VOGONS

Common searches


First post, by BitWrangler

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Hi vogons,

Many times in the past I have idly pondered using a rack cabinet, but a couple of things usually stop me... well I guess they both boil down to one, height, I can't get anything more than 6" wide around certain corners in my house unless it's also less than 6ft tall.... also basement is a bit low and 84" rack would not sit down there... then the shortarse ones never seemed worth the bother.

However, I don't need to look for the perfect cabinet, because I have an imperfect substitute that is already here.... it's actually a particle board display cabinet which I just noticed happens to have 19" internal dimension. Older school particle board, real veneer on it, so no too crumbly/weak. This I know fits where I want it to it and can be moved around the house (empty, obv) ... this would give me 20somethingish U above and 10somethingish U underneath. It will only do about 400mm depth though. Might be able to put some metal angle on the front for securer bolting, but might just stack stuff in there initially. Power will just be normal extension powerbars, won't be able to run a "full" cabinet at once.

I have perused a couple of the rackmount threads here...
[Very Old Systems On Server Chassis] thoughts about 3U rack-mounted chassis?
Old rack cabinet, finally

I am also noticing this problem with the 3U when advertised as ATX they often have the PSU mounted over last few slots, so ATX/ISA will lose ISA. So mATX/3U seems more of a thing.

I am totally not sure what I would put into it yet, it's more a "maybe I can get some crap piled up neat and out the way" So probably it will get some boring utility systems and maybe attract a switch and KVM in rack format. I may as well have a storage array of some sort in there as well.

Anyway, what I really want to ask about is what kind of keywords should I be looking for for systems that are dirt cheap, thrown out and have re-useable for ATXish boards cases? I will want to get everything used and dirt cheap, two figure pricing, yes I have eyes I can see new stuff on amazon for $200 plus, I am unlikely to buy it at present. Or are there any words that help for pre-used empty cases 3U or 4U? Also wondering if there's anything that gives you a mostly empty case to adapt to needs, but maybe has 12V PSU that you can use adapters with, something that doesn't have really freaky hard to find connectors.

So bit experimental, just looking for low budget mess around to see if it's gonna feel so useful I want to put real money into things a few years down the line.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 1 of 10, by ElectroSoldier

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I think you mean 6 foot wide rather than the 6 inches wide.

There are a lot of rack options out there both new and used, it all comes down to what you want to put into it.

You seem to be wanting a rack mount and ATX cases.
Ive no intention of reading through an old thread about 3U cases.

Reply 2 of 10, by BitWrangler

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

No I meant 6" for the depth, I can get a mattress through the house and some box springs because they bend, and I could move a loose door around the house easily enough. If I glued 8 inches worth of 6'6" doors together, I would not quite have clearance to make some corners, due to the depth (Well and the width, I guess the limiting dimension is actually the hypotenuse of the triangle from the midpoint of one side and the other side). An exact 6foot one I could probably stand all the way up, but there's a few pinch points with height and corners. So I'm saying that because these cabinets are short enough to rotate vertically around the corners that have height restrictions they go through, but something 30" by 30" by 5' might not, but they're more like 21" x 17" x 6'

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 3 of 10, by InTheStudy

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Finally something I know about! For a rack, you have to watch out for depth, and weight limits. I've been using an audio rack - 500mm is too short, but with the exception of my storage server, it wasn't an issue. Unfortunately, the weight of a console, three UPSs, four switches, two routers and six servers crushed it's castors and mounts. Now though I've repurposed that for the World's Worst Recording Studio, and I'm keeping my eye out for a Startech adjustable-depth rack. They come in various heights from 12U to 30U and are very flexible - but they're expensive new, and hard to find for freeap (but they're out there!). You'll never fill a 42U rack at home, and if you did then the electricity cost (of both the servers, and the ensuing aircon) would bankrupt you in a week. The Startech is perfect for you if you can find it. Most small-height cabinets are short depth too - you need something open at both ends, and between 600mm and 1000mm deep. Ideally around 800 - and the Startech's perfect. Otherwise, a LACKRACK EE is a great starting point for €20.

If you want ATX chassis used, you want Supermicro. The SC-512 (old and new - one is a little wider than the other) are both great, and both can take the PSW-351-1H GOLD PSU, which is basically silent. Of course, 1U case means ridiculously loud blower fan, but old ivy/sandy i3's with 35W TDP will run fine with a passive heatsink as long as you're not constantly ragging them. They'll thermal throttle if you do, but for normal home server kind of stuff they'll idle at 50C in that setup, which is more than fine. Obviously, pick up one of the new N100 ITX boards (don't get older ATOM/Pentium/Celeron boards - only the latest gen; older stuff doesn't have AVX/AVX2 which will screw you for software, and they also have a bad history of fatal CPU hardware bugs) and you're laughing - they're DESIGNED to be run passively in tiny boxes. Intel S1200BTx with i3 3220T is a good choice for a cheap, low power ECC server board; and ASROCK N100M (for a 2U+ case) or N100-ITX (for a 1U case) is a great choice for the other option. What would be REALLY great would be a CM4 with an ATX carrier, but alas - the official one is not *quite* ATX compliant, and no-one ever made a simple, cheap ATX carrier for CM4 modules.

