My Own Server Part 1: DIY 1U Rack Servers

Rack-mount Servers Basics

The P1-102A2M is a rack-mount server with only one height unit.

When choosing a 19" server, in principle you will have a choice between a pre-configured system (bare-bones) and a complete custom-modified system (2-4 height units with your components of choice). However, when it comes to 1U systems (one height unit), in practice the only choice is the pre-configured bare-bones - the detailed solutions are too individualized.

There is a large range of 19" server providers, including heavy hitters HP, Dell and IBM, traditional providers such as Supermicro and Tyan and numerous other manufacturers that have only been on the market for several years. These include, among others, the two largest Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers, Asus and MSI.

Depending on the manufacturer, the interior of the only 4.4 cm high family-sized "pizza box" is filled in various ways - so there are different variations too: There is plenty available on the market, from 1U rack servers with three usable 5.25" slots (important for two removable brackets and simple RAID configurations) all the way to versions with only one hard drive and minimal depth.

Thermal Power And Cables

There is one point on which most providers do not differ: Because of the limited height, only fast-turning fans with diameters of 40 mm can be used - and the operating noise is correspondingly unnerving.

So for low-noise level fans, beware;pay special attention to high thermal efficiency and a temperature-controlled fan.

For this reason the power of the server should not be your primary consideration when choosing components - the heat generated should be considered too. Hard drives with 10,000 rpm or 15,000 rpm as well as processors with more than 2.8 GHz demand respect and should only be used when urgently needed.

When drives with SCSI or UltraATA interface are used, the issue of heat can soon become an Achilles' heel, because the bulging ribbon cables can have an effect on ventilation. This can be helped only by round cables or by selecting serial ATA drives or - after the middle of the year - even SAS (serial attached SCSI).

  • jameshk
    if i buy this 1U server, can i use it for video edit and play games at home??the speed good then normal desktop?