r710 Upgrades – Beefing up the Homelab

Now that I've had time and space, I was finally able to work on some r710 upgrades.

As a reminder, here are the specifications that the server started with:

2x Xeon X5650 (six core 2.66GHz)
24GB (6x 4GB) RAM
2x Dell 136GB SAS (15k)
1x Seagate 450GB SAS (15k)
6x 3.5″ bays
PERC 6/i
2x 570W PSU

Drives

To start, I picked up the remaining drive caddies and a few drives to put in them.

r710 Upgrades - SSD mount

Mounting the 2.5" SSDs on the drive caddies wasn't too difficult, and I added 2x Intel 250GB SSDs to the rig.

r710 Upgrades - SSD Caddy

r710 Upgrades - Finished Caddy

Once both SSDs were in place, I booted up the machine to verify the storage.

r710 Upgrades - SSDs detected

Additionally, since I didn't have a real torx screwdriver, I had to make my own!

r710 Upgrades - Torx

Other than the 2x SSDs, I also added 4x HGST 4TB drives to fill the rest of the bays.

r710 Upgrades - Bays full

RAM

With all of those new, fancy drives, it was also time to upgrade the memory.

To start, look at all of those lonely slots.

r710 Upgrades - RAM before

I ended up adding 96GB (8x 12GB) of RAM, and removing the original 24GB (for now).

r710 Upgrades - RAM after

The reason I kept the RAM at 96GB vs 120GB was for speed purposes. If I populate all the channels, then the speed will drop from 1333MHz to 800MHz. This is obviously not a huge issue, but I will keep the banks underpopulated until the server is under a heavier load.

RAID Controller

Unfortunately, the PERC 6/i that came with the system didn't support faster SATA connections or drives over 2TB. In that case, it was time to upgrade the RAID controller as well.

r710 Upgrades - Above

I picked up, and installed, a used H700 controller for the server.

r710 Upgrades - h700

Unfortunately, the cables that came with the controller were for the 2.5" form factor r710, so they didn't quite route properly...

r710 Upgrades - H700 Cables

r710 Upgrades - H700 Cables 2

Once I picked up the proper cables, everything routed just fine.

r710 Upgrades - New cables

r710 Upgrades - New Cables 2

Unfortunately, I was getting an error about the SAS cable failing.

r710 Upgrades - SAS A Failure

It turns out that the H700 and the 3.5" form factor r710 actually need the cables reversed. In this case, once I swapped the A and B ends on the controller, the error went away.

PSU

After these upgrades, I wanted to get the server running. Since bad things happen to good people, the server wouldn't stay on very long and would get intermittent power issues.

I realized that amidst all of my hardware upgrades, I didn't think about the fact that my current PSUs could not handle the load.

In that case, I picked up 2x 870W PSUs to upgrade the ones in the system.

r710 Upgrades - 870W

Removing the old PSUs was super simple, and only took a few seconds.

r710 Upgrades - PSU Removal

Once I booted up and checked the management console, the power ratings were being properly reported.

r710 Upgrades - Power Stats

Conclusion

Obviously, this was a more expensive, but also more powerful, version of the server that I originally bought.

In the end (so far), it has run me just over $1240, but that is before I sell the old PSUs.

After the r710 upgrades, the current specs are as follows, and it is now finally running 24/7!

2x Xeon X5650 (six core 2.66GHz)
96GB (8x 12GB) RAM (24GB (6x 4GB) ready for addition)
2x Intel 540s 240GB SSDs (RAID 1)
4x HGST Deskstar NAS 4TB 7200RPM HDDs (RAID 1+0)
H700
2x 870W PSU
doyler on Githubdoyler on Twitter
doyler
Ray Doyle is an avid pentester/security enthusiast/beer connoisseur who has worked in IT for almost 16 years now. From building machines and the software on them, to breaking into them and tearing it all down; he's done it all. To show for it, he has obtained an OSCP, eCPPT, eWPT, eWPTX, eMAPT, Security+, ICAgile CP, ITIL v3 Foundation, and even a sabermetrics certification!

He currently serves as a Senior Penetration Testing Consultant for Secureworks. His previous position was a Senior Penetration Tester for a major financial institution.

When he's not figuring out what cert to get next (currently GXPN) or side project to work on, he enjoys playing video games, traveling, and watching sports.

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