February 6, 2022

From Gerald R. Lucas

Serious Homelab covid-19: day 680 | US: GA | info | act

Seriously, Proxmox is the 💩, and over the course of a day, I have totally revamped my homelab. Even though Windows 10 was running darn well on my little M710q, I always think bigger. It’s a curse. Remember my upgraded Mac Pro? Well, it had been living in my office on campus and not really doing very much.[1] I thought: this would be a hell of a Proxmox server: 48GB RAM; plenty of HD expansion; dual gigabyte NICs. Long story short: I made a USB install drive with Proxmox, installed the original graphics card in the Mac Pro, and had Proxmox installed within minutes.[2] In a few more, I had my machines clustered.

Mac Pro “Behemoth”
  • Mac Pro (Early 2009) with upgraded firmware
  • Dual Intel Xeon X5680s (3.330 MHz)
  • 48GB RAM
  • 250GB SSD in bay 1 running Proxmox
  • 3x 2TB HDDs in bays 2–4
  • 1TB Samsung NVMe in a PCI slot
Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q
  • Intel i5 (6500)
  • 16GB RAM
  • 180GB SSD running Proxmox
  • 1TB Kensington NVMe


I was pretty astounded at how quickly and easily Proxmox installed on this old Mac Pro. I really had it up in a matter of minutes. Even though my Windows 10 install ran well on the Lenovo, I wanted to see if the performance would improve on the Mac Pro, so I migrated it and gave it 10 cores and 24GBs of RAM. I don’t really notice much improvement; however, it’s now bugging me to “active Windows,” so I think the Lenovo had a built-in registration code in the hardware. No big deal to move it back. I’m not going to be playing games or anything.

Since I have some extra storage—three 2TB HDDs—I decided to run TrueNAS as a VM. I followed this guy’s tutorial to install TrueNAS Core, and it’s working well. Therefore, I decided to make this my backup server, too, so I can clear out some room on my Synology to only run Plex and store my media. Since I have about 4TBs available in my RAID configuration, I have quite a bit of room to archive my data, including (maybe) my photography. TrueNAS seems pretty simple, but I’m going to have to read a bit more about it or watch some videos so that I can set it up correctly. I already set up shares for me, Autumn, and our “family” group for document backups.

Finally, I’m thinking about installing pfSense to virtualize my network. Alos, I’m going to free up a Raspberry Pi and virtualize Pihole on Behemoth. I want the Pi for RetroPi for Henry, and I might even install a Minecraft server for him. I know he would dig both of these.

Oh, the possibilities.

Comment icon.png


  1. Because the latest version of the macOS it could run is several iterations out-of-date, it started to have increasing issues with little things, like connecting to printers. I figured it could be a nice legacy machine for when I needed occasionally to run older software. Yet, it seemed a shame that I couldn’t really use it much.
  2. OK, so I had some backups to do, and I brought the computer home, but by the end of the day, a new Proxmox install was humming.