PURPOSE: to build a portable, reasonably-priced, host machine using a type 1 hypervisor to run a lot of virtual machines, containers & virtualized networks on

  • 120 GB ssd has ESXi 5.5 on it
  • 256 GB ssd has XenServer 6.2 on it
  • BUT I just might end up going back to PROXMOX since ESXi is not as FREE as it once was (the web client needed to manage your VMs requires a license/purchase) & Xen has some quirks too
  • ...suggestions are WELCOME for it is w-h-y I am here :)


  • something to dev' on (e.g. app development for digital humanities work)
  • client/server, web server, tcp/ip network sandboxes (e.g. to learn more about networking & network security)
  • Informatica PowerCenter specifically & BI/DW generally i.e. work-related skill building
  • DEV environment for PROD: linode, digital ocean & drupal blog sites that I am just starting to run
  • GPGPU experimentation focused on NLP
  • crypto-currency experimentation

I was inspired by this great idea the author put my cluttered thoughts into words quite nicely :) My derivative of his recipe was to:

  • separate the CPU & GPU in order to maximize each components potential, hence the e3-1290 v2 & a gaming ITX GPU
  • use a bigger case, which is a tradeoff in size but should be (God-willing) rewarded by increased ability & performance
  • get as many purposes out of this machine as possible i.e. scalable & malleable in terms of what it can do
  • Upgrade NOW: choose hardware components that CANNOT be upgraded to milk this machine for all its worth until it dies :)

Not sure if I succeeded, it still is a work in progress... AGAIN PLEASE COMMENT +/- FEEDBACK IS ALWAYS HELPFUL

Notes on the parts list:

  • all parts were purchased at/thru MicroCenter, Ebay, NewEgg & Amazon
  • though the parts, due to limited inventory on this site, are not accurate, I edited the prices to be

(1) Intel® Xeon Processor E3-1290 v2 (8M Cache, 3.70 GHz) is the CPU I am using ( pcpartpicker does NOT have this CPU in its inventory list.)

  • PAID:$295 USD
  • Got slightly used (HP Engineering Sample) off of EBay: > "This processor is working properly. Please note : lower corners got tiny cut. HP OEM. No retail Box.”
    The Tiny cuts are purely cosmetic, nothing on the chip itself is damaged. Will upload pics of chipped corners. Retails for $885.00+ easy, he was asking $395, I made an offer & we met in the middle for $295 USD. Best e3 12XX v2 according to CPUBOSS for lga 1155. CPU is S-O-L-I-D but it runs very hot. The Noctua CPU cooler is low-profile & I was quite limited with choice in this department. It does cool the cpu ok but because the Lian Li case is so small & this setup generates so much heat & the air flow in the case is not good, I am still worried about ventilation and the hardware getting damaged due to overheating, being in heat a lot etc.


  • Probably should do a burn test on this cpu...
  • also need to make sure the cosmetic damage is visible in the photos so I can get community feedback

(2) Intel BBS1200KPR S1200KPR Server Board mITX, LGA1155, DDR3 ECC New Board Only

  • PAID:$100 USD on ebay NEW
  • Elsewhere on eBay paid $15 USD for the I/O shield
  • GREAT BOARD (the KPR not the KP version) but my carelessness yanked sata0 out (THANK GOD, when I pushed it back in, still works, see photos)
  • only two 6 Gbps ports, the other two, the black ones, are 3 Gbps so kinda useless
  • sadly can't max the CPU's memory (32 GB) because the ITX form factor (at time this was built) only allows 16 GB of ram
  • Regarding VIRTUALIZATION, although this Xeon and the mobo chipset both support vt-d, the mobo BIOS does NOT. I had this confirmed by Intel, unfortunately. They said "...for the S1200KP and KPR. No luck for VT-d on these boards."

(3) Memory: Tough choice out of the final two:
* (a) Memory 16GB DDR3 1600 ECC 2 x 8GB, Unbuffered Kingston KVR16E11/8 BUT 1.5 * (b) Memory 16GB DDR3 1333 ECC 2 x 8GB, Unbuffered Samsung M391B1G73BH0-CH9 1.35

Now I went with (b) & Ill tell you why: * (1) Intel explicitly recommended it for this board * (2) 1.35 > 1.5 in performance 3) 9 > 11 in latency BUT I do have buyers remorse since (a) is DDR3-1600 & mine is DDR3-1333

So, this is where you brainiacs come in.
Can ANYONE tell me how to compare RAM? CPUBOSS, SSDBOSS, GPUBOSS are great but is there a MEMBOSS equivalent out there? I couldn't find one...any thoughts?

RAID 0 Setup

I have another 256 GB SSD (Samsung 840 PRO) on the way & I plan on purchasing [THIS] ( since hardware RAID seems to be the only way VMware, Citrix etc recognize RAID. Now remember my motherboard is ITX & the GPU is already occupying the ONLY expansion slot. So what do you guys think? Is 2 Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB drives in RAID 0 ie 512 GB gonna give me a performance boost?

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  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice PC. My only complaint is the processor. I would have went with something overclockable, especially if this is for gaming, maybe an i7 4790k or even a x99 chip. Still, good luck with the rig and congrats! +1

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Howard Hughes - Sorry for the long ramblings in the description section (I know the length makes most ppl NOT want to read it, me included) BUT in short this is a "portable virtual server build" 120 GB drive has ESXI on it & 256 GB has XenServer on it ... for now...

  • I don’t play games, have had 4770K, 4590K & even got a great deal on a 4930K (which I LOVED). All have been sold because my therapist said I am turning into "an obsessive-pc-hurder" when my loft had 10+ pcs in it :( #NotGoodNotGood

In hindsight, either I should have done: a) x99 (5960X + MicroATX board) SMALL (non-portable) type 1 hypervisor build OR b) used this recipe, as-instructed:

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

It's not bad, it will do what you need it to do no problem, and the deal you got on the CPU was amazing. Overall I'd call this one a big win :)

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Thx brah - appreciate the validation ;) when we spend so much TIME & MONEY & PLANNING on this stuff, the buyers remorse can drive you crazy :)

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Reply - any advice on how to compare/test to see if I were to upgrade to DDR31600 ECC Memory vs what I have now...that has been the toughest thing to benchmark...any ideas? URLS are appreciated!!

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Also before someone else asks, why the MSI ITX 760 - I got it because I want to use this...MASHIIIN!!!... to experiment with gpgpu computing, perhaps d-a-b-b-l-e in some crypto-currency stuff & just to get as MUCH as I can outta this MASHIIIIN ie maxed out the CPU as CPU & kept the GPU separate.

NOW again in hindsight - If I wasnt SO impulsive & impatient :) I should have waited & got the 670 ITX or better yet the R9 285 ITX but se la vida e

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

You should have gotten the Gigabyte GTX 970 ITX if you were looking for most performance

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha funny you say that, I just google'd best itx gpus & saw Gigabytes first ITX gpu was a ITX 970

I think Ill have to upgrade that how they dropped the TDP to 148

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Hows the gpu

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

Thats a pc-tu100a