Compact 2U Rackmount Quiet Home Server Build On A Budget - Core i5, 32GB RAM  (Plex + Games Server)

Compact 2U Rackmount Quiet Home Server Build On A Budget – Core i5, 32GB RAM (Plex + Games Server)


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In this video I build a new home server system into a compact 2U rack mount case. The end goal is a reasonably spec’d system while on a budget that is as close to silent as possible.

The base system is actually a Lenovo ThinkCentre M81 SSF PC that I got on eBay, stripped down and use the motherboard/CPU from to create this system.
However doing this doesn’t come without its fair share of problems that require me to make modifications and unplanned customization to the build as with most brand-name systems.

The system is completed and up/running now, as I needed it to be however this is NOT the final form for this server. I WILL be changing out the power supply to a better brand, adding a hard drive in the optical drive bay, changing the CPU cooler and eventually upgrading the CPU too.

-=[ PARTS LIST & SYSTEM SPECS ]=-
X-Case D-214 2U M-ATX Short Rack Case
Lenovo ThinkCentre M81 SSF Socket 1155 Micro ATX Motherboard (causes CPU cooler mount problems during the video)
Intel Core i5 2400 Quad Core @ 3.1Ghz (3.4Ghz turbo) Processor
32GB Crucial DDR3 PC3-1600 Memory / RAM (2x 16GB kits, 4x 8GB Sticks)
Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB Hard Drive from an old PC (For OS)
Western Digital Green 1.5TB Hard Drive from a Sky+ HD box (For storage)
An Old Sony / NEC CD/DVD-RW+DL Drive
Random Casecom ‘ATX500W’ 500W Power Supply (temporarily)
Stock Lenovo CPU heatsink and fan
System Running Windows 7 Professional x64 (64-Bit) SP1
Dual 80MM Noctua NF-A8 FLX front intake cooling fans

I had to use the stock Lenovo CPU heatsink and fan as the Arctic Cooling Freezer 11 LP Low Profile CPU Cooler I planned to use touched the VRM or blocked the RAM slots.
I also tried to use a stock Intel heatsink/fan but that wouldn’t mount as the motherboard holes are too large for some reason!

This case was originally used in a previous video for a build I did that is now redundant and unused. The original build video is called “Building My 2U 19″ Rackmount PC For DMX Control & Music / Mobile Disco / PA Use – Time Lapse Build” (here: )

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~+ Music Information:
The Show Must Be Go – Kevin MacLeod

Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Video recorded Using A Samsung Galaxy S5 (SM-G900f).

25 thoughts on “Compact 2U Rackmount Quiet Home Server Build On A Budget – Core i5, 32GB RAM (Plex + Games Server)

  1. Power consumption & temps for those who are interested and have asked:
    All readings are taken with a mains voltage of around 243V AC.
    Fun fact: the server still remained near-silent under all of these tests.

    In 'Standby' (PSU Switch on but system not turned on) it draws:
    0.06 Amps, 3.5 Watts

    Idle at the desktop it draws:
    0.27 Amps, 40 Watts.
    CPU Idle Temp Average: 44C

    Under full CPU + RAM load (Using Prime95):
    0.78 Amps, 130 Watts.
    CPU Load Temp Max: 83C at 3.2Ghz with TurboBoost.

    The power consumption may be better / more efficient when I get to change out this power supply I'm currently still using in it.
    Also, I don't have anything to measure the ambient temp I'm afraid – but it's in a 'warmer than average' room in a UK house?!? If that helps, haha.

  2. 2:36 I was just about to ask if that is efficient, having cooling in that position for a 2u case. Normally you would need one that blows air from front to back instead of top to bottom, just not sure how much of a difference there is.

  3. 2 Tips:
    VMWare ESXi;
    – You will be able to take advantage of your RAM and CPU. You can run virtual machines and get more from your computer!
    RAID:
    – Please use RAID! If one of those drives fail you'll lose everything!

    I hope you take these into account! 🙂

  4. He guys!
    It's really amazing watching your video and got to understand that the data is so much safer with free nas build.
    I have a bunch of new hardware lying around and do hope that it will be sufficient… Pls help.
    Motherboard – MSI H110M Pro-VH Plus Socket LGA 1151 Motherboard
    CPU – Intel Pentium G4400 Skylake Dual-Core 3.3GHz
    RAM – 4 X 4 GB Non ECC RAM
    Drives – 4 X 4 TB WD Red Nas Drives
    PSU – Corsair 450W
    NIC – Interl Dual Port

    It's just for FreeNas, no plex, no virtualization nothing; only 4 users max. The machine will be running 24X7.

    Is the hardware sufficient / extreme for my build?
    Want to keep the budget as low as possible.

    Q1. Intel NIC is a dual port GB link. Will I get 2 Gbps connectivity speed if I attach 2 lan cables?
    Q2. I want to share files to my friends who will be on different network. May I know what would be the download speed for them?

  5. What rack is this mounted in? I have a Navepoint 9u wall mount open frame rack. I believe that chassis would fit if I used a jigsaw to cut away the backer board behind it so the cables have somewhere to go.

    If only I could find a short rack case with the io facing the front and the drives in the back.

  6. In the bios you can set the cooling policy to quiet, that would reduce the noise dramatically; also, I would suggest flashing to the newest bios version.
    Regarding the 4pin ATX cable, I am pretty sure you are aware that such extensions do exist and are ridiculously cheap.

  7. I dug out an old PC to install pfsense onto with the purpose of serving the entire network with my VPN, although the power use is well above and beyond my Netgear R7000 running the Tomato firmware so I'm struggling to justify it. Think it worked out at £186 per year, roughly. Might not sound like loads to some people but I probably normally only use about £50 per month of electric without that device.

    I do have some old rack mountable 1u/2u servers tucked away somewhere, however their power use and noise is much higher, albeit they're intended for a data centre.

  8. How many amps and watts does it consume FULL LOAD? I need to run a server off solar power from a single 800 amp hour deep cycle, ups directly connected to the battery lol.

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