Junkie xl tips on server units

Discussion in 'PC/Mac Builders, Mods, Peripherals - New' started by arwyn, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. arwyn

    arwyn New Member

    Hi. I just watched the short video on tips about improving your studio etc.

    I was interested in what he was saying about used server units. Is there anybody out there using systems like this who could explain what is needed to set up something like this up.That is, is it complicated to set up raids etc? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Michelob likes this.
  2. MatFluor

    MatFluor Senior Member

    Jan 11, 2017
    I'm a longtime sysadmin by heart (and part of my dayjob).
    It's not really complicated - a lot of such setups have a wizard to help you. I'm not sure about used servers - one of my slaves is one of my former homeservers. Servers are Enterprise hardware and in some cases, suck a hell of a lot of power. And also make A ton of noise (especially those Pizza box types). The Hardware is designed to run 24/7 and components can get expensive (e.g. my ex-server needs ECC RAM, which cost a ton more than normal RAM)

    Your first step into such a setup would be a repurposed old PC (not ultra-old, e.g. my slaves have both i3 processors in them) and Vienna Ensemble pro (VEP in short). You can search the forum here for VEP setup advices as well. I'm a proponent of VEP slaves personally.

    If you have any questions, just ask ;)

    Edit: typos
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2018
    Michelob and goalie composer like this.
  3. jmauz

    jmauz Member

    I concur with Mat. In a former life I was a data center manager and we had over 100 of these machines. They're loud, hot, power hogs and expensive to maintain. You'll need plenty of A/C (notice how Junkie's machine room has a wall unit) and it'll absolutely need to be in a room that's completely isolated from your control room due to the noise.

    They're certainly powerful and would be great for VSL slaves or even a main machine but it's not as simple as throwing a tricked out tower PC in your studio.
    MatFluor likes this.
  4. jcrosby

    jcrosby Senior Member

    Nov 30, 2014
    Boston MA
    Air conditioning is critical as mentioned. It's also expensive... That said, you can't have a rack of equipment like that without it giving off a ton of heat. (Especially in a tiny space like that.) Cost-wise... I put one of the same Mitsubishi units in this video in my studio this spring, it'll set you back a few grand with labor.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2018
    MatFluor likes this.
  5. OP

    arwyn New Member

    Thanks for all of your replies. I already have a slave running VEP. I just thought maybe that it would be a cheaper alternative to another pc, but as you all mentioned costs creep in elsewhere (air con etc). I actually have 32 gigs of DDR3 ram sitting in their box after upgrading my slave. I need to find a good source in the UK that do refurbished PCs with a mboard to suit the ram. I guess that would workout cheaper. If anyone knows a good source that would be great.
    jcrosby likes this.
  6. brek

    brek Active Member

    Oct 30, 2016
    I just want to know what those faders are!
  7. Si_Withenshaw

    Si_Withenshaw New Member

    Sep 24, 2016
    JL Cooper Fadermaster Pro
    brek likes this.
  8. Piano Pete

    Piano Pete Active Member

    Jan 5, 2017
    Having made a spreadsheet of a lot of the used servers/parts on the market and taking into account power draw, there is a thin selection of servers where it is actually cost effective. (I think I made a post about this in the past, but I did not post my spreadsheet).

    The first major problem: parts. Some of the cpu's may only be $15; however, to find a motherboard with features you would like, could end up costing more than if you just built a new system.

    The next problem is that you are competing against people looking for replacement parts for their servers. If something hits the market fairly cheap, it will not stay on it for long.

    Final problem, heat, power consumption, and noise. Tech has come a long way, and some of those nicely priced cpu's will add a lot to your electric bill over the course of running. They were meant to be used in machine rooms. Depending on the case, they are going to be super loud. 1-2u fans have to pack a lot of rpm, and they sound horrible.

    The Pro's, if you are diligent and do your homework, you can end up with quite a steal! I put together a few used servers for a buddy of mine, and we got really lucky with what we purchased. The performance to dollar ratio was staggering, and we fell into a nice generation of intel cpu's that were pretty efficient. You have to know what you are doing though!!!! Do your homework if you plan on going this route. Excel will be you friend.


    If you are just looking to build a computer in a server chassis and rack mount them, this is fairly common and easy. The racks may be the most expensive part of the build; however, you can just buy stand-alone rails and make your own cabinet. Keep in mind, there are some fairly nice expandable ones by startech on the market--something to consider. Ebay has a nice selection of open u-cabinets that are not too pricey. I try to stay away from 1-2u chassis for the previously mentioned reasons. 3u and up, you can use Noctua radiators without a fuss (measure your chassis to be extra sure: they are not all the same--no matter what the dimensions say on the box). I would also switch out the fans for noctua ones if in the budget. I found some of the stock fans were not too horrible, but I usually budget for quieter fans when I plan a build anyway. There are some decent consumer-ish server chassis on the market now that accommodate a wide range of motherboard layouts. It all depends on what you want and how much space you have.

    goalie composer likes this.
  9. OP

    arwyn New Member

    Thanks Pete for the advice. Yes and I guess I'd have to be lucky to snap something up before someone else does. Especially as I'm not that desperate to trawl the net for hours. Junkie xl just got me curious. I think a second simple slave would suit me ( if there's such a thing!!)
  10. germancomponist

    germancomponist Senior Member

    Jul 11, 2007
  11. Ryan

    Ryan Senior Member

    Jun 12, 2011
    I've been using old servers for years. Got them for free from a company that would trash them anyway. 3x DL360-G7 with SSDs, X56 CPU etc. Works great! :) Haven't used them for a while, but they would surely get used again soon :)

    These servers not only works great with VEP but also Waves Digigrid for offloading CPU from your DAW ;)
    goalie composer likes this.

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