Google Cloud Platform vs. recent stuff vs. refurbished machine

Recently, I have received “the very first time GCP client” offer from Google. I assume that all the people get this initial credit so they can test GCP based services. For me this was an obvious sign – how will it perform with Minecraft installed. To be honest, I was positively surprised. Setting everything up took just a few moments. All I had to do was bringing up virtual instance, performing some firewall settings in the GCP console, and making sure that my machine is ready to host Minecraft server (you can read about setting Minecraft server here: and here: Eventually, once everything was up and running, the overall experience was close to perfect. The only thing that worried me was the pricing. For a month of hosting, I’d have to pay something like this:

Compute Engine (CPU)     - 25 USD
Compute Engine (RAM)     - 14 USD 
Compute Engine (storage) -  1 USD

Total                    - 40 USD

This gives 480 USD, per year, for hosting my personal Minecraft instance. Hard to say whether it’s expensive or not. On a contrary, I’d have to pay 100 USD per year, once I have decided for Minecraft Realms. This solution, however, was not quite what I was looking for. Realms binds you to Mojang services and you have to agree on whatever they want to serve. As far as I am aware of, Realms doesn’t support mods (at least not all of them). Anyways, throwing money at service oriented product was not an option for me. I have decided to go with my personal setup.

I have started bold – while preparing new setup: Intel Core i5-9600K, 16GB RAM, two 240 GB SSD so I can go with a RAID based storage, case, power supply, motherboard, fans, additional space for a backup … and I have ended up with something like 666 USD. Way too expensive! This was not an option for me as well. I have easily jumped over the GCP’s pricing.

And here comes the refurbishing based setup to the rescue. Eventually I have done some research and have found a local company that sells refurbished machines. I have decided to choose DELL OPTIPLEX 3040M MICRO that comes with i5-6500T (this CPU is more than enough to host two Minecraft servers), 16GB and huge 240GB SSD storage.

Total cost (with two USB sticks that serve as a backup drives) – 333 USD. Half the price of recent model and 70% of the GCP’s price. And this one is really something I was looking for.

As for the backup option, this is the first time I have decided that investing in external USB SSD drives makes not much sense. In my case, Minecraft world is the only thing that will be backed up. After checking how does it look like after five months, my storage requirements are not that impressive.

> du -s -h backup
18G	backup
> ls -1 backup/* | wc -l

169 daily backups took only 18GB of space. 128GB will be enough to keep a track of almost three years of server’s activity. As I have two instances, it’s still year and a half. This is why I have decided to go with USB sticks instead of external SSD drives. It’s simply way cheaper. For a price of a single SSD drive, I have two, separate locations for a backup. And, what’s even more important, I don’t have all sorts of cables laying around.