So here we are again, almost exactly one year later from my last Homelab Upgrade. I would've bet that it would've been longer than that.
Say hello to my lil' fren'
Let's start with the little things first. I had this ASUS PN 41 Mini PC laying around for quite a while, without any use case at all (besides being a pillow for my Cats when they where laying down on the Network Switch).
Now i decided to move my virtualized Proxmox Backup Server to a dedicated Device. Which gives me the benfit of accessing my VM backups even when my Hypvervisor is down (To be fair, it is very unlikely that this will happen).
What's the problem again?
So the reason for this time's upgrade is fairly simple.
I was running out of resources in certain scenarios, with my current Server.
Often i found myself looking at my Proxmox's Dashboard and saw my RAM usage being close to 100% (Yes i know shared memory in Proxmox is a thing).
For my day-to-day use this is absolutely no issue. I run a lot of VMs, but the most RAM heavy things are my game-servers. I like to provide my friends with free and very powerful game-servers, so they dont need to rent overpriced and overprovisioned stuff. And i get to have fun hosting.
But some really RAM demanding games (not looking at you ARK Survival Evolved, needing 9GB RAM on some Maps to even start up) eat up the memory really fast.
My new second Server can solve this issue easily, by having the option to equip it with another 128GB RAM and a less but still strong CPU (i7-8700K).
The second and more important reason was the CPU. On my current Server i have 10c/20t on a really strong CPU. Which is plenty you would think.
Yes it is for the most part, the issues are the Prime Time's where a lot of People use Services on my Server which utilizes the CPU pretty heavy.
For all of the stuff i currently host this was no issue at all.
Now I have to ramble a bit to explain this:
So i play VRChat, and we often do Movie/TV Show nights and watch stuff together. The annoying thing is, the video players in the Game are really, let's say, minimalistically, implemented. Which means you are very limited replaying video files. To solve this issue i put together multiple programs to my vrchat streaming project, which allows me to stream a "virtual Browser" via RTSP/HLS or similar and watch the video signal in VRChat.
So back to my Server. The issue was, at Prime Time when other people where utilising my Server, i also wanted to use it. But for a direct task like live streams i'd instantly notice when the CPU was at it's limits, because the frame rate was limited or similar observations.
Adding a GPU to the Server was also not an option, due pretty much all PCIe slots being used up by three HBA's and my 10G NIC.
The solution was simple, a new Server needed to join my fleet.
Conviniently enough i just happened to upgrade my Gaming PC, hence had my old Gaming PC sitting around unused collecting dust.
I removed my old GPU which was way to power hungry to be used in a Server (I want to get a Intel ARC card somewhere in the future, because they are perfect for video encoding and low on the power usage) and i also resetted my BIOS to remove all the overclocking to make it more power friendly (the new Server currently IDLEs around 40-50w, which is still not perfect, but much better than the previous 80-90w).
First of all i swapped the (RGB lol) Fan's of my Gaming PC into my previous Server chassis (Inter-Tech 4F28), which i conviniently also had laying around unused. Which suited this build just perfect.
I started to move all the parts over, following with the PSU.
Due my Gaming PC being water cooled, i bought another Noctua NH-D12L cooler and installed it.
I used the same cooler for my current main Server, because it has perfect clearance for the both 4U chassis.
After wiring everything together it was finally time to boot, and the look was just gorgeous (RGB haters gonna hate).
Observed new issues
I already identified issues comming with this upgrade.
I am now dangerously close to my 500w limit of my APC Smart-UPS 750, when all the Servers in the Rack go full blast.
And since i plan to expand my mass-storage and add a Intel ARC GPU in the future, i will likely exceed the UPS load limits.
The Final Touch
Finally i decided to wrap the Server in black matt foil. I wanted to do this once, any why not with this RGB Server. I am sure this Server will have at least a 10% performance boost after this!