Gaming Server Upgrade
This past week, I decided to complete an upgrade on one of my old Dell Poweredge R410 servers. It's nothing fancy but, I'm a hardware nut so, I find it to be fun and relaxing. I also appreciate older, enterprise-grade hardware and it's capabilities.
I'm primarily using this server as a host for virtual machines (specifically, gaming servers). It's a modest box with dual Intel Xeon X5670 processors, 128GB of RAM, and VMWare ESXI as the bare-metal hypervisor. Between 2 different Windows 2019 Server VMs, it hosts games like The Forest, Stationeers, Space Engineers, Eco, Stormworks: Build and Rescue, and Arma 3.
What prompted the upgrade?
I wanted to give the games a little boost for their read/write speeds so, I ordered a Western Digital Black SN750 500GB NVMe drive with a StarTech PEX4M2E1 M.2 Adapter (for PCIe). Stepping up from a Samsung 860 Evo to the NVMe drive would give the files a little more room to stretch their legs and run. Some games will benefit from it, while others won't notice a difference.
Opening up the box and making the upgrade was pretty straight forward. NVMe drive goes in the adapter and the adapter slips into the PCIe slot.
I decided to go ahead and give the R410 a little TLC while I had it opened up so, I grabbed my handy paint brush (only used for cleaning electronic), compressed air, and my favorite bulk thermal paste for reapplication. For those of you who do any regular work with swapping/upgrading CPUs, I highly recommend grabbing a tub of this stuff.
Once it was all buttoned up, I put it back into the cabinet and fired it up. Another thing that I'd suggest, for working on servers/hardware, is a Logitech K400 Plus. I use these at work and have adopted them in my home environment. They're super portable and offer a trackpad/keyboard in one package.
It posts and boots into ESXI, like a charm.
Additionally, the Windows Server 2019 VM picked it up, without issue, once I added it to the VMWare datastore and allocated a portion of it to the VM.
All-in-all, it was an easy/simple upgrade but, it will benefit my virtual machines for a while. Additionally, it's always nice to open up older hardware and freshen it up with a good dusting and a fresh application of thermal paste.