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 Post subject: 15W D510MO music server
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:49 am 
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I recently decided to clean up my server and network equipment area, as part of a basement remodeling project. I built a 11U rack cabinet from plywood and used rack rails that I scavenged from a junked cabinet many years ago. It sits on casters making it easy to move and service. I've wanted to rack my servers for a long time, to keep them physically protected, to make them easier to move, and to cut down on the space they occupied as separate towers.

I have two servers. I wrote about my unRAID video server here (smallnetbuilder.com). The CM Centurion 590 tower is 17.3" tall, so it fits between the rack rails shelf-mounted on its side. I'm sticking with this case for the movie server; there are no inexpensive 4U rack chassis with nine 5.25" bays. Norco's RPC-450TH would be perfect, but it's damn expensive.

For the past 5 years I've been using an an old Dell Optiplex GX110 for the music server. You can read about it here (silentpcreview.com). All I need in a music server is something to host flac's and run slimserver/squeezecenter for my Squeezeboxes.

Although the price was right, I was never fully happy with the GX110 for these reasons:
  1. No USB 2.0. Backups over USB1 are tragically slow, so I would backup over my LAN, except...
  2. LAN limited to 100Mb/s (3Com integrated NIC). I could have added a gigE NIC, except...
  3. I removed and lost the PCI card daughter board! Oops.
  4. The chassis was enormous. It would not fit in my rack cabinet.
  5. No suspend to ram (S3).
I've wanted to rebuild the music server ever since Intel debuted the Atom, but the early 945G chipset Atom's were too power inefficient. I was looking closely at the Intel D945GSEJT, but it's a single-core Atom, requires notebook SODIMM (only 1 slot), and is more expensive than most Atom boards. The new Pine Trail Atom boards look great, and that's what I ultimately went with.

Parts list:
  1. Norco RPC-230 2U rack chassis
    It's nice because it's not insanely deep. Many rack cases are 20+ inches deep. The case is nice overall, but there are some noteworthy design flaws:
    1. The 2 front fans are too close to the front intake grill. And this grill is very restrictive. This = turbulance. I tried to work around this by slowing down the stock fans. Even at 6VDC (wired in series) their noise was distracting. So I removed them and installed a single 80mm 0.9A Scythe that came with the minja a few years ago. Mounted in the same position as the stock fans, the Scythe is quieter but not by much - that grill is simply too restrictive. So I needed another solution, which I'll describe below.
    2. The case is too wide. Norco states that this case is EIA-310 compliant, which means the front panel shouldn't exceed 19 inches wide. The case I received was 19.25 inches wide and would not fit in my cabinet. I emailed Norco support, who replied that they are changing their tooling and would ship me narrower replacement ears as soon as they were available. WOW - how's that for excellent service! Since replacement ears are comming at some time (Norco was unsure of their ETA), I was free to modify the stock rack ears. They come off with a few screws. I removed about 3/16-inch from each side using a bench grinder. The chassis is now 18-15/16 from ear to ear.
    The case is really nice to work with. Everything uses screws, which doesn't bother me. The only hassle is replaceing the front fans - you have to disassemble the entire front of the case to get them out. Combined with the overly restrictive front intake, there is a lot of room for improvement here.

    My cooling fan solution: Since I'm using a picoPSU, there's a large vacant space where an ATX PSU would be. I built a little duct to hold the 80mm Scythe, angled to direct airflow over the CPU heatsink and memory. This works very well and is noiseless to my ears. The duct is constructed from corrugated plastic sheet. The fan is kept in position with double sided tape. The whole assembly is just slightly taller than the chassis, and with the top panel installed everything is held in place very snugly.
  2. Intel D510MO mITX motherboard/CPU
    It uses the new dual-core D510 Atom and a PCIe Realtek 8111DL gigabit NIC. SPCR reviewed here. The 24-pin PSU connector doesn't need all 24-pins; the 20-pin PicoPSU works fine.
  3. 1x 1GB DDR2-667
    Just basic 1.8V ram.
  4. 320 GB Scorpio Blue
    Because of it's extremely low-power consumption. There are 4 3.5" HDD bays in the RPC-230; HDD's are attached by bottom screws in each tray. This doesn't accommodate 2.5" drives very well, so I removed all the trays and just strapped the drive down to some foam with stretch magic. It's inaudible.
  5. PicoPSU-80 w/60W brick
    This is the smallest PSU I could find. DC-IN jack is installed in a PCI slot cover.

