Anniversary 2.0 Build Complete: Dual E5-2687W in a X9DRH-7F "Augustus"

My current system is an i5-2500 system with 16gb of ram that I put together in 2011. Performance wise, it’s still good, and I’ve upgraded the GPU since to keep playing the newer games. I’ve got the *arr family running usenet & torrent automation, a plex server, and a WAMP stack for my webdev work on it too. However, it’s a Windows 7 system, and I’ve got 6tb of capacity in a non-raid configuration. While I maintain backups of important things, I’d like more redundancy as well as a non-legacy OS.

I use my PC for daily tasks, development, tinkering, self-hosted apps, and gaming.

Therefore, my goals are

  1. Have some sort of storage integrity
  2. Use a modern OS, preferably linux based for most of my tasks
  3. Continue to manage & serve media content to my family
  4. Be able to use this PC for everything I use my current rig for
  5. Ideally use it for ~10 years, understanding that video card & storage capacity upgrades may be required.

Thankfully, around the time I started to think about all of this, I stumbled across this community (it started with research into a DIY NAS), and I started saving some money. When my wife’s PC failed (video card and hard drive failure), pressure to upgrade increased - she’ll get my old PC and I get a new one.

So, I recently pulled the trigger on the parts below.

Part Retailer/Seller Cost Shipping Taxes/Duty/Excise Subtotal in CAD
Intel Xeon E5-2687W v2 x 2 ebay -mkt-parts $439.90 $16.68 $29.08 $618.93
Supermicro X9DRH-7F-DE05B ebay -techy_parts $169.99 $64.95 $36.90 $336.31
64GB (8x 8GB) Samsung M393B1K70DH0-CK0Q PC3-12800R DIMM DDR3 1600 ECC Memory ebay -human-i-t $130.14 $19.84 $0.00 $191.13
ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 2060 ebay - neweggcanada $509.99 $0.00 -$25.50 $484.49
SUPERMICRO SNK-P0050AP4 Heatsink x 2 Newegg - iSanek $113.64 $0.00 $13.64 $127.28
ORICO USB 3.0 PCI Express Card Hub Controller Newegg - ORICO TECHNOLOGIES CO.,LTD $19.99 $0.00 $1.00 $20.99
EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G1+ 80 Plus Gold PSU MemoryExpress $184.99 $8.99 $23.28 $217.26
Phanteks Enthoo Pro $149.99 $0.00 $18.00 $167.99
Phanteks SSD Bracket for Single SSD $16.94 $0.00 $2.03 $18.97
GELID Solutions GC-Extreme Thermal Compound 2g Newegg - Corn Electronics.CAN $22.48 $0.00 $1.12 $23.60
Relper-Lineso 6 Pack 90 Degree Right-Angle SATA III Cable - LINESO $13.99 $0.00 $0.00 $13.99
Cable Matters (3 Pack) Straight SATA III Cable - Cable Matters $10.99 $0.00 $0.00 $10.99
WD Red 4TB x 2 MemoryExpress $259.98 $13.45 $35.55 $308.98
WD Blue SSD, 1TB x 2 MemoryExpress $299.98 $8.99 $32.99 $341.96
WD Red 4TB MemoryExpress $129.99 $0.00 $14.30 $144.29
WD Blue 4TB x 2 Newegg $199.96 $0.00 $10.00 $209.96
Total: $3,237.12

(All prices converted to $CAD, drives purchased at sales over the past 12 months. Still a bit eye watering, but this thing is NSFWallet.)

I took JDM_WAAAT’s advice and did a table build just to see if everything was working before mounting it into the case. The first boot was a success; much joy! I took my time and planned out the case build, and got it all together only to have it fail in POST.

The error code shown by the BIOS indicated an USB issue, so I disconnected or removed any USB that I could (mobo riser, add-on card, keyboard) and I kept getting the same error. Reset the CMOS to no avail. Removed the USB add-on card, nope. Removed & re-seated the RAM. Nope. Removed the video card and it completed the boot. Fighting the increasing dread, I re-seated the card and hit the power button - it worked!

That’s where I am now. The next step will be to load Unraid and pre-clear the drives. Once I get that setup, I’ll transfer the media from my old system to the new, then prep the old PC for my wife.

It’s been a long time since I’ve built a PC from scratch, so here’s some of my experiences:

  1. Connect the front panel header pins prior to mounting the board into the case, and certainly before you slap the video card in there. That would have saved me 20 minutes of frustration that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

  2. The manual for the Enthoo Pro doesn’t say “Don’t remove the attached mounting screws for the SSD tray”, but it should, especially for the second mount in the lower corner of the case. To put them back in requires a very short bit or angling the screwdriver in a particularly awkward way. And patience. Lots of patience.

  3. I removed all the mobo standoffs, marked the tray after laying the mainboard on it. Then double checked it after I put the standoffs back into the tray. On this case & board combo, only one mounting hole didn’t have a corresponding standoff mount, by the front panel breakout. Perhaps overkill, but I felt this way removed any risk for a stray standoff messing things up.

  4. The mobo power cord was too short to route behind the tray, and the mainboard itself was big enough it covered the designated front tray panel cutouts. I decided to take it across the front of the mainboard, and zip tied it in place to the drive tray supports to keep it from lying across any board components. Not the prettiest thing, but a workable solution.

  5. Complete, this things weighs in at 49.5lbs (I checked!) so watch your fingers, lift properly, and protect your work surface.

This build is a bit of overkill, even my local techy friends are asking me “Why?”, but I feel as though a geeky part of me that had been dormant for awhile is once again awoken. It was a lot of fun to build, and I’m looking forward to a great learning adventure as I grow into what I’ve built.

Thanks again to JDM_WAAAT and the serverbuilds community for the hard work they put into sourcing all this information to help folks like me make informed choices. It really is amazing.