Register for the iXsystems Community to get an ad-free experience

NAS Build: Xeon vs. EPYC 3000 vs. Ryzen

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

menecken

Cadet
Joined
Dec 17, 2020
Messages
2
Dear fellow NAS-builders,

after sailing the sea of infinite combinations for days, I feel finally more informed than confused. This is a simple "what should I go for" question.

Requirements:
- 8+ Threads (A fair amount of stuff will be going on aside from ZFS such as CI/CD Piplines, PostgreSQL databse, etc.)
- IPMI (because of IPMI itself, also because of the Server geared mainboards this selection yields)
- ECC support (not the Zen1 fake support)
- up to 64GB RAM good, 128GB better
- Budget 1000€ for MoBo / CPU (I have PSU, Case, RAM in spare)

Bonuses:
- Support for DDR4 RDIMM 288-Pin, reg ECC (I have laying around)

Stuff I don't need:
- iGPU / GPU for transcoding

What did I find? It pretty much boiled down to these three options:

#1 ASRock Rack E3C246D4U2-2L2T + Intel Xeon E-2236 (not settled on CPU)
+ compatibility
- average power / tdp ratio (178), slightly better than the Intel Xeon E-2136 (168.825) though.
#2 ASRock Rack X570D4U-2L2T + AMD Ryzen 5 5600X (not settled on CPU, waiting for Zen3 Ryzen 3)
+ extensibility / long life (AMx sockets seem to support many generations)
+ bombastic power / tdp ratio (342)
- compatibility (Ryzen Platform rare among server usecases, maybe someone has experience that he wants to share regarding TrueNAS)
#3 Supermicro M11SDV-8C+-LN4F + AMD EPYC™ 3251 SoC Processor
+ good better power / tdp ratio (266)
- compatibilty?

Any thought / input is highly appreciated!

PS: Details of my journey can be viewed in a Google Sheet here.
 

Arwen

Wizard
Joined
May 17, 2014
Messages
2,099
One comment, the AMD Ryzen 5xxx series are likely to be the last CPUs supporting AM4 sockets. Yes, we got / will get 4-6 years out of it, but it's my understanding that the current chips are the last to support AM4 sockets.

That said, don't let it stop you from a nice board. Just a reminder that yes AMx sockets support multiple generations, just that this is likely to be the last generation.
 

hungarianhc

Patron
Joined
Mar 11, 2014
Messages
220
I'm personally getting your #2 configuration as soon as I can find a 5600X closer to retail price. The reviews of the x570 board are good, and it looks like they've ironed out most (all?) of the kinks they had with the x470 version. The 5600X is the most powerful CPU in your spreadsheet by a significant margin, and it does it at 65W TDP. It's not that tough of a decision to me.
 

Etorix

Guru
Joined
Dec 30, 2020
Messages
1,026
after sailing the sea of infinite combinations for days, I feel finally more informed than confused.

Good, because your short list looks confusing to me. Two socketed mATX motherboards (one dead plateform, but still current, one current, but likely near its end) with several usable PCIe slots, one SoC on mini-ITX with a single PCIe for extension. It seems you want 10GbE. The number of SATA interfaces is not specified—maybe you rely on a HBA in the single PCIe slot?
What do you need (as opposed to "want") for the "fair amount of stuff"? High core/thread count? High frequency? Both? Either way, you "power/TDP" metric seems dubious, given how differently AMD and Intel define TDP. (What would you make of a i9-9900T/W1290T: Listed for 35W, known to draw 125W under load? o_O )

Would you also consider second hand, and slighly older hardware as well? A NAS does not need to be cutting edge.
 

menecken

Cadet
Joined
Dec 17, 2020
Messages
2
Thanks for the responses... Still haven't ordered anything. Thanks Arwen for pointing that out. Thanks hungarianhc for the oppinion.

@Etorix 10GbE is a huge benefit in my eyes when large Video Projects are transferred. Since I'll need two VMs permanently, at least 4 threads are used. Thus, only 6+ (or event 8+) thread platforms make sense IMHO. Onboard SATA is a benefit, but HBA is a easy workaround. What would be a better measure than TDP? How would you normalize it? Do you have any suggestions? I'm really pretty much open..
 

no_connection

Patron
Joined
Dec 15, 2013
Messages
479
TDP is kind of meaningless to look at for anything other than somewhat gauge what max thermal output would be in case you are really starved for cooling.

IMO some random thoughts:
You need enough free threads (cores) to run any parallel task that normally runs, but, if you have high clock speed things get done faster and can return to free/idle faster. And since you rarely run truly multi threaded tasks like transcoding you want the latency aspect.
If you look at the single threaded benchmark I would expect the Xeon would cream the Epyc every day of the week unless you *had* to partition cores out in a specific way. Or if a specific workload prevent the Xeon from turbo up, but even then the base clock is higher than Epyc turbo.
I don't remember exact IPC of each but you can probably math that out.
The Ryzen is a bit of a wild card but looks very tempting.
 

ChrisRJ

Guru
Joined
Oct 23, 2020
Messages
1,092
Have you considered buying used enterprise gear? I was basically in your place about 4 months ago, but could find a source for the AMD board I wanted. So I looked around and ended up with an old Supermicro board (X9SRi-F). It cost a fraction and works really well. Also, the power consumption, which had been a major concern, isn't that bad after all.
 

Etorix

Guru
Joined
Dec 30, 2020
Messages
1,026
"TDP" is useless to compare AMD vs. Intel, or even between Intel generations. I suggest you juts drop it, and only define how much you are ready to allocate to the CPU. If you want to normalise to compare options, you'll have to look for actual power consumption numbers… Bear in mind that your system will probably be at idle, or close to idle, most of the time.

You still haven't defined your storage needs (RAIDZ pool for storage + mirrorred pool for VM, or a big pool for all), how many drives, etc. To build a TrueNAS box this should normally come first, with jails/VM taken as extras. I suspect that you're approaching it from the viewpoint of a desktop PC, which a NAS isn't, and picking up excessively powerful CPUs as a consequence (such as the Ryzen 5600X over a plain 5600 or a 3600 which you can actually find at retail).
Again, if you're willing to look at second hand hardware, there are probably one or two generations of Xeon which could fit, with substantial savings.
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
16,555
You're asking if Ford is better than Toyota. Yes, no, maybe, sometimes, depends on what you need, in that order, except when it's in the other order.

AMD's EPYC has the potential to be cheaper and somewhat more featureful than a comparable Xeon, but the mainboards tend to suck because they don't have the unified design common in many Intel based systems, so you get crappy tradeoffs like Broadcom ethernet chipsets. EPYC has pushed the envelope for features like PCIe lanes, so if you just need a basic platform with lots of I/O, the EPYC might make sense. If you need awesome virtualization capabilities, including the ability to interoperate and migrate VM's to other hosts, then Xeon may be a better choice. With Pat Gelsinger at the helm, Intel is trying to reclaim its once dominant position it held a decade ago, but those of us who believe that competition is good see little downside to having two good options for CPU's. I really do see it as a choice between Ford and Toyota, with pros and cons that are not dealbreakers for many people.
 

duderuud

Dabbler
Joined
Jul 2, 2022
Messages
18
I built a NAS with with an AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 5650GE. Hard to find but I wanted a modern CPU with a lot of performance but a low tdp.

Works great for my needs. Only thing I overlooked was transcoding support with the onboard apu so I needed to buy an Nvidia card to handle that in Scale...
 
Top