Outdated HP Microserver Gets A New Brain

An open top of a black PC case. Inside we can see an aluminum extruded mini PC case inside the 5" optical drive bay. A Samsung SSD sits along the back wall of the case and a flash drive sits between the front of the 3D printed "drive" and the actual mini PC.

What to do if you have a really cool old HP MicroServer that just can’t keep up with the demands of today? [jacksonliam] decided to restomod it by installing a mini PC into the drive bay.

The HP N54L MicroServer was still running, but its soldered CPU and non-standard motherboard made a simple upgrade impossible. Evaluating the different options, [jacksonliam] decided to save the case and PSU by transplanting an Intel Alder Lake mini PC into the drive bay with 3D printed brackets and heat set inserts.

Selecting a fanless “router” model to increase reliability, he was able to find an M.2 to mini-SAS adapter to attach the four drive cage to the NVME slot on the new PC. Power is supplied via the 12 V line on the ATX power supply and one of the mini PC’s Ethernet lines was broken out to a 3D printed PCI slot cover.

Looking for more ways to rejuvenate an old computer? How about putting a Mac mini inside an old iMac or a Raspberry Pi inside an Apple ][?

6 thoughts on “Outdated HP Microserver Gets A New Brain

  1. I always thought it would be cool to turn an old tower server into a something like a blade server by stuffing SBCs or mini-PCs into the plentiful drive bays…it would be even cooler to adapt the case to take a standard mainboard at the same time though ;-)

    1. These mini PCs have 4×2.5Gbe so I guess with 4 of them you could make a fully connected mesh network for the backplane without needing a switch.

      Though as good as the N100 is for a low power server, I’m not sure 4xN100 CPUs each with a max of 32GB single channel RAM each would be worth it over just having a more traditional threadripper workstation.

    1. Great idea. I wish I’d seen this 6 months ago – I ended up getting a gen8 Microserver as an upgrade. However, now I know there are M2-MiniSAS, I might look at fitting a mini itx board in one.

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