Home Server Journey
I am thinking about setting up a local server that would mainly serve as a NAS but also provide some other services I could reach at home or from my office or anywhere else. I also would like to use it as a media center to bind any audio source (jack, bluetooth, inner storage, USB peripherals, network, ...) to the amplifier. Most services (especially those I'm not gonna be the only user) would be controllable via a mobile-friendly web interface.
This is the base idea for this beginning journey. :)
Time to find the hardware... My main criteria were the price, the size of the case and power consumption. In order to satisfy these criteria I decided to look for a mini-ITX motherboard with integrated CPU and supplied through ATX. My other criteria for the motherboard were:
- At least 1 HDMI output (ideally 2)
- At least 1 optical S/PDIF output
- At least 4 SATA III ports (ideally 6)
- At least 1 Ethernet 1Gbps controller
- Ideally some PCI slots
- Ideally hardware RAID support
Originally, I chose the ASRock N3700-ITX but it was not in stock and procurement was unknown. I decided to wait but finally I found the ASRock N3150-ITX which was $30 cheaper and very close to my original choice. One thing I especially appreciated with these motherboards is that the processor is fanless, which I think is good for power consumption and silence.
For this kind of server I don't think RAM is essential so I just took 2×2GB Crucial CT25664BF160B.
For the storage, I first thought about 3 or 4 HDD in RAID 5 or 6. But I remembered my price criteria and decided to start with 1×2To HDD and add some more in the future. I chose WD Green WD20EZRX (mainly because there was $20 off as it was a reconditioned product).
I wanted a silent modular 350-450W power supply at least 80Plus Gold certified. The choice was quite limited and I found myself with a Corsair CS450M.
Finally, I looked for a small case, ideally white in order to break with all that black furniture and stuff in my living room, and not ugly. My choice fell on a Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced white.
My excitation when I received all that stuff quickly dissipated when I realized the stand-off screws were missing in the case. Without them I was unable to set up the motherboard.
A week later I received the missing screws I had requested. Still I could assemble my server. I originally planned a fanless system, but I noticed there were two fans in the case, so I plugged them, just in case.
The first time I turned on the computer, nothing happened. :( When checking again the cable connections, I noticed I plugged the system panel header on the COM port header by mistake while I rearranged the cables in the case. Fortunately this didn't damage any component, and everything worked fine the second time I turned on the computer.