Putting It Together

Parts before assembly

The orders from the home server’s shopping list arrived to great anticipation. As I unpacked them, I found myself looking at an impressive array of parts. One thing I didn’t find myself looking at, though, was a set of instructions on how to put it all together. “Would my good friends at Logic Supply leave me high and dry like that?,” I wondered.

A quick check of their Web site assuaged my concerns, turning up an assembly guide. With the guide and Intel’s motherboard diagram in hand, I was ready to build.

Assembling the system was pretty straightforward–mostly snapping/screwing/sticking components together. One thing that required more effort, though, but that was also fascinating, was the system’s cooling scheme.

Fanless Cooling

Finned heat sinks still in place; heat pipes alongside

As shipped from Intel, the Johnstown motherboard has finned heat sinks on the CPU and the northbridge. This would seem to reflect an assumption that cooling will occur via airflow over the motherboard, assisted by a fan when needed. But Logic Supply’s case for this motherboard is a fanless enclosure. How, then, is heat to be dissipated?

By ditching the finned heat sinks and turning the case itself into a big heat sink. In place of the finned sinks, Logic Supply has you install a part with two vertical heat pipes, placing heat paste on the pipes’ tops and bottoms. The pipes are sized such that they contact the underside of the case’s cover when it’s in place. So, when everything is put together and the system is running, heat flows from the motherboard, through the heat pipes, and into the case, where it dissipates into the ambient air!

Powering Up

Assembled system without cover

Once the system was assembled, but before the cover was on, I was tempted to power things up. With the cover being a key piece of the cooling system, though, and having read horror stories of how fast a processor can self-destruct without proper cooling, I thought better of it and dutifully screwed on the cover.

With the cover in place and the power cord and video-out cables hooked up, hardware assembly was complete, so I tried turning the system on. Success!

Powering up

Next: Updating the BIOS; doing the software setup.

Enough Already! …Time for a Home File Server

Back around the holidays, it became clear that the time had come for a home file server. With stuff spread across multiple PCs, getting to our documents, photos, etc. had gotten a lot harder than it should’ve been. The problem was only going to get worse each time a new device came into the mix. Oh, and backups? Not happening with any regularity.

There are plenty of “home NAS” products out there that probably could’ve met our needs. Setting up something on a Windows machine also would’ve been an option. I had been wanting to gain more experience with Linux, though, so I decided the server would be a Linux system, with Samba offering connectivity to Windows clients.

On the hardware front, I figured I’d try my hand at home-building a system. Since the server would be turned on pretty much all the time, power efficiency was a must, and I wanted something compact. Some Googling led me to Logic Supply and their fanless offerings.

Shopping List

My shopping list consisted of components mostly from Logic Supply and Newegg:

Intel D945GSEJT Johnstown mainboard with case, AC adapter, and right-angle SATA cable $199.00
Samsung Spinpoint 750 GB hard drive $109.99
2 GB RAM $35.00
HDMI cable $7.99
DVI-to-HDMI adapter $0.99
Total $352.97

I also picked up a keyboard, mouse, and external DVD drive, as well as a Kill A Watt, to keep an eye on electricity use.

Next up… putting it together!