Brand new to This H...
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Brand new to This Home Lab Thing

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A home lab is what you make of it, right? Several years ago I needed a pc fast to replace a dead diy build. I bought a used HP Compaq Elite 8300 Minitower from TigerDirect (I miss them), a third-gen Core i5 3570 with 8GB ram. I think I paid $325 for it shipped and included a win10 home key. I used it for about a year until a new diy build could be afforded and then this clunker went to the closet for the last 5 years.

I've toyed around with Virtual Box on my Linux rig for some time but I don't like to "mess around" with my main Pop_os machine. I stumbled onto some videos about Proxmox and TrueNAS and thought I could do that too. Time to resurrect the clunker!

I blew the dust out of it and got it running again. Replaced the ram with 32GB DDR3 from the old parts bin. Swapped in an SSD boot drive, installed Proxmox, spun up some VM's, and started learning new tricks. I recently replaced the CPU with a core i7 from the same gen as a drop-in upgrade. Whoo! more power!

I wanted a NAS but could not justify the budget. This project started ugly. I was using  some 3 old 2.5" and one 3.5" drives as a raid array flopping around, literally, inside the HP case. This week I made two more upgrades. I replaced the 3.5" drive with a shinny new 2.5" WD Blue that matched one of the other 2.5's I was using. I also purchased a new drive cage and installed 4, 1TB - 2.5" sata drives in a raidz2 ZFS pool for a True. The best part of this cage? It fits into a 5 1/4" drive bay. Cage is an Icy Dock ExpressCage MB324SP-B. It isn't fast but I have 1.8TB of shared file space on my network now. Now I need to save up for some SSD's to replace the spinning rust.

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Posted : 04/04/2024 2:04 pm
Brandon Lee
Posts: 554
Member Admin

@brydry welcome to the forums! Don't feel bad about how the home lab looks when beginning and yours looks great so far! I started off very similar to this with a workstation running VMs and then migrating eventually over to true server gear. But, you don't have to do this by any means. Many now are running their home labs on workstations and mini pcs etc. I have even transitioned over to the mini pcs for a lot of my workloads. I definitely think you would like having a NAS as well down the road as that will open up the capability to have shared storage between more than one host. But again looking great.

Do keep us posted on your projects and if you have any questions along the way.

Posted : 04/04/2024 2:21 pm