NSFW Build - Craigslist Junkyard Edition

Photos: https://imgur.com/a/5s3L0hC

So this started as me just wanting to replace my 10 year old Drobo (running on USB 2.0!) just because I was bored. It wasn’t even acting up. Despite their poor reputation, I bought this Drobo for $100 brand new at a NCIX warehouse sale more than a decade ago and it’s been reliable the whole time. Slow as hell but reliable. It would take entire days to transfer amounts of data but it usually wasn’t accessed as it served as the “vault” for all my old raw photos and video footage. I’m a photographer/videographer and the last 10 years took up about 7-8TB of storage. The 4TB WD Reds have been running in the Drobo for awhile and some of the 2TB Reds were the drives in there before that.

Photos are now on a 32TB (16TB usable) mirrored vdev ZFS array with 2x8TB, 2x4TB, 2x4TB. Media is on a SnapRAID/mergerFS array with…all sorts of random disks. Double parity with a couple of 4TB drives and a mishmash of 2TB and 3TB drives making up the storage. It should also be around 16TB usable.

I also wanted to learn something new. Although I’ve built computers since I was a kid, I’ve never gone too far into servers, Linux or networking. I don’t game much anymore so this is a great way to keep up with computers as a hobby. I kept my budget as low as possible. Only partly because I wanted to spend very little money but I love getting great deals and scouring eBay for dirt cheap parts to see how cheaply I could put this build together sounded like fun.

Prices in USD. Calculated off a 1:1.35 exchange rate with CAD, rounded up (I’m Canadian, eh.). Add about $50 in mailbox fees for picking up all this gear at my US mailbox (I live 15 minutes from the US border). Marked N/A is stuff I already had.

The $50 WD Red 8TB was a result of Amazon giving me a $180 gift card as compensation for the $80/10TB fiasco and I spent it on 8TB drives instead. $140x2 - $180 = $100.

NSFW 2011 Server 16C/32T | 64GB RAM | 32TB storage (photography archive)


CATEGORY COMPONENT COST SOURCE
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-7PESH2 (used) $175 MET
CPU 0 Intel Xeon E5-2650 v2 (used) $50 eBay
CPU 1 Intel Xeon E5-2650 v2 (used) $50 eBay
CPU Coolers Coolermaster Hyper 212 LED+ x2 (refurb) $26 newegg
Memory 64GB DDR3 ECC 12800 16x4GB (used) $80 CL
SSD (boot) Kingston A400 120GB (new!) $17 MEMEX
SSD (ZFS) Samsung 860 EVO 500GB $0 N/A
SSD (ZFS) Samsung 860 EVO 500GB $0 N/A
HDD (ZFS) WD Red 8TB (new!) $50 Amazon
HDD (ZFS) WD Red 8TB (new!) $50 Amazon
HDD (ZFS) WD Red 4TB (used) $50 CL
HDD (ZFS) WD Red 4TB (used) $50 CL
HDD (ZFS) WD Red 4TB $0 N/A
HDD (ZFS) WD Red 4TB $0 N/A
Case Corsair 600T (used) $20 CL
SSD Cage Supermicro CSE-M14 (used) $20 CL
10GbE NIC Intel X520-T2 $35 eBay
SAS HP SAS Expander (refurb) $15 eBay
SAS 8087 - 8088 cables x 4 $16 eBay
SAS 8087 to 8088 adapter (new!) $15 eBay
PSU Silverstone ST85F-P (new!) $20 Friend
Fans Arctic F12 x 5 $25 Amazon.com
UPS Cyberpower CP850PFCLCD (new!) $65 eBay
OS Proxmox $0 N/A
TOTAL $829

DAS Build 16TB SnapRAID/mergerFS array | room for at least 5 more drives (Linux ISO storage)

CATEGORY COMPONENT COST SOURCE
Case Norco RPC-340 3U (new!) $15.00 CL
SAS 8088 Cables x 2 $20.00 eBay
SAS 8087 to 8088 Adapter (new!) $15 eBay
PSU Thermaltake 500W $0 N/A
HDD (SnapRAID) Hitachi 7200RPM 2TB SATA (used) $20 CL
HDD (SnapRAID) Hitachi 7200RPM 2TB SATA (used) $20 CL
HDD (SnapRAID) WD Red 2TB $0 N/A
HDD (SnapRAID) WD Red 3TB $0 N/A
HDD (SnapRAID) WD Red 3TB $0 N/A
HDD (SnapRAID) WD Blue 3TB $0 N/A
HDD (SnapRAID Parity) Seagate Barracuda 4TB $0 N/A
HDD (SnapRAID Parity) Seagate Barracuda 4TB $0 N/A
TOTAL $90

BONUS: My entire lab is made of Craigslist finds that I got real cheap. In the photo, there’s a Acer SFF box that runs pfsense as my secondary router. It gives me a “hardwire” connection to NordVPN. It was $60 off Craigslist and has a i3 4130, 8GB RAM and a 32GB SSD. Added a 4-port Intel Pro 1000 for $15. The VGA monitor was a freebie someone threw in with…something listed above. I forget which. This, along with the network switches, ER-X and modem, run off a APC BE650G UPS, another CL steal for $20 brand new.

Switch is a HP 1820-24G that I got off Craiglist for $30. The one below it is my previous switch, an HP 2510-24G which I thought was too hot and noisy and swapped out. The one above is a Cisco SG300-10 I bought for $15 for kicks. Waiting for the power adapter to arrive. There’s also a Raspberry Pi running PiHole and Rock64 running PiVPN.

Whole lab probably costs around $1000-$1100 in total, including the $60ish I spent on the 24"x24"x60" wire shelf until I can find a free rack.

Shoutout to JDM_WAAAT & co. as well as the super helpful and awesome community. I’m both super grateful for the help and lols but at the same time, screw you guys. I originally came here thinking “Oh, that NK2.0 build looks cheap. MAYBE I CAN GET THIS DONE FOR $100.” and despite my frugality I’m now at least $1000 poorer than when I started you jerks.

Thinking of getting a couple more fans, attaching them to the top of the case and venting both CPU heatsinks out the top.

Currently CPU1 runs about 3-4 degrees hotter than CPU0.