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Ghetto ThinkPad home server

Thought it time to post my awfully brilliant ghetto ThinkPad server :grinning: Its rough, its ugly. But it works, and does all I need and more.


Using my old Lenovo ThinkPad T420, a great little laptop in general, built like a tank. If you find one, grab it!

It has a i7 2620M, so a SandyBridge with 2c/4t running upto 3.4GHz. Fine for a data and media server with hardly any users.
iGPU rather than dedicated, saves a few watts.
8GB’s of DDR3 1333, a little tight but all good.
1 miniPCI SSD 64GB for the bootdrive and VM storage.


2 internal SATA (HDD/CD bay) and 1 eSATA (x3 SATA), these connect to 1x4TB WD Black and 2 1TB Seagates. All disks able to transfer at 100MB/s minimal, more than the network so fine.

1x1Gbps Ethernet (getting around 117MB/s network transfers.

I had an old AquaComputer Aquaero 5 from my old W/C Tower PC, so thought I’d put it to use.
It has a cable going to the CPU fans RPM cable to monitor the laptops fan… cus why not. Along with a 120mm fan behind the HDD rack that comes on when the HDDs reach 35oc.
I have temp sensors connected to the CPU heat sink, a RAM stick, and each of the HDDs, this is displayed and logged. The more data the better, geek stuff lol. It also displays any data from HWINFO I wish from the Windows VM its connected to, so I can have my remote main laptops CPU temp or whatever on that display if I wanted!
The fan controller also has a relay that in a tower will shut the PSU down as an alarm. So I have this now doing the same job ish, but when the CPU fan stops, as in if the server is powered off, it will after 20 seconds act this “alarm” and turn off the PSU. This will also turn off the Aquaero, as the server when off is no longer providing USB power to the Aquaero. Meaning the entire setup will be powered down, and safely.


Great little device!

Im running Ubuntu now as my main OS. I was using Fedora and prefer it, but was running into problems with its firewall. But for the job, Ubuntu is fine.
I also run VirtualBox with a Windows 7 VM for odd Windows based jobs, like the fan controller and HWINFO logging from my networked systems. Ive also run a few game servers on that VM if Linux isnt an option. Works quite well for that too.

The home network is backed up via rSync to the server, along with my Steam common/user folder and any other data I need. OS disk images, the lot.
Over WiFi with my RT-AC87U I get a good 60MB/s transfer, and ethernet im looking at 117MB/s. Fairly consistant too for a wee little laptop!
Using OpenVPU to connect to it outside of the home network, steaming my music, Plex and whatever else all fine.

Its all mounted on a Lenovo monitor stand, cus why not. I just love that fact im using a laptop concieved by IBM as my home server.
This all looks amateur, well it is, but it works and its putting a lot of stuff I would have just stored in boxes into good use. I have no need for a 1u rack with 6 drives and 2 CPUs, yet would love one but electricity is a thing and bills are also a thing. On idle im pulling 20w from the wall, I havent really tried 100% loading the CPU and disks yet to see the wattage, but should be low. This makes a laptop as a small home server perfect for me.

I hope this has been an interesting read, if not a laugh. But im happy to show you all my truly ghetto ThinkPad Server :rofl:

P.S. I havent proof read this, may be mistakes but oh well. Will run through it soon.

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