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Home Lab V1

Wed Mar 31 2021

Starting Up

This goal of this iteration will be to see what off-the-shelf hardware can do, as well as to familiarize myself with VM software and the intricacies of managing several machines on one computer. My only experience with VMs up to this point is using Vagrant for development work.

I’d like to be able to tie this in somehow with the work I’m doing on the personal Media Center, and potentially have this available of the home network. It would be great to just go to a web browser and access a vast array of VMs anywhere.

I learned about Proxmox and am going to see how the software works with managing all of the VMs, as well as what else needs to be done to be able to actually access and use the VMs.

Enter the HP z620

I believe a dual Xeon machine will be the quickest & best bang for the buck while offering a good baseline and still keep overall cost low.

The HP z620 I picked up has lots of room to upgrade memory, as well as the processors, if that ever becomes necessary and cost-efficient.

The machine didn’t have wireless connectivity, so I had to buy an ASUS USB wireless adapter. I also picked up a new Das mechanical keyboard (I had previously purchased a Dell Quitkeys keyboard which was certified by the seller on eBay but it turned out to be a lemon. I was in the process of moving at the time I got it so didn’t have a chance to inspect it and ran out of time to get a refund).

Price Comparison

With a purchase price off of eBay of $555, the value of my HP z620 compared very well that of one assembled from individually purchased parts. The costs here do not include the motherboard, PSU and case etc which most likely add another ~$200. Also, the V2 motherboard was a free upgrade from the eBay seller so there’s an added value there.

TYPENAMEQTYLINKUNIT PRICETOTAL PRICE
CPUIntel Xeon E5-26902eBay$72.00$144.00
SSD500GB 7.2K SATA2Amazon$75.00$150.00
GPUQuadro K2000 2GB1Amazon$111.49$111.49
RAM8 GB PC3-12800R 1600MHz DDR32Amazon$42.95$85.90
Total:$491.39

V2 Intel Xeon processors run about ~$150 on the secondary market so I might consider rolling this into Iteration 2 if the pricing makes sense over other potential upgrades; the CPUs were not upgraded along with the motherboard.

More Specs

CPU

2x Intel Xeon E5 2690 - 2.90 GHz

Motherboard

FMB-1102 - Bootblock date - 3/6/2013

BIOS

J61 v03.94

Memory

PC3-10600R-9-10-J0 - 4x 4GB (16GB) - 240 pin DIMM

Disk Storage

  • 1x Hitachi 500GB HDD - MBR
  • 1x Toshiba 500GB HDD - GPT

USB

  • 4x USB 2.0
  • 2x USB 3.0

Graphics

1x NVIDIA Quadro K2000

Wireless Networking Adapter

ASUS USB-AC53 AC1200, Dual-Band 802.11AC MU-MIMO enabled - ~867Mbps max

Keyboard

Das Keyboard Professional Model S

Software

TBD - Most likely Ubuntu / Proxmox

Monitor

ASUS 30” LCD Monitor


Steven Wright

Written by Steven Wright who lives and works in Sacramento building useful things.