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Workstation / Server Build


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I've just bought a Sun Ultra 24 workstation, mainly because I love Sun stuff (my first proper computer was a Sun 3/60), and also because it's just an ATX based PC.

As it is, it's a Core2 Duo with 4GB of RAM (and no hard drive), with a maximum of 8GB on board. Spending out on the extra 4GB probably isn't worth it, unless it's really cheap as a stopgap.

I'm planning on using it as a headless Docker host, so ideally need at least 16GB RAM, but doesn't need to be a games machine.

Any suggestions on a cheap & cheerful ATX motherboard, CPU etc for it? I haven't built a computer for years.

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Anything will work in an Ultra 24, but I'd go with AMD/Ryzen because I'm childish and don't buy Intel.

But, just like every Sun workstation ever made*, it'll be noisy.  Sort out some kind of fan controller or something.

[* Well, that's clearly not true.  The SLC that was my first Sun was silent, and the Calvin that replaced it was a bit noisy.  Then they invented Ultrasparcs and you had to buy ear defenders.]

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Our engineering block had a floor full of 3/60s, half replaced the next year by SLCs. I bought an SLC some years ago but never got around to booting it from TFTP. I replaced it with a SARCstation 5, then an Ultra 5.

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Lightly Toasted

My PC started out as a (Xeon) workstation too, I ran it pretty much "as is" for years, then upgraded last Jan/Feb because of looming supply chain disruptions. Can be a good way of getting a quality case with still-usable bits thrown in!

I'm in the AMD/Ryzen camp too, not keen on Intel at the moment.

I got one of these:


which is a budget board because it's less blingy and lacking a few things (USB 3 has to be added with your own bracket for example), not because important (power/thermal related) corners have been excessively cut.

Unfortunately now is a bad time to be buying CPUs, the Ryzen 2600 that cost me £100, is now £150 :(

If noise is a problem then the Noctua coolers are good, my case is height restricted due to having a separate vertical drive compartment but their small tower cooler is still inaudible:



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I'm all in on low power pcs now.  I use ITX motherboards, often the all in ones and often fanless.  Great for HTPC and basic office stuff.  Just built a smart looking micro pc for the (warm!) kitchen working with an old Samsung TV I had lying around.  First time I've used an external pico psu.  The Q1900 CPU uses under 10w so the whole combo is very low power.  Looks great, for pc stuff and Chromecast of Youtube, etc.  Sits on a nice curved breakfast bar I installed.


PS:  Added a new internal Intel mini pcie wifi/bluetooth card with an external aerial I had spare. Awesome.

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