Description

Originally I had my old Phenom II X2 555 moved into an Antec SX1000 (Circa 2000) to be a Windows Server 2012 Essentials server using a collection of drives that were retired from work over the years.

Then a FD Node 804 went on sale at Newegg for $69.99 and the update bug was on. Next my daughter wanted a desktop so I gave her my personal workstation (FX-8350 based; see my "clean" build) so I decided that this one would be converted into my workstation. I updated the motherboard because it was on sale at the local Microcenter for ~$30. This brought me USB3, SATA3, and UEFI. I took a Radeon 7950 from my old rig that was crossfired since my daughter doesn't need the graphics power to do Photoshop. I can now play old Steam games like CS:GO and Battlefield 3.

I switched to Windows 10 so I can play games and stream from a XBOX One and PS4. I am using Covebit Drive Pool to create a storage set from disparate drives (like Drobo). Only feature I am going to miss from Windows Server is DeDupe (saves a lot of space on backups) which will probably get hacked back in when Windows Server 2016 comes out. All of my desktops and laptops are scripted to full image backups once a week to this machine. Using a Silicon HDHOMERUN and Media Portal PVR I can watch recorded TV anywhere. Plex provides the transcoding to the TVs or mobile devices in home or on the road.

Updated 7/1/2016 - Got two Agility 2 60GB SSDs from a coworker and put them in the a separate DrivePool as a 120GB set for my downloads.

Updated 7/1/2016 - Upgraded RAM to 16GB since the server was taking up over 4 GB without running any games.

Updated 9/13/2016 - Removed Agility 3 SSDs for 2 HGST Ultrastar 2TB refurb drives, and a 1TB HGST Desktar. Seagate 1.5TB and 1TB drivers getting SMART errors. Going to add a Samsung 830 128GB SSD for the DrivePool as a cache drive.

Uses:

  1. Plex Media Server and Client

  2. Backup storage of other Windows PCs in the house

  3. Medial Portal PVR with Silicon Dust's HDHOMERUN Prime

  4. NAS

  5. Steam streamer for my Surface Pro in bed

  6. Stream client for XBOX One and PS4

  7. Minecraft server

Build Parts and Commentary

  1. CPU - AMD Phenom II X2 555 | All four cores unlocked and overclocked to 3.7GHz at 1.375v base with +150 mV offset | bought 5 years ago from Microcenter with free motherboard (since discarded)

  2. Memory - Updated 6/16/16 - Team Vulcan | 2x8GB | 1600Mhz - Needed more memory to run Minecraft server from RAM DRIVE

  3. Motherboard - ASRock 970M Pro3 | Open Box buy from Microcenter for $37 last year

  4. CPU Cooler - Hyper 212+ | Bought from Microcenter 5 years ago

  5. CPU Cooler Fan - Noctua NF-A15 PWM | Keeps CPU at 51 Degrees Celsius under Intel Burn Test | So quiet compared to stock and large diameter fan cools below the heatsink which allows the VRMs to be cooled

  6. Case - Fractal Design Node 804 | The impetus for this post fits up to 10 3.5" of drives with room for Slim ODD and one more 2.5" drive | Originally had 10 drives but 5 have died | Removed all rear fan guards to improve air flow

  7. SATA/SAS HBA - Dell H200 | Crossflashed to IR mode LSI 9211-8i | Provides 8 SATA/SAS 6 Gbps connections

  8. Drives - Update 11/25/2016 | 8 various 3.5" SATA drives from old workstations and a Samsung 850 EVO SSD 250GB

  9. GPU - Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 7950 Boost Flex (Crossflashed with 7970 Ghz Edition BIOS) | Bought from GPUSHACK.com 2 years ago

  10. Case Fans: 2 stock FD Silent Series R2 120mm (1 rear in CPU chamber and 1 front in Drive chamber) and 1 140mm from an Arc Midi R2 in rear drive chamber | 2 Phanteks 120mm PWM 1600RPM fans one each connected to PWM splitter for CPU and GPU fans independently controlled by the CPU and GPU PWM signals

  11. SATA Data and Power cables - using inline conectors for power I moved the connectors up or down the wires to make sure that each connection matched the exact physical location of the drives; they also allow for quick disconnecting of the cage without having to undo all of them | Silverstone SATA power splitter with inline connectors moved to match drive cage spacing | Monoprice Mini-SAS 4 port breakout connector for HBA to SATA drives

