Construction proposal: Flexible home server with the option of 64 GByte ECC RAM

Whether it’s a hobby or a real necessity: building your own small server for domestic use is an exciting but challenging project. Many requirements differ fundamentally from those of normal home computers, while others are congruent. Our building proposal is therefore a compromise that can cover as many requirements as possible, but does not fill every conceivable niche. In its basic configuration, it only needs 12 watts in idle and is whisper-quiet. Even with four (sleeping) hard drives, it is far from being a swallowing woodpecker or a roaring cube. Thanks to the Baseboard Management Controller (BMC), it can be configured and operated remotely, regardless of the operating system.

A variant with an AMD processor that can also be remotely serviced would only be possible on the basis of the Asrock rack board X470D4U or its more expensive D4U2-2T variant with 10 Gigabit Ethernet. They are the only AM4 boards with a remote maintenance chip, but were hardly available until shortly before the editorial deadline, and Asrock Rack could not help us out either. If the situation has improved a bit, let’s take a closer look at this board. If you can do without remote maintenance, you might be well served by our refurbished construction proposal for the Spar-Mini.

This time we decided to pack our compact server in a compact housing. The Node 304 from Fractal Design with a rounded 38 × 25 × 22 cm3 (depth × width × height) also fits on a shelf behind the desk and doesn’t cost a lot. Three fans and a fan control that can be regulated from the outside using a three-stage slide are pre-assembled at the factory. The fans generate a straight flow of air from the front over the attached hard drives to the rear and remain nice and quiet in the lowest and medium levels. In addition to the mainboard in mini-ITX format, a power supply unit in standard ATX size and up to six 3.5-inch hard drives, decoupled by rubber rings, fit as mass storage in the Node 304. The area above the CPU socket is free of components and is in the direct suction of the rear fan, so that when using a more powerful CPU, you can also use a quiet, up to 18 centimeter high cooler such as the Alpenföhn Ben Nevis (Advanced).

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