Server upgrade

Not the final form

I’ve been considering this on and off quite a long time ago as I noticed the Intel part post-Ivy Bridge isn’t going to get much cheaper. And then during my 10Gbit upgrade a while back, I learned my server could barely handle half of 10Gbit available. There’s also problem with I need a bit more RAM but I don’t want to buy any more DDR3 sticks as it’s a dead platform by now.

Thankfully Ryzen continued AMD’s tradition (?) of not locking ECC feature on most systems so I upgraded to it three years ago. And my server crashed. A lot. It was unstable. I then tried again two years ago but it’s still crashing. I ended up selling the system and bought a cheap Ivy Bridge server board from ebay last year. It held up pretty well. It even got NVMe upgrade earlier this year.

The thing is, just like for desktop, I sure could use faster CPU. Ryzen 3000 series brought along a lot of per-core performance (IPC) increase. A lot more compared to 1000 series. And it has gotten pretty cheap, at least on 6 cores realm.

I upgraded my desktop end of last year and now it’s turn for the server. Except unlike the desktop one, there’s no good deal this time around. It didn’t help I need more PCIe slots than usually available on cheap motherboard. And I actually wondered if I should wait for B550 and see how it goes especially considering X570 requires fan for its southbridge.

But I ended up getting X570 anyway because I don’t want to wait longer 🙂 I’ve resumed doing some hobby dev work recently and sure could use some upgrade. Especially as my plan for VM on desktop system with NFS-backed storage didn’t go quite well.

Anyway, I upgraded the motherboard (ASRock X570 Pro4) and CPU (AMD Ryzen 5 3500). For RAM I took two sticks from my desktop which currently has a bit too many. Those will need to be upgraded to ECC sometime later when the budget permits.

For graphics card, as this isn’t a server board and there’s no onboard GPU on the CPU, I’m getting a cheap PCIe x1 GT 710 1GiB from Zotac. It costed a bit under 5k on Amazon Outlet. It’s second hand but should be fine. I hope. It’s not arrived yet so I’m currently using another fanless GPU I have but it’s using one x16 slot as even though the PCIe x1 slots are open-ended, there isn’t enough clearance for x16 card.

With one of the only two x16 slots used by the graphics card, I stuck with using my HBA at x1 slot. Thankfully the motherboard has loads of SATA ports (8) so I only need two from the HBA. There’s no cable management though as 1) it’s temporary; and 2) it’s way more annoying with 10 SATA cables in total instead of just two SFF-8087 and two SATA. That should be fixed this weekend.

There’s also network card bracket problem. The brackets I mentioned weeks ago have finally arrived but the size didn’t match. Good job, Fujitsu. I couldn’t find the brackets for those cards either so I’m getting another pair of cards. Assuming they will actually arrive as they’ve been stuck in China for a bit over two weeks now. I just hope they actually arrive. And that they actually work. That would be nice.

The unused board and CPU and RAM will be repurposed for my work dev server. My current one is pretty similar just one generation behind (E3-1235 vs E3-1230v2). I need a new case and PSU though but those shouldn’t be too expensive. Combined, the server will have plenty of RAM (32GiB).

That said, I don’t know if this 3000 series of Ryzen is finally stable enough for FreeBSD. That’s actually the most important thing as otherwise I’ll be forced back to the old system and maybe figure out what to do with this board and CPU. I’ll report back when I got the correct graphics card, I guess. Or earlier if it still crashes.

Bonus photo:

This is definitely not how to install a card. It does work though

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