Hardware Upgrades

The site you’re looking at right now - this site - is being served from a server in our living room. I tried a lot of different hosts around the world until I realized I could probably do it myself; learn a lot about Linux and save a little money in the process. I’ll probably regret hosting the site myself one day when there is a complete meltdown - like the apartment burning to the ground. I’m backing up to Amazon S3 every day, but getting everything up and running will take some time anyway.

Since the server is in the living room, I really wanted to keep the it as quiet as possible. Ideally not making any noise at all. That’s why I got SSD disks and a ZOTAC ION ITX F series motherboard when I built it. Unfortunately, the heat sink on the motherboard was not good enough and I had to add a chassis fan to prevent the CPU from melting. Sure, the fan doesn’t make much sound, but the goal was to get the server completely silent.

Now a new option has surfaced: The ASUS AT5IONT-I. It’s got a huge heat sink and adds an extra 200MHz of horse power compared to the ZOTAC. I ordered the board and memory chips on Monday, and everything arrived yesterday. Gotta love Dustin. But of course there are some problems now as well…

The memory chips I ordered are not compatible with the ASUS motherboard - it’s very picky when it comes to RAM it allows you to install. Let me put it this way: The motherboard has 2 DIMM slots and supports a maximum of 4GB of RAM - 2GB in each slot. Now, the issue is that the first version of the BIOS only officially supports one single model of 2GB memory chips. Naturally, I had not bought that exact brand.

But there is light in the horizon. The latest version of the BIOS supports the chips I bought. The problem? The motherboard doesn’t boot with the chips I have now and I need to boot it to upgrade the BIOS. Neither does it boot without any chips installed. A classic chicken and egg problem right there. The bottom line? I’ve now got to buy a 1GB chip that’s officially supported just to be able to upgrade the BIOS.

Thank you, ASUS! What the hell were you thinking? One single supported 2GB chip!?


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