Pimp Your Rig

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[This is the thread that inspired the UCD board - thanks WeeboTech!  Please feel free to extend the thread, but for showing off your server build, consider creating your own thread.  Thanks!  -limetech]


I love building machines and seeing all the environments people come up with.

I also post some information about my techno highlights in my blog.

Thought it would be interesting for people to pimp their rigs.


I have a few more I'm working on but here's the first I've finally been able to write up.




Chenbro ES34069 Mini-ITX Home Server/NAS Chassis

MSI Industrial 945GM1 Core 2 Duo Mobile Mini-ITX Mainboard w core 2 duo 2.33ghz Mobile Processor.

OCZ Gold 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

Internal Card reader & PCI Riser Card


Kingston 2GB Secure Digital (SD) Flash Card w/MobileLite Reader Model FCR-ML+SD/2GB

Bunch of 500GB SATA II drives laying around.

Slim Optical Slot load Panasonic Optical drive from eBay.


Pulls ~45 watts on idle.


Let's see whatcha y'all got.  ;D

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I'll bite...   Recently consolidated Unraid Server: 1X Intel Core i7 8700T 1X Gigabyte Z370N WIFI 2X Supermicro VLP 16GB ECC Unbuffered DDR4 2666 2X Corsair Force MP510 M.2 480GB NVM

Ryzen 5 2600 16GB DDR4 2666mhz Crucial Ballistix AT Asus TUF B450-Plus Gaming 512GB Intel NVME for Appdata/dockers Dell H310 PERC Be Quiet 750W Power Zone Power Supply Unit

Hey folks, I'm an unRAID newb, but thought I'd share my little project.  I picked up a 2nd hand Coolermaster Elite 130 Mini-ITX case that originally had just one external 5.25" drive bay and a co

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I also have a Netgear ga311 GIGABIT ethernet card (PCI) and a Promise TX4 4 port SATA PCI card installed. Seven 750GB drives (Seagate, WD and Hitachi) give me 4.5 GB of parity protected storage. I'll be upgrading to 1 TB drives soon.

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My server is a P5B VM D0 MB, E2140 CPU with Zalman cooler, 2G GSkill Memory, 550 Watt "Mag Dog" (old Compusa brand) PSU (likely the weak link, but working fine running 15 drives!), Adaptec RAID 1430SA PCI-E 4 port SATA card, and Supermicro 8 port PCI SATA Card.


Very much different from WeeboTech's supercool mini project, this is a hulking beast of a server at 27" tall and weighing close to 50 lbs I'd guess.



   4x 1T (1 is parity)

   5x 750G

   4x 500G

   2x 300G IDE (1 is cache)


Total Usable (Rated) Space:  9.05T + 300G cache (not including parity)


Case is an old SuperMicro SC750A.  I've gone at it with a dremel numerous times as you'll see.


From the front and rear.  The cable is an eSata to Sata cable running to an internal drive.  My best dremel job on that upper 120mm fan.  Looks stock.

IMG_4322.jpg  IMG_4327.jpg


Front cover removed - Notice dremmeling for lower fans (case was made for 3x80mm fans down there) and 2 fans attached to the hard disk cooler frontplates.  There is another fan above the 2 lower ones (mounted inside).

IMG_4323.jpg   IMG_4326.jpg


In order to mount all my drives I designed and built a custom 10 drive cage using aluminum strips and right angle pieces.  Here are pictures while it was under construction and mounted inside the case.  This case is cavernous inside providing lots of room for this.

IMG_4275.jpg   IMG_4324.jpg


Closer look at the drive cage - if you look closely you'll see the edges of the three fans on the right.  The zipties make it easier to remove the cage when needed.



My next project is to build a custom drive cage to fit inside the upper (normal drive) area.  I'll bet I can get 9 or 10 drives in there, whereas there are only 5 at the moment.  There is also room above the PSU for probably 6 or so drives.  If Tom allows for more expandability, and I need the space, this case can likely get close to 30 drives inside.

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I really like what you guys have done. bjp... that thing is massive  :o. I love the custom work that you did.


Mine is fairly simple...


Case: Lian-Li PC-A16B (same one Tom uses on some builds)

PSU: PC Power & Cooling 750 watt (60A on the 12v rail!)

CPU: Intel E660

CPU Cooler: Scyth Ninja Mini

Memory: XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit

Motherboard: DFI Lanparty UT-P35-TSR (8 on board SATA ports)

PROMISE SATA300 TX4 PCI SATA II Controller Card (2 of them)

Intel Pro 1000 Gigabit NIC

Chenbro SK33502BK Blackplane (3 of them)

3 80mm replacement fans for the Chenbro backplanes (stock ones were VERY loud)


Current hard drives:


2 1TB drives

2 750 gig drives

2 640 gig drives

1 320 gig drive

1 250 gig drive (as cache)


I like the case because it's just small enough to house 15 drives. The only problem I had was figuring out what to do with all the cables. The bottom 2 backplanes were pretty easy... but working on the top backplane with the PSU up there as well proved to be a challenge. The PSU doesn't have modular cables which is a pretty big drawback for a case of this size. I was able to route all the unused ones to the back side of the case... out of site and out of the way.


