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feasibility of running server in loft UK


vwsplitty1980
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Hi

I have been running a windows server 2012 and now r2 server for a good couple of year now but the other half is saying she needs the space back in the spare room. So my question is has anyone put a server in the loft at all? I thinking about it but not sure how it would cope with the winter and summer months. I'm mainly after any one from the UK who has done this but please all feel free to throw some advise my way.

Cheers

 

 

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It'll depend on your house and location really. Can you stick a thermometer up there to keep an eye on the temperature?

 

I've got a server in an unheated garage and its been fine there. During winter, the heat from the server itself keeps it around 10C and summer it'll be around 35C inside the server.

Edited by GotNoTime
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I assume in UK a loft is what US would call an attic? If so, temperature swings, high and low are issues as is humidity or lack there of.

How big is your server today, physically? Performance and number of drives? I live in Minnesota. We deal with hot humid summers(100F and 90%) and cold dry winters(-30F and 0%). There are industrial computing solutions that could survive this, but they would be quite expensive. If possible I would build an enclosed box in the loft/attic with fans to move air from the living area in and out of the box. Basically, build a room for the server. Moving air from the living area in and out should keep the server within operating range. You could automate the fans to be controlled by temperature sensors. Power and cabling would need to be run through the wall up to the server.  

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IIRC, London is about on the same Latitude as Minnesota, the first thing I would expect are heat issues, maybe not as bad as Minnesota, but without proper air flow, you could even see chip creep.  A phenomenon where the CPU will actually unseat itself.

Good air flow is essential followed by good cool air flow.

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Also, if it is an unfinished loft then it may be extremely dusty up there.

 

IIRC, London is about on the same Latitude as Minnesota, the first thing I would expect are heat issues, maybe not as bad as Minnesota, but without proper air flow, you could even see chip creep.  A phenomenon where the CPU will actually unseat itself.

I don't see how you'd ever get chip creep with a modern system since the pressure on the retaining mechanism is far greater than anything you'd get via thermal cycling. Same goes for the DIMMs, the retaining clips will keep it in despite thermal cycling.

 

Chip creep can be a major problem with anything like the very old computers which used cheap stamped pin DIP sockets. The more expensive turned pin sockets reduced the chance of this happening significantly.

Edited by GotNoTime
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We saw a LOT of strange things in Iraq.  That's why the IT folks always had plenty of GOOD AC.  While I agree it is less likely now, you could see some thermal separation between the CPU cooler and the CPU itself.

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Thanks for all the info guys.

I'm running a ts140 with four 3tb wd Reds and two ssd's. Will also have an external hard drive caddy on to it. It will be working at lot harder now it running a vm with blueiris for my new camera set up.

It is unfinished loft. I must admit I'm worried about the humid come winter although we don't get that extreme in the winter I did notice that I got speaks of mould on items in my garage.

Does anyone put any kind of filtration on the air intakes of putting in the loft?

 

 

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Hi

 

I'm UK based (Midlands area) and have previously run a PC in an unfurnished lift of a 1980's build 2-bed semi back in the early 2000's

 

It wasn't running anything particularly heavy (file server on windows XP Pro) but still ran pretty hot (early Athlon processors!).

 

The loft had pretty good airflow from the soffit boards, the floor was boarded out and there wasn't much other stuff up there which helped keep dust and humidity down.

 

If humidity is a concern you could try sachets of silica gel in the bottom of the case?

 

Perhaps the biggest thing to look at is vibration. Putting a server over your head on a wooden frame which is attached to your rafters will create a low level vibration hum which will be clearly audible lying in bed in a silent house at night!!

 

I've currently got a microserver sitting on the work surface in my utility room and have had to insulate the base to reduce the noise..

 

FYI I've bought a TS140 to migrate to and had planned to put it up the loft but my reluctance to do so comes from 1) vibration, 2) quick access to the box (planning for it to be an ESXi box running main gateway, media streaming server, WHS2011 instance, test environment boxes etc so keen to ensure I can access / reconfigure quickly if network connectivity goes down).

If I can crack the vibration issue I'm inclined to leave it out of the loft and perhaps hide it away behind the corner stand for the TV instead!!

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was considering putting my server in the loft which is basically just a PC in a tower case with 5 HDs in it atm. Just in a bedroom after a while it collects shit loads of dust and chucks out loads of heat even though it's just a dual core CPU and basic GFX card etc.

 

Anyway I live in the UK and was concerned about the highs and lows in the loft so over the last few months put a thermometer up there and checked it occasionally. On one particularly day it was 34C up there! Seemed extremely hot to me while I was up there but I think that's as hot as it got. Although not sure I checked it midday.

 

I assume that would be too hot?

 

Not sure how cold it gets yet... time will tell...

 

This is aside from the dust problem although could get round that with a case with dust filters? Or is the dust in a loft still too much? I think it might be...

 

As for vibration I was thinking of putting it on rubber mats and/or granite board that has spiked feet so heavy and very little contact with the loft floor. Should be enough to not hear it in the below bedrooms right?

Edited by CaptainFred
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I'm thinking the same thing tbh, my Gen8 is getting a bit noisey now since the P222 went in there, bang it up in the attic with the 2 test servers, connect them all via an 8 port switch then run a cable down the side of the house into the office with another 8 port switch..

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