The Pursuit of Homelabs, Part 4 – Parts A-Plenty

homelab_part_4_000It’s time! In this post, I’ll be talking about the parts I chose, why I chose each one, and some of the lessons I’ve learned – oh boy, did I learn a lesson or two.

What’s In The Box(es)? 

Dell PowerEdge R710 Server

This is the bulk of the order – literally, this box was way heavier than I imagined. The R710 I ordered from eBay (posting here) came with the following specifications:

  • 2x Quad Core Intel Xeon E7705 Processors running at 2.26GHz
  • 48 GB (12x4GB) PC2-10600R DDR3 Memory
  • 2x 3.5″ Harddrive Caddies
  • 1x PERC6i RAID controller with cables

There were no hard drives included with this server, and there are still another 6 RAM slots to fill when I need to. I talked up the R710 up enough in my last post, but I do want to talk about the processors – I chose the “E” version of this line of Xeons. They’re clocked at a slightly lower speed, but will run much cooler and more efficiently than the regular or “X” versions would. This’ll help me save a little bit on operating costs.

The RAID controller that comes stock with this specific listing would be okay if I wasn’t planning on using large disks. As previously discussed, the PERC6i controller won’t see drives larger than 2TB, nor will it process anything faster than 3Gb/s. If I was using a separate NAS, then I could have stocked this machine with smaller-capacity, faster-spinning drives and RAID’d them together to get the space needed for my virtual hard drive files. This would be better practice, but hey, where’s the fun (and savings) in that?

You’ll notice as you read the rest of the list that I didn’t immediately order more RAM. While having more is always better, I wanted to wait to see what specific brand and type came with the server so I could match it exactly to prevent any hiccups. I also didn’t see myself needing more than 48GB of memory starting out, but I’ll probably pick up some more closer to the holiday season when I’ll have time to make other improvements and really push this machine to its limits.