2008 Via Server Project


How it all started:

I do most of my work at home, where I have a small collection of computers with my programs and data on. I have a firewall set up, using Fedora with Firestarter, and that computer also serves up this web data, using PHP, Apache and MySql for data storage. This server is on 24/7/365 (almost), and was running on a dual core Athlon in a 4U rackmount case that had 5 fans running all the time, making too much noise. I decided to cut back on the power consumption and noise at the same time, so I put together this Mini-ITX motherboard and case.

The basic server:

    The motherboard is a VIA EPIA CN10000EG fanless, using an Eden processor at 1 gigahertz, with a gigabyte of ram. I plugged in a Western Digital 120 Gigabyte hard drive that's about 20% full, so there's lots of space left. The power supply is a Morex 80 Watt that uses an external AC/DC converter. The layout of the case is such that I could put in a slim CD or DVD, but I'm going to run a SATA connector to the rear, so I can connect external drives if I want.

    The small pieces of angle laying loose on the base are corner braces. Things get too busy in the corners, and if I ever do another one of these, I'll plan it out some more to avoid running into things.

    The motherboard comes with a built in network port, and I plugged in a USB dongle to add a second one (you can see it hanging down, below the yellow network cable), that connects to the DSL modem. Firestarter provides for connection sharing, so all of the computers on the lan can get to the Web. I also have a wireless hub, so I can get through from anywhere in the house with my laptop.

The base is a piece of aluminum sheet, and the sides are cut down from 2" by 2" aluminum angle so they are 1 3/4" tall, and 1/2" or 3/4" wide at the bottom.

Some construction views:

    The right side. Originally, I just drilled a set of holes for the fans to breath through. Problem was, they whistled, so I ended up cutting the rest away. Then, I went to quiet fans (14 db, vs 26db) and all was good with the world.

    How they looked, before and after cutting the single hole for the fans.

    The power supply.

    The front. I may add some USB ports here, and I want to get the power and hard drive led's so they can be seen with the case mounted in the rack.

    The left side. I put the piece of wood in so the vent holes showed up. I'm going to cover the holes with some nylon screen material, just to keep kreepy krawlers from getting inside and making a home for themselves. Note the mounting ears that I found at Halted Specialties for five bucks.

    The back side. The VIA I/O plate is actually more than 1 U tall, so I ended up cutting my own holes. Rough, but functional. The red pushbutton on the left is the reset button, and the black one next to it is the power button. Above them is the receptical for the 12 volt from the AC/DC converter. I thought about putting the push bottons on the front, but I could see my clumsy self pushing them without intending to, so here they are, out of sight, out of mind.


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Revision: 01.0     Email Doug     11/19/2008