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Old July 27, 2011, 08:30 PM
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Dead Things Dead Things is offline
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My System Specs

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Build: BOSServer

BOSServer is my VM server. I use it as a media server, file server, encoding box, pfSense box, and occasionally for dev sandboxing when I feel like goofing around with my latest whim. And, of course, folding. This build is still largely undecided. I have flip-flopped at least three or four times on what I want to put into it. Basically, the hardware features I want this box to have include:

- ECC RAM
- compatible with LSI 9260-8i
- potentially a CUDA-enabled GPU, but I'm undecided on whether or not I want this

Recently, I helped a friend of mine test out 18 Xeon engineering samples that he acquired in bulk from - well, I don't really know where. Just to see which ones were working, etc. So to do this, I bought Jody's butchered RIIIE that he used for benchmarking:



As compensation for performing this task, I took my payment in the form of 3 x Q3QS processors, which are essentially the same thing as a Xeon E5649, except with a 95w TDP instead of 80w like the retail version. So I was thinking - hey, I could use the RIIIE with one of my Q3QS's and fill it with 12GB of ECC unbuffered DDR3-1333 RAM. I already knew the RIIIE was compatible with the LSI 9260-8i, so the only question left was - does it support ECC RAM?

Well, turns out it doesn't really. Oh, it will use ECC unbuffered RAM just fine - but there is no ECC functionality in the RIIIE's BIOS. I can get a $150 AM3 mobo from ASUS with full ECC support, but the RIIIE is sorely lacking in this regard, I'm afraid. Since the RIIIE so wonderfully met my other desires for this build, I must admit that I am still considering proceeding with it as planned despite the lack of ECC functionality.

You know that $150 AM3 mobo from ASUS will full ECC support I mentioned earlier? Well, that's one of the other options I'm considering. The idea would be to pair an ASUS M5A99X Evo with a Phenom II X4 905E for now, then potentially upgrade to whatever high-efficiency version of Bulldozer is available later on. This option would provide ECC functionality, which I like. It would limit me to 8GB of RAM, though, which is less than I would want for my VM server, unless I were to buy an additional 4x4GB of RAM. But since I already have 6x2GB of ECC RAM sitting around, I don't really want to do that. Lastly, support for the LSI 9260-8i remains a mystery, although I am relatively confident it would work given ASUS's track record with 3ware and LSI controllers.

My last option is the one I am leaning towards at this time. It would involve pulling my 2 x E5530's out of retirement and pairing them with an ASUS Z8NA-D6 board. I already have one such board, but it is earmarked for another build (see Twofour below, once I get around to it). So I could buy the cheaper Z8NA-D6C for Twofour and use the Z8NA-D6 for BOSServer. I already have the case, the RAM, the processors, and everything else - so from a cost perspective, it would be roughly the same price to do this as it would be to go the AM3 route. The RIIIE option - although "free" since it would mean incurring no additional costs - is less desirable than these two options owing to the lack of ECC support.

So - what do you guys think? Is ECC as useful a feature as I think it is for a VM server that will be running a file server using the XFS file system? If so - should I opt for the AM3 option or the dual-LGA1366 option given that cost is a wash?

Oh, and one more thing: BOSServer will be going under water no matter what!

edit - Okay, I've made an executive decision, I am going with the Z8NA-D6C(MIO) option. So here are the planned system specs...

Motherboard: ASUS Z8NA-D6
CPU: 2 x Xeon E5530
CPU Heatsink: Custom water loop*
RAM: 6x2GB Kingston DDR3-1333 ECC Unbuffered RAM
GPU: Integrated OR GTX 260 OR 8800GTS (Undecided)
Case: Coolermaster Cosmos S
PSU: Rosewill Lightning 800w 80+ Gold
HDD: OCZ Vertex 60GB and LSI 9260-8i RAID5 array with 7 x Hitachi 7K1000.C
Optical: Pioneer DVD-RW

*Watercooling loop:
Pump: Jingway DP1200
CPU block: 2 x Swiftech Apogee GT
GPU block: Depends
Reservoir: Danger Den Single Bay reservoir
Radiator: 1 x HWLabs Black Ice GT Stealth 360
Fittings: Bitspower silver compressions of various types
Tubing: Feser acid green 3/8" ID 1/2" OD
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Last edited by Dead Things; September 1, 2011 at 10:20 PM.
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