The SC-112 and SC-116 are great 1U chassis for storage; they can take 8/10 SATA/SAS drives - again, if you want to do this at home, use SSD's for low power consumption/heat/noise. If you want bigger, the SC-826 and SC-846 are big cases with many 3.5" bays, and have ATX versions. The SC213/216/219 are also 2U, but with 2.5" drive bays. The 216 has 24 bays, so you could do 48TB (or with reasonable redundancy, 36TB assuming 2 VDEVs of Z3) of SSD storage using cheap consumer drives. 😉

Best way to find the SC-512 is look at 1U appliances on ebay and keep an eye out for them. The case designs are very recognisable, and having an ATX layout in back will be obvious. Plus, you get cool weird branding on them! I have Vocera, MailFoundry, and Stormprobe branded SC-512's - plus, a generic Supermicro one in beige with working FDD and CD-ROM drives; both of which I converted to use USB for internal connection to motherboards, since nothing has IDE/FDD anymore. All upgraded to use the PSW-351-1H (the stock 200W ones in the old models were loud and inefficient); though a couple of them needed tabs ground off the base to fit the longer PSU in. After that, no issue. (The tabs were an optional thing that could be bent in to help mount the older PSU's - so if the case has one it needs to be removed!)

Obviously, other rackmount ATX chassis brands are available - but SuperMicro are such a leading brand that they're the most common one to find used gear using, and models like the SC-512 have been around since the 90's so they're easy to find once you know what to look for.

Switches wise - look at the HPE or Aruba (same deal) 2530 series. The still-supported PoE switches are only 10/100 (but with quad gigabit for uplink ports), but that's fine for most uses - and they're PoE+, which means you can run Pi 4's and Pi 5's over PoE including powering things like NVMe SSDs or some USB gadgets. My radio has a Pi 4, a hungry servo motor and will have a USB SSD before it's finished - and that's all fine on a 2530-24-PoE+ with the Waveshare PoE Hat C. The nice thing is, these switches are like €50 for a PoE switch. It's great. They also have gigabit switches - 2530-24G. And all these switches are supported with current firmware and security patches till EoP 2026. Obviously, they're also fully managed with both web GUI's (that work on modern browsers and don't need Java or Silverlight or Flash or...) and powerful serial/ssh consoles. Highly recommended.

And for Routers - build your own. It's much more interesting, much more useful, much less wasteful if you decide to decommission it later (since you can re-use the parts for something else) - and a PoE Pi 4/5 is a great way to do it. Using VLANs you can even do it with a single ethernet port on the Pi! (Though obviously, your max theoretical throughput is 500Mbps running that way).

Edit: Here's a really old photo of my cluster in the Audio rack. The Vocera box is a gen2 SC-512 chassis, and the two underneath are the narrower gen1 version from the 90's. There's no functional difference for normal use. And hey, there's a couple of Combadges next to the keyboard to boot! 😁

oldcluster.jpg
Filename
oldcluster.jpg
File size
139.01 KiB
Views
365 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Pretty sure back then these were a J3455, a J4125 and the first S1200BTL. Again - hard, hard recommend against ANY older atom board, J3455, J5040, any of them. Do not buy anything but an N100 if you're going atom. Other than that, get creative! 😁 Worth mentioning the obvious; I'm obviously mostly talking about the low power stuff because every server chassis I currently own is 1U, and I want them silent. It's a challenge, but a fun one. If you're using a bigger chassis like SC-219; you have space for sensible cooling, and could run something like an Intel 14500 - a desktop CPU that has 14c20t, supports 192GB of ECC memory and would absolutely not be silent in a 1U chassis. I miss when Intel TDP's were SANE.

Last edited by InTheStudy on 2024-04-12, 11:14. Edited 3 times in total.

Reply 4 of 10, by Intel486dx33

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

For a Fully Supported Dirt Cheap Server this is a Great option.
Mine is Super Fast and reliable and Never Crashes,
I think you can rack mount these too.

Base build Cost me under $300
Hard drives extra

You can find refurbished 12tb NAS hard drives from $90 on eBay or amazon

HP z440 Link:
Re: Bought this (Modern) hardware today

Link:
Re: Bought this (Modern) hardware today

Reply 5 of 10, by ElectroSoldier

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

6" deep is a tall order for a server rack!
Best bet is to look for an audio rack as they can be open back free standing affairs as theyre not generally designed to take much weight.

