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N40L Motherboard Upgrade

Brian M

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Evening All,


I've gotten to the point now where I've outgrown the CPU in my Microserver (N40L isn't really cutting it any more). And as much as I'd love to upgrade to a gen8, by the time I've replaced the RAM, upgraded the CPU and cooling, I really can't justify the cost. 


I've therefore decided to re-use as many components as possible, and upgrade the Motherboard and CPU. The biggest issue here is the motherboard - has anyone attempted this?


The board I'm planning on using is a H81M-VG4 R3.0 Mini ITX. Although it's custom, the N40L is a Mini ITX fit, so physically putting it in there isn't a problem. Since I have a CPU I can use lying around, this would cost about £50 all in. My considerations:


 - RAM: Should be able to use the same RAM I have in my MicroServer (non-ecc)

 - HDDs: Connected to a p410, so should not be a problem

 - Back panel: obviously there is no back plate to remove, so I'll need to cut out a hole for the backplate, once the box is stripped down this shouldn't be a problem (being careful with a damp cloth obviously to avoid metal shavings)

 - 12v: the PSU in the N40L doesn't seem to have a 12v ATX connector - so I'll need to supply this via a molex connector - I've done this before on other boards so should not be an issue

 - Case/usb headers - these look standard, so I don't foresee there being any problems

 - Heatsink/CPU cooling - obviously not much clearance, will probably need a low-profile heatsink and side-mounted fan


Beyond the normal stuff (making sure load stays within the limits of the PSU, etc), have I missed anything big here? I'm not expecting an easy/straight forward swap, but I think it's doable (and saves throwing out lots of perfectly good hardware just for a CPU upgrade!), and I'll get to keep the form factor of the MicroServer (any other custom build I'm looking at is going to be atx).

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N40l system board is not mini ITX.

Every time I have looked into this it appears to be a massive amount of cutting for the add in cards.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 01/02/2018 at 12:54 AM, thielj said:

@Brian M, did this work?


I would also be really interested to see how you got on, have been thinking about this myself. If you have a guide or tips it would be much appreciated :D

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