This teardown we’ll be looking at a Dell PowerEdge 2161DS-2 console switch. These types of switches are used to remotely manage servers. Its case is suitable for 19 inch racks. A device like this can manage up to 128 servers.


This device’s case is a simple 19 inch 1U rack mount type. The front does not contain any buttons, LEDs or connectors.

Dell PowerEdge 2161DS-2 Case

The back of de device consists of roughly three parts. The first part contains the power connector, power button and two fan outlets. Right next to the fans sits a on/off button.


Then there is a section that contains all inputs and outputs used for remote controlling this device and the connected servers. There is a RJ-45 ethernet connector and a nine pin D-sub RS-232 connector for remote control. Next to these connectors are two PS/2 connectors for keyboard and mouse, a VGA connector for a monitor and four USB connectors.


The last section contains sixteen RJ-45 ports. These ports do not carry an ethernet signal. They carry multple proprietary signals of which one is an encoded RGB signal. This device needs some extra hardware which converts these signals from/to VGA and PS/2.


Power supply

The power supply, as we’ve seen before, is just an off-the-shelf part made by Astec. The part number is LPT44 and it can deliver +5V at 5A, +12V at 2.5A, and -5V at 0.7A.


Main board

The main board takes up most of the space in the case. Most of this board contains chips and empty pads for even more chips. This board is made up of 10 layers, which is understandable with the amount of BGA packages all over the board.


Lets start at the power section of this board. There are two buck converters built around ISL6225 PWM controllers. Each of these devices can control two independent outputs. These can be identified by the four inductors (the large black parts) and the similar circuitry around them. The PWM controllers also feature a special DDR mode to provide power to DDR memory chips.

The chip on the left, right next to the black header is an SMSC USB2503A three port USB 2.0 hub. The USB ports are exposed via the black header next to the USB hub chip and one via the unpopulated USB connector pad, behind the power cable. In front of that unpopulated pad is a LM3526 USB power switch and over-current protection chip. These chips do not seem to serve any purpose, so why are they there?


The power section took about 1/6 of the full board. The largest area on the board is being taken by the chips responsible for decoding the signals coming from the devices connected to the RJ-45 ports.

Right behind the RJ-45 ports sits an EL4544IGZ “Triple 16x5 Differential Crosspoint Switch”. This device is responsible for decoding the RGB signal coming in via the RJ-45 port. Left to this chip is room for another same chip. This probably has something to do with the number of parallel connections that can be made.


Behind that area is an area devidide into eight sections. Each section looks the same, and only two of these sections are populated. The first chip found in such section is a Genesis gmZAN3SL-LF monitor controller. Huh? A monitor controller in a device that does not have an internal monitor of any kind. My guess is that this chip is used as a simple way to convert the analog RGB signal to a digital signal.

This digital signal then goes into a Xilinx Spartan XC3S200 FPGA. This FPGA probably converts the digital signal to something that can be used by one of the other chips on the board. The FPGA has access to a single Micron MT46V8M16 128Mb SDRAM.


The last remaining part of the main bord contains the processor and supporting chips. This device is built around a AMCC PPC405EP PowerPC processor. It has two Micron 256Mb SDRAM chips next to it, part numbers MT48LC16M16A2. Next to the processor sits a MPC184 security processor.


The next large chip is an Avocent OSCAR3-AA. I couldn’t find any more information on this chip. Next to that chip sits an IDT 71V3556 SRAM chip. Above that chip sits a Marvell 88E8001 gigabit ethernet controller, as the main processor only has two 10/100mbit interfaces.

Above the Avocent chip sits an NEC D720101 USB 2.0 Host controller for the USB ports on the back. On the right of that chip are two ICL3241 RS-232 Transmitter/Receiver chips for the serial connector on the back.

On the left of the Avocent chip are sixteen (!) 74ACT244 octal buffers. These buffers are connected to the Xilinx Spartan XC3S1000 FPGA. My guess is that these are responsible for outputting a signal on the VGA connector. I think these are for all non-display signals going out via the RJ-45 connectors. This makes more sense as these octal buffers are digital devices.