Updating the kitchen (server)

I’ll admit it:

Yesterday was a nice sunny day.

But there was quite plenty of nice and sunny days last week and I didn’t get much out of these: a sunburn,  and deep purple-black rings under my eyes because I couldn’t get any sleep at night with all the heat.

So with all due stubbornness I spent a part of the day on the inside (except for going for coffee)  and upgraded my old kitchen server. I’ve always run a server in there, since I live in a small flat and nobody would want a system running 24×7 in their room. The only logical place is on top of the kitchen cupboards.

Over the last 5 years this has come from a 1400MHz VIA to a Quad Xeon700, to 2.8GHz Core2Duo to the current 1500MHz VIA.

This little thing has been great, 2GB ram and two 1.5TB WD Green disks that kept power consumption, and excess heat very very low.

The downside is that it

  • only gives around 3-5MB/s of network throughput
  • is a old 32bit CPU and
  • the 2GB Ram forbid running any larger VMs
  • also it’s only got two SATA ports, which also only deliver around 50MB/s

(Oh yes of course this is running Xen / Oracle VM 2.2.2. The fileserver and DNS vms have come a loooong way, upgraded from I think debian sid or edge)

USB Drives:

Some mainboards come with normal (metal shielded) USB connerctors, some only have a 9-Pin USB header.

I had only noticed the standard USB port on my S3210 board so I set out to find the best USB stick you can get for a reasonable price.

The following is industrial grade, uses SLC and costs around 35 Euros. I only found one seller in Germany, plus they state this is a build to order product. The price is actually quite OK considering this. Transfer rates around 37MB/s read take USB 2.0 to it’s limit which is just great for USB boot.

ATP – AF2GUFV1LS-461313M5S – Nano UFD (SLC SIP) – 2GB – Industrial

But, even better:

while I was looking at the mainboard diagram sticker (these come with all intel boards) which I had sticked on the case top, I noticed something:

Right next to the “usb port” it said “external usb connector“.

USB connectors on Intel S3210

It’s hard to recognize, that’s why I never noticed it until now. The great thing is that there’s a (in stock) USB flash module from Transcend that I already tested with good results. It’s got 2GB capacity and you can order it right at Amazon for around 25 Euro, with the usual quick shipping.

Installing to that flash drive takes about 2 minutes, which is great performance, and I already run one in my SR1550 server, so I can make use of the same USB flash for 4 servers instead of 1 now.


While these are still in the mail I worked on replacing the fans (I had 3 strong Sunon fans in there that had no means of speed control) and tidying the cable mess in the case.

The replacement fans from Artic cooling are awesome – they have builtin temp. control with a very simple principle:

The Airflow temperature defines the airflow speed.

Even better: they only cost me like 3 Euros each.

After replacing the fans and some re-wiring the system looked a lot better, although I will have to replace the nice short length orange cables i nicked from my desktop pc.

They got lose a few times, happened mostly when I lifted the HDD tray. you will notice that once you see no disks in your OS install or if you get odd ATA resets.


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