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BUILD First Build! Micro-ATX with 8+ Drives. Advice Appreciated!

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R.G.

Explorer
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Sep 11, 2011
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I ordered some "bare drive" Toshiba 3TB drives from Newegg a while back, got the drives in their plastic antistatic bags tossed into a cardboard box with some plastic airbags for the trip. A couple of airbags died and the drives bounced around, gouging each other. I took phone pictures, called Newegg's customer line. I emailed the pictures and was issued an RMA in an hour. The replacements arrived in four days, each in a specialized hard-plastic drive bubble carrier, and have since worked great. Newegg's shipment fulfillers are erratic, but they seem to make good on it.

On the Fractal Node 804: I have a very similar system just set up, with seven 3TB drives in RaidZ3. I moved one of the included three fans to pushing into the disk array from the front, leaving one pulling out the back. The disks sit at about 30-33C depending on positions in the hanging clusters. On an hour-long scrub none of the disks got over 37C in a 25C ambient room. The CPU temps got up to 44C. I was impressed at the disks only rising about 3C under scrubbing duties, presumably the hardest thing they'll be doing in real life. In my setup, a top fan isn't necessary at all. I was going to toss in a couple of Nexus 120mm's, but the three stock fans in the Fractal are plenty.

I used a supermicro X9 in this one and a Seasonic 400W 80+ gold. I don't know whether the X9 is staggering drive spinup or not (which I why I mention the mb at all) but the Seasonic 400W appears to start and run it just fine.

As a bit of kibitzing, do your photo files change any over time? Could you make do with archival backups of them, not rotating storage? If so, take a look at M-disc optical disks. They're the equivalent of DVDs, but use a different light-blocking media that is a non-organic mineral-oxides based stuff that is permanently altered by a hotter laser writing action. The provider says that accelerated life tests indicate multiple-century readability, far better than stock writable DVD stuff. I have moved some of my never-to-be changed images to this stuff. I guess I'll let you know in 200 years if I can still read them. :)
 

ninjarobert

Dabbler
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Dec 13, 2014
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All my stuff arrived just before leaving for xmas. Plan on assembly today. Wee!

My Reds from Amazon didn't arrive in retail packaging, but they had individual boxes with said plastic dampers. Comparable to retail packaging. Same thing goes for a WD Green I bought shortly after the Reds.

I ordered my blacks from NewEgg. Not retail packaging. All in the same box. Each in an anti-static bag enclosed in air-filled pocket enclosure. I copied all my data to them with no problems so far. Installing in my PC today.

I ordered the HGST from Amazon (NewEgg has a code today... grrrrrr). They arrived in retail boxes. Each drive arrived in its own box.. Each retail box was secured in a cardboard enclosure and 'strapped' down by a plastic strip.

Packing from both places was really good!
 

ninjarobert

Dabbler
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Dec 13, 2014
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Build was stalled because PS didn't come with cables with enough SATA connectors :(
 

Jailer

Not strong, but bad
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Sep 12, 2014
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That's what the "parts drawer" is for. :)
 

ninjarobert

Dabbler
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That's what the "parts drawer" is for. :)

Hah! I thought I had one from my Corsair PS, but the terminals weren't wired the same :(
 

Z300M

Guru
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Sep 9, 2011
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Build was stalled because PS didn't come with cables with enough SATA connectors :(
The retail-packaged HGST drives didn't come with power adapters? Or perhaps you didn't even have enough Molex connectors free either?
 

Ericloewe

Not-very-passive-but-aggressive
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The retail-packaged HGST drives didn't come with power adapters? Or perhaps you didn't even have enough Molex connectors free either?

Last retail-packaged HDDs I bought were just the bare drive (and maybe some screws), with no accessories. I imagine that's the norm.
 

Z300M

Guru
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Last retail-packaged HDDs I bought were just the bare drive (and maybe some screws), with no accessories. I imagine that's the norm.
The retail-packaged Seagates I've bought all came with screws, SATA data cable and Molex-to-SATA power adapter.
 

ninjarobert

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The retail-packaged HGST drives didn't come with power adapters? Or perhaps you didn't even have enough Molex connectors free either?

Just the drive, screws, and a manual (who reads those?!?!). Couldn't find the cable anywhere. Finally got a response from Seasonic-- it's available from a distributor. $5 for the cable $7 for shipping. Pffft.

I'll use the cables I have for the 6 drives (wanted more connectors to leave room for expansion), and get a molex to sata adapter for the fans.
 

Ericloewe

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You can also get generic SATA expansion chains (one SATA in, several out). Or pretty much any combination you could reasonably want.
 

ninjarobert

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You can also get generic SATA expansion chains (one SATA in, several out). Or pretty much any combination you could reasonably want.

Ahhh, good idea. Thanks.
 

ninjarobert

Dabbler
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Dec 13, 2014
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Powered on the box today and got FreeNAS installed! Will post the obligatory photos of the build once I get the room cleaned up a bit. HAHA!

Confused about the networking, but will post in appropriate forum.

Installation notes to myself :)
- Downloaded ISO from link on FreeNAS download page (FreeNAS-9.3-STABLE-201501162230.iso)
- Followed instructions at http://doc.freenas.org/9.3/freenas_install.html#
- The USB stick with the ISO installer should be separate than the USB with the final installation
- To reformat USB stick with installer for use on Windows, followed: http://superuser.com/questions/752874/16-gb-usb-flash-drive-capacity-down-to-938-mb
 

ninjarobert

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Well, the sweet euphoria of getting my storage/back-up system set up has dwindled. Two of the three black drives have already failed. About two weeks after NewEgg's 30-day return. Now I have to RMA them. Lesson learned: Never buy hard drives before going on Christmas vacation. Ugh......
 

joeschmuck

Old Man
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May 28, 2011
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At least you can RMA them easily. It's not the same as getting a new drive from NewEgg but I guess it's better than nothing.
 

ninjarobert

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Dec 13, 2014
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True. I may have jumped the gun though. After I restart the computer, the drives are recognized. As some amount of time passes, they are no longer recognized. The data is still there. I can still read/write to the drive. Drives passes tests (WD Data Lifeguard Diagnostic).

Exploring two options. 1: Not enough power (I would think 750 W power supply is plenty). Unplugged 2 of the drives. 2: Something to do with SyncToy. Problem arose shortly after getting that setup. Disabled it's execution in task scheduler for a bit.

Another option is it's 'too much' (whatever that means) for my SATA PCI-express card (HighPoint Rocket 640L Lite). Never had issues with my 3x 1TB blues before though.
 

danb35

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Aug 16, 2011
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Your power supply is plenty--with my 12-disk system, I rarely see as much as 200 watts power draw from the mains. I'd be concerned about your Highpoint card though--AFAIK, those don't have a very good record with FreeBSD.
 

ninjarobert

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Dec 13, 2014
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Your power supply is plenty--with my 12-disk system, I rarely see as much as 200 watts power draw from the mains. I'd be concerned about your Highpoint card though--AFAIK, those don't have a very good record with FreeBSD.

I should clarify... that card is in my desktop computer (Windows 7, 64-bit) with the 3x 3TB black drives.
 

joeschmuck

Old Man
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I'm confused... Are we not talking about hard drives in a FreeNAS system? If these are drives in your Windoze computer then why are we discussing them in this forum? :confused:

Also, SyncToy should have no bearing on a FreeNAS system, it only runs on Windoze.
 

ninjarobert

Dabbler
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Dec 13, 2014
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A few photos of my build.

image (1).jpeg
image (2).jpeg
image (3).jpeg
 
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