Home Server - too much hardware to know what to do with!

So I left the home automation stuff alone for the past month as I started working on getting my plex server up and running. I’ve now got too much hardware and can’t work out what to do with it all so I thought I’d ask for some guidance.
I have one raspberry pi + ssd running Home Assistant and then two raspberry pie’s running Monitor for presence detection. I am happy to keep that as it is, it’s not slow etc.

I have an old PC downstairs which is plugged into the router and that is the “media” server. It has an AMD 10 5700 Cpu, no graphics card, 8gb ram. I don’t know how old it is but it is old enough!

I have just come into possession of an old server machine, Fujitsu Celsius M470-2 - Xeon [email protected], 12GB ram, has 4 caddies in it and a basic 710 graphics card (for hdmi output). No hard drives in that and I don’t know if its dual cpu or single. As it is free I would looooove to get the best value out of it possible.

I also have a PC with an i7 processor, 1060 6gb card, very good motherboard and ssds.
I’ve got various hard drives plugged into the downstairs pc.

I was using this pc to game but I’ve actually just ended up wiping windows, moving all my docs to the cloud and installing Linux Mint. I’m currently bidding on a 10tb hard drive on ebay for the server machine, it has 7 slots so I can build a beast!

I just don’t know what the best usage of this hardware is? I know the server is old but its a powerhouse and I have tbs of DVDRips and movies from over the years. Maybe actually it would be better to use the old pc I don’t know.


I would install HA and every additional service that the server could handle onto the server using a supervised install. Im running HA, plex, grocy, influxdb, node-red, adguard home on my 2006 office pc in a supervised install on manjaro linux. And im using a 2,5 TB HDD entirely as samba drive. Ok, sometimes its a bit slow, but thats because the hardware is old and im not using any ssd in it. Also compiling esphome firmwares on it takes like forever, but im doing this on my gaming rig.
You could also use a normal linux install on the server and install hass.io (or however its called now) as a VM, depending on virtualisation features of the server CPU.
I personally switched from pi 3b+ to this server since its faster. easier to setup and can be expanded. Also since im living in a shared appartment, i can only do smarthome things in my room, but thats ok since HA is my tinkering project, so its ok to shut the server down and do things.

I just wondered whether moving from a pi 4 to a 11 year old server would do anything for speed!

For me, it did make a difference. But on my pi, i havent used an ssd.

My home automation hobby had now morphed into a home lab/home networking hobby (what else am I going to do with all this COVID time). I’ve moved from one pi running home assistant to two i5 promox hosts and a pi running as NAS solution. I like promox due to how easy it is to work with, and how much control you get over the host machine. It’s very easy to take full advantage of the hardware. For me, the biggest reward aside from home assistant has been replacing my router with pfsense. I picked up a cheap 4 port NIC on eBay and run pfsense in a VM. I’m learning all about firewalls and network management and it’s a ton of fun.

On top of my home assistant stack, I’m also using my hardware to store and visualize data (influxdb), manage my home lab (Heimdall), manage my wireless access points (omada controller), passwords (bitwarden), and files (nextcloud).

There’s just so much you can do with this stuff.

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when you say two proxmox hosts - two literal machines or two virtual machines?

Why did you go with proxmox, it has been suggested to me and I was actually about to click download but wondered why you went for that set up

I had two machines (old HP sff desktops) that I wanted to use to host all this stuff, so there was that part. I started with one proxmox host (physical server) for pfsense, because that software just doesn’t need much in terms of resources. I could have installed it barely metal, but going with it in a VM let me use the extra resources for other services. I went with proxmox because it just seems so easy to do what I want to do. Check out Techo Tim on YouTube. He’s a big proxmox advocate and has some excellent content on the subject.

With two proxmox hosts, I can now move machines back and forth in the event one host goes down.

Makes sense and I will check him out. So I have my super noisy server, and also the not as noisy tower PC that I’ve been using as the media server. I’m just trying to work out if I need both or whether I don’t. Do I want to use one for downloading, or well - anything at all!

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Maybe beef up the PC with more storage and ram. Install Freenas if your combination of parts in the computer supports it. With Freenas there’s a plugin for Plex. Also doubles up for a VM host too if you want to run other OS/Server. It does have Home Assistant plugin too, so you could migrate from your PI to the Freenas / Home Assistant.

