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Setting up a new computer

Some of you might already know that I am a Gandpa and I attend college (starting 2nd year in computer programming). In order to keep up with technology, I have upgraded to a new (super) computer. My plan is to install Windows Server 2008 R2 as the primary OS with the HyperV role added. I will create the first Virtual Machine as a Windows 7 computer and run it as that. I also plan to create other Virtual Machines for SQL Server, Exchange Server and such.
So, if your still reading this and haven't fallen asleep yet.........
  • Has anyone done a set-up like this?
  • Any Virtual Machine gurus out there willing to share advice/experience?
  • Anyone familiar with the HyperV role or Windows Server?

I would like to find out if there are any major pitfalls to this idea before I dive in too deep.

Stats on the new system:
  • I7 2600 with turbo boost
  • 16 Gigs of DDR3 RAM
  • Currently Windows 7 Pro
  • 2 TB Hard Drive
  • Nvidea 560 GTX TI vid card @ 1.25 Gigs DDR5 RAM
So I'm confident that this system will run everything I need in Virtual Machines without performance issues.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I know I didn't get to any specific questions yet, but I'm sure I will have many questions before I get this up and running.

Comments

  • I am not positive but I hear that using a better video card when using virtual machines can actually cause worse performance. I heard this from an old Server manager I used to work with. Now, aside from that my only suggestion is that you add either more drives and put one VM on each drive or create a raid 5 array. Virtual machines do two things. They consume a lot of memory (you have 16GB so you should be ok) and they are tough on HD I/O especially if you are running more than one.

    I used to run Hyper V and I had my VMs on a 3 Drive Raid 5 array and it was still a little slow. And that was with 8GB memory and a dual quad core xeon setup. I could have added up to 8 drives but I couldn't afford it at the time. I still have that server but I haven't brought it over to my house from my parents. I NEED to get on that!
  • phobicsquirrelphobicsquirrel Posts: 7,349
    camgfs:
    Some of you might already know that I am a Gandpa and I attend college (starting 2nd year in computer programming). In order to keep up with technology, I have upgraded to a new (super) computer. My plan is to install Windows Server 2008 R2 as the primary OS with the HyperV role added. I will create the first Virtual Machine as a Windows 7 computer and run it as that. I also plan to create other Virtual Machines for SQL Server, Exchange Server and such.
    So, if your still reading this and haven't fallen asleep yet.........
    • Has anyone done a set-up like this?
    • Any Virtual Machine gurus out there willing to share advice/experience?
    • Anyone familiar with the HyperV role or Windows Server?

    I would like to find out if there are any major pitfalls to this idea before I dive in too deep.

    Stats on the new system:
    • I7 2600 with turbo boost
    • 16 Gigs of DDR3 RAM
    • Currently Windows 7 Pro
    • 2 TB Hard Drive
    • Nvidea 560 GTX TI vid card @ 1.25 Gigs DDR5 RAM
    So I'm confident that this system will run everything I need in Virtual Machines without performance issues.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I know I didn't get to any specific questions yet, but I'm sure I will have many questions before I get this up and running.

    Always nice to build a new comp. I just finished my new one a few weeks ago. I could give you some pointers if you like, as I do this stuff for my biz.

    First, what is your goal for this computer? What will it be used for? That's the first question I always ask.

    12 gigs of ram is a bit overkill btw. I also need to know what type of motherboard you will be using? Some if not most MB have some "issues" with using all of the dims on the board. Meaning that it can cause stability issues, slower performance and such. Sounds crazy but it exists. Also the ram you are wanting to use is it duel or triple channel?

    But first I need to know what the purpose of this guy will be. Then we can go from there.
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    To piggyback on Pheebs, your computer may be overkill - unless you've into heavy video editing/rendering, or the most hardcore of gamer, this system may well be a massive overkill
  • camgfscamgfs Posts: 968
    Thank you all for your input. As for the use of the computer....which is already running and I am using it to post this message.....
    It will serve 2 roles
    The first and foremost is to help me with my college courses. More specifically, a server (Windows server 2008 R2) with the Hyper V Role installed. From there, I will use Virtial Machines to run a server as a domain controller and another one as a SQL Server running SQL Server 2008 R2. I will have client machines running Win7, Win XP, Vista and at least 2 Linux boxes, most likely Ubuntu and Ubuntu Server.
    These are all part of my college course, and this setup will give me a working environment in my own home instead of spending my weekends at the college to complete assignments.

