from 5 to 4 and you had a value that was 5 long you´ll end up with 9999 instead of whatever was there before and a warning. Witch I don´t quite get why that´s the default behaviour.

One of the reasons why mysql is used so much is that it´s very optimized for SIMPLE queries and unlike postgresql can do in place updates of single values. Meanwhile postgresql has to replace the entire row. Postgresql has a more sophisticated query planner, witch allows you to do more complex joins/queries. And for REALLY huge data collections you have TimescaleDB, where the idea is you just insert an OBSCENE amount of data and then do those complex queries against that huge amount of data, not really giving a damn about delete and update performance anyways since, you´ll just horde it as fast as you can and treasure it because data = $. So that´s a thing.

A lot of the advanced things that postgresql can do like Common Table Expressions also now are possible on MySQL too. MySQL I believe still does not support triggers on Views for instance. But maybe it does. Not sure.

But I am not too concerned about performance. For most applications (including my thing here) either DB is gonna be just fine and probably exceed the requirements. And when you start having problems you likely have the resources to switch to the best thing for what ended up being your exact use case anyways. My entire backend for this application i´m doing right now actually runs on a raspberry pi just fine for what is the expected load. Witch in my case is a bit mild, because there can realistically only be 5 users max, since the thing is gonna run locally in my parents workplace and there just are not more people. I mean I´m still not gonna run it on my raspberry pi. But that´s currently the beta/demo server. xD

I worked in ms access for 15 years as a consultant to small businesses. I’m a programmer and I got guru good at access and VBA and office automation.

I got into sql server because I lived and and worked in a ms universe and I needed to handle a table with 65 million rows with 720 fields. A tad beyond access’ capability.

Sql server is very powerful and very mature. I’d like to find the equivalent in Linux.

You might just want to stick with what you know. Developer Edition is free to use and has all the Enterprise Edition functionality, but licences are expensive (as you probably know) for the Enterprise version.

EDIT: Just to state the obvious, SQL Server on Linux is not open source, so might be a non-starter, in which case I think you need to play with both MariaDB/MySQL and PostgreSQL to see which better meets your requirements.

I can recommend looking at Markus Winands blogs & book and also Rob Conery’s books and traning materials.

What kind of workload? How much total data size? have you tried either MySQL or Postgres?