I of a IV part series.
Part I: Introduction
Part II: Putting it together
Part III: Installing Proxmox VE and spinning up pfSense and other VM's
Part IV: Gotchas and other lessions learned
Introduction. Building a high power PC with lots of RAM and a healthy CPU is easy but not very economical to have running 24/7. So when I came across a deal on a mini-PC, I was intrigued. Perhaps I could have a powerful and energy efficient computer that would act as a headless virtualization server. The plan as of now is to install Proxmox and virtualize pfSense, an ad-blocking DNS server and a whole host of operating systems to aid me in learning new technologies and concepts. I then would access each machine via a built-in RDP application from Proxmox that runs in modern browsers. Such a setup would allow for devices such as a Chromebook to locally and remotely access machines who are otherwise incapable due to hardware and software constraints to participate in virtualization activity.
Server Specifications. The chassis is the Mini-STX form factor. The entire rig measure about 6 x 6 x 3.5 inches, small enough to sit on a bookshelf. The motherboard supports LGA 1151 CPU's, so the Core i3, i5, i7 as well as compatible Pentium and Celeron chips. For memory, we are looking at DD4 SO-DIMM which a max amount of 32 GB between two slots. For storage, 2.5" drives are supports as well as M.2 SSD's. Power will be supplied from the included adapter putting about 19V and 120W. For video output, an HDMI port is included. Expansions ports include 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.0 (Type-C) and 3x USB 2.0.
Parts List and Cost.
What's Next? In part II, I will be putting the server together.