This 1U Computer Rackmount Case for sale here
Build Server - rack mount - rackmount - rackmountserver

Build a rack mount server in a 1U case on a budget

I am doing this to possibly use this computer as a web server running Linux and Apache and rent some server colocation space to host websites. But I wanted to find out how much it would be to build one.

Our server will consist of a ATX motherboard with AMD 3800 X2 XP dual core processor running at 2 GHz and 1gb of DDR2 Dimm memory. The hard drive will be a 200 gig IDE. The CD-ROM installed will be a 52x CD-ROM.

Parts List

ECS Geforce6100PM-M2 AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard $49.99
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor 2.0GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor $47.99
HP - Memory - 1 GB - DIMM 240-pin - DDR II - 667 MHz / PC2-5300 PX976AT $26
 Link to Ebay Store Where I Bought it from.
20-pin 24-pin ATX Power Supply Converter Adapter Cable - Ebay $1.95+$3.50
200 gig IDE hard drive 7200 RPM (SATA drive recommended instead of a IDE)
I just used a IDE drive that I had.
around $50 +/-
A46G AMD Socket AM2 passive heat sink for 1U Server - Ebay $15.99 + $18



First we have to find a case at a reasonable price. I found one on ebay that's about $46 including shipping. It is a used 1U case.

Step one
So I did a BUY IT NOW eBay for the 1U server case. In about a week later I received a server case. (Thing was heavy as hell). Once I received the case I tried to put the motherboard inside and noticed that the connectors on the back of the motherboard didn't match up to the holes in the back of the case.

After comparing the connectors on the back of the motherboard and the case it seems like it was time to use a jigsaw and expand the opening for the motherboards back connectors.  See picture below of back of server case after jig sawing the back connector opening of the case.

After jig sawing a rectangular box from the back of the case now the motherboard fits flush against the rear of the server case and the motherboard screw's mounting holes align correctly with the case.

Below - Back of server with the motherboard installed.


Below is a picture of a top view of the ECS GeForce6100PM-M2 V2.0 motherboard mounted. The heat sink and fan shown is a temporary one until we get the low profile one for the 1U case.

One problem I did run into was the connector on the motherboard required a 24 pin ATX connector and the power supply with the 1U server case was only a 20 pin ATX connector.

I did find an adapter on eBay that takes a 20 pin ATX connector on one side and converts it to a 24 ATX connector to be plugged into the motherboard for about six dollars including shipping.
It measures 6 inches in length.

Ordered it. Got it within a week. Tested it and it worked fine. Pictures Below.



Hard disk Install
There is no easy way to install a hard disk in this 1U case so we will have to build some custom brackets to mount our hard drive to the case. What I came up with is to use some of those brackets that come with new computer cases for the back slots.


After figuring out the hole alignment I came up with this

Hole alignment template PDF file for the hard drive brackets. Note when printing select to print to original size not to reduce. Set scaling to none.

Use 3/16 drill for bracket screw holes.


1U Case Space for the Hard Drive

 Hard Drive mounted in the case it looks like this

To allow for easy power and IDE cable attachment bend the brackets away from the hard drive about 1/4 inch.


May. 14, 2008 - Waiting for the 1U CPU Heat Sink.
May. 16, 2008 - I received the low profile 1U CPU Heat Sink.

Now it is time to install it.

We need to take out the old heat sink mounting system first. This is just a plastic bracket held down by plastic inserts into the mother board.


Turn the mother board over and behind the cpu heat sink mounting bracket is 4 plastic inserts. To remove these inserts you must press a small screw driver into the plastic insert slot until it pops out of the cpu side of the mounting bracket. Do this to all four of the plastic inserts. Turn the mother board back to the cpu side and pull all four of the plastic inserts out as far as you can. Once they are all out you should be able to remove the plastic heat sink mounting bracket.


Picture above with old heat sink bracket removed.


Turn over mother board to the back of the cpu and insert the new heat sink mounting bracket posts thru the four holes surrounding the cpu. As shown above.


Before installing the new heat sink we must put some heat conductive Silver thermal grease as shown above on the AMD 3800 2 ghz x2 dual core cpu. This is done to keep the CPU as cool as possible.


Install the new heat sink by aligning up the heat sink screws with the heat sink back mounting bracket threads. Get the screw thread started on all four screws before tightening down the screws. You might have to hold the heat sink in place with your hand until you have all four screws threaded. Once all four screws are partially screwed in tighten each one a little until they will not turn any more. You don't need to really crank the screws so tight just snug until they won't turn any more.


Top view of case with the new 1U heat sink installed.

May 19, 2008 - I have been testing how cool the cpu stays with the case closed up and typically it stays between 40 & 53 C even when left on for many hours. There is already ubuntu linux 7.10 server  installed on it and have have tested CPU temperature with files being copied etc. So far so good.

The only thing holding up installing this computer at a colocation site is I have to either order a new IDE cable that has 12" between devices or get a hard drive that is SATA. The typical IDE cable does not reach between the 1 IDE port on the mother board and the IDE hard drive and CDROM IDE drive. Right now for testing the hard drive is the only IDE device that is connected to the mother board.