I have been tasked to create a Server that is both small and portable, powerful enough to capture packets and keep to a budget. At first, this seems like an overwhelming task but, with all tasks and projects, the start is the most important part. After some thought, it makes sense to start with a chassis and a Central Processing Unit (CPU) and, of course, a compatible motherboard for the CPU and chassis.

The server needs to match, or exceed, these minimum requirements:

• 16 GB of RAM or higher
• Intel Core I3 or higher
• Compatible Motherboard
• Small portable chassis
• SSD
• PSU size compatibility
• Compatible with DAG
• Matches budget

I started my research looking for a portable chassis and found the “Silverstone milo ml08 case” with a portable handle. It has a Mini-ITX form factor and has exactly what I need. It does come with a downside; as it is a small case, it can only use SFX or SFX-L power supply formats.

To make the milo chassis work, it will need a small Power Supply Unit (PSU). Looking into different power supplies, I realised that the power supply needs enough power to run the server but should not be too loud. With these factors in mind, I found the “Be Quiet! SFX Power Supply Unit”.

Next, I looked for a motherboard and a CPU to use inside the case. I wanted a current-generation Intel processor to use in the server and decided on the “Intel® Core i3-10300 Processor” as it is a 10th generation processor, that is also affordable, with four cores and with lots of added features. It has an LGA 1200 socket.

For the motherboard, it has to have an LGA 1200 socket and must have at least 2 Random Access Memory (RAM) slots. It needs to be compatible with the power supply which has a 20+4 pin connection and will also need space for the SSD and the expansion card. Taking all of these points into account, the most suitable motherboard is the “ASUS prime h410i plus” as it has an LGA 1200 socket and meets all the requirements.

The RAM will need to be DDR4 and it would be beneficial to have dual-channel RAM. The server should have two sticks of HyperX Fury 8GB of RAM as they are cost-efficient and will allow dual-channel 16GB of RAM.

The SSD will be a 1TB M2 NVMe as it gives high performance and is ideal for smaller form-factors like Mini-ITXs and other smaller systems. With 1TB of storage, there will be plenty of space so that the system will be future proof.

Make sure to stay tuned for the next installment!

Author: Liam Wrenne – Apprentice Technical Consultant 

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