  12. PSU - I bought this originally because of the price on ebay for a retail store closeout | Originally it was in my FX-8350/Crossfired 7950 rig but since that went to my daughter, I took one 7950 for this build | Her machine did not need that much power so I swapped a X-650 to make that machine most efficient | I have only 5 3.5" drives left but it started with 10 which requires a lot of juice to spin up | Later when the drives are down to four I will swap out the HBA and get another GPU to crossfire with or buy my daughter another GPU and take the 7950 and reunite it with this one

Mods and observations:

  1. Drives have a constant whirring sound that is louder than the case fans so the machine is very quiet for most tasks.

  2. PWM control of front intake case fans keeps everything quiet and cool; only when CPU/GPU gets hammered do they spin up to audible levels but even then not bad

  3. I need to install UEFI GOP for 7950 and UEFI firmware to SAS HBA for 3 second boot times now that I have a UEFI board

  4. Cut out rear case fan guards | this provides so much relief that temps on drives, especially my older ones have dropped by 5 degrees while reducing noise. CPU temps have dropped by 3 degrees at load while decreasing case fan RPM which reduces even more noise | I also did not install the PCIe slot covers to further increase air flow

  5. Air Flow not Air Blow - to further increase exit flow I did not install the IO panel | This allows the VRMs to be cooled by the oversized Noctua Fan which is important since this motherboard's VRM is a 4+1, which is hard to cool when using tower coolers the air goes past the heatsink and right out the case | Positive air flow must be allowed to exit easily, guards block air flow by at least 30% | Go to overclock.net air cooler forums for more information.

  6. The case is beautiful and small enough to fit on my desk without being an eyesore | I only wish it had taller feet as the front fans feed their air from the bottom which restricts air flow and causes more noise | I am going to use hockey pucks to lift it off the desk | I used 2x4s to lift an Arc Midi R2 and it improved bottom fan airflow so much that the fans don't run at full speed anymore.

  7. I will probably add some LED lights so I can look inside the window

  8. I have added the u channel rubber to the openings I cut off on the back of the case to increase air flow | I updated a picture of the rear and it really cleans up the case like it was designed to flow open with any guards

    U-channel edging

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Comments

  • 48 months ago
  • 3 points

I made a Plex server/ MC server from left over parts and I love I having a dedicated server. Always happy to see old parts reused! They have a purpose.

  • 48 months ago
  • 3 points

7 USES, 1 CPU

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

I love those small form factor builds. I also love to see how this PC can be used as a 7 things!! I've never seen something like that anywhere. How's the performance in gaming when all of those other things are running? Why did you get an 850W PSU for this?

Nice build!

  • 48 months ago
  • 4 points

Thanks. The greatest part about PCs is reshaping them to fill new needs. I play only games that are pretty old 5-6 years and they all run fine (Crysis 2, Tomb Raider, Battlefield 3, Need For Speed, Dirt 3, Dead Space, Far Cry and Minecraft). Others I stream from my son's XBOX One. Tomb Raider for instance runs at 83 FPS with a low of 59 on the benchmark. My kids took all of my 1080P monitors so I have to use a 17" 1280x1024 so that helps put the onus on the GPU. I will use some benchmarking demos and include the results in an update.

The PSU I bought mainly because of the price from a closeout sale on ebay. Originally the 7950 was in my FX-8350 rig crossfired so the PSU was a good match when using Team Red power sucking chips. Between an overclocked FX and two 7950s it was worth over speccing the PSU. Once I took a 7950 out to put in this rig I put a X-650 in that one from the original server. I had 11 drives in this server originally and hard drives especially older ones suck a lot of juice during their startup along with the 8 port SAS HBA, 7950 and Phenom II I decided that the server will have the extra capacity. Eventually the old drives will continue to die and I will replace them with only a few larger drives. When that happens I won't need the HBA and I can pick up another card to give to my daughter and reunite the other 7950 in crossfire again. FX-8320e's are at Microcenter for $89 right now so it really makes it tempting.

Bottom line is when PC parts are bought to solve specific solutions not all the parts make perfect sense when repurposed. Like the HBA, the original server only had 4 SATA ports so that is why I used that (removed from a retired work server). Eventually I won't need it because the current motherboard has 6 ports as I consolidate the drives. I like using old stuff and maximizing it then buying new stuff and only using 20%. As things get cheaper user or otherwise that is when I upgrade.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't know about more than 10Tb I think it's too much

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

In all honesty it is only 5TB usable because I have DrivePool setup for redundancy on most folders. As the older 1TB drives continue to die I will be consolidating to about 5 drives.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

But great build

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

how much bottleneck?

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

At 1080 the GPU is working 95% or higher in GOW4 with medium settings getting 61 FPS.