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Looking to build my first PC for virtualization

Devilsbane
  • 55 months ago

I'm looking to build my first PC. I've been around them for ages and done my share of repairs, so I have a pretty good idea of what is in them. My last couple computers have been laptops, but now I'm looking for a desktop to live at home that will mostly always be on acting as my media server, but also as my playground (I'll be installing VMWare to host a number of virtual OS's for my manipulation enjoyment). Gaming will be minimal, but there might be some since a lot of the same components that will allow me to handle many virtualized systems will allow for gaming as well.

Where all of my knowledge grinds to a halt is when it comes time to picking the pieces. I've been tied to the i7 for while now, but not married. I'm seeing plenty of i5 systems coming out now that are claiming the same abilities as former i7s. Even if I was dead set on an i7, I'm not certain which one I want or which of the thousand motherboards would be a good fit for it. Sure, I could grab a random one off Amazon with the same socket and it would work. But since I'm planning on keeping this thing for awhile I want to make sure that I'm making the right choices.

Budget: Ideally under $1,000, but when I factor in HDDs and monitors it will likely end up with $1,500. Location: Minnesota Use (Gaming, Rendering, etc): Virtualization, general use, media center, music daw Peripherals required (monitor, keyboard/mouse, etc): Can be purchased later Operating System required: I'm torn between going between a client and a server OS here. I'll have some server VMs that should be able to satisfy any server needs that I have, so I'm thinking Windows 10.

Being that virtualization is my main plan, RAM is a must, 32GB for sure. I haven't seen any motherboards advertising more but it couldn't hurt if it has 4 slots because I could buy 2 sticks of 16GB for now and have 2 slots for expansion.

Thanks in advance for your ideas and help. If you have any questions, just let me know!

Comments

  • 55 months ago
  • 3 points

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Xeon E5-2620 V3 2.4GHz 6-Core OEM/Tray Processor $389.99 @ SuperBiiz
CPU Cooler Silverstone AR02 56.0 CFM CPU Cooler $27.99 @ Amazon
Motherboard SUPERMICRO MBD-X10DAL $300.00
Memory Kingston 16GB (1 x 16GB) Registered DDR4-2133 Memory $110.25 @ Mac Mall
Memory Kingston 16GB (1 x 16GB) Registered DDR4-2133 Memory $110.25 @ Mac Mall
Storage A-Data Premier SP550 480GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $134.99 @ Amazon
Storage Toshiba X300 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $134.00 @ Amazon
Video Card Gigabyte Radeon R7 260X 2GB Video Card (2-Way CrossFire) $112.98 @ Newegg
Video Card Gigabyte Radeon R7 260X 2GB Video Card (2-Way CrossFire) $112.98 @ Newegg
Case Thermaltake Core V31 ATX Mid Tower Case $57.99 @ Amazon
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA G2 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply $99.99 @ Amazon
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $1591.41
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-11-11 01:39 EST-0500

Direct upgrade path to 12 core (add another 2630 V3). Indirect upgrade path to 36 haswell cores, possible as many as 48 broadwell cores someday.

Direct upgrade path to 128GB RAM via 8 X 16GB Registered ECC DIMM's (add more of what is there). Indirect upgrade path to 512GB via 8 X 64GB load reduced registered ECC DIMM's.

Includes 2 radeon graphics for mediated hardware passthrough support, one for the system, one to be dedicated for use WITHIN a VM. (FYI, geforce doesn't support this).

C612 chipset enterprise platform for proper support of all modern visualization technologies (IOMMU / pass-through etc).


Any questions?


Yes, this is over budget. You could skip the extra 260X, or even buy some USED radeon GPUs to achieve the same effect and save ~$100. Also, you could skip a big storage drive up front, and just start with the big SSD (which you'll want for keeping your VM disk images and OS install images on for fast loading and setup, in fact, I'd advise eventually having MULTIPLE SSD's in a machine specifically for work with lots of VM's.

If you could afford it, I would high advise using the E5-2640 V3 instead (8 cores instead of 6).

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Appreciate you taking the time to look at this Allan.

The E5-2640 V3 would definitely break the budget unfortunately. I had never expected to even consider a Xeon process, since most of these VMs will be under little load and running nothing critical. The majority of what I'll be using is just setting up a test lab and I didn't think the price would justify. My current lab is running on a i7 820QM (gen1) with 8GB of RAM in my laptop and it did fine for my 2k3 and xp visualization. Now that I'm getting into 2012 and windows 8/10 the 8GB of RAM just isn't going to support my needs anymore. Originally had went with the laptop configuration so that I could bring it with me but with the network capabilities now, I'm content with remoting in and I can get a lot better performance for a lot less money. Plus I won't have to be as concerned with heat, that laptop would get hot to the point that the processor wasn't able to hit its full performance anyway.

The E5-2630 does offer comparable benchmark results to the 6700k though (slightly under, but still a large upgrade from what I have today). If I did the 2620 now, would I be able to add the 2640 down the road to the other slot or am I now stuck with the 2620 unless I upgrade both chips?

SUPERMICRO MBD-X10DAL looks to be an exceptional motherboard, but I'm not finding it for $300 anywhere.

