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Upgraded Mini Home Server - Completed PC Build

completed build

I am very sentimental to the core parts of this build. The first time I built a computer was with this motherboard, processor, ram and mSATA SSD. I’ve used it as a media storage computer for about 4 years and it has served me really well. However I got a new job and moved away from my parents who I was sharing this machine with. I have upgraded my server to this machine and fills the same needs as this build will for my parents.

Purpose

For this machine my parents don’t need quite as much storage as I do so I re-purposed a 3TB drive I had. My initial thought was to upgrade this computer to the latest Ubuntu OS, however I would like to wait for 18.04 and I would have had a lot of things to do to recreate. This may still be in the picture as I am documenting everything I recreate on my upgraded 16.04 machine. For now 14.04 works and works well. I am heeding the sentiment of a lot of administrators: do not replace a working server.

Parts List

Here are the parts I used for my build thanks to PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU AMD A10-5800K 3.8 GHz Quad-Core Processor Purchased For $89.99
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-L9a 33.84 CFM CPU Cooler Purchased For $39.50
Motherboard ASRock FM2A88X-ITX+ Mini ITX FM2+ Motherboard Purchased For $99.99
Memory Crucial Ballistix Sport 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR3-1333 Memory Purchased For $119.99
Storage Crucial M500 240 GB mSATA Solid State Drive Purchased For $140.99
Storage Western Digital Red 3 TB 3.5” 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive Purchased For $121.00
Case Apex MI-008 Mini ITX Tower Case w/250 W Power Supply Purchased For $43.98
Power Supply Silverstone 300 W 80+ Bronze Certified SFX Power Supply Purchased For $43.26
Case Fan Noctua NF-F12 PWM 54.97 CFM 120 mm Fan Purchased For $19.95
Custom HAUPPAUGE WinTV-quadHD PCI Express TV Tuner Card 1609 Purchased For $91.71
Total $810.36

Parts Explanation

very little clearance for heatsink

I opted for the really cheap Apex MI 008 after considering the Silverstone Raven 02b and determining it was way too pricey. This case is not very high quality and a bit dated with USB 2.0 headers and a really crappy power supply. I bought the power supply I did for safety to replace the one that came with it. I didn’t want to use the crappy supplied one and fry my board. No issues with that, it fit perfectly in place. I do not like that the PS exhaust fan points toward the processor. I was tempted to do something like glide_si’s PC Part Picker build did but he mentioned it didn’t affect his temps too much.

Probably the most important upgrade of this build is the processor heat-sink. The stock board was doing its job but was extremely loud when the processor was performing highly. I love Noctua’s products and this was one of the few that would fit in this case. I got pretty high temps at first with just the heat-sink. I then added the NF-12 fan and it stabilized the temperature down to more reasonable temps.

inside with fan and tv tuner

I integrated the quad HD tuner for this build because it was pretty cheap and Plex supports it out of the box. I was using the HDHomerun dual tuner and it was working really well but double the tuners sounded nice and something about having the tuner directly connected via pcie appealed to me. This works out well because I plan on sharing the some of the tuners via Plex for myself, utilizing my parents decent tv antenna set up on an antenna tower. I may just take the HDHomerun for my own purposes too.

Build

full inside of build

Moving this build into the Apex MI 008 was really simple. The main parts were attached to the board already. It was just a matter of cleaning the boards thermal paste, reapplying, and installing the new heat-sink. The 3.5 inch hard drive buts right up to the processor heat-sink which was annoying to put together. I don’t think it would have fit if I didn’t have a SATA L cable. The 120mm fan squeezed into the left side of the case no screws needed.

Overall while this is not a new build, it fulfilled a lot of nagging things I wanted done. Upgrading the case, heat-sink, and power supply in combination with adding the TV tuner and fan make this a pretty sizable upgrade. I am very happy with how it turned out but I might have bought a different case since I bought the power supply anyway but I like how concise the case itself is and I have room to upgrade via the 5.25” slot.

Date Build Completed: January 27, 2018