Building a 2.5 Gbps Load Balancer Server for $500

I put together a build for a 2.5 Gbps server, which can run Nginx and act as a load balancer for my other servers. Here’s all the parts in pcpartpicker:

Fractal Design Core 1000: $50 at Central Computers

This has become the case of my choice. It’s cheap and just really a delight to work with. I have put together 2 of these already, and just enjoyed the builds with this. The reason I chose this case in the first place is because it had the smallest form factor which could take in a micro ATX motherboard. Because I put these in a rack, the physical dimensions really make a difference in how many cases can fit. I can technically fit 3 of these on one shelf, consuming 9U — which equates to 3U per case.

Intel Core i3-10100: $92 at Amazon

I wanted a chip, which comes with at least 4 physical cores, at least 3 Ghz base clock, integrated graphics and comes with CPU cooler to keep costs low. This chip clocks at 3.6 Ghz base, and 4.3 Ghz turbo and supports up to 128 GB RAM. While I don’t intend to put 128 GB RAM right now, I put the build together to allow for that later.

Gigabyte B560M: $90 at Amazon

I picked this board because it had 2.5 Gbps network and 4 RAM slots allowing for the expansion later.

G.Skill Ripjaws 64 GB: $165 at Amazon

was the cheapest compatible RAM I could get.

Samsung 980 500 GB M.2: $60 at Amazon

A load balancer wouldn’t need much disk, but in case there are other small things running on the system, having a 500 GB of space is a safeguard — particularly when the 250 GB NVMe modules are going for about the same price.

EVGA GD 500W 80+ Gold: $55 at Amazon

I tend to go for non-modular power supply. They’re cheaper and you don’t have to go fishing for the wires later if needed. They’re all in the case. And the case I use above allows the extra wires to tuck in nicely at the top, which is there the power supply is placed.

In total, this build costs 512 USD (before taxes), with a better spec than one of the mini-PC boxes you can buy on Amazon. And it should make for a perfect 2.5 Gbps Nginx load balancer server.


September 5, 2022