Cracking Open A Cobalt RaQ 3i Server Appliance
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The Cobalt Networks RaQ 3i
The Cobalt Networks RaQ 3i server appliance, as seen from the front.nnThis third-generation model included a full Internet application suite. Everything from Apache Web services to Sendmail, FTP, DNS and Front Page Server extensions were pre-configured on these modified Linux Red Hat-powered machines.
Cobalt RaQ 3i Top View
The Cobalt RaQ 3i server, as viewed from above.
Cobalt RaQ 3i Rear View
The Cobalt RaQ 3i 1U appliance, as seen from the rear.
Cobalt RaQ 3i Control Panel
Here’s the Cobalt RaQ 3i’s control panel, which is located on the front right corner of the server appliance. The LCD arrow buttons enabled entering network configuration information, configuring a battery backup, rebooting the unit and powering down the server.
Cobalt RaQ 3i Status Indicators
The RaQ 3i’s status indicators are positioned on the left edge of the server’s face plate.nnTx/Rx blinks to confirm network transmission and reception. The Link light indicates an active network interface connection. COL lights when network collisions occur on the system’s primary Ethernet interface. The 100 M LED, meanwhile, confirmed the network is running at 100 Base T speeds, while the Disk and Web indicators confirms hard disk and Web activity, respectively.
Cobalt LCD Screen
The RaQ 3i’s LCD screen displays server messages and values being entered using the server’s LCD arrow buttons.
Cobalt Logo Badge
The Cobalt Logo Badge illuminates in an eye-catching green shade whenever the system is powered on.
Power Supply Connection
The server’s power plug port is located in the unit’s right rear corner. The adjacent master on/off power switch is shown here in the “on” position.nnTo the left of the power switch you can see one of the RaQ 3i’s two 35mm cooling fans. The cooling fans in the RaQ 3i were manufactured by Sunon and use 12-volt power.
RaQ 3i Ports
The RaQ 3i is identifiable due to its second Ethernet port (shown to the right in this photograph). The regular RaQ 3 possessed only a single Ethernet port.nnOther ports on the RaQ 3i are the two serial ports (visible to the left of the two Ethernet ports) and single SCSI connector (to the right of the unit’s single USB port, itself positioned to the right of the server’s second cooling fan).
RaQ 3i Bottom View
Here’s a look at the RaQ 3i’s bottom casing.
Removing The RaQ's Casing
Before the RaQ 3i’s top metal casing can be opened, numerous Philips head screws must be removed from the shell, including these found on the left rear side of the server.
Opening The RaQ 3i
Philips head screws must also be removed from the front of each side panel.
Opening The RaQ 3i
Screws must also be removed from the back of the RaQ 3i before the top shell can be opened.
Opening The RaQ 3i
With all necessary screws removed (some 10 total), the RaQ 3i’s main body (containing the motherboard and power supply) can be separated from its top metal cover. In fact, the main board sits in its own tray, which slides out from beneath the metal top cover, as shown here.
Top Shell, Removed From The Server
Here’s the top metal housing, once removed from the main server chassis.
Inside The RaQ 3i
The RaQ 3i’s components are neatly stashed away inside its 1U case. The hard disk sits to the front right corner, while the mainboard the middle and right-rear corner. The power supply, meanwhile, occupies the left rear corner.
Cobalt Networks partnered with Seagate to build its RaQ servers. In addition to Seagate providing hard disks, as with this unit, Seagate also distributed some of its own versions of the server appliance using NasRaQ branding.
Here both of the RaQ’s two DIMM memory slots are occupied. Many RaQs shipped with 256MB of RAM, but 512MB obviously helps accelerate server performance.
The RaQ 3i used this silver Lithium battery to power its real-time clock and CMOS RAM.
IDE Hard Drive Connector
These IDE ports, located adjacent to the system memory bays on the main system board, are used to connect drives to the server.
Here you can see the power connector that links the main board to electricity provided by the unit’s power supply.
Ali M1541 Chipset
This Ali M1541 chipset, which ran at 100 MHz, helped power the AMD mainboard.
LSI Symbios Controller
This LSI Symbios controller, model 53C875J, powered the server’s SCSI connection.
Here’s a close-up look at the server’s heatsink, which sits directly atop the unit’s AMD microprocessor.
AMD K6 Chip
With the heatsink (pictured on the right) removed, the AMD K6 microprocessor is clearly visible.
AMD K6 Close Up
Within this compartment lies the server’s power supply unit.
Disconnecting The Power Supply
The power supply’s power connector must be disconnected from the main system board before the motherboard can be removed from the server chassis.
Opening The Power Supply
Before the power supply cover can be removed, this T-10 Torx screw must be unscrewed.
Inside The Power Supply Cover
An EOS V-Series open-frame power supply powers this RaQ server. The 60-watt AC-DC power supply boasted a mean time between failures measure over 100,000 hours.
Hard Disk Cage
A custom hard disk cage holds the Seagate hard disk securely within the 1U server.
Removing The Hard Disk Cage
Four Philips head screws must be removed to separate the hard disk from the custom cage.
The Custom HDD Cage
Here’s the hard disk drive cage, once separated from the server’s hard disk.
The Seagate Drive
The RaQ 3i featured a 20.4GB hard disk manufactured in Malaysia.
Removing The Mainboard
To remove the system’s motherboard, this data cable must be removed that connects the front panel display and controls.
Fan Power Connectors
The unit’s two cooling fan power connectors must be disconnected, as well, before removing the motherboard from the server’s bottom chassis.
Meritec PCI Connector
The RaQ 3i featured a single Meritec PCI Connector (model number 98115A-120-2MCF), which was not found on other Cobalt Networks RaQ 3 models.
Sunon Fan Close Up
Here’s a close up view of one of the server’s two Sunon 35mm cooling fans.
Removing The Mainboard
The bolts securing the serial and SCSI ports to the server’s chassis must be removed before the motherboard can be separated from the server’s bottom chassis.
Server Bottom Tray
Here’s a look at the RaQ 3i’s bottom chassis with the motherboard and power supply removed. All that remains is the front control panel circuit board, its data cable, and the two 35mm cooling fans (and their respective power cables).
Removing The Front Decorative Panel
To remove the Cobalt’s front decorative panel, several blue plastic clips (one shown here at top center) must be depressed using a flat-head screwdriver.
The Decorative Front Panel
The Cobalt front decorative panel looks like this (once it’s removed from the server chassis).
Removing The Front Panel Circuit Board
To remove the front panel circuit board, and its accompanying LCD display, several plastic clips must be pressed inward to enable disconnecting the circuit board.
The Front Panel Circuit Board
Here’s the Cobalt front panel circuit board, along with its connecting data cable, once removed from the server chassis’ front panel.
The RaQ 3i, Disassembled
Here’s a look at most all of the components, including the server chassis, power supply, hard disk and accompanying cage, and other assorted components that compose the Cobalt Networks RaQ 3i server appliance.