Upgrade Log 3

The last one for this batch! Everything arrived, assembled, and finished without much problem.

Windows 10 is even more annoying than ever. Disabling Cortana now must be done using Group Policy. Great. I have to slowly live it up because this is the future of Windows and I don’t see myself using another operating system for desktop for foreseeable future.

Also, don’t disable universal app background process if you want a functional start menu search.

<insert a bunch of other tweaks here>

Up next

Closest upgrade I can think of is getting an extra 6+To drive so I have 6 drives raidz2 instead of current 5 which is quite a waste. I’m not sure how to migrate the data though. That’ll cost about 25k?

And I remembered about my netbook only having 2Gio of RAM. Surely can be upgraded to 8Gio for maximum lulz. Or just more useful. I remember it’s much more usable when it’s running on 4Gio of RAM. I don’t exactly remember when and why it’s only 2 now. It already has SSD so the RAM upgrade would pretty much max out upgrades for this system. Not counting higher capacity/performance SSD because I don’t think it won’t make much difference apart of having more storage – faster SSD won’t help the slow CPU much. 5k for RAM.

After that, I can certainly use more storage for my main desktop. A 1To SSD would certainly be nice. A bit expensive at 33k.

With storage out of the way (and moves the 525Go drive to office desktop), I think my office server can also use some storage upgrade. Just like current home server, it can certainly use two more drives for optimum raidz2. That means a controller, HDD cage, and one extra HDD (because I already have one spare 3To HDD). The total would be about 51k.

There’s VGA card upgrade for main desktop but I’m still not sure about that. I don’t really need it but certainly would be nice! Let’s pretend it’ll cost 40k for whatever card at that budget whenever the upgrade is happening.

Talking about VGA card, there’s also a would-be-nice upgrade for my office desktop VGA. It’s currently running GT730 which is not quite fast. Limited to 45W, current choice is limited to GT1030 at 10k.

At this point there isn’t much left to be upgraded. So let’s upgrade the server RAM to 32Gio from currently pitiful 12Gio. I would like to pretend it’s cheap but it really isn’t even now. I was pretty lucky last time getting two sticks of 8Gio for just 10k but it won’t happen often. So maybe about 25k I’d be willing to spend.

I think there is no more after this. I probably won’t reach this far until at least next year or even later anyway and something may break in the meantime, requiring change of plan.

  1. (5k) RAM: 8Gio PC3-12800S
  2. (25k+) Storage: 6+To HDD
  3. (33k) Storage: 1To SSD
  4. Storage:
    • (4k) Controller: LSI SAS 9212
    • (7k) Misc: HDD Cage 2 5.25″ to 3 3.5″
    • (15k?) Storage: 3+To HDD
  5. (40k) VGA card: ???
  6. (10k) VGA card: GT1030 (or better)
  7. (25k) RAM: 32Gio PC3-12800E

Total: 164k.

…maybe this will happen sooner than expected ( ゚◡゚)

Upgrade Log 2

“New” “server” has arrived. So have the SATA/SAS controller and hdd backplane.

Unfortunately the 5.25″ bay separator is a bit too big so I had to “fix” it.

The cage works complete with hot swap.

So is the SAS card. Flashed to P20 IT mode without much problem. Someone mentioned it might fail on UEFI motherboard booted to DOS in BIOS mode but I didn’t encounter such problem.

Updated the system BIOS as well.

Processor installed without much problem – finally another server with Ivy Bridge processor. SAS card seems to be a bit problematic when system boot support is enabled. I just disable it and everything seems fine. Ethernet card also installed without problem. SSD thankfully detected without hitch and the OS from previous server boots fine.

Still quite a lot of restructuring needed thanks to two servers being merged but there’s nothing else to do hardware side (unless I decided to buy extra drive to round up the data pool to 6 drives raidz2).

Office server also done the rearrangement and now has more threads but much less memory.

Office desktop is currently gimped a bit with just E3-1225 but that will be fixed once the DDR4 memory arrives. And then the graphics card will get a downgrade from GTX660 to GT730.

Now waiting for the memory. I hope it arrives this month so I can say goodbye to this memory-starved system as soon as possible.

That reminds me, I should put up old stuff for auction…

HP Z210 SFF review

I got this last year for a total of 6026 yen with shipping. It didn’t come with CPU though. And I don’t remember it came with RAM either. Thankfully everything works.

First on motherboard. I don’t remember it has standard fan headers. At all. Well, it’s only got a total of one fan anyway. And that doubles as CPU fan, no less. Okay, I lied, there’s another one inside PSU which has weird form factor.

At least they are relatively silent. I have no complaint on noise department.

CPU support is limited to Sandy Bridge series. No v2 CPU or i3 3xxx series. Don’t bother trying. I did.

RAM support is okay. It only supports maximum of PC-10600. There’s ECC support though and at 4 slots, it maxes out at 32Gio.

GPU support is the worst thing about this PC. The PCIe slot being limited to low profile isn’t too bad nowadays with proliferation of small sized no external power started by GTX750. But the problem is none of them will work. Or at least specification wise. The reason is the motherboard only officially supports providing PCIe slots with 45W at most. That’s 30W less than what those GPU needs. The fastest consumer level GPU I can find is GT730. It sucks and noisy. Noise part can be mitigated by getting MSI card and adjusting fan speed curve accordingly but I generally don’t like installing crapware on the already crap Windows.

The absolute fastest one can get for this is Quadro K1200, by the way. At over US$300, I’m not sure if it’s worth buying.

USB ports also occasionally stop working on Windows 10. I vaguely remember it’s fine on Windows 7 but some changes on Windows 8 caused it to occasionally not working on boot. The only fix I have is to remote desktop into it and reinstall USB driver. Installing additional USB card didn’t help either from what I can remember.

Oh, and SmartOS doesn’t support the SATA controller because it is in RAID mode. Switching it to IDE emulation works but no one should do that. I’d just buy a SATA PCIe card instead if I really want to use SmartOS on it. Which I haven’t yet.

It’s got two SATA3 ports and two SATA2 ports. Note that it only has 1 external 5.25″, 1 external 3.5″, and 1 internal 3.5″ bays. I used a HDD 5.25″ converter to get one extra bay and dumped two SSDs to max out the storage (2 HDD, 2 SSD). Just remember that one SATA power cable splitter is needed.

Mine didn’t come with the screws needed for installing HDD at the back side but there are plenty of them for cheap in eBay. Those are of doubtful quality but as they’re just screws, I don’t really care that much. Just look for “hp sff hdd screws.”

Conclusion

In term of purpose, it goes like this:

  • best as personal non-storage server
  • don’t bother for desktop if using large monitors (1080p+?)
  • with additional SATA card, can also be used as SmartOS box

And yeah, it’s where some of my sites are currently hosted at.