Power Supply Swap

As I mentioned in my previous entry about the server I purchased, Lenovo engineers made a decision to route power for the TS140’s drives through the motherboard rather than directly from the power supply. In a situation where only one or two drives are present I imagine this isn’t much of an issue. However, given that I intend to cram this case with 6 drives, I don’t have a great feeling about drawing that kind of power through the traces on the board. It seems like a recipe for circuit burnout.

To boost my confidence in the TS140’s power situation I decided early on that the power supply unit would need to be replaced. Fortunately it’s just a standard ATX power supply, so the physical swap is pretty easy. It does come with one small problem that I’ll get to later. For now, let’s talk about the replacement PSU.

The Corsair CX600 PSU and the Lenovo TS140.

For the replacement PSU I chose the Corsair CX600. Its 600 watt rating should supply more than enough power for the six drives, the dual-port NIC card, the RAID card and our processing requirements. It’s fairly inexpensive and has been positively reviewed many thousands of times at Amazon. This ticks all of my boxes.

Swapping it out was as straightforward as any other standard ATX power supply. After disconnecting the cables in the case, it’s just four screws to remove it from the case. My 10 year-old actually performed the operation for me.

The TS140 with the factory PSU removed.

While the old PSU was removed by my son, I unboxed the CX600 and got it ready to go.

The CX600 unwrapped and ready to go.

Within a few minutes my son had the PSU mounted and ready for the Power connections to the motherboard.

This is where we encounter one of the little problems I mentioned earlier in this post. Unfortunately Lenovo uses a proprietary 14-pin power connector for their PSUs and motherboards, so swapping in a standard PSU requires a 24-pin to 14-pin adapter. Fortunately these are readily available on Amazon for around $5 and I was aware of this ahead of time.

Behold! The mighty adapter!

With the adapter at the ready, we were easily able to connect the CX600 to the motherboard. There is an additional 4-pin power connection for the motherboard. The factory power supply had a dedicated 4-pin power cable for this task. The CX600 seemed to have no such cable. Upon further inspection I realized that there was a CX600 cable with an 8-pin connector marked “CPU” that could actually be split in half at the connector. This provided the 4-pin connection required and completed the installation.

In the next entry I hope to be able to cover the installation of the RAM, the dual-port NIC, the RAID card, and the two Solid-State Drives that my virtual machines will live on.