If there’s no spare space for a new hard drive then you could get 5.25 to 4 x 2.5 and get 4 ssd. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Reuse the PI for PiHole block ad’s globally over your network.

All depends on what you want to do or do. Do you like playing with VM’s?

With the Fujitsu Celsius M470-2, you might be able to swap out the fans for a Noctua Fans, make it quite and upgrade the CPU heaksink and fan. Use this as a VM host, i.e Hyper-v, ESXI, Promox or Xenserver (XCP-NG).

I might ditch my servers for few Dell 7040 mini’s and run my hyper-v and ESXI environment for my home labbing. As they are quiet power hungry and one is little noisy.

I really need to swap out the fans it sounds like a helicopter!!!

I’ve actually dismantled crappy pc and shoved all the drives into the server. I am now staring at proxmox wondering what I have let myself in for!

Oh dear.

Defo get the manual for that Fujitsu server, double check if you can swap out the fans. You might need to research adaptor / convertor from 6 pin (am guessing) to 4 pin (PWM) Noctua fans.

So what you running on MR Crappie?

it was pop-os and it was fine up until I installed calibre and then it just went poop. So I’ve dismantled it for now and I will find a use for it at some point. It’s still got ram, its cpu etc just I’ve taken the hard drives out to put into the server.

I think I’ll be fine with swapping out the fans, I’ve seen a couple of adaptors for 6 pin to 4 pin. The heatsink however, its so tall! I intend to replace the three fans and see what I can do about the heatsink.

Normally, servers are designed to have a airflow from front to back so that every component is cooled. I wouldnt replace the heatsink.They are so massive in servers, because the components have to be cooled 24/7 and sometimes have a huge TDP. A massive heatsink helps to distribute the heat so it can be cooled with less fan speed. Also their fans are designed to be in a server rack, so they need to spin faster to push air through, so it compensates for not having great air inlets in the server rack. AFAIK 6 pin fans need a fan speed control, so you should be able to replace them. But you need to have 3 or 4 pin headers on the mainboard. But have a look at the BIOS, im not sure about server BIOSes, but for desktop systems you can control the fan curve. Maybe you can turn down the fans. And i know how loud a server fan go, when it was summer a few years ago, my cpu operated at around 70°C, it was rated to be around 65°C (it was an intel i5-2500k with stock heatsink). Because i had no other solution to be able to use it to game, i replaced the outlet fan with a server one my dad had laying around. I mean, at boot a damn airplane was starting. But i tuned it down in windows with intel tools (where intel still manufactured consumer desktop boards) and had a decent headset, so i had no problems with the volume.

For sure, it will help with the noise reduction with the fan swap out. However you will need to run a burn-in or benchmark tool to see the thermal temp and if it keeping your component safe within their TDP. If there space for more fans then i would say to add more of these Nuctua. Remember front fans pushes air in and rear fans pushes air out.

As for the heatsink, if your Fujitsu server is using intel process E5630. Its a 1366 socket, then Nuctua can come to rescue with this https://noctua.at/en/nh-u9dx-i4. All depends on your internal space, you will have to do some measurement.

Funny enough i have that heatsink, but sitting in it’s box. I was going to replace it in my HP ML110 Gen9 server. But i cant find the 6 pin convertor. It’s not using the normal 6 pin header, dam HP. I don’t want to chop the original fan cable. :frowning_face: So it sits under my bed. Haha

I agree with Tenn0, server are intended to be loud and push large amount of air. Some servers shouldn’t be modified due to TDP. But maybe check in the bios for power option and change it to quite mode or balance mode with the current fans and see if that helps.

Maybe have a look at Fujistu forum sites and see if someone hack theirs for ideas or bios mods.

I got lots of ideas for my HP Microserver Gen8, swapped the CPU, added a proper raid controller and used the onboard sas/sata controller to run 2 x 256gb ssd. It happily running Home Assistant on free version hyper-v in the loft.

Rule of a thumb, calculate the cost of this upgrade, make a budget plan and see if theirs not something better on ebay as in a server that you can buy instead. Maybe more efficient, less power hungry and less noisy.

Hacking / modifying a server is way fun, make you live on the edge. haha.

I better go check the bios from…2010 and report back!