Best home server setup

Hi All
I was wondering what would be the best/good hardware to run as a home server to consolidate and run these services and posible more on one machine? ie recommendations for processor memory and storage

  1. Xnp-ng (all ready tested and love it)

  2. Pfsense as a vm (tested works great)

  3. Ubuntu server vm (runing web / mail / other services)

  4. Plex or embry as a vm

  5. Free nas/ open media vault as a vm or other

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or advice given. If you need more imformation i will try to answer :grinning:


Without much other info to work with, I’d probably suggest a starting point of a CPU with 8 cores/16 threads, and 32 gb of RAM. You could get away with less, but it really depends on what your expectations are for performance, and how many users, and what type of workload you intend to run.

Probably need more info, before anyone can really suggest anything specific.

  • Is this just for a home lab to learn/tinker with?
  • Will this be a “production” server?
  • Do you intend to build something yourself, or buy something pre-built?
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Hi thanks for your response
I will try and explain better lol

I will build the sever as i,ve built many gaming rigs and pc,s before. I have had server before running win 7 host and two vms in virtualbox (i7 3770 16gig ram) and have converted it to xnp-ng and love the less bloat (lol) and standalone’s running other testing setups.

It will be a part production server also testing
Max users would be five at anyone time (kids eh)

i normally use my old hardware for this but feel its time to see if i can consolidate them (save power and some off it is older than me lol).
Been looking at hardware for the server and if it was for gaming i would have no problem?

FreeNAS is designed to run natively on the hardware and not be vitalized. Also, as a rule moving to newer hardware saves energy as each generation of systems provides better processing power per watt.

The other thing to consider when building is that running your firewall virtualized means it needs to start before the other VM’s if it is handling DCHP and if there is a problem with the VM system you internet quits working.


Thanks for replying Tom
After watching your video here on xcp-ng and using the script in there i managed to make my server boot in the order needed(almost wife proof when it goes down!!! turn off and back on again when i,m not there lol).
Thanks regarding the info on freenas was wondering if i could do that or not? might need to make that a separate box for storage?
I was thinking amd rizan 1700 or 2700 because of the core count but low wattage?
Is there any gotcha’s using amd as i’m used to intel for gaming?

I purchased a Dell R410 from eBay and it’s been working great.
It’s strictly my FreeNAS server for my office, but it came with 2x2TB HGST drives, 32GB of RAM, dual quad core/8 thread CPUs. I paid $190 with shipping for it.

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I agree with Tom that if you’re going to have a FreeNAS it really needs to be on bare metal. I have a virtualized Server 2012 that I use for media stuff that I really don’t care about loosing. For anything that I don’t want to loose, I have it on the Windows Server, FreeNAS and the cloud. If you want to keep everything in one box you do have the option to run zfs as the local storage for xcp-ng.

Personally, I find the Xeon v2 servers on eBay and what not to be the sweet spot at the moment. For example this past summer I found a 2 node, 2U server with dual Xeon E5-2660v2s for about $570, 40 total cores plus hyperthreading. Once I added 64GB ram per node I was at $840. To me it’s a steal. I have more processing power than I know what to do with, without breaking the bank.

Each node pulls between 75 and 100w depending on the load. I usually only have them both on when I’m applying patches to the hypervisor so that I don’t have to shutdown any of the VMs. I average about 17 VMs running at any given time.

Thanks Guys for your responses
You opened a can of worms (lol)
I see where you are coming from with buying ex server equipment make sense? bang for buck.
WOW!!! been looking at stuff on ebay for hours and my brain has exploded :grinning: to the possibilities
Only thing is i would not no what was a good deal or not?

I’m in the same boat. I hear about killer deals (or I assume they’re killer deals), but I can’t find anything even close and I don’t know enough about this hardware to know if what I can find is worth it.

One of the best ways I find to know if something is a good deal or not is to look at the price of sold items. Click on advanced to the right of the search bar you can then click on sold listings to search them. This gives you a good picture of market prices. 2019-01-27%2012_56_37-Window


For my pfsense router I use this QOTOM-Q355G4 Factory Price Pfsense Firewall Router Fanless Intel core I5 5200U 4Intel LAN Firewall Multi-Function Router Firewall Appliance AES-NI PC(8G RAM,32G SSD,NO WiFi)
And like it.

My question is (and I still don’t have an answer to it) - do I want to consolidate or actually decentralize home servers.

My current opinion is dedicated router, dedicated storage if it’s freenas, and everything else in single focus VMs. I have a propensity for breaking things as I learn. It’s really nice to only break one thing instead of everything.

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Here are some servers I found that look decent. These are probably only SATA II, but would be fine with HDDs for local VM storage.!54481!US!-1:rk:5:pf:1&frcectupt=true

If you want DDR4 and don’t care about having IPMI these looks decent. They can be upgraded to Xeon v4’s if desired.

This is an interesting beast if you want separate hosts in one case.

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Here are some options for FreeNAS. They should all be SATA III.

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Thanks for your comments
so as im from the uk ive seen this not sure what you all think ? Am i on the right track?

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Dear Brianh,

My advice is the following.
As Tom said, run FreeNAS on a separate Hardware as its not recommended to run in a VM. Your PfSense if its for testing ok, run in in a VM, if its for production, please consider a separate physical hardware.
As for your requirements.

  • Dual CPUs X5670 at 2.93Ghz (Look for a DELL R710 Refurbished for best price)

  • 32GB of RAM or better

  • 2 SSDs of at least 240GB each.

  • Dual Port 10GB SPF+ to connect to your FreeNAS box using DAC (Direct Attached Copper)

  • Dual 850W PSU

This is what I bought from Server Monkey here in the US and it works beautifully to follow Tom’s Videos and having VMs in which I can test and learn.

Let me know if this helps you my friend. If you need anything else. Just comment and I can help.
Take Care.


@brianh That would make a great VM host. My personal preference is to use v2 Xeon as they are a little more power efficient, but it really comes down to price and availability. It looks like your options are a little more limited over there, but you’re on the right track.


I’m running a DL360 G5 and have no problems with running around 9 VMs and a pfSense VM. I’m going to be building up a FreeNAS box some time soon to compliment for storage (sometime in the next few months hopefully). And then later this year get another Proliant to start building my data center. Then next year (as long as the boss lets me) Imma going to double my storage and get at least another server so that I can play around with HA.

Hi All
Just an update

Well i bit the bullet and bought the
Wow love it?
Even better my wife loved the fluffy ear muffs i brought her :grinning::grinning:

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Well finally got the server of the floor and working like a dream after many many hours of testing esxi xnp-ng proxmox and learning so much ??

Ended up with esxi running multible vm’s
Freenas box storing the vm’s and shares