HP ML150 G6 – This fan? That fan? What fan?

Last night was fun. I thought I have had all the correct parts to upgrade and beef up this server. I was wrong. I ordered the wrong system fan ūüôĀ

There seems to be some confusion and not enough clarity on what fan(s) are required when upgrading this server from a 1-processor to a 2-processor configuration. When I was ordering my parts and covered my server expectations in my initial post here, I never really explained what I was ordering for the server.

I spent a bit of time trying to find ways to cut costs any way I can. I looked at using the HP ML330 G6 heat sinks and the ML330 G6 system fans. I wanted to give it a try as they tend to be a bit cheaper than the ML150 G6 parts but I chickened out. I chickened out because looking at both the ML150 and the ML330, there is a air direction baffle inside both servers that directs the air flow from the front system fans – through the heat sinks – and out the back. The air direction baffle on the ML330 looks at first glance perfect but it appears to have tiny adjustments for the heat sink that is located underneath the baffle.

Either the heat sinks on the ML330 are taller then the heat sink on the ML150 or the air direction baffle is shorter on the ML330 vs the ML150. I didn’t want to experiment so I forked out the money and purchased the following:

  • ML150 G6 OEM heatsink from¬†aliexpress
  • ML150 G6 fan also from¬†aliexpress¬†(INCORRECT FAN/Part Number…keep reading!)

The parts arrived and last night I started installing them.  The easiest thing to test was the fan and within a moment of trying to install it, I realized it was the incorrect fan.  Let me explain what I found.

HP designed the ML150 G6 (unsure about the ML110 or the ML330) with 3 different kind of fans (from what I can see).

  1. Front Main System Fan (519740-001)
  2. Redundant Front System Fan (519737-001)
  3. Rear Case Exhaust system Fan (unknown part number at this time)

Below I’ve attached an outdated chart of what HP recommended for fans.¬† Part number 513927-B21 looks to have been updated to:¬†519737-001,¬†according to this¬†HP Customer Advisory.

The first and main front system fan is the HP 519740-001.  This is a thicker fan and seems to have a grill at the back of it (facing the motherboard).

For the HP ML150 G6 to use redundant/additional system fans, the next part number that needs to be purchased and installed is 519737-001.¬†¬†The aliexpress seller that I listed above identified their fan as 519737-001 but what arrived was another 519740-001.¬† This was unfortunate as it won’t work without some slight case hacking.

You may be wondering, what’s the big deal and why can’t it work? Well that’s what I thought until I tried to install it.¬† When HP designed the spacing for the additional fans, they used a smaller and thinner profile so that the fans will have enough clearance under the airflow baffle.

The first image above on the left shows the HP 519740-001 system fan installed with the air direction baffle installed.

The middle image shows the baffle removed and two front fans exposed.¬† The top fan is the¬†519740-001 and the bottom fan is 519737-001.¬† Look at the design and difference.¬† It’s not a massive difference but it’s enough to prevent the baffle from fitting.

The far right image shows the system with the 3 fans at the front and one in the rear.

If you try to fit the 519740-001 fan into a slot where 519737-001 should be, the mounting points will be completely off.

Above you can  see that I tried to fit the 519740-001 into the other fan slots.  The tabs and mounting points do not line up.   Thus, the 519740-001 cannot be used (without hacking up the case) in the ML150 G6 as redundant fans.

With all that said, I choose to re-purchase another fan from a seller that correctly identifies the fan being as 519737-001 with the corresponding images.
The 513927-B21 / now revised as 519737-001, can be found at a reasonable price on eBay, if anybody is looking for one.

The reason I keep referring to the incorrect and now clarified and correct part number is to make this as clear as possible for anybody looking at upgrading a HP ML150 G6.

The final system fan is the exhaust fan, at the rear of the case.  This is a black fan that does not have any blue housing.  You can see it in the system images above.

That was my evening last night. I’m glad I’ve sorted out my confusion and wish there was a more documented or updated list available from HP for this.¬† If not for that customer advisory from HP, I wouldn’t have realized which fan part number is correct for this server.

With all that fan nonsense out of the way, I proceeded to install the new-to-me¬†Intel Xeon E5540’s¬†onto the motherboard with Kryonaut Thermal Grizzly thermal grease and the stock heat sinks.

With the heat sinks installed, I proceeded to re-attach all the motherboard cabling and filled the rest of the memory banks with Kingston kvr1066d3d4r7sk3/24g.  This should give me 96 GB of memory.

That’s all I have for now. I’m waiting for the last fan to arrive so that I can power on the server and start slowly configuring it.

 

Some uncertanty that I have is, what do I do for storage? Right now, I’ve installed three hard drives into the server cage:

  1. HP Enterprise 7200RPM, 250GB HDD (Planned for hypervisor storage)
  2. WD Blue 750GB HDD
  3. 2TB Hitachi HDD

I would like to play with a different raid configuration than what comes built onto the motherboard. I am unsure of what RAID controller to purchase or how to approach storing data on here.

I do have a few enterprise grade SSDs that I would like to use with this server so I would need to get SATA 3 operational in the server.

Another future post that I will write about will be regarding updating the HP ML150 G6 Bios/Firmware.

 

Stay tuned!

 

 

EDIT:

I found a HP ProLiant ML150 G6 Server РOption Parts list.  This is a good reference for any upgrades on this server model.

Link here.

HP ML150 G6 – The start of my first homelab!

I’ve planned doing this for a while but I just never got around to doing it. Building myself my first homelab with a new to me HP ML150 G6.

I’ve thought about this long and I’ve tried to make sense of why I do in fact need a homelab.¬† Well for a few reasons.

