Sunday, 16 November 2014

System Transplant

For a few reasons, I wanted to move away from my tower-based media server;

First, I wanted to move the server from my attic to a rack as I'm soon going to be adding a new wider screen to my home theatre and this will make attic access a little more difficult than at present.

Second, with hard drive capacity increasing rapidly, I really don't see a use for oodles of drives in a system - all I need to do is gradually replace my 1TB drives with 4TBs and I'll have move from 12TB TO 27TB, 37TB if I go with 6TB drives. So I really don't need any more space.

Given the above and my recent addition of an expansion chassis, I settled on 2x SilverStone cases; an SST-GD07B for MediaServer8 itself and a Grandia GD09 for the expansion chassis.

Before transplant - the recipient is a good deal smaller than the donor

The GD07B is a pretty neat case with some interesting features; There's really good fan support throughout and a novel removable drive cage at the front with lots of flexibility.

GD07 with just fans in place
empty drive cage

packed with 10 drives

MediaServer 8 in it's new box
pci slots
So with everything assembled, and initial boot revealed that all of those hard drives packed into that tight space presented a problem - temps were hitting 50 degrees Celsius with little load and and turning up the fans under the drive bay was not an option as noise control was a key factor as this system was to live in my Home Theatre.

I solved this by moving some of the drives to the expansion chassis and adding a fan controller to the system and drive teams now rarely exceed 30 degrees.

So now the main system mostly houses graphics cards for the various VMs. From left to right above we have;

-expansion chassis tether (via dvi)
-3x PCIe video cards
-Internal SATA card
-PCIe video card
-PCI video card (system boot)

Here's the whole thing with the various connected to each other, with home theatre amplifier on the bottom, MediaServer8 next and expansion chassis third...

...but it gets a little messier when all the input and output cables are added - a little more cable management to be done;

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