Build an IPCop router with Supermicro – Part 1

It has always been a plan of mine to build a really fast router that supports multiple networks, VPN, Anti-Virus, IDS, Squid, and custom built applications like Copfilter.

This is all possible thanks to IPCop, which is a Linux distribution built for PC hardware. It is a stateful firewall built on the netfilter framework.

What you need – What I used to build this router (total cost $400 including $60 shipping from Newegg.com)

  1. SUPERMICRO CSE-502-200B 1U rackmount case w/ 200 Watt PSU
  2. SUPERMICRO MBD-PDSBM-LN2+ Micro ATX server mother board
  3. Intel Pentium E5200 2.5GHz Dual Core Intel Proc built on 45nm technology Celeron 430 Conroe-L
  4. Dynatron P199 1U server CPU cooler
  5. and Kingston 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 model number KVR667D2N5/2G built for server boards

This is one bad ass router that is more powerful than what you will find in most small business. I will install IPCop on a CF card for speed and low heat. I purchased a Compact Flash Adapter that will allow me to connect the CF card to a PATA socket.

Putting it all together

100_1491 All the hardware came together from newegg.

100_1496 This is everything together before we start building

Take the case apart and prepare it for the new motherboard. We will then unpack the new motherboard carefully. You should use and anti static ristband if you are worried about static.

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Take your time when you put the mother board in. We want to mount a backbrace for the CPU Cooler before we drop it into the case. Don’t forget that step, I did. Now carefully put in in the case.

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Line up all the holes and start to secure it with the provided screws. Note: My Motherboard did not come with any mounting screws and neither did the case so I had use some extra ones I had laying around.

100_1506 Now we have to get the processor in. This is the fun part. With socket 775 it is an easy task but you should still go slow.  Open up the CPU socket arms and insert the CPU. There are notches in the socket so there is only one way you can insert the CPU. Place the CPU in the close the arms. The plastic protector will pop out on its own when you close them. At this point you should have you CPU secured in the socket.

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We can now put the CPU cooler on. My Dynatron P199 1U cooler came with CPU thermal grease already on it so all I had to do was mount it. Some people don’t like to use the manufacture thermal grease because it does not transfer heat as efficiently as aftermarket grease does like Artic Silver will. Since my CPU is built on 45nm my heat generation will be minimal therefore the factory thermal grease will do more than enough. I also used the factory grease because its applied perfectly to the Cooler, better than any human hand can.

Just drop the CPU cooler down and screw it in the bracket that you put behind the motherboard before you mounted the motherboard in the case. Don’t screw down one side before another. You want to screw one screw in just a little and move to the next. Work diagonally across, screwing in each screw just a little like you are mounting a spare tire on a car. You do this so the grease is applied to the CPU evenly. If you screw one side down before another you will apply pressure unevenly and smear thermal grease away from that corner. That’s bad.

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Now you may drop in the RAM. just pop it in. Make sure to line up the notch before you push it in.

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The last thing that I need to install is the CF card adapter. It uses the PATA channel to transfer data. You might be thinking that PATA is really slow. It is, but not for this application. Remember that PATA has a max data transfer speed to 133 MB/s.

I will be using the supplied PATA cable. One thing you may have noticed is that the cable is really long for such a sort distance in the case. Well you are able to cut the cable without hurting functionality. Just cut on the outside of the last PATA channel connector. Connect the CF adapter to the board and your done.

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That’s the Hardware portion. Part two will be about software (IPCop installation).

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EDIT: I had some troubles with my hardware setup. If you plan to make a server just like this, even if its not for a firewall, please contact me I can save you some really big head aches.

Comming Home

I will be returning home some time soon. For my readers this is good news. I am leaving on Tues and will be resuming blogging.

There are many things I will be writing about such as

  • Remote Management
  • Server Management
  • Directory Services
  • Databases
  • Web Servers
  • Backup Services
  • NAS
  • And More

Thank you all for the support. This blog would not be a success without you.