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New build: 3U Supermicro

Western Digital Drives - The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS CORE
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netchris

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For years I have been aware of FreeNAS and the community, but "time" and "resources"--while previously existing in solitude--have never crossed paths until now.

After reading @cyberjock's excellent hardware recommendations thread I was sold on DoingItRight(tm) and buying a Supermicro board + ECC ram. Once I got my hardware list together I started looking for a rack mount case to put it in and ran across @cyberjock's experience with the Norco RPC-4224 (hey..he's got a lot of posts!). The 80mm vs 120mm fan comparison and @jgreco's commentary on Supermicro's tray construction swayed me to say f* it and go for a proper Supermicro case.

While looking for a Supermicro case on eBay (c'mon I'm still frugal) I found a Supermicro 16 bay 3U rack mount case for $350 shipped. Surprisingly enough, however, it also had almost an entire server inside (minus HDDs and HBAs). I thought this was a damn good stroke of luck so I jumped on it, but my enthusiasm didn't really hit until it got here in the mail today. (this is my first rackmount case..so yea, excited ^_^)

Anyway, here is what I bought: 3U Supermicro 16bay Server X7DB8+ 2x Intel Quad Core L5420 16GB 836TQ-R800B (I guess these guys are relisting until all of them are sold)

This felt like a good deal to me so I just wanted to share. Also, here is the rest of what I plan for my build:
  • 16x 3TB WD Reds (kinda hoping Amazon runs some % off promo leading up to xmas haha)
  • zpool = two 8-disk RAID-Z3 vdevs (I figure that is bulletproof enough to sleep very easily at night)
  • 2x M1015s (already ordered these from eBay. I read on the forums there is a problem with fakes so I ordered them 'used' and not from hong kong or the west coast)
  • Rack mount UPS (haven't gotten to the details yet, figure I'll have plenty of time to research while I burn in the hard drives for a few weeks)
  • Cage/rack (I wonder how much these can suppress noise, damn thing sounds like a vacuum cleaner [though I suppose it will be quieter once it actually has hard drives in it])
Seriously though, ebay seems to have a pretty good stock of "80% of the way there" starter kits for FreeNAS.
 

cyberjock

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Yeah, they are good "starter kits". You're lucky that it came with 16GB of RAM. The CPU will be a major drag though because it has a FSB, and that really hurts ZFS performance.

Congrats and good luck!
 

netchris

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What kind of performance impact can I expect from the fsb? Think I'll be able to saturate gigabit Ethernet when reading/writing large files?
 

Ericloewe

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Hard to tell. May be good enough for GbE or it might be a bit short.
 

pjc

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Great chassis, and one you can upgrade to an X9 or X10 motherboard to get better performance when you need it. Your HBAs and drives will migrate over just fine.
 

Brian Blater

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I've got the same machine you have and it really fits the bill perfectly for number of drive slots etc. However, I'm having issues with either the HBA I'm using or the hard drives I think. I'd like to hear how it works out with yours and what HBA and drives you finally went with.
 

pjc

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I've got the same machine you have and it really fits the bill perfectly for number of drive slots etc. However, I'm having issues with either the HBA I'm using or the hard drives I think. I'd like to hear how it works out with yours and what HBA and drives you finally went with.
What's your hardware? What issues are you experiencing?
 

Brian Blater

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*snip*
Anyway, here is what I bought: 3U Supermicro 16bay Server X7DB8+ 2x Intel Quad Core L5420 16GB 836TQ-R800B (I guess these guys are relisting until all of them are sold)

*snip*
  • Cage/rack (I wonder how much these can suppress noise, damn thing sounds like a vacuum cleaner [though I suppose it will be quieter once it actually has hard drives in it])

Connect the fans to the additional fan connectors on the motherboard (there are several extras right along the edge towards the backplane). You'll want to solder in another fan connector (I just ordered a pack of these: ), but only solder one wire (make sure it is the correct black wire so that it connects to the backplane fan connector the same as if it was the yellow wire) into the yellow wire from the fan. Then connect this splice to the fan connector on the backplane.

Now you can go into the BIOS on the motherboard and turn the speed down on the fans. I chose "3wire-workstation". That reduces the noise some. It won't be whisper quiet, but reduced. If you don't do the splice and just connect the fan to the MB and nothing to the backplane you'll get a loud alarm from the backplane.

Hope this helps.
Brian
 

netchris

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Nov 27, 2014
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I've got the same machine you have and it really fits the bill perfectly for number of drive slots etc. However, I'm having issues with either the HBA I'm using or the hard drives I think. I'd like to hear how it works out with yours and what HBA and drives you finally went with.
I have two 9220-8i cards, successfully flashed to IT mode. Also bought 16x 3TB WD Reds from newegg but they're still in the mail. I'm also waiting on some 8087-sata breakout cables from Monoprice as well--the breakout cables that came with the server weren't quite long enough (the previously installed cards must have had connectors at the rear rather than the side)

I'll let you know how it all turns out
 

netchris

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Nov 27, 2014
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Connect the fans to the additional fan connectors on the motherboard (there are several extras right along the edge towards the backplane). You'll want to solder in another fan connector (I just ordered a pack of these: ), but only solder one wire (make sure it is the correct black wire so that it connects to the backplane fan connector the same as if it was the yellow wire) into the yellow wire from the fan. Then connect this splice to the fan connector on the backplane.

Now you can go into the BIOS on the motherboard and turn the speed down on the fans. I chose "3wire-workstation". That reduces the noise some. It won't be whisper quiet, but reduced. If you don't do the splice and just connect the fan to the MB and nothing to the backplane you'll get a loud alarm from the backplane.

Hope this helps.
Brian
I know you said you have the same machine as me but what you're describing doesn't sound like what I've got. I have five clip-in 80mm fans; the brackets they clip in to have 3pin connectors to the motherboard (I do have the "3wire-Workstation" bios fan setting though, and am using it). I can take some pictures of the server insides if you'd like

It's awesome to hear that someone has the same machine :-D

[edit]
Maybe you have a different backplane? mine is a SAS836TQ
[/edit]
 

Brian Blater

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Dec 17, 2014
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I know you said you have the same machine as me but what you're describing doesn't sound like what I've got. I have five clip-in 80mm fans; the brackets they clip in to have 3pin connectors to the motherboard (I do have the "3wire-Workstation" bios fan setting though, and am using it). I can take some pictures of the server insides if you'd like

It's awesome to hear that someone has the same machine :-D

[edit]
Maybe you have a different backplane? mine is a SAS836TQ
[/edit]

You've got the same machine as me, I promise. If you remove the 3 fans behind the backplane, they slide into a plastic carrier. You'll then see the one end of the fan wire that connects to the fan itself. That connector will easily push out towards the bottom. The other end will be connected to the fan jumper on the backplane. That cable is the one you need to modify like I mentioned above.

I'll see if I can take pictures of mine.
 

netchris

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Nov 27, 2014
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Everything I have is exactly as you describe, except:
If you remove the 3 fans behind the backplane, they slide into a plastic carrier. You'll then see the one end of the fan wire that connects to the fan itself. That connector will easily push out towards the bottom. The other end will be connected to the fan jumper on the backplane.
For me, those wires are connected to the motherboard (came that way). I also don't get any alarm from the backplane

In (semi) unrelated news..I wonder what's the practical difference between "3-Wire Workstation" and "4-Wire Workstation" fan settings
 

sremick

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Sep 24, 2014
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Oh nevermind, I misread
 
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