It’s been roughly six years since I’ve done any significant hardware refresh to my home lab. I’ve been using two Mid-2011 Mac Mini’s (i5 2.3GHz) as my physical servers. Both running Ubuntu Linux server with KVM and VirtualBox as the hypervisors. These tiny machines have been rock solid and have serve me well over all these years, however it’s come time to retire them; after all these two computers have been up and running 24×7 for at least six years respectively.
Originally, my main concern using the now retired Mac Mini’s was heating, which I mainly mitigated by replacing their original spinning disk drives with solid state ones. One of the Mac Mini’s was a major concern in particular as it ran at least 15-20 degrees hotter than the other. During the summer this Mac Mini at times measured 90-99° Celsius! Of which I was force to shutdown the computer to allow it cool down.
Another reason why I decided to finally retire both Mac Mini’s was because of noise. For the most part the Mac Mini’s are relatively silent, however since both machines are located my bedroom, the fan noise it’s quite noticeable (at least for my ears).
So I decided to replace my Mac Minis with an Intel NUC (NUC7i3BNH).
Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS
Intel Core i3-7100U
Crucial 32GB DDR4-2400 (PC4-19200) RAM
Crucial MX500 500GB SSD
Seagate Backup Plus 2TB USB 3.0 2.5 – Backup Storage
With total cost of $711.12, my new Intel NUC is projected to be my primary home lab server for the next 5 years.