Server Components, Shipment #2

Today brings us some nice, large packages. King of them all is the iStarUSA E2M10 2U case, with support for 10 SATA or SAS drives. This should address my storage expansion woes for years to come. Internally we find the SATA/SAS backplane and 4 fans wired to the backplane. In theory, the fans should operate independently and as needed based upon the usage of the hard drives. Well see if this really happens. It’s an extremely nice looking case made of rolled steel – almost feels like a shame to stick it in a 19” closet away from the gaze of the world. The drive trays slide in and out with ease and lock down, although a quick test with one of the 4TB WD drives made it evident that those hard drives are right at the maximum permitted size – they need an extra “push” to get more than half-way into the drive slot. Once seated into the backplane, they feel solid.

Server components #2

Of course we also need a motherboard, and I elected to go with the ASUS Z9 PE-D8 WS, a workstation-class motherboard which will perform well as a server. It includes dual Intel server-grade LAN ports and has dual LGA 2011 CPU sockets (due to my unending and irrational obsession with dual CPU machines). You could build a dream gaming rig out of this motherboard, but, alas, it will be relegated to more mundane tasks. (Although I could virtualize a desktop in this machine and then use RemoteFX to essentially get myself a new desktop in the process of building out this server.)

And what LGA 2011 socket wouldn’t be happy with an Intel Xeon E5-2620 V2 plugged into it? It’s a 2.1 GHz beast with 15MB of cache, rated at 80W. This puppy has 6 (!!) lovely cores, Intel Virtualization Technology, Turbo Boost 2.0, Advanced Vector Extensions and Smart Cache.

Sadly, one of the sockets will sit empty for now. But if all goes well, I could see a sibling CPU show up within 6 months.

On the memory side of things, we’ll be starting with 32GB (4x8GB) of Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz DDR3 quad-channel memory. The motherboard can handle 8 RDIMMs so we’ve got room to grow. Should I have gone with ECC memory? Probably – both the motherboard and CPU can handle it. Oh well. It’s nice to have upgrade options and I was able to buy faster, non-ECC memory for less.

So many excellent toys to play with – and yet, one critical piece is missing. The power supply hasn’t arrived yet, and it’s probably going to be a couple of days. It feels like a couple of days before Christmas, with presents sitting under the tree just begging you to shake them. Oh well, there’s plenty to assemble – including putting all of the standoffs in the case – so not that big of a deal. At the same time, I don’t want to assemble too much absent of power, because I hate to screw down components that may be DOA.

Worse, I assume that either (1) I’m forgetting something or (2) something I’ve bought is not compatible with something else I bought. Or both. So I’ve got an uneasy excitement about moving to the construction phase because history tells me that somehow, somewhere, I’ve made some kind of mistake. And it’s not the mistakes that bother me, it’s the waiting for the replacement items before I can play that can be slightly…frustrating.