For my latest machine, I had one of those QNAP or Synology NAS systems in mind when planning the whole thing. Of course I want to run OS X on it, while being more powerful, energy efficient and with as little noise as possible (it will sit next to my TV in the living room – in a cupboard though) and with ECC RAMs to ensure data integrity (I just want them !! 🙂 ).
This whole requirements however turned out to be much more difficult to fulfill then I thought it would. For ECC you need – besides the RAM modules of course – a Xeon CPU and (thank you Intel…… NOT !) a board with the correct chipset (c224, c226 in the haswell world) – none of those “gaming” chipsets (H, P, Q, Z, X…) support ECC – still I think this function is rather blocked.
Well then on the other hand, there are not a lot of server boards out there which feature a mini-ITX form factor. Turns out exactly 2!!! as of writing, one of which I ordered, the other one is the ASRock E3C224D2I. Now ASRock on their side also didn’t made my life too easy as they blocked / didn’t implement IGP passthrough even though its part of the chipset c226 (interesting post here, which I unfortunately only found after I ordered it…) while the Xeon 1268L comes with an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600 😦 . Consequently I had to find a graphic card, which I wanted to passive-cooled to reduce noise (Problem No. 1 nowadays) and is of low-profile (Problem No. 2 nowdays). Nowadays only giga-texel-8GB super-graphic cards are made by AMD/ATI or NVidia.
Now I use the following components (Prices in US$ from Newegg or Amazon):
- Motherboard (Mini ITX): ASRock E3C226D2I BIOS Revision 2.00 (UEFI patched) – $224.99
- CPU: Intel® Xeon™ 2,3 GHz (1268L V3 Haswell) – $255.00
- CPU Fan: SilverStone Technology Nitrogon NT07-115X (replaced the Noctua NH-L9i Low Profile CPU Cooler which was too high unfortunately 😦 ) – $34.99
- RAM: Kingston ValueRAM 16GB Kit (2x8GB Modules) 1333MHz DDR3 PC3-10666 ECC CL9 DIMM Intel Certified Server Memory KVR13E9K2/16I – $198.99
- Graphics: Nvidia Quadro NVS 295 256MB GDDR3 – $23.95 (used)
- HDD: Samsung 850 Pro 128GB – $109.99
- Chassis: NSC-400 Server NAS mini ITX PC Case Storage Hot Swap Chassis – $70.00
- Power Supply: Enhance ENP-7025B 250 Watt power supply – $59.99
Overall price: $977.90 – not too bad 🙂
And some pictures: