The "Tux Server Project"

or "Roll-Your-Own" Network Attached Storage Device

By Michael Charrier
Posted on October 4, 2003
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Parts List

• Quantum Snap Server 2000 Case
• VIA EPIA 800 Mini-ITX Motherboard (800Mhz)
• 512MB PC133 DIMM
• Flex ATX-090 PSU
• 10.05GB IBM Travelstar 4,200RPM Laptop Hard Drive x 7
• SIIG Ultra ATA/133 Low-Profile IDE Controller
• Sony CRX700E CD-R/RW Drive
• Laptop CD-ROM to IDE Adapter
• 40- to 44-pin Laptop Hard drive Converter x 4
• 2mm 44-pin IDE Ribbon Cable(in feet) x 5
• 44 Pin Male Plug Type IDC Connector x 3
• 44 Pin Female Socket Type IDC Connector x 6
• 60mm 3-pin Fan for Hard Drive Array
• Right-Angle PCI Extender
• LEDs, Screws, Aluminum Plates, Reset & Power Buttons, Miscellaneous

Mounting the Motherboard

The first step was taking the Faraday shield out of the "Snap Server" labelled side of the case to use as the hardware mounting tray. In order to maximize usable space in the case, I used a Dremel to cut away the vent grill on the front of the Faraday shield / tray.

A quick test fit of the VIA motherboard in the tray to get an idea of MB placement. Some of the Faraday cage contacts along the top of the tray had to be folded down to provide clearance for the SIIG IDE controller.

Adding the I/O shield and four 1/4-inch, hexagonal standoffs to the motherboard allowed me to mark the cut out lines for the rear of the hardware tray.

A quick run of the Dremel along the guidelines and a bit of filing gives a nice, smooth edge.

Another fitting of the motherboard to mark the forward edge of the motherboard in the tray and where the motherboard mounting holes will go. Then drill the holes and attach the standoffs.

Using a small piece of a breadboard PCB, I added the LEDs for the System power, Network activity, Link, and Disk activity.

Since the Mini-ITX board doesn't have additional headers on it for the front panel lights (hint, hint to the engineers at VIA), I had to add my own. You have to be VERY careful when soldering wires to the appropriate spots on the motherboard. I recommend using a 15W soldering iron to prevent damaging components that are in proximity to the solder points. In this image you can see the lights on the left during a test.

In order to avoid cluttering the inside of the case with cables and blocking air-flow, I routed the IDE cable for the CD-RW under the motherboard (the cable to the left). The cable going to the right was my original attempt to connect the hard drives for the OS.

At this point, the motherboard is ready for mounting on the hardware tray.