mike's blog

rebuilt server

Long post because I like to geek out over this sort of thing.

I'm in the process of rebuilding the shiftleft.org server, meringue, into a smaller, more power-efficient machine, with the goal of moving it out of my apartment into someone's closet or something. I'm using an M350 case and a pair of notebook hard drives for storage. Because of the way the dual hard-drive mounts look, and because I like dumb puns, I'm calling it “catameringue”.

I've had a few problems so far. First up, I got a 24-pin PSU by mistake instead of the 20-pin version, so the whole thing is currently hooked up to a ginormous ATX PSU. I botched the install (turns out the Hardy /etc/passwd and my earlier Ubuntu /etc/passwd have different UIDs for certain daemons...) and it took me several hours to figure out what was wrong and correct the problem. So that's why the server was down for an evening. What's more, there are lignering stability issues. They might be caused by powernowd, which doesn't meaningfully reduce power consumption anyway, so I've turned it off.

But my biggest concern is cooling. The combination of the M350, EPIA EN12000EG and two hard drives seems like a cooling nightmare:

Right now it has the top of the case off to accomodate the huge desktop PSU, and despite all of the above it keeps plenty cool with no fan. The northbridge temperature hits 60°C under load (CPU temperature tops out at 44°C), which is fine. But once the case cover is on, who knows? I suppose I could jury-rig it with tower mounting, side fans or no case lid, but this seems like a big hack for a new machine.

If I really can't get it to work, I'll have to either remove one of the hard drives (not sure what RAID 1 is getting me anyway) or get a more efficient motherboard, or both.

Pics will occur when it's done. It's a shame I didn't get any of the machine hooked up to an external hard drive, external DVD drive and ATX PSU; the DVD drive and PSU are each almost as big as the entire case.

— Mike Hamburg, July 30, 2009, 9:53 PM