Newb Building a Server

Hi all,
I’ve spent the past couple of weeks speccing out a server for home use. The intended functions for this system are:
Run ESXi as the host
Run FreeNAS as a guest (passing direct access to the disks)
Running a few containers such as Embry/Plex, Zoneminder, etc
Running a couple of VMs for my families use (ie Web Surfing VM, Remote Work Access VM, Kids VM)

My objectives in order of importance:

  1. Data Integrity
  2. Data Redundancy
  3. Noise
  4. Cost
  5. Virtual Machines/Containers for the Family (3 VMs for now)
  6. Zoneminder for the Cameras (as described above)

I would greatly appreciate your time in reviewing the below and welcome any feedback.
Thank you.

Here is what I was looking to put together:

Component Solution Cost
Mobo SuperMicro X9DRL-iF 190
CPU E5-2650 v2 X2 125
Chassis be quiet! PURE BASE 600 Black/Silver 90
CPU Cooler EVGA CLC 120mm All-In-One 116
RAM 64GB (2 x 32GB) PC3-14900L DDR3-1866MHz Reg-ECC 4Rx4 Samsung M386B4G70DM0-CMA4 100
PSU Seasonic Focus GX-550, 550W 80+ Gold, Full-Modular 100
CPU bracket N/A 0
Fans Pure Wings 2 1x120, 1x140 25
SSDs Old Transcend SSD340 TS256GSSD340 0
Storage 8TB Reds x5 660

Hello TranceKat,

Welcome to the forums. I’m sorry to post and run, but you have a lot of areas where you can save money. Such as chassis, cooler, RAM, fans, storage and PSU. If someone doesn’t respond prior to me getting back. I’ll help you save a few bucks.

probably more than enough power unless you’re zoneminding a ton of cameras or transcoding lots of plex streams

doesn’t that case only hold 2x 3.5" drives though?

and what are your objectives in general, cost or looks or noise or…?

Curious: is there a particular reason for choosing that specific motherboard and cpu? I’ve seen dual 2011 SM birds for $100-$130 with essentially the same layout (pcie slots are different). Also e5-2660(v2) are $20-$30 a piece but 2.2ghz instead of 2.8ghz.

I think it’s a combo deal on ebay.

Thank you! Very happy to be here; I’ve really enjoyed my time on the discord channel as well.

I would love to hear your ideas on saving some $. I convinced the wife we needed bit rot protection so she OK’d the project, but she wasn’t happy about my initial estimate.

Anything I could do to maintain performance and lower the price is most welcome.

Zoneminding 2x 4K outdoor cameras, 4x 1080p indoor cameras. I suspect that will not be a huge strain on the system.

As far as I could see, the case has space for 5x 3.5" drives as long as I purchase an additional 2 cages.


(I now see I’ve waited too long and the case is unavailable :frowning: )

My objectives in order of importance:

  1. Data Integrity
  2. Data Redundancy
  3. Noise
  4. Cost
  5. Virtual Machines/Containers for the Family (3 VMs for now)
  6. Zoneminder for the Cameras (as described above)

I went with the guide - the ECC MBs are all SuperMicro; since I’m a newb at this, I didn’t deviate from those recommendations. I’m open to other options. If there are other boards with the same support I’d love to consider them. I can be taught. :slight_smile:

The CPUs just seemed like the biggest bang for the buck. Do you suspect that the 2660v2’s would be adequate based on the above expected usage and potential growth over the years? Happy to save some money there too.

Thank you all for the excellent feedback!

understandable. definitely a good thing to follow. for motherboards i’ve seen x9d…for less. like this one. i have the non jbod edition of this board in my proxmox server. the plus side is that you won’t need a hba for drives(assuming you use 8 or less) since it has 2 sas ports on the motherboard. specs for the board are here and since 8gb ecc 1333mhz sticks are around $10/stick it makes massive memory much more affordable. there are hynix sticks on ebay that you can buy a lot of 8(64gb total) for about $75.

as for the cpu, anything with 6+ cores should be enough for VMs(depending on what all you’re using). i have dual e5-2620 cpu in my proxmox server and it has enough for my current use case. i’m not doing anything intensive so thy work for me. for zoneminder, not too sure what you would need. i looked up for system requirements and they don’t seem to tell what hardware for a server you would need. someone would uses zoneminder would have a better answer for that. although i will say i saw thread from 2013 that someone was using a nuc. seeing as those are 2ghz or less(if memory serves me right) then the 2660 v2 chips should be enough. there may be ways to accelerate performance with something else, similar to gpu and video editing. but that’s me assuming since i don’t know exactly how ZM works.

for objectives 1&2, the answer is zfs. btrfs has come a lone way since it was introduced but doesn’t have the track record(or official recommendation) to house your data. i use proxmox with zfs mirrored for the boot drives and the local disks(drives in the case) used zfs and then the freenas box i have connected to it also uses zfs(native and i believe only option for freenas). if you’re building an all in one server you could use freenas and then the VM option to run a ubuntu server with zoneminder but i also think that there is a plugin for zoneminder. you could also setup proxmox and then passthrough a hba to a freenas VM. but freenas as a vm isn’t recommended. there will be many that say use unraid, which from what little i’ve used it for in the past, is a pretty good OS but i don’t want drives to die (yes they will at some point) so freenas and zfs are my go to and then proxmox for VM. a bit more “complicated” but works super well and is pretty tried and true. other options would be centos or ubuntu server as the base OS with zfs for the data drives and then something like ovirt/libvirt/virtmanager/cockpit for VM.but for the OS, that’ll end up being up to you and what will seem to best fit your use case.

Thanks adamsir2, I re-evaluated my MB selection and made some adjustments all around after your thoughtful response. (By the way, what is a nuc?)

Here’s where I’m winding up. The HBA card is so that I can pass it to FreeNAS from ESXi. I didn’t go with your MB because of airflow concerns over the 2308 controller on board. The Datacenter design works wonderfully in a rack mount chassis, but I can’t find a Rosewill 4500 anywhere, so will have to go with option B. :slight_smile:

Component Solution Cost
Mobo SuperMicro X9DRH-IF 140
CPU E5-2660 v1 X2 75
Chassis Fractal Design XL R2 145
CPU Cooler Arctic Freezer 12 100
RAM 64GB (4x16GB) PC3-8500R DDR3-1066MHz 4Rx4 Reg ECC Edge 16GE604R04 70
PSU Seasonic Focus GX-550, 550W 80+ Gold, Full-Modular 100
CPU bracket Generic 15
Fans Pure Wings 2 1x120, 1x140 25
SSDs Old Transcend SSD340 TS256GSSD340 0
HBA LSI SAS9200-8i IBM 46C8937 9200-8i IT 30
Storage 8TB Reds x6 700

If you dont want to have to add a lsi card you can take a look at the X9DRD-7LN4F-JBOD board as its already in jbod and should be cheaper then the board your looking at.