Ever since the release of the Intel atom desktop boards I’ve always wanted one or two to try out… well that time came for me. Recently I got two Intel Essential Series D945GCLF2 Desktop boards (Atom dual core). You don’t realize how small they are until you actually put them near a old style micro atx or a full size atx boards.
My two machines I built with them are named Tera-NAS for my 1TB network attached storage server/print server, Atom-Mini for the one I built in a old pIII era SFF (Small Form Factor) Case. Over all the project was quite easy… Tera-NAS went together fast since I was working with all proper parts but since I was retrofitting a modern board in a old pIII era case Atom-Mini was more of a issue. the next paragraphs will go over the work that went into each machine and a general overview / thoughts on them.
Both of the machines used parts that were left overs, salvage and such from other machines… FSP group 300w power supply from a Acer went into TeraNAS, 200gb sata laptop drive went into Atom-Mini, a pair of 1gb ddr2 dimms from the Acer were split up between the two machines, The case that Tera-NAS used was a leftover from a abandoned Celron 900 machine, The case for Atom-Mini was leftover from a abandoned Celron 766 machine. Due to the source of most the parts I got off quite well on this project for not having to spend much money on it.
This machine was the first one done since I had all the proper parts including a 24 pin 300w power supply that had the 4 pin 12v core voltage line. Most of the work on this one was done well before the boards arrived. All that needed done was installing the board, Installing XP, Installing 1TB 3.5″ hard drive, transferring media files from a 200gb sata laptop drive to the 1tb drive (the 200gb drive went in Atom-Mini). That machine is now in regular use as my NAS,Print Server, and IRC bot machine. The air venting out the back fan is nice and cool… aka that machine will run far cooler than the previous machines I have used as server.
Now this machine was planned for other things but its plans changed (was code named hackmini). The main issue with this build was that i’m using a old pIII era SFF case that was never really designed for a modern board. As of such the stock 145w power supply the case has lacked the needed 4 pin 12v core voltage line that the cpu needs. The solution was simple… I spliced on the needed line so I could meet the boards requirements… but that’s not the end to the issues. As it stands that machine still has outstanding issues that may be due to the power supply not being big enough to run the drives and the board. I plan to order a replacement modern power supply that will fit in the case tho.
All in all the Intel Essential Series D945GCLF2 Desktop board is well worth it if you want a low cost machine that has decent kick. Feel free to leave a comment or check out the images below 🙂