    The second role of this computer is for the regular Windows 7 things, like gaming, email, surfing and Office stuff, but I am also a web designer and I regularly convert video in VHS format to current video formats including flash animation for clients.
    In short I need it for:
    • Virtualization
    • Server
    • Running Multi-platform virtual environments
    • Heavy video conversions
    • Image manipulation and image editing tools
    • Visual Studio
    • programming (C, C#, PHP and more)
    • Gaming (gotta have some fun, right?)


    I'm sure I've left out something, but my brain is mush right now....need a cigar maybe?

    So what do I have set up right now? I have Windows 7 on the first Hard Drive (2TB) and Server 2008 R2 on the second Hard Drive (also 2TB). I have to install drivers for the network card and video card on the Server system.
    This gives me a dual boot option so I can choose at boot time if I am working on school stuff (server) or regular stuff (Win 7)

    I hope that explains why I went so big on RAM (DDR3) and hard drive space.
  • camgfscamgfs Posts: 968
    I will have to look thinks up to find more specifics. This system was pretty much build so all I had to do was connect a few things, add the second HD and any software I want to use. It did not come with any software pre-installed (well, it had Win 7 Home Premium, but not for long). As for overkill, the first computer I purchased had a 4 Gig hard drive, and the salesman told me "you will never fill that in your lifetime". My SQL Server Virtual Machine should top 70 Gigs when loaded with sample databases and all the roles. I don't think anything is overkill these days, but that might be just me?
  • JudoChinXJudoChinX Posts: 775
    Sounds like you have yourself a computer to be jealous of! I've run my fair share of VMs and like to use VirtualBox to do so. Easy to setup (even networking which can be a headache using VMWare) and feature rich. It sounds like these VMs are merely there for a testing platform, yes? Though they'll still eat their fair share of resources, they won't be dealing with anything near the load of a production server.

    As far as overkill goes, I say bah. Memory is so inexpensive these days that 16GB really isn't a big deal price wise, and even on my paltry (in comparison) machine, I've used up all 8GB of available memory at times, so I say the more the merrier. I like the i7. Quad core is going to do you good, and hyper threading will do you even better, especially when using VMs. I like what you've done here. Looks like you went for the bang for your buck parts instead of purchasing items far more expensive than their performance warrants. I'd say get a raid 1 going (or 10, 5, 6) for performance and redundancy, and you should be in tip top shape.
  • djbeeniedjbeenie Posts: 469
    Nice machine! I have a Dell 2600 and 2950 Servers running VMWare ESXi. <3 VMWARE I have an Exchange 2010, SQL 2008, Ubuntu Webserver, Two DC's Server 2008 R2, Citrix XenApp 5.0 all running in a rack in my garage. HA! I still want to build my super Cuda password cracking computer using multiple GPUs. http://www.secmaniac.com/february-2011/building-the-ultimate-bad-***-cuda-cracking-server/
  • camgfscamgfs Posts: 968
    Thanks for the advice on RAID configuration. I will play around with it and hope not to blow anything up in the process, lol.
    I loaded Hyper V in Server 2008 R2 this morning. With the Hyper V Role, you don't need any other VM software....it has a VM Manager built-in that you can use to build and manage all of your VM's, AND it is 'hardware aware', so it runs at hardware level instead of emmulation or 'simulated' hardware. This means it should be able to use your video card (and I had that working until installing the Hyper V role, now it does not detect my vid card and I haven't even created ANY Virtual Machines....AARRRRGGGG!). The nice thing about Hyper V is that if it works, it will not be anywhere near as hard on resources as other virtual machine software because it creates less layers for the info to pass through. That's the plan anyway, if I can get it running properly.

  • JudoChinXJudoChinX Posts: 775
    Oh, and before I forget, Gentoo might be a good experience to setup if you find the time. That will teach you tons about Linux.
  • phobicsquirrelphobicsquirrel Posts: 7,349
    Well cool, if it is what you like. I might have a suggestion for you. Instead of your primary hard drive configuration I say you should get a SSD drive or more specifically a PCI ssd drive. They are much faster than 10,000 rpm hd's in raid 0. I have a 240g pci ssd and it's freaking fast. Sure they are spendy and they aren't as large as say a 3tb drive but for most applications 240gigs will fit just fine and any other things can be stored on another drive.

