Introduction: How to Build Your Own 1u Linux Server

In this instructable, we will build a fast server capable of running Linux very well. It will also be expandable to two processors and, in standard configuration, supports RAID 1 mirror. This particular configuration has been tested with Debian and is currently being used in the real world as a primary internal server to several offices, one with more then 30 users. mimicIT provides complete opensource solutions that merge low cost consumer technology, with enterprise level methodology, to produce a network infastructure that rivals simlar networks costing thousands more. Our mantra is the concept of sharing, so in that spirit we present each of the pieces to our solution with instructions and detail, so it can be built and deployed by you. Our eventual goal is to have a complete business model that is opensource, a turnkey IT business with proven models that will allow you to handle more clients, and make more money.

Step 1: Parts Needed

1. Ever Case R9138B-M20 Black 1U Rackmount Case after market 460W PS

2. 2 x CORSAIR 1GB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM ECC Registered DDR 333 (PC 2700) Server System Memory

3. ASUS NCLV-D Dual Socket 603/604 Intel E7320 Extended ATX Server Motherboard

4. Intel Xeon EM64T 2.8 Irwindale 800MHz FSB 2MB L2 Cache Socket 604 Processor

5. 2 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 ST3250824AS 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive 6. 2 x Bent elbow SATA connectors

7. **Dynatron 400w Power Supply

You can usually find all of these parts at at a low price. I have also used

**This is optional, but highly recommended so that you can easily upgrade your server without running out of power.

Step 2: Switch Out the Power Supply

Unscrew the old 200w powersupply and remove.

Take the new powersupply and remove the two screws holding on the bracket.

Move the bracket from the front to the rear.

Position so you have two bracketholes lined up with the bottom of the case.

Notice we use a 460w. This is plenty of room to run our two drives and another processor. This unit, while not being as taxed, will also run cooler and be able to handle the expansion in the future.

Step 3: Bracket Removal

This is the Riser card support that needs to be removed in order to place the motherboard down.

Notice the large brass strut, just unscrew this. You will have to wiggle the support a bit, but it should come right out.

Step 4: Backplate Fit

Remove the backplate and use a pair of plyers to remove the extra metal untill it fits your motherboard. In this case its only one section.

Step 5: Processor Backplate Placement

This is the hardest part of the install, so take your time.

The included template that comes with the motherboard is a decent guide, but it won't do all the work for you.

First step is to just place the motherboard in the case and see where the screw holes line up.

Next you can mark the nut holes for the processors with a sharpie.

This will help you place the metal backplates that are stuck to the bottom with adhesive. If you screw up, don't worry, you can with a little prying take it back out and restick it.

You will bend the metal if you are too forcefull. After you have the backplates in place, screw the brass nuts on and check your motherboard placement again.

The guide might tell you to use spring clips for placement, ignore this. It is useless and just adds weight and complexity.

Use the supplied nuts for the bottom and the riesers to afix the motherboard to the case.

Step 6: Install the Processor

Awaken your innner mason as we spread heat compund on our processor. Don't get this stuff on your skin, its flakes of microscopic metal.

First step is lift the lever. Place the processor on the mount, notice the arrows on the processor and the mount, they have to match.

Do not force the processor down, use your finger to barely wiggle it left and right as you move the lever a bit up and down. It should slide right in.

Now Place a bit of thermal goo in the center and use one of those fake credit cards they send you in the mail to spread it out. I use Arctic Silver by Antec.

Once you get a smooth even coat, your done.

Step 7: Install the Processor Fan

Place the processor fan down and align it carefully with the screw holes.

Make sure the arrow point towards the rear, the direction of the airflow.

You only get one real shot at this because of the compound, so again, take your time.

Once you get it where you want it, screw the opposite corners down, like you would tightening the wheel of a car after changing the tires.

If you have not changed the tire on a car before, and you own a car, that's just sad.

Connect the CPU fan cable to the connector on the motherboard labeled CPU_FAN1.

Install the memory. Start with the farthest left slot, then skip one and install the second stick.

Step 8: Installing the Hard Drive

Notice the type of cable you are going to need to install two drives in this case.

If you do not have this cable you are going to need it, so go get it. It's just an SATA with a bent end. Slide your drive in there, plug it in, the power and the SATA.

Next if you have not already done so, remove the fan bracket. You can then place the second drive down. Plug it in, and screw it in from the bottom.

You do not need to screw in the first drive. It is held in place by the case bracked and the second drive very securely.

Why two drives? We will be running them as a RAID-1 Mirror. If you have a drive failure, you just pop in another drive, and away you go.

Step 9: Case Switches and Lights

Open your manual and look for the page that tells you where to plug in the case page 2-40 in my book. Look to see where each connector goes

Plug in the System power LED (Green 3-pin PLED) This is the power LED which lights up when you turn on the power, and blinks when in sleep mode. Connect the server power LED cable to this connector.

Next we'll connect the hard disk drive LED (Red 2-pin IDE_LED). This is the HDD Activity LED, which lights up or flashes when data is read from or written to the HDD.

Lastly, we will connect the ATX power button/soft-off button (Yellow 2-pin PWRSW) This connector is for the system power button.

Pressing the power button turns the system on or puts the system to sleep or soft-off mode depending on the BIOS settings. Pressing the power switch for more then 4 seconds while the system is ON turns the system OFF.

Step 10: Plug in the Power Supply

Now you can plug fans and powersupply into the motherboard. 4 connections.

Reinstall the rieser support.

Step 11: Wrapping It Up!

Ok so here we have it, just place the extra cables so that the airflow from the backfans is not restricted. ON the top of the harddrives is good, and to the side of the motherboard and powersupply.

At this point I usually test the system to see if it POSTs. If yes, I place the top on and load the OS. If not, I check to see what I might have done wrong.

Usual causes of the system not booting:

Switch connecter wrong way.

Memory not in all the way.

Something grounding to case that should not be.

If you do power it up and get the lights, you are ready to load the OS.

How to do this without a cd rom? We use PXE boot, part of the next HOWTO for mimicit.

I hope you have enjoyed our tutorial, we would enjoy feedback on how to make it better, so be sure to drop us a line.
Visit us at mimicIT developer.