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Mobo upgrade to X11 advice

Western Digital Drives - The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS CORE

GeekGoneOld

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2015
Messages
46
I have a very old AMD A4-3400 FN 11.3 U5 system that has served me well for years with occasional minor updates (case, disks etc.). It's time to retire the mobo and, maybe, a couple of other polishes.

Here's what I may keep:
Case: Full tower case with good cooling (drives always <30 degrees C)
PS: Thermaltake TR2 500 (probably best to replace?)
NIC: 2x Intel Gigabit CT Desktop adapter (Ok, not keeping these!)
Boot drives: 2x KINGSTON 120GB SSD (SA400S37120G) configured as mirror
Data drives: 6x WD Red 3T (WDC WD30EFRX-68EUZN0) configured as one vdev raidz2 (two on HBA)
SLOG: 2x INTEL S3500 120GB (SSDSC2BB08) configured as 8GB and mirrored (on HBA)
HBA: IBM M1015 in IT mode

Here is my use case:
File server to about 3 computers
NFS datastore for an ESXi system with multiple VMs
Plex running in a jail (3 concurrent users max, no 4k, occasional transcode)

Here are my constraints:
Don't care about noise.
Don't care about power
Willing to pay for value
5 year lifespan with room to add a moderate amount of extra load (more users? 4k?) with minor changes (processor?)
Reliable
Higher speed transfer to the ESXi machine (10G?)
IPMI (I often need to service remotely)

So I'm looking for mobo, processor and NIC advice and any other ideas.

Mobo
I don't want an X9 since the IPMI sux (as far as I've read). I'm skeptical about an X10 since they are older (my 5 year lifespan constraint!). That would likely lead to X11SSx or X11SCx. So I ask, is Coffee Lake a worthwhile step up from Sky Lake, recognizing that I don't want to waste money, but I have money to spend if there is a good purpose (5 yr).

Processor
SSx allows for Xeon E3 and Core i3 as possibles. SCx allows for E2100, E2200 and Core i3. There are SOOO many to choose from I can't really get a good feel for the "sweet spot" of performance/price even looking at passmark. I've gone CRAZY trying to follow Intel's outrageous overlap of offerings. I would like to choose something that I could upgrade if needed later (4k or whatever) but I think the 1151 platform seems to offer me that possibility whether it is SSx or SCx. I just don't want to find out that, say, I chose SSx and more cores/faster costs WAY more than SCx in two years.

NIC
So I keep hearing about the Chelsio NICs, but again, which one. It will be a point to point link to a matching NIC in the ESXi machine. I'm looking to get full benefit of 10GBE without bottleneck (e.g. from PCIe lane limits).

I'm not asking for the perfect solution (there isn't one), I just looking for a little guidance to avoid going down a "wrong" path or wasting money on poor choices.

Keith
 

Constantin

Vampire Pig
Joined
May 19, 2017
Messages
1,144
I have been very happy with my motherboard with its embedded CPU but also understand why you wouldn't want that. Supermicro has a stellar reputation, they offer boards with long term support (looking at you, ASROCK).

If I were you, I'd look into the AMD series of motherboards at Supermicro. Proven boards, great support, and AMD has done a better job of supporting older motherboards with newer processors than Intel has. Value per CPU / core / whatever is usually also pretty unbeatable. Power consumption can be higher but you don't care about that... so....

As NICs go, the range of Chelsios that are supported is quite wide. IXsystems shipped me a private-labeled 520 IIRC when I bought a branded one.
 

rvassar

Neophyte Sage
Joined
May 2, 2018
Messages
624
If I were you, I'd look into the AMD series of motherboards at Supermicro. Proven boards, great support, and AMD has done a better job of supporting older motherboards with newer processors than Intel has. Value per CPU / core / whatever is usually also pretty unbeatable. Power consumption can be higher but you don't care about that... so....
I'll second this, with the caviat that I haven't run TrueNAS on AMD yet. AMD has come a long way! I got to spend a lot of time with the current crop of AMD server CPU's recently, and wow! The size of my palm, over a kilogram in weight... 48 cores! :cool:
 

GeekGoneOld

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2015
Messages
46
As much as I totally appreciate the advice and don't question the validity, I just can't bring myself to consider it. I was born and raised in Intelville. The mobo I'm replacing I inherited from my son and never admitted to anyone I was using AMD. May not be rational and I am paying a premium for Intel but it's the devil I choose.

