Replacing the Motherboard in Your unRAID Server

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Important Note! This page is for unRAID v4 and v5 only. It is NOT for unRAID v6!

Replacing the motherboard in your unRAID server is actually very straightforward. I'm simply generating this wiki entry to build on some of the data that already exists in the forum and wiki. See this post and the associated FAQ entry: How do I move my existing unRAID array to a new system?

And this is the original forum thread that I started: MAC addresses and motherboards

Before you begin to remove hardware from your server, take a screenshot of the 'Devices' page from the unRAID web GUI (typically http://tower/devices.htm unless you have renamed your server). The information that you want to capture is:

  1. The assignments of the individual disks to "parity drive", "disk1", "disk2", etc. When the server is powered up with the new motherboard, you may need to re-assign the individual drives back to their previous logical slots (disk1, disk2, etc). Most importantly, pay particular attention to which is your parity drive and make sure it is properly re-assigned as the parity drive on the new board.
  2. Note your MAC address on the 'Settings' page of the unRAID webgui (typically http://tower/settings.htm unless you have renamed your server). This isn't critical to the success of the project, but it can be helpful information in the event that you run into some of the 'gotchas' that I encountered - prompting me to generate this wiki article.

Once the hardware is re-assembled using the new motherboard, you'll boot the server and then check to see if you need to re-assign the individual drives back to their previous logical slots according to the screenshot or notes that you took from the original server. Again, pay particular attention to the parity drive.

Now the 'gotchas':

Gotcha #1: Once your server is up and running with a new motherboard, it should have a new, unique MAC address associated with it. Check your server's MAC address on the 'Settings' page again and compare it to your original MAC address from your screenshot. Are they the same? If so, you'll want to edit the following file: /boot/config/network.cfg

Edit the file by removing the line that starts with HWADDR=

Then re-boot the server and it should now reflect the new MAC address.

Where this becomes especially important is if you intend to re-purpose the old motherboard into a machine that will be on the same network. You can't have two machines on the network that have the same MAC address, so you need the unRAID server to release the previous MAC address and use the new one to avoid conflict.

Gotcha #2: I edited the network.cfg file until my fingers were raw, but the server continued to reflect the previous MAC address. And it was a problem because the old motherboard had become my new desktop and the two machines could not be online at the same time. I tried changing the router from static to dynamic IP addresses (and vice versa), reset my router to factory defaults, etc . . . nothing helped.

Ultimately, I had to do the following:

  • Edit the network.cfg file to make sure the HWADDR= line was removed
  • Power down the server
  • Unplug my router
  • Unplug my modem and leave it and the router off for several minutes
  • Power on the modem and then the router
  • Power on the server and finally - it picked up the new MAC address

I hope this is helpful. Good luck.