All the game servers I offer and this website are hosted on the same, and heavily customized server.
Most parts are scrapped from other, older servers from work. I selected the best parts from them, bought a separate SuperMicro motherboard so the usable components wouldn’t be limited by vendor and space restrictions.
I wanted to fit a least four 3.5″ HDD’s in it too. I used an Extended ATX case the motherboard would fit in and started building. I came across a couple of obstacles I overcame. For example, the CPU heat sinks were designed for use in rack server cases. The 2 new CPU fans I bought wouldn’t fit on them. It would have been a waste to replace the sinks, because they were heavy quality and entirely made out of copper. So instead I designed and 3D printed my own fan brackets.
Also, I wanted to use an HP Smart array (a P800 from an obsolete data warehouse server) for VM storage, that gave me 2 challenges.
Getting the card itself to work was no challenge at all. But I had to retrofit the HDD drive bays into the eATX case. Appearently it fits exactly into two 5.25″ drive bays. Dimension wise. I had to grind away some metal and drill some bolts in there to make it work.
The second challenge was power. The drive bay had to be powered, or the disk’s obviously wouldn’t work. In the server were the drivebay came from, there was a cable coming from the motherboard, going into the drive bay. The plug going into the bay had 10 pins, and the cables were not coloured. So I had no clue what voltages were running through them. So I got a multimeter and measured the pins. Luckily the voltages were the standard 3.3 / 5 / 12 volts that every ATX powersupply delivers.
Then I soldered a new connector on that same cable, that is going into the modular ATX power supply.
These were the toughest challenges.
One thing I was happy about:
SuperMicro stated explicitly on their website and in their manual that this particular motherboard only supports 4GB modules with a total maximum of 32GB RAM. Stubborn and wayward as I am, and the fact I had the amount of 8 GB modules + spares that would make it 64GB, I tried it. The machine booted, I ran a long Memtest, and voilà. 64GB works perfectly fine. They run a bit hot though, but nothing a fan couldn’t solve. RAMdisks for Minecraft and ARK are now present.
Here some pics of the outside, and the inside with labels.