Server upgrade to Intel Atom Mini-ITX

My home linux server (formerly my desktop PC), which has been sitting in the corner of my lounge for a few years (with all fans other than the CPU fan unplugged in order to keep the noise down), finally blew up a few weeks ago. The motherboard was loading the BIOS but failing to recognise the HDDs or boot from a CD despite the fact the HDD/CD seemed fine in another PC, so I presumed that the Southbridge had failed due to overheating.

I decided to switch to a low-power Mini-ITX based design rather than replacing the broken motherboard with a comparable one, and after a quick bit of research decided upon an Intel D945GCLF2 motherboard – which is based around the Atom 330 (dual core 1.6 GHz) processor, 2 Gb of RAM and a Morex Venux 668 case from ITX Warehouse. A complete PC (excepting disks) with change to spare from £150 – pretty impressive!

The parts arrived two days later (I ordered after the 5pm cutoff), and within a few hours everything was installed in the new case and ready to go. I was amazed as Debian booted off of the old disk without any issues (try changing the motherboard architecture on Windows without reinstalling from scratch!). After some slight issues with the network I eventually realised the new network card was coming up as eth1 rather than eth0. A quick check of google revealed that the old network card needed to be removed from /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules. Following this everything was up and running as before.

The fan on the D945GCLF2 is apparently notorious for becoming very noisy after a few weeks, and the fans in the case are of a similar diameter, so I am expecting my next project will be to replace these with either low-noise fans or passive cooling.

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