I was looking to replace my trusty HP MSS EX470 WHS machine and I’ve been dying to build a new small form factor home server. But I wanted the ability to support more the 4 drives without add on eSATA or USB boxes.
After fellow my BYOB’r Tim Daleo built an ATOM server. I had an opportunity to check out his build first hand. I was still skeptical, but I decided to follow suit…sort of
The Stack ready for me to tear into it!
I wanted low power consumption, small form factor and good looks as my top priorities. Since this is just for simple file storage and backup I didn’t require a lot of power. Thus steering me to Gigabyte’s D510 Atom for the platform’s mobo and CPU the ITX size fits the bill for small footprint as does its power sipping properties. 2x1GB Kingston low-profile RAM. Remember I’m just file serving here. The board has 2 SATA 2 GSATA. I’ll be utilizing the solo PCI slot for a 4 port SATA dumb RAID Card.
I’m using the trusty Corsair CX400w PSU plenty of connections (maybe too many) and rock solid performance. A small 2.5” 320gb HDD and 7 3.5” storage HDD’s handle the data duties.
So now we’re down to, what can I stuff these parts in that is small and good looking? I was so excited when I saw pictures Lian Li’s PC-Q08 case. I thought, PERFECT!
Stripped bare the external sides are actually structural elements of the case. The left panel is vented for the PSU and the right panel has standoffs on it as it is actually the motherboard tray. To make matters worse each panel uses no less than six tiny and easily strippable screws. This will come to be a major pain, more on that later…
I didn’t need the optical drive cover so i replaced it with a spare blank face that I had.
In its place I added a 5.25” to 3.5” Bracket to add an additional storage slot bringing the total up to 7 for the 3.5 slots. As you can see the tray is also a structural lateral brace for the case using 4 more of the tiny easily strippable screws.
What about the System drive? I found this spiffy PCI slot load drive cage. SWEET!
Now here a great shot of the interior showing the basic layout. Beneath the 4 bay HDD drive rack , you can either use the supplied support bracket and have room for a long GPU or perhaps some water cooling equipment. Also included is a 2 drive rack that spans the gap below the 4 bay rack. The PSU sits right over the motherboard so i removed it for this shot.
All buttoned up! Overall the system fits the bill. The D510 is responsive and performs tasks without lag. Box seems to be moving plenty of air as I didn’t experience any heat issues. Despite being aluminum the case is really quiet even with 8 HDDs whizzing away.
Why project “BIOS reset”? For some reason the board had defaulted to AHCI not IDE and it took me 5 failed installs before I figured out the issue. Sometimes I’m slow and miss the obvious.
Listen to BYOB show 11 for my audio review of this build and some real unbiased opinions and as always, post your comments and questions.
Michael M. (no-control)