Thanks again for your recommendations. Is the Silverstone AR02 56.0 CFM CPU Cooler going to be good enough to keep this thing cool if its running 24x7?

  • 55 months ago
  • 2 points

Just noticed I think I got my 20, 30, and 40 mixed up. The 2630 is what I had intended to advise using instead of the 2620, not the 2640 (which is quite a bit more expensive). The E5-2630 V3 is an 8 core clocked the same as the 2620 V3.


The E5-2630 does offer comparable benchmark results to the 6700k though (slightly under, but still a large upgrade from what I have today)

The 2620 V3, 2630 V3, and 6700K will all perform in the same ballpark in a multi-VM environment. However, the single 6700K is the end of the line for upgrade path on the 1151 platform, where the 2620 V3 is practically entry-level for the 2011-3 socket platform especially on a dual socket board. The E5 Xeons could be upgraded with used 12-18 core Xeons as enterprise markets upgrade to the next platform in a few years.

If I did the 2620 now, would I be able to add the 2640 down the road to the other slot or am I now stuck with the 2620 unless I upgrade both chips?

E5-2600 series Xeons have to be installed in matched pairs, so a 2620 V3 can only pair with another 2620 V3.

SUPERMICRO MBD-X10DAL looks to be an exceptional motherboard, but I'm not finding it for $300 anywhere.

Newegg had it for $293 shipped for the last couple months, looks like they are out of stock at the moment and have adjusted the listed price. I would call them up and ask when they expect to get more, express interest.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813182967

http://www.compsource.com/ttechnote.asp?part_no=MBDX10DALIO&vid=428&src=F

You could also contact SuperMicro directly to check on supplies for this motherboard. I suspect they are in high demand, being one of the best ATX size boards out there for serious workstation builds.

I would also contact SuperBiiz about it, as they normally carry those sorts of products, but for some reason, this board hasn't shown up on their site yet.

Thanks again for your recommendations. Is the Silverstone AR02 56.0 CFM CPU Cooler going to be good enough to keep this thing cool if its running 24x7?

More than good enough.

The 8 core E5-2630 V3 actually has lower thermal density and a superior thermal interface than a quad core from the 1150/1151 socket platforms, and as such, is actually easier to keep cool. Power dissipation is about the same as an i7-4790.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

2630 could possibly be doable. 2620 probably has more than enough power for what I need, especially if I added a 2nd down the line. It is good to have a system that is upgradeable instead of needing a replacement. If my laptop had the upgrade-ability then I wouldn't be buying a new system now at all.

I knew once upon a time that the processor had to be the same, but that was years ago. I was hoping that things had changed or that this family was close enough that they could be interchanged. Will definitely take some time when deciding between the 2620 and 2630.

I trust your judgement. I just want to make sure that this thing stays cool. Is that same cooler going to work for both the 2620 and 2630? And if I were to buy a 2nd cpu then I'd need a second cooler too?

Thanks again Allan

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice thing about the AR02 is that it is narrow enough to be installed facing up, side-by-side on that board rather than front-to-back in the case. The advantage here is that the installation of a second CPU doesn't result in one CPU using the pre-heated air of the first as its charge air for cooling. In this configuration the AR02 is actually poised to offer better performance overall than many larger 120mm fan size heatsinks on this tightly spaced board. The AR02 should handle most E5's just fine. Might struggle on the really high power chips like the E5-2687W but I would expect no issues with any ~120W or lesser rated E5's, and it may even handle more than that.

If you're concerned about it, just use the SUPERMICRO SNK-P0050AP4 heatsink instead. It'll handle any E5 with ease and is also narrow enough for a side-by-side setup.

Yes you'll add a second cooler for a second CPU.


I would probably add a couple 140mm fans to the top of the case.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Where would you put those fans?

Looking at the motherboard, there are 2 PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots and 1 PCI-E 3.0 x 8 in 16 slot. Does that mean the 3rd slot can be used for a card size of 16 or 8, or just the 8. If it can be used for 16 then it looks like I could install a 3rd GPU, if I choose down the road for vm passthrough.

Another thought, RAM is ideally added in pairs. But if I were to be an interim upgrade could I have 3 sticks of 16GB for 48GB or would I need to jump to 64GB?

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

This is what I kind of tossed together. Focus on Memory and CPU, but I have the ability to add more RAM if I need to and I added a low end video card, which I probably wouldn't need at this point in time. But I wanted to include some different things for feedback. Thanks for your time

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor $374.99 @ Newegg
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler $74.89 @ OutletPC
Motherboard Asus Z170M-PLUS Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard $118.99 @ SuperBiiz
Memory Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-3200 Memory $279.99 @ Newegg
Storage OCZ Trion 100 480GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $129.99 @ Newegg
Storage Toshiba 5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $144.99 @ Amazon
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Video Card $99.99 @ Newegg
Case Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case $69.99 @ Newegg
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA GS 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply $79.99 @ NCIX US
Optical Drive LG WH16NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer $47.00 @ Adorama
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM (64-bit) $91.88 @ OutletPC
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total (before mail-in rebates) $1562.69
Mail-in rebates -$50.00
Total $1512.69
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-11-10 21:45 EST-0500
  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Does anyone else have an opinion or suggestion?

Thanks all for reading, and especially Allan for taking the time to respond.

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