It took some time connecting SATA, power, and fan cables on the top backplane. If I need to get up there again I'll have to push the backplane out of the case a bit and remove most of the PSU in order to get my hands in there. Then I need a flashlight, needle nose plyers, and a lot of patience :). All the SATA cable connections to the top backplane where made outside of the case because there's no way I could get everything routed smoothly once the backplane was in the case.







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Nice Job Guys.  Love The chenbros! Handsome in that Lian-Li PC-A16B.

and bjp999... all I can say is "Nice Rack" LOL!  :D Good Job!

I have s'more machines I'm building, I'll be sure to post pics when I get there.  ;D

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It took some time connecting SATA, power, and fan cables on the top backplane. If I need to get up there again I'll have to push the backplane out of the case a bit and remove most of the PSU in order to get my hands in there. Then I need a flashlight, needle nose plyers, and a lot of patience :). All the SATA cable connections to the top backplane where made outside of the case because there's no way I could get everything routed smoothly once the backplane was in the case.


OK, that is just ridiculous!  Do you realize what you have done?  Showing us pictures of one of the more elegant wiring jobs I've seen?  I was tempted to put up a pic of mine, but no more!  And think of all of the other DIY'ers, who have now been so intimidated, their pictures went in the trash, and their machines into the closet!



Edit: OK, I over did it a bit, but that was really impressive to me!  Mine is rather embarrassingly wired.

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I've re-wired it (SATA cables) completely 4 times now if that makes a difference. :)


Every time I opened the case there was something about the wiring I didn't like. I figured that I'll have this running for years without needing to open the case... I might as well take an hour or two and organize everything as best as possible. Not only can organized wiring make replacing things in a case easier... but it also helps keep case temps down. It took a couple different tries for me to finally settle on how I wanted the SATA cables organized, but I'm pretty content with how I have it now. The obsessive compulsive side in me still wants to clean up some of the builk cables bunched on the open side of the case... but... I... must... resist. :)

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I realize that most people today are putting together SATA based arrays, but mine is an original IDE based MD1200 in a Coolermaster Stacker case.


I can't even take credit for the wiring.  Tom at Lime-Technology pimped out my server when I purchased it from him in October 2005. It is fully cabled with flat IDE cables to the 12 Cremax MB123AK drive trays. It has an Intel D865GLCLK motherboard, 2.26GHz Celeron, and 512MB of RAM.


I was very impressed with the way the cables were neatly arranged.  I've seen PC's with only a few drives not look anywhere near as neat.


Joe L.



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Came out nice! Especially for an IDE system, y'all would hate mine, cables all over LOL! I'm in and out of them so much that I dont bother to tie wrap them any more. Although I do use round (shielded) cables and have never had a problem with them.

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guitarlp... You just crushed the little satisfaction I'd get by showing a "nice wiring job".  :(  Knew I shoulda splurged on the Lian-Li...  ;D And I know exactly what you mean with the OCD, my main rig has received the same multi-day wiring treatment as your server. I even ended up buying a hot-swappable 5 in 3 backplane for my centurion 590 because I couldn't stand the unevenness of the stock 4-in-3 rubber hard drive grommets... :-\


BTW... I think you made a typo while listing your CPU. "CPU: Intel E660"  :P


I really like your custom made hard drive cage, bjp999. I was going to build something similar out of the same aluminum extrusions you used. Eventually I decided to scrap the project when I purchased a new case though.


In a few days I'll post pictures of my new unRAID rig, I still need to borrow a digital camera.

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Mine is a "Poor Man's" special.


* Asus A8N-SLI Premium Motherboard (4 Sata II ports on PCIe, 4 Sata I ports on PCI. Great board for unRAID as you can easliy get 17 ports on the PCIe bus & you get Gigabyte ethernet on the PCIe bus using the built-in nVidia. The only negative is you need a graphics card thus the reason I grade it an A instead of an A+)

* Corsair TWINX2048-3200C2PT DDR 400 (PC 3200) 4GB (4 x 1GB)

* AMD Athlon 64 4000+ 2.4GHZ 89W Single Core Processor (P/N ADA4000ASBOX)

* Rosewill R6AR6-BK 0.8mm SECC 120mm Fan ATX Mid Tower Computer Case (Holds 13 Drives with the 2 Lian-Li EX-23NB Black Drive Bay Expansion/Cooling Kits)

* PNY Attache 2G USB (running 4.5.b6 Pro)

* Cosair CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply

* ATI 3D LT Pro 8MB PCI Video Graphics Card w/Tv Out

* 2 - SATA2 Serial ATA II PCI-Express 1-lane RAID Controller Card (Silicon Image SIL3132)

* 2 - Adaptec 2240900-R PCI Express 4-lane 2.5 Gb/s SATA RAID 1430SA Kit RAID (1 on the PCIe x 4 slot & 1 on the 2nd SLI PCIe x 8 slot; giving 8 Sata II ports on the PCIe bus)

