Hardware for home server

Hey all,

I have a project I'm intending to build (thanks to some incoming money) but I'm not sure which hardware to go with.

My intention is to build a large server for the wife and I to use (share is more accurate).

Basically I'm going to Hyper Visor the hardware (using vmware's Hyper Visor) and host two guests with it - one Windows 7 PC (mainly for gaming and typical user stuff) and the other guest will be Mac OSX (she and I both work extensively with audio and graphics). **note please no opinions on choice of OS this is strictly hardware stuff *

The conundrum is that we -

A.) Wish to game on it (we mostly play MMORPG's)
B.) also to use graphics / audio software which is heavy on the CPU resources

I wanted to go with dual 6 to 8 core CPU's but I'm not sure if I should go with Server CPU's or one 8 core Desktop CPU. I want to run a dual CPU configuration with either Xfire or SLI'd cards. Keep in mind the server will be hosting both Windows 7 and Mac OSX.
I understand that to run dual chips you must use Opteron or Xeon chips right? I guess my biggest concern is that I want to be able to efficiently run say ( 2 processes of World of Warcraft (both my wife and I) virtually on the windows 7 box). Could a dual Xeon's handle that at a resolution of 1920x1080. Also, can you even SLI/Xfire on a board that supports dual chips?

I'd like to keep my total costs under $2500 bucks.

From what I understand from checking the forums that server chips are lower clock speeds and gaming typically demands higher clock speeds. Since we want to do both, I'm at a loss as to how to go forward.

Any suggestions for which kind of hardware setup (and suggestions / links to actual hardware) would be seriously appreciated!

Thanks all
7 answers Last reply
More about hardware home server
  1. What version of VMware will you use? Virtualization is a good idea for servers and desktops, but it isn't ideal for gaming. Have you considered building two powerful PCs that meet your requirements?
  2. Yeah I have considered that, but I was wanting to get away from having to maintain two separate PC's and all that. I was looking for some sort of implementation that would allow the wife and I to slim down to one server for both of our needs.

    I'm also aware of some of the limitations with vmware. Supposedly Hyper Visor has better support for 3d apps then regular vmware player / workstation
  3. What product do you refer to when you mention "Hyper Visor "? Are you referring to VMware ESXi? It's a great product to run several VMS, but how will you access the VMs and what GPU performance do you expect?
  4. VMware vSphere Hypervisor™ (ESXi) is what I've been looking at.

    As to your second question - haven't solved that yet. I was looking into some KVM sharing or other mode of connecting to the box.

    As to the third question I'm still checking on that too. I haven't bought anything yet, just trying to do my homework ;)
  5. I presume that you checked the hardware compatibility list at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?action=base&deviceCategory=server? Hardware that can be used is somewhat limited.

    You normally use another system to run the VMware vSphere Client, access Windows VMs through remote desktop, etc. I presume that's the purpose of the KVM. Did you read the documentation at http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-50/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.vmware.vsphere.install.doc_50%2FGUID-74AA3EF1-BDF3-4752-89DB-A522CDE30A66.html?

  6. Thanks for the links. Indeed this is a major hurdle that I have yet to find a decent solution to.

    Not sure how game performance is going to be over RDP or VNC. Other applications would probably be fine, but it's the game thing that's really hindering this project.

    I've been looking for a solution other then something over the network but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot out there. What I'm talking about is the ability to just plug myself's and my wifes monitor/kb/mouse/sound in one box and be able to switch between VM's (and or just use a VM under another user.)

    I'm open to ideas...I just want to get away from having to maintain two PC's all the time, etc etc. Since I have some decent money coming in, I'd like to consolidate our two PC's into one really, REALLY nice one.

    As I said before, I'm open to the idea of running Windows 7 and VM'ing Mac OSX.
    From what I understand though, can't a Vsphere Hypervisor share hardware resources between guests instead of emulating them? Whereas a VM simply emulates basic hardware for it's guests?
  7. Unless you buy a commercial version of VNC, it won't be fast enough. Some Internet games may work using RDP, but I never tried as I have several PCs.

    A KVM doesn't allow switching between VMs; it allows switching between physical systems. Using VMware ESXi requires 2 systems: the VMware server and at least one Windows PC to access the VMs and run the vSphere Client. Therefore you'll replace a MAC and a PC by a VMware server and a PC (or two if both VMs have to be used at the same time). I wouldn't consider that solution because the VMware server can be quite expensive (though it probably isn't a concern for you).

    You could also buy a MAC and use VMware Fusion or Parallels to virtualize Windows 7 (http://www.macworld.com/article/1164817/the_best_way_to_run_windows_on_your_mac.html). That would work as long as you never have a need to use both the MAC for work and Windows 7 for gaming at the same time.

    Hardware resources can be shared, but not all of them.

    A MAC and a gaming PC would be best if both your wife and yourself need access to the system at the same time.
Ask a new question

Read More

Hardware Servers Components