How To: DIY Music Server Using FreeNAS, SlimNAS and an H-P T5700

Installing the Disk

I started by opening up the T5700 and removing the flash module. Then I connected the 44-pin IDE cable to the motherboard.

Closeup of the IDE cable connectiong to the T5700 motherboard, note the red lead indicating pin 1
Closeup of the IDE cable connecting to the T5700 motherboard, note the red lead indicating pin 1

Be careful to note the location of pin 1 on the header and the red stripe on the ribbon cable. Unlike larger IDE connectors the laptop-sized header is not keyed so the cable can be connected in reverse, with possibly tragic consequences.

Closeup of the IDE cable connectiong to the T5700 motherboard, note the red lead indicating pin 1

The hard disk is mounted by simply taking advantage of the holes in the metal portion of the expansion chassis. The mounting hole in the drive are not on the same spacing as the holes in the chassis so just simply rotate the drive a little until two of it mounting holes meet two holes in the sheet metal. Two screws are adequate to mount the drive. If you feel it needs to be more secure you could always lash the drive into place with nylon wire ties.

T5700 expansion side showing HD mounted by 2 screws
T5700 expansion side showing HD mounted by 2 screws

If you’re not using the T5700 expansion chassis then the drive will still fit, but you’ll need to be careful to locate it so that it doesn’t interfere with any of the heat sinks or connectors on the T5700 motherboard when the case is closed.

New models in the H-P thin client range have faster CPUs and larger internal heatsinks. This makes mounting the drive a little trickier, but it can still be made to fit nicely into the standard chassis.

Since the normal chassis side is a solid sheet of metal you can simply drill four holes to mount the drive in the desired location.

Rear view of the T5700 with the expansion side added
Rear view of the T5700 with the expansion side added

When using the expansion chassis you need to install a filler blank in the back where the PCI card would normally reside. This will keep the system from accumulating dust internally.

T5700 with and without the expansion chassis, note the vertical orientation
T5700 with and without the expansion chassis, note the vertical orientation

It’s also worth mentioning that H-P does not intend the T5700 to run while sitting horizontally. They provide the little stand for a reason…cooling. The basic chassis is designed to cool properly when oriented vertically. The extra perforations in the expansion chassis reduce cooling issues to a degree, but I still prefer to stand the unit vertically.

7 thoughts on “How To: DIY Music Server Using FreeNAS, SlimNAS and an H-P T5700”

  1. I can’t find a 40 pin IDE cable anywhere, and neither can I find a hard disk so…

    Are you sure you didn’t mean a 44 pin?
    If it was a 40 pin, can you give me the models of the HDD and IDE cable?

  2. Nice post.
    You have done a thorough job of explaining a step-by-step process to set up a combo that I had my eye on for some time now – I will definitely use it for a reference 🙂

  3. Great article. I just built a similar system using the VortexBox linux distro. It has more features then FreeNAS including auto CD ripping.

  4. Great article, I have purchased a T5700, an SATA->IDE converter and a SODIMM of 512MB. However I wonder what the recommended HDD is, since I read somewhere that the power of the IDE connection is quite limited. Any suggestions would be welcome (brand, type, size)!

    1. I’m reasonably certain that any 2.5″ IDE HD can be powered from the IDE connector. I’m not certain if a 2.5″ SATA HD requires a separate power connection. If it does then anything you can rig up will surely work. The power requirements of HD has been steadily declining as each new generation of HD comes along.

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