* 2 - Lian-Li EX-23NB Black Drive Bay Expansion/Cooling Kit (fits 3 3.5" drives into 2 5.25" slots; giving me 6 drives in 4 bay slots with fans for cooling)

* 6 - Seagate ST31500341AS 1.5T Sata II HD (1 Parity/5 Data)

* 2 - Seagate ST31000340AS 1T Sata II HD (2 Data)

* 3 - Samsung HD753LJ 750G Sata II HD (2 Data/1 Cache)

* 2 - Asus Sata Brackets (Allows 2 Sata I/II Connections with Power on each bracket)


Total Storage: 11.0TB. Cost so far: $2,213.89 (includes everything, i.e. hardware, drives, cables, connectors, software, etc.)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Here's my Mini ITX box


Goals: 1) On the cheap, 2) Low power consumption, 3) Quiet, 4) Small 5) Use as many parts that I already had as possible. (I failed pretty badly =)


Still need to patch some holes in the back for better airflow.  This case was made for an external SCSI array, not a PC.  I had to dremmel a bit and make my own motherboard riser holes. =)


Jetway VIA C7 1.5MHz passively cooled.

1GB DDR2 533

Sil3112 4 port SATA1.5

120GB IDE (system)

2x500GB Seagate

2x250GB Seagate

Case from ebay for 20 bucks.

Old 400W PSU (Works brand I think)


Read speeds using "dd" to /dev/null are about 50MB/sec

Write speeds, about 10MB/sec

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How are your drive temps?  Is there a fan on the back of the drive cage pulling air over the drives?  If not and your drive temps are pushing 45-50C, I'd consider putting a high CFM fan on the back to try to pull as much air between the drives as possible.  I've had some luck enlarging 80mm fan mounts to 120mm with my dremmel.  120mm fans move much more air and are also quieter.

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That was a concern for me as well, with the 5 in 3's fan on low, they hit 50C at one point, on high they went down to about 45C.


After I patched up the back, the PSUs fans were able to move the air better, (not just suck it out from the holes in the back), and the temps were better, about 40 under heavy use. 


Today I went to Fry's and bought an adjustable fan for the empty system fan space and its now 38C under heavy use.


I'll be watching it this week, hopefully I'll be able to turn down the 5 in 3's fan because really, that thing is loud. =)

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  • 2 months later...

What does the front look like?  How small is it?


Well, unfortunatelly I don't have an own pic from the front, but it is this case:




The drive bay was completely dremmeled out, together with the aluminium front of the case, because of the airflow.

After that, a custom drivebay has been made and installed, which can hold 6 disks. I am not sure if they can be recognized, but there is 2 12cm fan attached from the front side.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My Larger Rig. This has been a long time coming..  ;D

Although I have the mini-itx version, I finally finished building a larger cost effective version


Parts List


Abit AB9 PRO

2.6ghz Core 2 Duo - Used on eBay - a Celeron 440 2Ghz is quite sufficient.

8gb OCZ PC6400 RAM - 4G is sufficient for 99% of the people.

Centurion 590 - Great cheap case with allot of fan placement.

Seasonic 500W Power Supply (it was laying around idle)

Extra 120MM fans ~ $15 (box of 4 coolermasters).


Kingston 2GB Secure Digital (SD) Flash Card w/MobileLite Reader Model FCR-ML+SD/2GB - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134548


iStarUSA T-5-SA 1x5.25" Bay Trayless Anti-vibration SATA Mobile Rack



Additional items. 

Gigabute I-RAM PCI Ram disk



This is for a future application to allow me to use the server as an NFS server for other machines.

IDE to CF adapter + 4GB CF card (to backup the battery backed ramdisk.. just in case).

Cheap PCIe 4x video card from eBay.. which will end up getting dropped for a 1X.


Masscool PCIe 1x 2 SATA port controller (for the ramdisks).



I'll probably upgrade to a 4X PCIe 4x 4 port adapter to expand to 12 or maybe 15 drives in the future..

For  right now it seems just as I fill the slots, new drives come out that are large enough to replace current drives.



Notes:  I really love the trayless sata design.

They can use MOLEX or SATA power connectors.

I choose this model in particular because the vents are larger then other models.

Some of the other models have the vents blocked a little by the drive. This one has slightly more leeway for air flow.

I also choose this model because they are fanless. I use the large 120MM fans to suck the air from the front.

This requires taping up open vents on the case to keep the drives cool.

I choose this design so I did not have a bunch of tiny fans spinning and used the larger fans instead.

It's working well for me.


These trayless are not perfect though. When you open the key, it does not power down the drive.

So you probably want to replace drives while the machine is off.

Also, the drives tend to get sort of stuck on the inside, so you wiggle them a little and they pop out.

Still for me I like the idea of swapping bad (or upgrading) drives like they are floppies.

No tray, no screws, Just unlock, open, wiggle, replace, close, lock, boot, click, click, and you are up and running.

Also, The SATA cable does not lock into the trayless. in theory, the cable could eventually loosen due to drive vibration.

Only happened once in the last 6 months.



I plan to upgrade eventually to the 5in3 trayless modules, but for right now I do not need more then 9 drives.


I have more pictures here, which shows different views and where to tape up the case.




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