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Topic: Building 1U Rackmount PC

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  1. #1

    Building 1U Rackmount PC

    Last year I built a 3U rackmount PC to run SONAR 3.0, this year I've decided to take on a real challenge- build a 1U rackmount gigastudio PC.

    I've already purchased the 1U antec rackmount case, but am hoping someone out there who has done this before might examine my approach and let me know if I'm missing something. I'm nervous about all this stuff being able to fit...

    Even though the Antec 1U will accept motherboards 12"x13" I've learned that you can't just use any motherboard- most of the new ones have vertical audio ports that stick up to high to fit in the case. To solve this issue, I'm going with the Intel Server Board based on the 875 chipset (800 MHZ FSB), which has onboard video but no onboard audio or vertical audio ports to deal with so I think I'm ok by going with this motherboard.

    Next issue- looks like I'll have to use a "low rise" CPU cooler to sit on the Northwood for this to fit in the 1U case. No problem there I've found them at a few web sites.

    Next issue- I want to use the M-Audio Audiophile 2496, and the Antec case does come with 1U PCI riser card, but I can't tell if the the riser and the card are 32 bit PCI connections or 64 bit- how can I tell the difference?

    Those are the issues I've discovered so far just by doing web research.

    But has anyone out there built a 1U rackmount before? Is there anything else I need to take into consideration? I know I'm not particularly pleased with the 250 watt power supply but is should be OK.

    In case anyone is interested, here is my parts list with prices taken from www.newegg.com.

    1U Antec case ($150)
    Intel Server 875 MB (integrated video, no audio) ($210)
    Intel Northwood 3.0C CPU ($210)
    2 512 MB sticks of PC800 RAM (for starters, add another 2 later) ($200)
    m-audio audiophile 2496 (on a pci riser card) ($100)
    midi over lan - MIDIoverLAN+ will allow 16 midi ins - 256 channels ($130)
    gigastudio 3 orchestra upgrade from giga 96 ($350)
    1 72 gb raptor primary C: for os ($180)
    1 72 gb raptor secondary D: for samples ($180)
    cd rom reader ($50)
    xp pro ($120)
    norton antivirus
    3.5" floppy drive ($15)

    = $1945 total

    If anyone can see any issues going this route, please let me know.

    Thanks,

    Mark Trainer
    www.marktrainer.com

  2. #2

    Re: Building 1U Rackmount PC

    Just a heads up - the 1U servers I've seen have *very* noisy fans - they make a high pitched whining sound.

    Greg.

  3. #3

    Re: Building 1U Rackmount PC

    Quote Originally Posted by sullivang
    Just a heads up - the 1U servers I've seen have *very* noisy fans - they make a high pitched whining sound.

    Greg.
    Same here. 2U or 3U would be a wiser and quieter attempt IMHO.

    Scott

  4. #4

    Re: Building 1U Rackmount PC

    There's a long list of audio workstation providers somewhere in these forums (saw it very recently) - perhaps those guys do custom 1U formfactor systems, using low power processors and/or special cooling. Not sure. I do know that my
    Pentium M based laptop is very quiet and cool indeed - the Pentium M would seem to make a lot of sense for audio. It has a lower clock speed than the desktops but a large cache which may make up for the clock speed deficit to an extent.

    Greg.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Re: Building 1U Rackmount PC

    Quote Originally Posted by sullivang
    I do know that my
    Pentium M based laptop is very quiet and cool indeed - the Pentium M would seem to make a lot of sense for audio. It has a lower clock speed than the desktops but a large cache which may make up for the clock speed deficit to an extent.

    Greg.
    Can you send me a link please? I'm looking for a lap top.

    Thanx ....

  6. #6

    Re: Building 1U Rackmount PC

    Quote Originally Posted by GTBannah
    Can you send me a link please? I'm looking for a lap top.

    Thanx ....
    I have the HP NW8000 which is a pretty high end piece of kit. I do not use it for audio, at least, not yet.
    http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en...f1-364189.html I think there are cheaper notebooks based on the Pentium M.

    Greg.
    p.s I'd like to try it with Gigastudio one of these days, but so far, I haven't tried it.

  7. #7

    Re: Building 1U Rackmount PC

    supermicro : www.supermicro.com makes a boat load of rack mounted MOBO
    barebone units

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Building 1U Rackmount PC

    Hi Mark,

    Personally, I'd opt for a four-space unit. Reasons: Cooling, Multiple drive and DVD-reader capacity, PCI card capacity, and flexibility in choice of components. I would also have some slight misgivings about building a Giga-machine with a less than beefy power supply.

  9. #9

    Re: Building 1U Rackmount PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce A. Richardson
    Hi Mark,

    Personally, I'd opt for a four-space unit. Reasons: Cooling, Multiple drive and DVD-reader capacity, PCI card capacity, and flexibility in choice of components. I would also have some slight misgivings about building a Giga-machine with a less than beefy power supply.
    right! there is no reason to build a 1u rack pc unless you absolutly need the space. i allways use very nice 4u rack cases which can be ultra quiet because of the big air volume and the thick steel walls.

  10. #10

    Re: Building 1U Rackmount PC

    Thank you everyone for your responses. I will admit that your typical rackmount case comes jammed with noisy fans- I'm less than pleased with the loudness of my Antec 3U case (used for SONAR) and am considering buying a 5.25 "fan bus" with knobs that allow me to experiment with cranking down the fans amd still get the cooling I need.

    I had actually decided to go with a Antec 2U rackmount case for some of the reasons posted above when one of my fellow programmers at work offered to give me his 1U case that he had purchased a few months ago but never used (I'm the guy to talked him into building a 1U server for his home- but he chickened out and went with one of the SFF cases).

    I've been building my own PCs since 1997 and have a B.S. in C.S. so I'm kinda looking for a challenge anyway. It seems that technically, it should all work- and if it does so without noise or overheating issues, it would be the cats pajamas. I'm not short on rack space so I'm not hell-bent on going the 1U route.

    So my current plan is to at least attempt to make these components work in this 1U case, and if it turns out to be a nightmare, all these components can easily go into a nice 2U or even 3U and I'll give the 1U back to my friend. I'm hoping that by only having 2 drives and no fancy video card, the 250 watt power supply will be enough. We'll see.

    I'll be buying the components over a 2 month period but once this project is complete I'll report back with my experiences. Still, if anyone out there has built a 1U rackmount and know of any "unexpected gotchas", please let me know so I can plan accordingly.

    Mark Trainer
    www.marktrainer.com

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