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ASUS PN50 (Ryzen 4300u)

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Hello,

 

I would like to show off a build using the newish Renoir Ryzen 3 4300u equipped Asus PN50 and external "internal 5.25 bay" hard drive enclosure and an some issues and solutions that I had.

image.thumb.png.06432d9e0a2d0884452febd821907cbf.png 

This is a home server build to fit into a small, ventilated cabinet, with capacity for 3 to 4 HDDs, to be used as a file and media server, regular off site uploads, home VPN host, downloader, PiHole server, and more.

 

The first key part of this build that would make it possible, would be the IO CREST M.2 22x42 to SATA III 5 Port adapter, as seen in the PN50 below:

image.thumb.png.db74e086047c1df28a69d823c03eaef9.png

It uses the JMB585 chipset, which means direct access to the HDDs for UNRAID, and this adapter makes it possible to use 5 SATA devices, as there is only one SATA port that comes with the system, that is actually a male port for connecting a 2.5" drive inside the PN50, so not usable for a cable.

 

I also installed a Kingston HyperX Impact 16GB 3200MHz DDR4 set (8GB each) of RAM modules.

 

The first major issue that I came across, was that there was less vertical space in the PN50 than I expected, leading me to need to use 90 degree SATA cable

connectors, however the only ones that I had would actually block every other port, leading to a maximum of 3 usable SATA devices.

image.thumb.png.754053cd4b0091e637fc94c8510888ed.png

Also, due to their size, I would have to cut a hole in the side of the PN50 to allow routing of the SATA cables to the outside.

I would eventually order slim SATA cables that requires none of these comprises.

Also note that on the right there is a connector provided by the PN50 to directly connect a 2.5" drive, which would be ideal for a cache drive, however the 5 Port adapter blocks it, so that is one compromise that I would have to keep in the end.

 

The place that the HDDs and Cache drive would actually be stored, is in the Kingwin Aluminum Four Bay Hot Swap Mobile Rack For 3.5” SSD/HDD.

It is a complete enclosure, which makes it suitable for external use, once I stuck on some rubber feet (not pictured).

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This enclosure is well priced and quite nice to use (though some comments suggested it should have more metal parts), with an 80mm fan in the back.

The fan is quite loud, but there is a switch to reduce it's RPM in the back that you need a flat head screwdriver or similar tool to switch. It was sucking air out, but I swapped it around, which improved performance a bit and better suited the final cabinet airflow.

The fan is a non standard thickness fan with a small fan connector (not a standard MB fan connector), so I did not have anything on hand to replace it.

 

This new system is replacing an old, Intel Atom mini-itx build from 2009 running Ubuntu Server:

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Looks much nicer, is smaller, much powerful, and much easier to swap HDDs.

 

The new HDD enclosure takes two molex connectors to power it and the drives. I initially used two cheap $5 mains to Molex 12v + 5v adapters, which in theory should handle 2 3.25" HDDs each:

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however after a few days of test usage, one of those adapters blew (but was contained inside the power adapter's case):

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So I decided not to mess around with cheap power, and got a more expensive, higher quality mains to 12V power adapter:

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However, I needed to get 5V as well and I didn't want to run a second mains cable in the cabinet, so I decided to use the Pico ATX power adapter that came with my old Intel Atom build, and tape it up:

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It takes in 12v from the new power adapter through that barrel plug at the bottom, but I needed to use the 20-pin ATX output, so I used an old 20-pin to 24-pin adapter and a molex connector (one pictured is not the one I ended up using) and build my own adapter:

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The final power delivery for the Drive enclosure is pictured above.

This did lead me to realize how there is no good quality molex power adapters out there, requiring me to use an actual ATX power supply, though fortunately Pico ATX power supplies exist.

 

At this point I managed to get a couple of Silverstone Tek 300mm Ultra Thin Lateral 90-Degree SATA Cables with Low-Profile Connectors (CP11B-300) (Yes I am copy pasting from product pages), which would suit this build perfectly.

I also then realized, that the PN50 allowed me to remove the superfluous display port adapter in the back (seen hanging in the air in the center), as it's meant to be configurable to allow for a COM or VGA port. So I decided to take advantage of this and put nothing there. It's a little tricky to get to and you have to remove more of the inside structure and the plastic rear port cover.

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I then also had to cut a tiny notch (unnoticeable) in the rear plastic panel to allow me to feed through the heads of the cables, as they wouldn't otherwise fit.

However now, it's much cleaner as it goes directly out the back, and you can also see 4 of the ports now being used, with a fifth one available for future expansion:

image.thumb.png.fe3e0680df352674646fdf0c8be44579.png

 

I wanted to close up that earlier hole that I cut, so I molded some epoxy putty onto it and painted it black (though not very well):

image.thumb.png.072bd82147d75af89ec8735b345c0e0f.png

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Finally, the complete setup, as seen from the rear, with a single molex female to two SATA male port adapter ready to receive the molex power input that I pictured earlier.

image.thumb.png.8b79b95f94b808cadc2ec00187ffc36e.png

 

I also got an Orico 2.5 to 3.5 HDD|SSD Caddy to install the Cache drive (currently an 80GB Intel one from 2009, but will; upgrade to 240GB.)

image.thumb.png.0f53e046e69bf7fb05e9bf1c3f25a864.png

 

And the system in the final cabinet:

image.thumb.png.06432d9e0a2d0884452febd821907cbf.png

Note that I'm now using that 12V power adapter for the Fans and the cabinet light (only used temporarily). Hopefully that won't cause any issues.

 

On side note regarding the PN50; It's UEFI ONLY, so putting the UNRAID boot drive in UEFI mode is absolutely necessary. I also used a USB3 drive, which works fine.

 

Overall, the only things to note is to make sure to use slim SATA cables and to have a good quality power delivery solution in mind for the HDDs.

In my old Intel Atom build, I actually split a single molex power adapter on the motherboard out to all the HDDs and the OS drive, and that worked well, but there was nothing like that in the PN50, other than the 2.5" connector inside of it, which I didn't have an adapter for, and I was less comfortable splitting from.

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