Whiteboxing a 1U – the rage continues

Whiteboxing a 1U – the rage continues

Once the rest of my parts arrived, it’s safe to say the problems, and the rage, continued to build.

It took over a week, but the rest of the parts for this 1U whitebox finally arrived. As soon as the parts were delivered, I went to work. I pulled the original power supply and installed the motherboard and I/O plate.

The whole back of the case was covered in holes for airflow. So even if I was willing to drill, there wasn’t a good spot to mount the receptacle for the DC-DC power supply anywhere close to the motherboard.

There was a hole in the back that COULD have been for something like this, but it was too small:

So I drilled it out with a 5/16″ bit hooked up to a hammer drill:

I’m still not entirely sure what the purpose of that hole was. I have to believe it was for a power supply cable or something. It’s rather difficult finding any documentation on some of this Supermicro stuff. You are just supposed to “know” how it works and fits together.

I had similar problems figuring out how to actually mount the fan bracket that was designed for this case. If you’ve never done it before, there’s little documentation how it works. I eventually found a picture online of that.

So far so good?

Once everything was installed, one thing became apparent. The power supply cable was too short. I could stretch it and drag it to make it fit over the motherboard, but that wasn’t suitable for a permanent solution. The CPU would have cooked the cable if nothing else.

Sigh… another few days while a 4 pin ATX extension cable is shipped. While I was at it, I ordered an internal header to USB plug adaptor.

Another problem arose during my quick power-on testing. The default fan mounting location of this case almost entirely missed directing the air over the CPU on this motherboard. At best, maybe 20% of the CPU cooler had airflow going over it.

That meant that when the case was actually sealed up, the CPU was overheating even just sitting in the BIOS. So I had to jury-rig a solution using the fans+bracket from my SYS-E300-8D disassembly. This at least keeps the CPU temperature at a balmy 50C. I will also be installing an active cooler soon to replace that passive one.


I got ESXi installed and running.

I felt pretty good about reusing the DC-DC power supply. This device wasn’t destined to ever have any drives, so an 84W power supply should have been more than sufficient. The server was running like a champ and I figured my problems were finally over.

That’s when I looked at my graph for power usage. It was jumping up and down every few seconds by insane amounts. One second it was 261 watts, the next it was almost 400. I looked at the display on the UPS just to be sure I didn’t have some sort of weird reporting error.

This server is just the gift that kept giving.

To be continued

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