A fun little home server project

… or so I thought.

IMG_20150914_174238It started OK; about a year ago, I inherited an old desktop tower case from a neighbour who moved away, a Thermaltake Kandalf. This thing is a monster – almost two feet high and 22 kg, with built-in liquid cooling.

Having spent its life in the Arabian desert, it needed a lot of cleaning to get rid of all the sandy dust, and then it sat in a cabinet until I finally got around to doing something with it last week.

It still needed another proper clean – every time we have a sandstorm here, everything in the house gets covered with a layer of yellow dust.

IMG_20151009_205206There are seven internal 3.5″ hard drive bays ready to use, as well as four or five additional 5.25″ drive bays that could be used with adapters.

One of the planned uses for this server will be as our NAS and backup machine, so having some space to expand is a plus. I already had some spare hard drives from the desktop PC I gave to a friend when we left the UK.

With the addition of a PSU, a veteran gaming motherboard, an Intel i5-4690 CPU and a stick of RAM, we have pretty well everything we need for our home server.

I don’t plan to use the built-in water cooling radiator and connections right now, as the unit is running cool and very, very quiet right now, but the option is there if I need better cooling later – the coolant pipes are tucked away neatly at the bottom of the case.

It had been a while since I last built a PC, but everything seemed to fit together as easily as I remember – if not more so these days. Whilst fitting the motherboard, I realised that the three fans in the front panel have two-pin connectors, which means that the motherboard (having four-pin connectors) won’t be able to control their speed, so I picked up a cheap four fan controller as well.

IMG_20151009_204959 IMG_20151009_205054

OK, now to install an operating system.

Loads of choice out there…  what could possibly go wrong?

2 thoughts on “A fun little home server project

  1. I enjoyed your post about looking for software for a home server. Mainly because I have similar non-negotiable requirements:
    – NAS file storage
    – scheduled backups
    – Minecraft server for our son

    And possibly the other two from your list as well:
    – Plex media server
    – Bit torrent

    Mainly it boils down to finding a simply NAS that can run a very simple 2~3 person Minecraft server. The NAS will just be used by me alone with my little projects for file sharing, and the Minecraft will be played by me and my son who’s off at private school.

    So what did you conclude with? Only FreeNAS has a Minecraft server plugin, but I just don’t have a powerful enough machine with enough RAM to suit it’s requirements. I’m looking at a DIY solution with Arch or maybe OpenMediaVault.

    Anyway, having read your post I was curious what solutions you arrived at.

    Daniel in Japan

    1. Hi Daniel, thanks for your comment. I still haven’t settled on a solution – OpenMediaVault and FreeNAS weren’t quite right, or even the Debian and Fedora DIY NAS installs I tried out, so I installed Ubuntu Server and I’m still wrangling it into shape (I’ll write that up when I get chance). However, I do have a working Plex media server (Emby as well) and Minecraft server – the NAS is sort of working (some Samba troubles), but I still haven’t got round to the scheduled backup functionality. However, I did get slightly distracted playing with Docker and testing out security features. I’m hoping I’ll get a bit of time to everything working over the next few months.
      Hope you managed to get a Minecraft install up and running yourself, sounds like a good way to get some quality time with your son from afar.

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