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Looking for advice on building a server

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trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
I provide tech support a non profit private school running about 75 chromebooks and about that many Windows 10 computers.

We have a creaky old Dell PowerEdge T110 server with 16 gb of RAM and a 500 gb hard drive, no mirroring even. The server is about 10 years old and running Windows serer 2008 R2. We desperately need to upgrade this old beast but I'm not sure we even need server class hardware. Mostly used for authentication. We would be putting a recent version of Windows Server on it. We're thinking about just using a workstation class computer. I've been looking at Threadripper stuff but it gets pretty expensive and we're thinking we don't need error checking RAM.

Two questions, what do you think we need from a hardware perspective? How much CPU? How much RAM? Would a high end Ryzen or Intel do? We've looking at 64gb of RAM but do we need that much? We definitely want to use solid state drives. We are also wanting to build two of these for redundancy so that if one falters we can have a seamless backup switchover while repairing the other one but the second one would not necessarily be needed right away. But we would want to buy components that are still available a year or two from now, not something soon to be extinct. What would you recommend:

CPU?

Cooler?

Motherboard?

RAM?

PSU?

GPU? Is this needed? Will an integrated GPU do? That would probably push us to the Intel side. No problems there.


Budget would be about $1500 per box.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Why do you need to upgrade just for authentication is my question... :)

As far as ram needs... how much is it using now? I dont see it using much so I dont see getting a lot more helping? But it depends on current use. If you can't use 16, getting more isn't helpful.

I'd imagine just about any quad/hex core cpu over the past few years would be sufficient for the listed purpose. Run on integrated gpu. A workstation class system for this task seems like overkill. You can easily check out core and CPU use along with RAM and see what you need as well. :cool:
 
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OP
trents

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Thanks for the input, ED. You could be right. But our current Dell PowerEdge T110 is not cutting the mustard and we're not sure how much is hardware related and how much is related to mismanagement and DNS/AD problems galore. One mistake someone made we're find out is implementing roaming profiles. Every student and every teacher profile is being downloaded to every computer and any changes in any of those profiles seems to trigger an upload to the server in order to refresh the image for that profile living on the server. Anytime we add a new computer to the mix it takes hours for the first time sign in for everyone using that computer. Either the server or the network just isn't handling the traffic of all that. Now, it could be that we could live very nicely with the current server if we just wiped it, did a fresh install of newer server software and rebuilt the AD from scratch. I'm sure that would make a big difference but we also want to upgrade the hardware for future growth and the ability to do more than just authentication. We just added a guy to our volunteer tech team who has much more expertise in network management than any of the rest of us so I envision we will be doing more with policies and deployments than we have historically. There is also the issue with the current server of age and possible component failure at any time. Added to all of that is the fact that the enrollment is growing so we just wanted to do some future proofing.

So here is a component list I just finished. Still open to suggestions.

$288.99 Intel 10700 CPU 8 cores/16 threads 4.8 ghz turbo (ships with cooler) https://www.amazon.com/Intel-i7-107...=1&keywords=Intel+10700&qid=1614475610&sr=8-1

$199 ASUS TUF Gaming H470-PRO motherboard. https://www.amazon.com/ASUS-TUF-H47...ds=h470+motherboard+atx&qid=1614476882&sr=8-1

$145.99 32gb DDR4 2666 mhz RAM. https://www.amazon.com/Crucial-16GB...2gb+ddr4+desktop+memory&qid=1614477231&sr=8-6

$259.98 2x Samsung 970 EVO SATA SSD in RAID 1 configuration for mirroring https://www.amazon.com/SAMSUNG-Inch...1&keywords=1tb+sata+ssd&qid=1614491546&sr=8-9

$69.99 EVGA 500 watt gold rated CPU (5 yr. warranty) https://www.amazon.com/EVGA-Warrant...words=500+watt+gold+PSU&qid=1614477776&sr=8-5

$54.99 Corsair Carbide solid side mid tower ATX case. https://www.amazon.com/CORSAIR-Carb...rds=ATX+mid+tower+case&qid=1614478065&sr=8-14

Total before tax is: $1018.94
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Hardware seems fine, but I'd get an idea of processor and ram use. I don't see 32GB as necessary for its proposed use so you could save some money. Same with cpu... You're likely more than good with a 6c/12t processor. Outside of that, seems good. :)

I'd fix the authentication/AD issue(s) before moving to the new hardware. Maybe build it out on the new system as a test environment, clone it when ready, then make it the active/production server and retire the old box. You can blow that image onto the existing box and use it for redundancy/failover while you wait to build the dupe box.