It's a very simple system, but achieves everything I need perfectly. Oh, and it IDLES AT 15W :D.

Image Image Image

Image Image Image

Image Image
Those last 2 pictures are my server cabinet. Top -> bottom:
- Rack drawer
- D510MO music server
- unRAID Movie server (CM Centurion 590 case on its side)

ps. Anyone spot the used bike parts in my cabinet?

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Last edited by Jay_S on Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:49 am, edited 6 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:01 am 
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Oh, and lm-sensors is is a little screwy. Given those wacky voltage readings, I'm not sure how much I trust the temp and fan speed readings...

Image

Everything's working fine and nothing is hot to the touch. I guess as long as it doesn't shut down, I'm happy!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:23 am 
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Cool build! That rack cabinet is almost living room proof! :D

What did you use for the rackmount posts? Do you have any pictures of building the chassis as well?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:23 am 
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Strid wrote:
What did you use for the rackmount posts? Do you have any pictures of building the chassis as well?

Thanks - no pics of building the cabinet, but it's just a plywood box. It's dimensions are specific to the rack rails that I had. The rails and the rack drawer were pulled from a Hardigg mil-grade box, similar to these. The plastic shell was damaged, so I pulled the whole rack sub-assembly and the drawer. I've had them for YEARS, and just finally got around to building a cabinet for them. I was going to go with standard black paint, but I wanted to use up some "ceiling" paint that I already had. It's the worst paint I've ever used. It's supposed to hide discolorations or stains, but it doesn't hide anything. It may look living-room quality in the photos, but up close it's pretty bad. There's like 4 coats of paint over the primer, and it's still a little see-through. Terrible stuff, but good enough for the basement!

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 Post subject: Re: 15W D510MO music server
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:29 pm 
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Jay_S wrote:
.....ps. Anyone spot the used bike parts in my cabinet?


It took me a while, but I spotted the brake blocks. Used to stop the cabinet hitting the wall behind it? Very ingenious.

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 Post subject: Re: 15W D510MO music server
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:33 pm 
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Big Pimp Daddy wrote:
It took me a while, but I spotted the brake blocks. Used to stop the cabinet hitting the wall behind it? Very ingenious.

Bingo. Both servers intake/exhaust from the rear, so I needed something to prevent that airflow from getting cut off.

I was a bike mechanic in a former life, and have waaaay too many odds & ends parts. It's mostly obsolete and useless parts; I use them wherever possible to get rid of them. The future owner of our house had better have a bunch of metric tools.

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Last edited by Jay_S on Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:57 am 
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(March 1 2010 - updated original post with additional details)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:20 pm 
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Speed tests :D

Jperf results. TCP stream test between my desktop's Realtek 8111C and the D510MO's 8111D. Had to adjust TCP window size to 64k to saturate gigE
Image


IOZone results. Only 1GB of ram in the server, so I stopped testing at 2GB file size. No need to graph file sizes less than 256MB either (cache effects dominate the chart).
Image


Note that the CPU was pegged during the read and re-read tests - samba (smbd) process chugging away on a single logical core:
Image

All in all, I'm very pleased with this. I have Win7 on a notebook - I'll test file copy performance later on. Should be better than IOZone, given Vista/7's updated file copy engine and SMB2. I'm curious to see if Win7's multiple in-flight bits will spawn additional smbd processes on the server.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:16 pm 
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Where'd you buy your rack chassis from? I want to eventually someday when I have space get a two post rack and have all my IT equipment mounted in it.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:39 pm 
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lifeisgood wrote:
Where'd you buy your rack chassis from?

The RPC-230 is from Newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.a ... 6811219032
I think this would be iffy in a 2-post rack with a regular ATX power supply because of the PSU weight. In my case, the PicoPSU weighs near nothing. There's very little weight at the end of the "lever" if you know what I mean.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:02 pm 
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Ah, yes.

I'll be using it for this build here http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=58244

So it will just be a transplant from that case into the rack case.

Thats cool, I had been looking for a reasonably priced ITX rack case... :D


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:48 pm 
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OK, cool - your build would be perfect in this chassis bolted to a 2-post rack. I've replied with other comments in your build thread...

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