If youre really that pushed for space then maybe you might look for the vertical mounting rails that you attach to a wall and the equipment mounts to them in a vertical orientation. They can be picked up for a few quid on ebay, all you need is the mounting screws for them
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/195223412966

You would be looking for M10 cage nut screw sets

Reply 6 of 10, by BitWrangler

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Forget about the 6" It was in reference to anything over 6 feet high, just thrown out to explain something about why I can't have a standard 84" high rack, saying I can thread long thin things around, and short thick things but not tall thick things.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 7 of 10, by ElectroSoldier

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Well as youre not sure what you will put into it how will you know what you need?

There are wall mounts as above.
There is some desk stand like this https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/386906476747
There are more or less sturdy versions of the same.
There are similar mounts along the same lines but are box mounts like this https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/233652645724

You really need to think about what you will actually put into it because it will define what you will need.

Reply 8 of 10, by BitWrangler

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
InTheStudy wrote on 2024-04-11, 21:51:
Finally something I know about! For a rack, you have to watch out for depth, and weight limits. I've been using an audio rack - […]
Show full quote

Finally something I know about! For a rack, you have to watch out for depth, and weight limits. I've been using an audio rack - 500mm is too short, but with the exception of my storage server, it wasn't an issue. Unfortunately, the weight of a console, three UPSs, four switches, two routers and six servers crushed it's castors and mounts. Now though I've repurposed that for the World's Worst Recording Studio, and I'm keeping my eye out for a Startech adjustable-depth rack. They come in various heights from 12U to 30U and are very flexible - but they're expensive new, and hard to find for freeap (but they're out there!). You'll never fill a 42U rack at home, and if you did then the electricity cost (of both the servers, and the ensuing aircon) would bankrupt you in a week. The Startech is perfect for you if you can find it. Most small-height cabinets are short depth too - you need something open at both ends, and between 600mm and 1000mm deep. Ideally around 800 - and the Startech's perfect. Otherwise, a LACKRACK EE is a great starting point for €20.

If you want ATX chassis used, you want Supermicro. The SC-512 (old and new - one is a little wider than the other) are both great, and both can take the PSW-351-1H GOLD PSU, which is basically silent. Of course, 1U case means ridiculously loud blower fan, but old ivy/sandy i3's with 35W TDP will run fine with a passive heatsink as long as you're not constantly ragging them. They'll thermal throttle if you do, but for normal home server kind of stuff they'll idle at 50C in that setup, which is more than fine. Obviously, pick up one of the new N100 ITX boards (don't get older ATOM/Pentium/Celeron boards - only the latest gen; older stuff doesn't have AVX/AVX2 which will screw you for software, and they also have a bad history of fatal CPU hardware bugs) and you're laughing - they're DESIGNED to be run passively in tiny boxes. Intel S1200BTx with i3 3220T is a good choice for a cheap, low power ECC server board; and ASROCK N100M (for a 2U+ case) or N100-ITX (for a 1U case) is a great choice for the other option. What would be REALLY great would be a CM4 with an ATX carrier, but alas - the official one is not *quite* ATX compliant, and no-one ever made a simple, cheap ATX carrier for CM4 modules.

The SC-112 and SC-116 are great 1U chassis for storage; they can take 8/10 SATA/SAS drives - again, if you want to do this at home, use SSD's for low power consumption/heat/noise. If you want bigger, the SC-826 and SC-846 are big cases with many 3.5" bays, and have ATX versions. The SC213/216/219 are also 2U, but with 2.5" drive bays. The 216 has 24 bays, so you could do 48TB (or with reasonable redundancy, 36TB assuming 2 VDEVs of Z3) of SSD storage using cheap consumer drives. 😉

Best way to find the SC-512 is look at 1U appliances on ebay and keep an eye out for them. The case designs are very recognisable, and having an ATX layout in back will be obvious. Plus, you get cool weird branding on them! I have Vocera, MailFoundry, and Stormprobe branded SC-512's - plus, a generic Supermicro one in beige with working FDD and CD-ROM drives; both of which I converted to use USB for internal connection to motherboards, since nothing has IDE/FDD anymore. All upgraded to use the PSW-351-1H (the stock 200W ones in the old models were loud and inefficient); though a couple of them needed tabs ground off the base to fit the longer PSU in. After that, no issue. (The tabs were an optional thing that could be bent in to help mount the older PSU's - so if the case has one it needs to be removed!)

Obviously, other rackmount ATX chassis brands are available - but SuperMicro are such a leading brand that they're the most common one to find used gear using, and models like the SC-512 have been around since the 90's so they're easy to find once you know what to look for.

