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I'm looking to build a decent < 1.500$ dedicated Hyper-V solution for development and testing purposes.

The parts list I was thinking of is:

  • Intel Core I7 920 $288.99 (fastest affordable desktop proc. Hyper-V compat.)
  • Asus P6T Deluxe V2 $289.99 (Confirmed Hyper-V compat. Confirmed 6 dimm working, 2x GigE)
  • 12GB - 2x CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) $360 (On Mobo compatibility list, low heatsink profile)
  • 5x Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB $249.95 (cheap single platter drive)
  • Samsung WriteMaster SH-S223F $25
  • Antec P183 $149.99 (quality case with lots of room to work)
  • EnerMax Modu82+ 625W $200 (efficient and quiet)
  • Scythe Orochi Rev. B SE1366 $59 (confirmed compat. with MB layout, very quiet)
  • ASUS EAH4350 SILENT $37.99 (low energy, passive cooling)

Total: $1.660

Since the machine would sit close to where I work, noise levels will be an issue, though I could look into putting it in a separate room if significantly better use of the budget can be made by removing the silence requirement.

Would this be a good solution? Would I be better of going for 2 or even 3 cheap machines? If so, in what configuration (a dedicated iSCSI box perhaps?)?

Would going for a real dual Opteron/Xeon server type machine be better option?

(All prices are in USD, I used Newegg as a reference)

EDIT: I have updated the prices once more. It keeps getting more expensive :-(. While the configuration is a bit dated now (I don't have the time to spec out a new system), it is still a good build.

REMARK: Does anyone know how to get this moved to SuperUser? I think it belongs there.


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what currency it that? – Preet Sangha May 29 '09 at 10:33
Good point. Should be USD, I used as a reference for pricing. – Peter Stuer May 29 '09 at 10:37
When you say the mobo is hyper-v compatible, what dictates that? – dotnetdev Feb 28 '10 at 20:51
The MB bios should allow you to turn on hardware virtualization support (Intel-VT or AMD-V) and DEP. I usually also look for a report confirming someone actually running Hyper-V successfully on the board. – Peter Stuer Mar 1 '10 at 8:39

About the silent part - I did a writeup recently on how to build a silent PC using the Antec Mini P180 case. I've been very happy with it - even with five SATA drives, it's hard to tell it's running. I'm an Apple fanboi, all about the silent machines, and if I say it's quiet, it's really quiet.

Nice writeup Brent. The P183 is just a few dollars more than the P180. I love Antec cases, but I'm not such a fan of their power supplies . Maybe I have just been unlucky, but I've head a few die on me too soon for my taste. As for cooling I just noticed the Scythe Orochi ( ) has been updated to support the LGA 1366, so I am compelled to go in that direction. – Peter Stuer May 29 '09 at 16:44
Yeah, I would agree about the P183 - it's worth the extra money to get enough space to move around inside the case as you're adding parts. – Brent Ozar May 29 '09 at 17:44

I just bought a new machine from ecollegepc and had it shipped to Denver for $740 to my door in less than a week. Unless you really want to build it yourself, not sure that you save much from NewEgg.

I got: Intell Q6600 8MB Cache (quad core) 8GB RAM (2 4x) 2 x 500GB 1GB nVidia card.

I put Hyper-V on it and it's running great. Adding 3 more drives would be about $600, and I'd be below your $1400 without going through the hassle.

Not sure about more memory, but at the point where you are spending $1500, I think a system builder that will warranty things is not a bad plan.

+1 for the suggestion of going for cheapermachines. Would 2 $750 machines beat the single $1.500 setup? What about 3 $500 machines? Could one be turned into an iSCSI target and two others running the VM's? As for the home building, I just find it very enjoyable to build up a system from boxes of components myself. If you buy from a source with a no-hassle RMA policy, the warranty is not a problem. – Peter Stuer May 30 '09 at 7:48
Warranty of the components, but possible issues between them could be. It depends on your geek factor. It's a tool for me, so I opted for a system builder when it didn't seem I would save more than $100 or so. – Steve Jones Jun 1 '09 at 20:03

I have an HP ML115 sitting in my basement right now. Quad Core, 8GB Ram, dual 1TB Raid 1 Drives. Runs like a champ and is quiet.

Best part is it shows up already built, no muss no fuss. I have it running 3 VM's.

I am now running a dual core AMD machine with 6GB RAM and 4 HD's. The new machine will replace this one for the Hyper-V role. – Peter Stuer Jun 1 '09 at 18:59

I would look on eBay for a Dell Poweredge. In the UK Poweredge 2950s with a Perc5/i can be had for £500-700 if you're patient. That leaves you some money over to get some SATA disks (Perc5/i controllers work very well with SATA disks), though you'll probably have to live with 4GB RAM for a bit. Best of all you're likely to get one to two years of the Dell warranty left.

This is actually exactly what I did, though I spent a bit more to get 6 1TB disks and 16GB of RAM. The result is a very very fast Hyper-V server.


Thanks renniej. The 2950 is a great machine. We use it in production sometimes. For this particular project, the machine would be too loud (sitting under my desk). – Peter Stuer May 29 '09 at 11:13
I'll add that as a requirement – Peter Stuer May 29 '09 at 11:14
In that case I recommend a Poweredge 440. I use one at home because it's (very) quiet. It's quieter than most workstations. Mine has a Perc5/i and 4 1TB disks. Note however that the 440 takes a max of 4GB RAM. The Poweredge T100 is the 440's successor and will take 8GB RAM but they're not so common on eBay (though there's one on the UK eBay at the moment at £200). You'll need T adaptors for the SATA cables because of the way the disks are positioned. – John Rennie May 29 '09 at 13:51
The RAM is important to me. I go with 12GB now and will upgrade to 24GB once the 4GB modules become cheap enough. Something that caught my eye was the ASUS Z8NA-D6C ($260). With 2x XEON E5504 procs (2x $235) it would give me 8 real cores (vs. 4 on the I7, even though that has HyperTreading) but at a slower Ghz per core (2,0 vs. 2,66). Total price difference would be $233 if I would stay with the now 2x Noctua cooling solution). Does anyone know of any representative Hyper-V benchmarks? – Peter Stuer May 29 '09 at 14:59

To keep your server silent do the following:

1) Get a quiet power supply ( PSU's usually have comments about their noise levels)

2) Get a quiet CPU cooler/fan

3) You don't need 5 WD Caviars for a dev/test solution. Go with WD Velociraptors (very quiet and fast drives). Depending on budget, you can have two RAID 0/1 volumes [4 drives] (one for OS and one for VM's) or just one RAID 0/1 volume [2 drives] with everything on it.

I'd love a 4x Velociraptor build, but even 2x 150GB would be $300. – Peter Stuer May 29 '09 at 16:48

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