  1. Replicating a lot of stuff I do for work, in a lab will help me grow and learn. Working in a 24/7, 365 day environment is extremely difficult. I need to be able to work on certain projects in my spare time and practice so that I can deploy them in a live environment.
  2. I need more practice and experience with Hypervisors.¬† During my day job, I have access or our Vmware ESXi infrastructure but there really isn’t a whole lot to do in our environment.¬† We do have two other Hypervisor’s in use (Microsoft Hyper-V and Xenserver), which will be decommissioned over the span of a few months and the servers moved onto ESXi.
  3. Building a home network would help me work on skills that I lack in and need to improve on. Working on a proper firewall, such as PFsense or Sophos for home would allow me to step away from the typical consumer grade software/hardware and deal with it on a daily basis at home.
  4. Hosting a game server or two for friends is important for me.
  5. Lastly, I will be preparing to write my CCNA so I’d like to create some kind of working lab (GNS3 or physical) in home home office.

Now as this is my first homelab, I don’t have high standards for the hardware.¬† I know I don’t want a rack or a rack mounted server. I don’t have the space for it. My house is old and small and I need something much smaller.¬† A tower server would suite me well.
Tower server’s tend to be a bit quieter as there is much more air flow, thus the fan’s don’t necessarily need to be extremely fast, powerful nor loud.

I have a friend that was selling a tower server I helped him acquire a year ago. It’s an HP ML150 G6. This is a pretty basic server for me but looks like it will work fine.¬† Looking at the specifications from HP, it was an¬†entry model¬†unit, so it doesn’t have all the higher end components on it. Not a problem.

HP states that this server can take up to 48GB of memory, with both CPU’s occupied. This is a bit of a bummer as I do plan on having a bunch of Virtual Machines and I don’t like being limited by such an amount.¬† Reading up on the forums regarding this server, many people have been able to surpass the 48GB limit.¬† Reading this, I test installed 6 sticks of DDR3 ECC server memory.¬† I currently only have one processor (Intel Xeon E5504 but I have two E5540’s on the way!) installed so I can only use 6 memory slots of the 12 available.

With 48GB of memory installed in the 6 memory slots, I turned on the server and it fired up as normal.  Checking BIOS, it reads the memory just fine. WUNDERBAR!

So now for me to utilize 96GB of memory, I need the following:

  1. 2x Intel Xeon E5540 CPU’s
  2. Second HP ML150 G6 Heatsink
  3. Third system fan for the second CPU installation

I ordered all the components and now I’m playing the waiting game for all the items to arrive.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten with the server. With a hectic personal life and a busy work schedule, I don’t have a whole lot of time.¬† This will change soon!

The HP ML150 G6 comes with SATA 2 (3Gbps) speeds.  As I would like to run an enterprise Samsunsg SSD or possibly a few SAS drives, I will need to look into a RAID controller which will give me faster drive speeds.  This server came with the built in HP Smart array B110i SATA Raid controller, which can do RAID 0, 1, and 10.

So the next step is to look into a storage solution.¬† I don’t want to run an external data store. I need to¬† keep power consumption as limited as possible for the server. I plan to have a few hard drives in a raid fashion, stored inside the server.

For personal data, I do have an older HP EX490 server (not stock) that I use for storing images, videos and personal data. The data is saved and replicated to a total of 4, 2TB drives.¬† It’s a older server but it’s worked great for my needs at home.

That’s about it. It’s time to sign off and get some sleep before digging into deploying Bit Locker at my workplace.

Once the components arrive, I’ll create a follow-up post and will document my journey from start to finish.

 

Thanks for reading ūüôā

ThinkPad T430s WQHD Upgrade – Part 1

ThinkPad T430s WQHD Upgrade – Part 1:

I’m a huge ThinkPad supporter. Ever since the purchase of my X220, I’ve fallen in love with these black, basic looking laptops with their red trackpoint.

What’s so great about them? well, let me give you a quick rundown…

  • Durable
  • Professional looking
  • Business grade
  • Excellent hardware maintenance manuals and support
  • Easily upgradeable and serviceable

Now they do have some cons about them, but in my opinion the worst one being screen resolution.
I’m writing this in 2018 and some laptops are still deigned and sold with 1366×768 resolution.

I have a few ThinkPads but we will focus on my T430s for the purpose of this post.

The T430s doesn’t have a terrible resolution, being 1600×900 but it could be better. A well known user on ThinkPads.com forum, by the name of¬†RMSMajestic¬†and a partner (Javi-Jie) created a WQHD upgrade kit for the T420s/T430s ThinkPad model.

This upgrade kit does not require any soldering, which is fantastic news and one of the main reasons I was sold on it.¬† The kit arrived a few weeks ago and I’ve been on the hunt for a reasonably priced screen to use.

Just a few nights ago, I pulled the trigger on a AUO B140QAN01.5 display panel.¬† This is the same panel that was sold on the ThinkPad T470s line not long ago.¬† The review’s were pretty good for the WQHD display¬† and based on the panel specs, seems to be a bit better than the LG LP140QH1-SPB1 panel.

The LG panel uses IPS technology while the AUO uses AHVA and the brightness is a bit better on the AUO panel but will use slightly more power (5.49W vs 3.76W).

IPS (In Plance Switching) are generally considered the best overall LCD Technology for image quality, color accuracy and viewing angles.

AHVA (Developed by AUO, Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle) also considered one of the best all around panel type.

Regardless of that, either panel would be a complete upgrade over what was planned and installed by Lenovo initially.

The panel is on it’s way and I’m eagerly waiting to get it and install it. I can’t wait for the laptop to be transformed and have a much better display and resolution to experience.

Stay tuned.