Switches wise - look at the HPE or Aruba (same deal) 2530 series. The still-supported PoE switches are only 10/100 (but with quad gigabit for uplink ports), but that's fine for most uses - and they're PoE+, which means you can run Pi 4's and Pi 5's over PoE including powering things like NVMe SSDs or some USB gadgets. My radio has a Pi 4, a hungry servo motor and will have a USB SSD before it's finished - and that's all fine on a 2530-24-PoE+ with the Waveshare PoE Hat C. The nice thing is, these switches are like €50 for a PoE switch. It's great. They also have gigabit switches - 2530-24G. And all these switches are supported with current firmware and security patches till EoP 2026. Obviously, they're also fully managed with both web GUI's (that work on modern browsers and don't need Java or Silverlight or Flash or...) and powerful serial/ssh consoles. Highly recommended.

And for Routers - build your own. It's much more interesting, much more useful, much less wasteful if you decide to decommission it later (since you can re-use the parts for something else) - and a PoE Pi 4/5 is a great way to do it. Using VLANs you can even do it with a single ethernet port on the Pi! (Though obviously, your max theoretical throughput is 500Mbps running that way).

Edit: Here's a really old photo of my cluster in the Audio rack. The Vocera box is a gen2 SC-512 chassis, and the two underneath are the narrower gen1 version from the 90's. There's no functional difference for normal use. And hey, there's a couple of Combadges next to the keyboard to boot! 😁

oldcluster.jpg

Pretty sure back then these were a J3455, a J4125 and the first S1200BTL. Again - hard, hard recommend against ANY older atom board, J3455, J5040, any of them. Do not buy anything but an N100 if you're going atom. Other than that, get creative! 😁 Worth mentioning the obvious; I'm obviously mostly talking about the low power stuff because every server chassis I currently own is 1U, and I want them silent. It's a challenge, but a fun one. If you're using a bigger chassis like SC-219; you have space for sensible cooling, and could run something like an Intel 14500 - a desktop CPU that has 14c20t, supports 192GB of ECC memory and would absolutely not be silent in a 1U chassis. I miss when Intel TDP's were SANE.

Thanks much, yes that's what I wanted to hear about, stuff to go in them.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 9 of 10, by wierd_w

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Be aware that rack servers want good cooling.

That particle-board / IKEA Flatpack audio rack looks like an insulating blanket. 🙁

sadly, an actual 2U or deeper rack tends to be $, just for the shipping, unless you can get local industrial/ewaste salvage.

Still, rackmounted hardware designs 'imply' being installed in a highly refrigerated datacenter, and have cooling designs with that in mind.

If you installed a lot of noctua fans, and ensured that the back of the rackmounts had ample clearance to dissipate the exhaust, maybe the audiorack would work... but particleboard flatpacks tend to be structurally unsound without the cardboard in the back. 🙁

Reply 10 of 10, by InTheStudy

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
BitWrangler wrote on 2024-04-13, 03:38:

Thanks much, yes that's what I wanted to hear about, stuff to go in them.

Discovered today there's a 35W TDP version of the 14500, but that's only base TDP - I still wanna try running one (well, three) in a passive SC-512 cluster and see how long they last. Maybe when I'm a rich successful YouTuber or something.

Still can't speak highly enough of the Aruba/HPE 2530 stuff, but another great option is Mikrotik. If you need to have a "fast" section of your network with a NAS and your modernest gaming PC on or something, they have a great rackmount switch with one gigabit port with PoE in (which you could drive off a 2530's 10/100 port just for power and management), five 1G SFP ports you could use for linking Aruba switches and your upstream internet, and four 10G SFP+ ports you could link to a file server, your TV media centre and a gaming PC. RRP $200.

My general recommendation for boxes is still SuperMicro. If you were really after full height expansion card slots though it's challenging. To give an example, one of their coolest cases is a 4U height case with 48 2.5" drive bays on the front. Aaaaalso another 24 on the back, but it means you only get half height expansion cards on the ATX versions. They have 3U cases that would suit, 932T and SC-836 but they're both fairly unusual.

Their SC-842 should be reasonably common though, and that's a "PC in a rack" kind of case - standard PSU, four hot-swap 3.5" bays but also 3 fixed 5.25". And, 7 FHFL expansion slots for all your Soundblaster needs. So if you were thinking of hooking up a P(i)IP-KVM to a Tualatin 1.4 Windows 98 box to play it from the couch - this is a good choice. 😁 With Supermicro stuff, patience is key - you can get stupid cheap deals (especially if they're not listed as Supermicro and you use generic search terms to hunt them down) but it takes a few weeks.

And somewhat unrelatedly, if you find anything called a RAD-50 in your search... hands off. MINE. 😜