Building a 1U Server (Bad A$$ 1U Server)

This video is about building a 1U server for use in home network or audio visual setup such as a home theater cabinet.

I build the biggest, most powerful 1U server that I can fit into a 19″ rack that is only 12 inches deep.

On this server I am running VMware ESXi. This allows me to virtualize Homeseer, Plex, Observium, and some other boxes and have them in an HA failover cluster.

Check out my blog article for more info:

You might also be interested in how I vented this closet:

More info on XEON vs Core i7 processors for servers:

To learn about ECC RAM:

* 2 pin Case Fan (always on, full speed):
* 3 pin Case Fan (speed controlled by motherboard):
* Apevia ITX-AP250W 250 Watt 1U Power Supply:
* ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming Motherboard:
* CoolerTech Y-Splitter Fan Cable:
* Corsair Vengeance DDR4 32 GB RAM Kit:
* Dynatron K199 Active CPU Blower 1U Cooler:
* Intel Core i7 6700K 4Ghz CPU:
* (Core i5: (Core i3:
* Intel Pro 1000 VT Quad Port NIC:
* iStar 1U 19″ Rackmount Case:
* PCIe Riser Cable:
* Samsung EVO 850 500 GB SSD:
* (250 GB:


nathaniel says:

my personal media server which also uses plex but it also uses a gaming motherboard except mine was a used board with ddr3 ram and im using a standard desktop case but it runs fine like this one i hope is

William Todd says:

Excellent video…You got a new subscriber.

Jon Moore says:

I know you did this like a year ago, but you could “phisicalize” this setup and pass GPU to the VMs for gaming or whatnot. Otherwise for a home lab, I would just use R720s or something which is cheaper and optimized for esxi. check out

Chris Topher says:

I let out a loud “WOOOOOOOO!” When you bent that PCI ribbon cable lol!

hellslayer 96 says:

that was neat … plz give more guides for new people in server … i hope there is a big community for servers … i want to knkw more i m in a big hassel to make my own server or buy it from dell … i think making my own will be flexible and cheaper

pauil sandy says:

What if we want to add network card and graphic card in this case? But you have only one slot!

Thanks for the video

dinesh mahesh says:

Hi Mick,

I want to build a server for Nutanix. Please let me know your thoughts.


Brandon P says:

How are you legally handling the Windows 10 licensing, i.e. how are you adhering to product usage rights? The Windows desktop license doesn’t provide virtualisation on a cluster with additional licensing constraints. Windows desktop license can only be applied to an end-point. Also, as this is a high-availability cluster, how are you handling the licensing across both hardware devices (Windows licenses are applied to hardware, not VMs)?

raidmax21 says:

Great video mate.

Something you could consider, the newer I7 Intel Nuc’s. The current gaming Nuc’s have fast i7 quad core cpu and 2 nics with tones of IO. This could be great for a very small high power server that is quite cost effective:

Jamie English says:

What are the specs for your Plex server?

Sanjay Singh says:

Hi I like your video a lot. I am thinking of making a similar setup for my home lab. Could you let me know how much did the whole server setup cost and from where the parts were ordered. Thanks

pauil sandy says:

Thanks man, how much it cost for this build??
And can you make one for cheap build server compatible with esx.
Guide to buy used server for real cheap and what to look for while buying it.
Awesome man I watched your home network video, you really did put lot of work and security, for first time I felt we can build secure network at home with also managing security cams.
Are those those cams just home network or you can access then anywhere?? If any where can you teach us how you did it and how secure it is???
Thanks a lot keep rocking.

Knych 2015 says:

Awesome video, any suggestions if I want to build standard Windows 2016 server using this setup? i am not particular to adding Vmware on the server. I am planning to build the server that will serve as File /Print and web server.
Thank you

Trilobyte says:

NIce retro build

lastone032085 says:

Nice! only thing i would change is the sata cable. My OCD would bother me until I get a 90 degree cable. Thanks for the video.

Abe S. says:

Great video!!! Subbed!!

Meso Phyl says:

cool. Took a took at Observium on your site

Terry D says:

Do you have a video showing how you setup ubuntu/PLEX in VMware esxi. I know how to load VMWARE ESXI, Load ubuntu as a VM on ESXI. And I know how to load PLEX on ubuntu. I need to know how to get PLEX server to route on my LAN to get to internet etc… Did you setup a VM Virtual Router in ESXI??? Or did yo just assign a physical NIC to ubuntu/PLEX VM????

William Gerald Blondel says:

OMG wtf, I’m currently watching this video with the exact same tshirt that you’re wearing


If you don’t mind me asking what was the total cost.

The Dishonored _ says:

nothing two X5650 xeons and a solid ingot of copper with grooves machined out of it can’t handle ;).

und3rgr0undfr34k says:


Gabriel Couto says:

whats the music in the outro?

TBasianeyes says:

This isn’t even half of a 1U case.

Marcos Vazquez says:

excellent video! congratulations!


Would things have gone better if you had gone with the AORUS ZENITH EXTREME X399 plus 1950x plus 1TB of DDR4 3000mhz RAM and a EN9500GT so you can see what the server is doing and using a heavy duty twin fan Heat-sink and ESXI V6.5 Update 1

Naquan Walton says:

Dude, you are awesome. I needed another server and you just gave me the idea on how to build it.

WizardNumberNext says:

you say “robust network connectivity”, while you present Intel PRO 1000 PT?
well even if it comes to PING (yes I really mean PING and you really read PING) it is at least 60% slower then I340-T4 (not less then 8500ms for 30000 ping of size 1470 and with interval of 0.1ms between them without waiting for answer – fast/rapid send of ping)
I use I340-T4 throughout my whole network (4 servers each serving a lot of stuff)
I would not consider Intel PRO 1000 PT for anything these days
I prefer Broadcom and QLogic for anything serious over anything older then I340-T4 and honestly even I340-T4 is going to be phased out quickly, as I need SRIOV, so I350-T4

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