Tower server

blackmomba

Gawd
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
618
I've been running old gaming hardware for my homelab but I'm kinda bored

I'm not set up for any racks So looking though my local ads I came across a tower server that seems well priced and was looking for advice because I don't know much about these products

Dell PowerEdge T320 Tower
Intel Xeon E5-2420 v2 2.20GHz, 15M Cache, 7.2GT/s QPI, Turbo , 6C, 80W, Max Mem 1600MHz
HDD 500GB 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps
HDD 2TB 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps
HDD 2TB 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps
Chassis with up to 4, 3.5 inch Hard Drives
8GB RDIMM, 1600MT/s, Low Volt, Dual Rank, x8 Data Width
On-Board LOM 1GBE (Dual Port f or Racks and Towers, Quad Port for Blades)
Broadcom 5720 DP 1Gb Network Interface Card

Dude added more ram, 32 gb and is asking 190 USD. I'm wondering if this is a decent deal?

I'm also wondering if I'll be able to upgrade processor down the line and if so, what would be my options? Xeon product families are confusing to me

Thanks in advance for your help
 

bman212121

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 18, 2011
Messages
1,815
I can't really comment on the price, but know the processor is from 2014 and that system is likely of a similar age. If you look up the service tag it will tell you when the system was built. I'd guess 2014 - 2015 time frame.

As for the processor, it's from the Ivy Bridge family, which would be a 3xxx processor in the desktop core series. Servers tend to lag behind desktops so the server processor is in fact newer than the desktop part.

If you look at the info page on Intel's website, you'll find the socket:
https://ark.intel.com/content/www/u...-processor-e5-2420-v2-15m-cache-2-20-ghz.html

FCLGA1356

So the processors are confusing for servers, because they come in multiple socket configurations. The part you have is for a 2 socket system, but it's also based on a 1356 and not a 2011 that some other higher end processors are. Generally speaking if you have a 2xxx part you probably want to stick with a 2xxx part as I believe none of the 4xxx parts would work. The best guess I can see is that an E5-2450 V2 or E5-2470 V2 would offer slightly faster clocks and more cores. (8 core 2.5ghz and 10 core 2.4ghz respectively)

Towers are okay, but this model in particular is a lower end system. It's likely better for home use as it will not consume as much power, but it's lacking a lot of high end server features. I don't believe the drive bays are hot swap, but it does sound like you get a dedicated idrac port so you can do a bit of management like restart the system remotely. Unless I'm mistaken those chassis are only ever single socket, so have no option to toss in a second processor, which also mean total memory capacity is limited because there will be less physical slots. It looks like it has 6 memory slots, so it would max out at 48GB of memory if you populate the last 2 slots in it.

While not officially supported, it probably can run ESXi 7.0. But their HCL loves to cut quickly and this system isn't certified for 7 or 6.7 so the last officially supported OS is 6.5 which goes EOL in November. So you'd be rolling the dice if the network adapter or other things would work on newer versions if that was your intended operating system. (You can probably dig up if those components still have drivers) HyperV or KVM / Linux will likely not have issues and you could run either of those if you needed to.


So all of that said the only thing you're really gaining out of the entire set up is ECC ram. Yes it's a 6 core processor but it's slow clocks and if you had a system with a 3770 it I think the difference would be small. There is more cache on the server processor so that helps it some, but the 3770 can turbo higher. We're talking full multithread of both system, in single thread the 3770 is going to win hands down. You can also get another 16GB more memory because there are two extra slots, and there is the option for bigger modules but those could get costly as well.


If you want to play with a server it's probably a decent system to mess around with, you'd have to factor in that since you can get it locally shipping is going to kill any deals you'd find online. So it comes down to what else is local you'd be able to get your hands on but for a home lab it's probably a decent toy. One of the big pluses is that Dells are incredibly common so finding spare parts should something go bad (it's 7 years old at this point so something probably will) is easy enough to find.
 

blackmomba

Gawd
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
618
Thank you bman, your input is very much appreciated

I ended up pulling the trigger. No regrets, it's my first of many hopefully. Just went to pick it up, guy lived about 40 mins away

I don't have 3770, but I was using an 8320 and I think performance is comparable to a 3770. In any event I don't really need bleeding edge speed, hence why these slow cores don't bother me. I am looking for stability mostly.

I was thinking of installing proxmox cause it's the only hypervisor I'm familiar with. Very easy to set up and use

I have some decisions to make though because now I've got to figure out my set up with this new machine in the mix.

I've got my Plex library on 3 drives, 6+6+4. Right now I've got them in the 8320 box. I don't know if I should shift these into the Dell and run a VM with Plex because I am unsure about how you go about mapping drives on the host to a guest.
Then I thought keeping the drives in the 8320 box and creating an NFS that the Plex VM could use. File sharing and permissions under Linux scare me.
 

blackmomba

Gawd
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
618
Forgot to put some answers to your questions

Board has no socket for a second processor.
It is indeed the entry level chassis as per the manual. There are models which come with massive drive cages for up to 8 drives, among other things. I got the mesely 4 drive chassis. Although I'm wondering if I can use the tape backup sata port for an ssd an boot off of that

iDrac is indeed available

This is absolutely for home use. As I mentioned I was running really archaic gamer gear just to have some hardware to play with kubernetes or host my gitlab, so this is an effort to consolidate a little bit.
 
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