I purchased a used Lenovo ThinkStation D30 for $260 CAD on Kijiji with very under powered chip Xeon E5 2403v2 and 2x8G ram. The CPU is very weak but what important to me was that the machine supports Xeon E5 v2 product family processors (confirmed by machine type number on the sticker) and it has dual LGA-2011 sockets. So I upgraded right away to dual chips with Xeon E5-2667 v2 CPU for $180 CAD each with aftermarket $25 Deep-Cool CPU cooler. They both together perform really well in multi-core performance just like my current overclocked i9 9900K or even better than in some cases. I did some benchmark to compare these systems here if you’re interested in the results.
I also upgraded to 4x16G DDR3 1600MHz ECC RAM for a total of 64G currently for additional $100 CAD. I plan to upgrade to total 128G of RAM in really near future to utilize quad channel feature that the system has to offers.
The issue I faced with ThinkStation D30 case was the heat produced by both 130W TDP CPUs was too much for the original case. It quickly heats up the 1100W power supply. Though, it didn’t give me trouble at the time but I needed to find out the solutions for it because I planed to run this homelab system 24/7. I searched Reddit and Google up and down for build tips but unlucky found anything useful. Luckily, my brother gave me his old case which is the Corsair Obsidian 800D. I needed to transfer all the components to this new case. The process wasn’t simple plug-and-play as you might think. I had to drill the case and made custom supporting brackets on my 3D printer for the mounting points. But eventually, I successfully secured dual socket ThinkStation D30 motherboard to this after market full tower Corsair case. The results were much better in terms of heat issue. Besides it looks much “cooler” with LEDs from the fan. 🙂
I also purchased a LSI 9207-8i HBA card for additional 8 internal 6G/s SATA ports for $60 CAD. This really helps me to expand the system storage capacity to total 16 SATA ports. The case has 4 hot swap drive bay which really helps changing hard drives quickly. If you’re interested in the build process and how I build this home-lab system, you can view it here on my YouTube channel. It explains things more clearly.
If you have followed the money trail in this long post. Summing up, I paid a total of $830 CAD for this system. This cost doesn’t include $20 CAD for EPS CPU extension cable due to the bigger case and cost of hard drives which I already have. All in all, I am very happy the way it turns out after few months collecting parts and thoughts put in to build this system.