I hate it when others don't take good advice, but I do hope you'll forgive me.

Keith
P.S. I was actually born in Zilogville when I built a Z80 S100 bus micro from scratch! And I had a small affair with Motorola 68HC05 on an embedded project. Then I was adopted and moved to Intelville.
 

Constantin

Vampire Pig
Joined
May 19, 2017
Messages
1,144
Well, I may have to take my enthusiastic support for Supermicro + AMD back, unless you're into 7xxx EPYC boards.

The only one that offers good expandability / features in the Ryzen non-embedded range appears to be the M12SWA-TF, which is a beast of a board. It's likely the last motherboard any of us will ever have to buy between the 6 PCIe 4.0x16 (!!!) slots, up to 2TB of RDIMMs, four m.2 PCIe 3.0x4 interfaces, etc. It's like a pocket battleship, with the commensurate price and the need to add the CPU, memory, the LSI HBA, and perhaps a 10GbE NIC. The completed motherboard could easily tip in over $1.5k.
 
Last edited:

Constantin

Vampire Pig
Joined
May 19, 2017
Messages
1,144
I hate it when others don't take good advice, but I do hope you'll forgive me.
When it comes to SuperMicro, you may be much better off with Intel - far more motherboards to choose amongst. Have you looked at the resources posted here by community members? It might help you answer a few questions / point you in the right direction.

 

rvassar

Neophyte Sage
Joined
May 2, 2018
Messages
624
P.S. I was actually born in Zilogville when I built a Z80 S100 bus micro from scratch! And I had a small affair with Motorola 68HC05 on an embedded project. Then I was adopted and moved to Intelville.
I actually grew up surrounded by the S100 giants. Godbout, IMSAI, NorthStar, etc... When IBM rolled out their PC, they all collapsed, and a bunch of their unfinished boards ended up at this electronics boneyard near the Oakland Airport called Mike Quinn's Electronics. My first attempt at building a PC was soldering up a S100 back plane in high school. I then had a fling with 6502's, 8052 derivatives, and almost fell for 68000. But I didn't know about optimizing compiler burn... So I bought a SPARCstation and I lived and I learned... :cool: (With apologies to Ian Hunter...)

But with respect to Intel. My concern at this point is Intel has been playing games introducing oddball instructions that nobody uses, and has implemented features with significant security flaws that will be haunting us for a decade or more, while covering up the fact that they are having trouble moving to 5nm. The bloom is off the rose. AMD is putting out a solid product that performs well. Better in many cases.
 

Constantin

Vampire Pig
Joined
May 19, 2017
Messages
1,144
Agreed but the motherboard manufacturers have to catch up on the lower end server field. At supermicro, we have a few embedded solutions to choose from and that battleship I mentioned above.
 

Etorix

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2020
Messages
177
SSx allows for Xeon E3 and Core i3 as possibles. SCx allows for E2100, E2200 and Core i3. There are SOOO many to choose from I can't really get a good feel for the "sweet spot" of performance/price even looking at passmark. I've gone CRAZY trying to follow Intel's outrageous overlap of offerings. I would like to choose something that I could upgrade if needed later (4k or whatever) but I think the 1151 platform seems to offer me that possibility whether it is SSx or SCx. I just don't want to find out that, say, I chose SSx and more cores/faster costs WAY more than SCx in two years.
Then it's easy. With your modest use case, an i3 will do. X11SSx and X11SCx are both obsolete plateforms anyway, but the SCx lets you pretend you could upgrade to a 6- or 8-core Xeon later and right now a Core i3-9100F should go for less than $100. You can't go wrong with that in Intelville. Pick an SCL, SCM or SCH according to your requirements for the number of M.2, PCIe and SATA slots. With enough SATA ports onboard, you may even leave the HBA out.
Keep your PSU, unless you have reasons to suspect it may die soon.
 
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