Ubuntu Media Server

The story of converting an old Sparc Classic server into a mini-ITX ATOM processor NAS.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The idea

The plan is to create a Home Media Server / NAS, based on Ubuntu and MediaTomb.

I was planning to use the new Intel Atom 230 mobo, but as fate would have it they released a Dual Core version (330) last week - so that's what I'm going with.

As it's a NAS as well as server I'm going with a pair of Samsung 1Tb low noise discs to be (soft) mirrored - these are a couple of mS slower than Seagate Barracudas, but I preferred the low noise option. (remains to be seen what racket the chipset fan will produce, but I'll blow that bridge up when I get to it - I've silenced Northbridge chips before).

I am going to do a bit of Case Modding and use as a donor an old Sun SparcClassic I have had lying around for yonks that was saved from a skip, and an old 80Gb IDE system disc. I loaded NetBSD on it originally, but once that worked I never turned it on again and I suspect the battery is long since dead.

There's a nice example of an VIA mini-ITX case mod using an old SparcIPX (essentially the same box) here.

I've managed to source a 1U 250w (overkill) PSU which looks like it's going to sit exactly where the old SUN PSU did inside the case - which has saved about £40 on external PSU, internal DC-DC psu & internal wiring looms. I thought about salvaging the SUN PSU, but the connectors are different, and it's a £30 problem, so barely worth the effort (plus I couldn't find a spec for the old PSU). The new PSU is a Seasonic 250W 1U compact, and the very nice people at LinITX recommended it (so thanks)

Next job (with photos planned) - gut the old Sparc boards & PSU.


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