How I got here

So I see a lot of confusion from people that seem to think that they should also get a system like mine, or otherwise replicate my software setup on their machines. I figured I should probably explain more of why I have this setup, and probably why you don't want what I have as not understanding how things work are likely to lead you into many pain points that have lead me directly here. I should probably start with the list of things that I don't need, but people seem to think is a massive gain.


I do not need 32 cores for my system. I rarely use more than 2% of this CPU even while running several VM's and sometimes do compiles on it. Even doing 10 transcodes on the CPU at once still doesn't fully use it, and if transcodes are something you need, I'd likely recommend a GPU to encode it. This includes integrated GPU's on consumer CPU's.


RAM is something that will depend massively on your workload. I personally use ZFS, and many TB of storage on mechanical drives. Feeding RAM to that can help performance substantially, and this is where most of my RAM needs to be. I run a pretty large, by most people in the affordable homelab space, software stack, and other than ZFS ARC, most of my actual services will max out about 8GB of RAM needed, 16GB if I want to push it to "just testing" levels. You probably don't need 128GB of RAM.


This was one of the biggest reasons that I went with the Epyc platform. This platform supports bifurcation allowing me to put more SSD's into PCIE slots, along with having many lanes to even enable me to run more devices. Many consumer platforms may appear to have 2/3 PCIE 16x, and 2/3 PCIE 1x, but don't actually have enough lanes to drive that. If you try to use 2 16x devices, they will usually drop to 8x, and some boards are only 8x on the second slot always. If you don't plan on much expansion, this is likely not something you care about. I needed the ability to run a few SAS cards for storage, and currently run PCIE networking at 10 gig speeds, and want the ability to do 40/100 gig at some point in the future. Between having proper passthrough support, as well as a massive amount of lanes to actually get devices running at full speed, I can do what I wouldn't ever attempt on most consumer platforms


VM's are generally something useful in the homelab, but putting your NAS/SAN into a VM has serious implications that you should understand before trying that. Most consumer platforms have pretty bad support for things like PCIE passthrough, be it just having general bugs, or not separating IOMMU groups, leading you to being unable to pass through in general. If you choose to run ZFS, you should give it direct access to the drive controller to help it detect and correct errors. If you have a few TB of throw away data, do as you please, but if you plan to have significant data stored, and/or you care about that data at all, I can't recommend using USB devices, or otherwise giving ZFS indirect access to the storage as you will eventually find issues, and it may be too late. If rebuilding all of your storage is not an issue, do as you see fit, but don't say you weren't warned.

What you probably should do

If you aren't planning on getting a board that has all of the server features, compressing everything into one machine is likely going to cause you more pain than it will help. I'd also not recommend running storage in a VM unless you understand the implications, and plan for it. These days, I highly recommend TrueNAS Scale if you don't personally want to manage the system all at a command line, and even if you do, some of the reporting and automation features are just nice to have, even as someone that managed my storage on headless Alpine for many years. It can also host some basic VM's and "Apps" to replace most people's docker needs. If you don't know exactly why you don't want it at a technical level, it's probably a good option for you.

Further questions?

If that wasn't a complete enough explication of why my system is likely overkill, and why I don't recommend what works for me, feel free to reach out to me on discord as kdb424, or via email at as I love questions and am happy to help!