I am sick of paying US$1000 a year for a professional commercial datacenter colo for merely a hobbyist Minecraft / Space Engineers / Factorio gaming server that makes no money and is not run to make a profit.

I would instead like to build a gaming server that will sit hundreds of miles away from me in someone's closet or basement on their Google fiber, and I want this mini-server to be as close to zero maintenance as possible for the friend acting as my server host.

I know that dust is the death of technology, and this thing is going to run 24x7 for years in a mostly unmonitored location, so it needs extreme reliability and dust protection.


I want to use a professional HVAC high-end deep-pleat furnace filter with high particulate retention, not the cheap blue US$1 filters that let fine dust through.

Something like this 20" x 21" x 5" deep MERV 16 filter: https://www.filtersfast.com/P-Lennox-X8790-MERV-16-Air-Filter-Replacement.asp?kpid=X8790

This high grade professional filter is likely going to take a bit of static pressure to drive air through it as it builds a dust layer, so the case likely needs more than the typical low-pressure axial fans.... possibly a small squirrel cage or centrifugal horticultural blower.

Though I am also trying to go for something quiet, so the blower likely needs to be of a large diameter, to be slow enough and still have sufficient static air pressure.

I have spent many months trying to find a super-low maintenance computer case or enclosure like this, and so far it appears no such thing exists. It probably would have to be custom manufactured in a makerspace on a CNC router table or with a plasma cutter.

Any ideas?

  • Out of curiosity, why not just by time on a server in a datacenter rather than dealing with the hardware yourself if you're not going to have physical access to it anyways? FYI, most "real" servers just sort of assume a fairly dust-free environment; it might be better to filter the dust externally rather than inside the server. – JMY1000 Dec 22 '17 at 21:25
  • As stated, already buying time in a datacenter for US$1000 per year. Equipment spec is too high and usage is too complicated for a cheap low-end virtualized single-game-process colo. Need Ubuntu, CPU with high single core performance, 64gig memory, and shell access, to run about 6-8 heavily modded Minecrafts that each need 4-6gb memory (Infinity, Hermit, etc) linked by IRC, Discord node.js connector, KVM VM for Windows 10....... meanwhile personally I live in the boondocks, 1.5 / 0.25 meg DSL in a rural area, so I can't host it myself. – Dale Mahalko Dec 23 '17 at 1:03
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    You said you were paying for space in a colo, not for server time itself. I don't know exactly what specs you need, but it's free to check how much an EC2, Azure, or Google Cloud instance would cost. What are we looking at total? 16 cores at maybe a Passmark of 1500 per core, 64 GB of RAM, 4TB of hot spinning storage, and 1Gb/s up/down? – JMY1000 Dec 23 '17 at 1:13
  • In any case, I'm still wondering if it'd be better to filter the air in the room rather than as it enters the server–especially since that'd allow you to use 2 or 3 gen old off-the-self servers for much, much cheaper than building your own. Plus, it'll be designed and validated for 24/7/365 operation, all while giving you server-grade features, like allowing you to monitor remotely and change low level settings using IPMI. – JMY1000 Dec 23 '17 at 1:16

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