    And 12 gigs isn't over the top, just people rarely use it. Video encoding is really where they will be pushed. The 2600k's are good chips and great for overclocking if your into that. I have 12 gigs on my rig and I only see them being used heavily during encoding. Even on Crysis on maxed settings doesn't touch maxing them out.
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    SSD's and their limited re-writes make me cautious about them
  • phobicsquirrelphobicsquirrel Posts: 7,349
    xmacro:
    SSD's and their limited re-writes make me cautious about them
    That has been an issue and still is for some drives. I know that the sata ssd's have other issues with them, mainly when using sata3 and marvel controllers. Even though ssd's have a "debate" about them on aging re-writing they still are much faster than regular drives. Which is why they are nice, but I don't see them replacing HDD's any time soon.
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    ^ True. They're extremely promising, but it's gonna take a few years before the kinks get works out and they start replacing/supplementing HD drives for me
  • camgfscamgfs Posts: 968
    I did have an option of a SSD, but it was only 40 gigs...and $$$ to get up here.I am way north of anything current(meaning 'location'), and lucky to get my hands on this machine at best.
    I did run into the "top end video card" issue with Hyper V. It doesn't like my card, but I didn't have SP1 installed on my Server R2, so I hope this will address the issue. If not, it had better address the issue of Hyper V not allowing me to run / start a virtual machine!!!. I tested the hardware, read everything I could find about bios settings and everything checks out, but the darn VM's won't start! I can load / build VM's in vmware player/workstation and Micro$oft VM software, but NOT in Hyper V, which is really a pain since that's what I need/want it to work in.

    I am open to any suggestions on how to get it running, if SP1 does not fix it for me.
  • camgfscamgfs Posts: 968
    UPDATE:

    I am posting this from my server....as I build a VM of Windows 7 in full screen, using my Vid card on low settings and dual monitors! :):):):):):):):) mega smileys!

    It seems that Service Pack 1 and a few other updates were needed to resolve the VM start failures and lowering the settings on the Video card works well enough to have it do basic video that is still way better than VGA. My VM is still building/installing the OS, but at least it's gotten that far, whoohoo!!

    I guess my excitement might seem trivial to some, but until last year I never even heard of "Virtual Machines" and had never seen a "Server", so I fell pretty dang proud of myself for getting this far. To celebrate this mind numbing event, I just had to smoke an H. Upman Magnum 50 from 2008. It's a good day!

  • KriegKrieg Posts: 5,092 ✭✭✭
    Glad to hear it's working. Have no experience with hyper v, but if you were using VMware I could help out ;)
  • camgfscamgfs Posts: 968
    Krieg:
    Glad to hear it's working. Have no experience with hyper v, but if you were using VMware I could help out ;)
    I used VMware in school all last year. Not a bad thing, but it was new to me and I took a long time to wrap my head around things like networking and virtual hard drives. I think I understand things a little better this year, and with a home setup, I won't have to drive to school weekends to get some 'hands on' experience. I can blow things up here and learn how to fix them.....and Black Ops rocks on this system LOL

  • Good to see that it is all working for you. With Hyper V you can allocate memory to each VM along with how many processors you want the VM to see which is nice. It has been a while since I used it though. There might have been a limitation where you could only use up to 2 or was it 4 but that was in Server 2008 not R2. Come to think of it, I need to get to my parents house and bring the server back to my place. I just need help lifting it. It is over 100lbs.
  • this will be a beast of a machine i would love to see this in action
  • camgfscamgfs Posts: 968
    Gurkha Man!:
    this will be a beast of a machine i would love to see this in action
    This was the best I could come up with, taken while running the Windows7 OS and doing 2 program installs at the same time:

    image

  • zoom6zoomzoom6zoom Posts: 1,214
    I love looking at the CPU widget I have on the sidebar of my Home Theater PC. It shows twelve cores. Processor is an i7-970, multithreaded six core. Haven't bothered playing with overclocking it yet, I might have to install seatbelts.

    Don't have all the exact specs memorized, and I'm on the road right now...

    Lots of RAM, smoking video card. Boot drive is a 120Gb Intel SSD. Currently have about 6T of additional drive space installed. Win 7 Ultimate, 64 bit.

    Oh, and it's connected to my 55" Samsung LED for a monitor.
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