Edit: how is that H470 board $200??? That costs as much as a decent z490... im sure there is a h470 mobo that has what you need for less. Asrock H470 Steel Legend is $140 at newegg, for example.
 
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DaveB

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2000
Hardware seems fine, but I'd get an idea of processor amd ram use. I don't see 32tb as necessary for its proposed use so you could save some money. Same with cpu... You're likely more than good with a 6c/12t processor. Outsode of that, seems good. :)

Edit: how is that H470 board $200??? That costs as much as a decent z490... im sure there is a h470 mobo that has what you need for less. Asrock H470 Steel Legend is $140 at newegg, for example.
I agree on both counts, especially since you plan to build two systems. You can get two i5-10400 6C/12T CPUs for just about the price of that single i7-10700. They run quiet and cool, and are fine for your needs.

There are numerous B460 and H470 motherboards with dual M.2 capability from around $120.

I was able to build a system meeting your specs with an i5-10400/B460 at Microcenter for $750 including VA sales tax. Very easy returns there if you have any issues. Of course, you need one nearby.
 
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OP
trents

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Thanks for all the input. Not near any Microcenter. Will be going with SATA SSD instead of M.2 NVME because I'm not sure how RAID would work out with M.2 and I think the SATA SSD will be so much faster than the spinner SATA we are now using that it will be plenty fast. Plus, SATA SSD of that size are cheaper.

Revised list. What do you think?

$288.99 Intel 10700 CPU 8 cores/16 threads 4.8 ghz turbo (ships with cooler) https://www.amazon.com/Intel-i7-107...=1&keywords=Intel+10700&qid=1614475610&sr=8-1

$199 ASUS TUF Gaming H470-PRO motherboard. https://www.amazon.com/ASUS-TUF-H47...ds=h470+motherboard+atx&qid=1614476882&sr=8-1

$145.99 32gb DDR4 2666 mhz RAM. https://www.amazon.com/Crucial-16GB...2gb+ddr4+desktop+memory&qid=1614477231&sr=8-6


$144.99 Intel Core i5-10400F (No integrated graphics) https://www.amazon.com/Intel-i5-104...ild=1&keywords=i5-10400&qid=1614617614&sr=8-5

$58.99 MSI GAMING GeForce GT 710 video card https://www.amazon.com/MSI-GT-710-1...child=1&keywords=GT+710&qid=1614619500&sr=8-1

$94.99 ASRock B460M PRO4 LGA 1200 https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16813157946?&quicklink=true

$145.99 Crucial Ballistix 3200 MHz DDR4 DRAM https://www.newegg.com/ballistix-32gb-288-pin-ddr4-sdram/p/N82E16820164189

$259.98 2x Samsung 970 EVO SATA SSD in RAID 1 configuration for mirroring https://www.amazon.com/SAMSUNG-Inch...1&keywords=1tb+sata+ssd&qid=1614491546&sr=8-9

$69.99 EVGA 500 watt gold rated CPU (5 yr. warranty) https://www.amazon.com/EVGA-Warrant...words=500+watt+gold+PSU&qid=1614477776&sr=8-5

$54.99 Corsair Carbide solid side mid tower ATX case. https://www.amazon.com/CORSAIR-Carb...rds=ATX+mid+tower+case&qid=1614478065&sr=8-14

Total before tax is: $829.92



Another question I have is will there be an issue with drivers since we will be installing a recent version of Sever OS instead of Windows 10?
 
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