15 October 2011 ~ blog
Since my last home server was fried by a lightning storm a few months back,
I have been serverless, which is an uncomfortable position for a server software developer. I did some good research and decided to try and put together a new box from scratch. My
previous server was just a converted "retired" desktop box I had so this would be a fun project.
Lifehacker put out a timely series of articles about how to build your own
computer. It was an awesome introduction for someone like myself who had never done more than swap out some RAM or a
hard drive. If you are a computer-build noob (like me), I would highly recommend giving the series a read
(How to Build a Computer from Scrath: A Complete Guide)
if you are thinking of putting together your own box.
For my home server I had only a few requirements:
What I was able to put together fit all those criteria nicely:
I bought everything from NewEgg for a grand total (with extra warranty and shipping) out of pocket of a hair over
$300. Not bad at all considering everything I looked at "off the rack" was at least $400, and usually had more or less
than what I actually wanted. Maybe someone with more experience building systems could do better since there are probably
areas I could have cut corners on where I played it safe.
Once all the parts came in (the following week, damn they ship fast), I put everything together with the help of the
Lifehacker articles. With a little help and guidance it was actually a pretty easy and mostly straight-forward process
that took about three hours. Once everything was secured and wired together, I fired it up for the first time and was
able to get into the BIOS; however, my hard drive was not being recognized. After trying different cables and then
trying the drive in my desktop computer the only thing I can figure is that the drive was dead on arrival, great quality
control WD! I ran out to BestBuy and bought another of the same drive (well the same brand but larger size) for
basically the same price to test my theory and I was correct. Once the new drive was in place everything worked fine. I
returned the dead drive to NewEgg and have gotten my refund with no problems.
Next, I moved on to the OS. My server OS of choice is Ubuntu so I downloaded the
64-bit version of Ubuntu 11.04 and followed the instructions to create a USB installer... I have no optical drive,
remember. It was down right simple and it booted from the stick with no problem and installed, as always, like a
From there I basically followed along with my previous post to install my shared directories and the
applications I wanted. It's been nice having a server up and running again.
I think in a couple years when it's
time to upgrade my desktop, I will do a custom build. It's kind of fun and you get exactly what you want.