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Super Micro 36 Bay Case

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

cwingert

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Feb 21, 2021
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I am looking to make a low power case with old hardware, such as Supermicro-CSE-847E16-R1K28LPB-4U-Server-Chassis-2x1280W. Seems they are available on eBay for $400.

Has anyone already made one of these. Do you have a list of parts that you used? Has anyone swapped a more efficient power supply into these?

Thanks!
Chris
 

Ericloewe

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Has anyone swapped a more efficient power supply into these?
Are you sure it doesn't include Platinum PSUs? Hardly seems worth the trouble upgrading to Titanium PSUs.

Has anyone already made one of these. Do you have a list of parts that you used?
Plenty of people have, I'm sure, though the 36-bay ones are a bit of a niche around here.

You're buying one with both SAS2 expander backplanes included, right? You'd need something like:
  • Motherboard, CPU and RAM
  • One SAS3 or SAS2 HBA
  • Two SFF8643-SFF8087 (SAS3) or two SFF-8087-SFF8087 (SAS2) cables
  • Boot device of some sort. Maybe an M.2 SSD.
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
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The words "low power" confuse me in this context. A 36 bay chassis is power-hungry and loud, with the fans chewing up a significant amount of power all on their own.

The only "more efficient" PSU's you can swap in are ones that Supermicro provides. These are not ATX PC's, and you need to use the server supplies provided by Supermicro. You cannot just go get a CheapCrapPCCo PSU and put it in.

Be aware that spin-up current for 36 drives can potentially pull a lot of current. These are designed to be fed off two separate circuits, and it is *possible* for 36 drives to pull more than a single 1280W PSU can manage during spinup. If you are using this at home, be prepared to provide it with access to two separate 15A or larger circuits. Under normal load it shouldn't need anywhere near that much current, but you have to engineer for max, not wished-for.
 

danb35

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Aug 16, 2011
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Like @jgreco, I'm a little puzzled about how you see "low power" and "36 bays" fitting together. But that aside, I'd encourage to you look for complete servers based on this chassis--they aren't hard to find. This one, for example, looks pretty much turn-key:

Another $270 above the price you mentioned gets you a quite serviceable motherboard, two Xeon E5 CPUs, 64 GB RAM, and a HBA. Add boot device and spinners, and away you go. It even gives you IPMI for remote management, though the virtual console is Java-based.
 

cwingert

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Feb 21, 2021
Messages
10
Thanks for the responses!

Maybe I should step back a little bit. I have been using Synology NASs for years. My latest are two 12 drive configurations (DS2415 and DS2411). I have been working fine with upgrading the volumes disks as drive capacity has increased. Right now my main Synology DS2415 has 6x 14TB and 6x8TB. That configuration only uses 220W.

I would like a configuration where I can plug in drives as my volumes evolve due to higher storage capacity. Some issues with these evolutions are copying data to the new volume takes a few weeks along with having enough hardware (drive bays) so that I can do a copy. Quite a few times I setup a Linux Host with a SATA HBA to migrate data. I am also looking to play with 10GBase-T.

Long story short, I like the 36 drive configuration for future proofing, because I can plug in more drives for upgrade and archiving. However i will probably not have more than 12 drives running.

So my goal would be to take the "case" from the 36 drive enclosure and possibly swap in new PSU, MB, CPU if that makes more sense from the power consumption perspective. I am not sure if the SM enclosure can be powered from a consumer PSU (or if that even make sense from the
power efficiency side). For example is the SAS backplane powered by one or many molex connectors? What about the case fans?

Right now there is a 4U 36 Bay SAS3 with 2x Xeon 2960 on a X10DRi-T4 that looks interesting, but I am assuming the base power consumption (without drives) will be more than my loaded DS2415.

Thanks!
Chris
 

danb35

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I am not sure if the SM enclosure can be powered from a consumer PSU
No, it can't. But the SM PSUs are highly efficient anyway, so those really aren't your problem.

They'll take standard motherboards and CPUs, so you could freely swap those in if desired, but proper server-grade hardware is still strongly encouraged.
 

Ericloewe

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I have to say that it's not often that someone thinks about buying a server with a pair of Xeon E5-2690 v3/v4s thinking to get rid of them.
 

danb35

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True. But I'd take that MB and CPUs...
 

cwingert

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Feb 21, 2021
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I have to say that it's not often that someone thinks about buying a server with a pair of Xeon E5-2690 v3/v4s thinking to get rid of them.
LOL, agree. I picked that one because it has a SAS-3 backplane. However, I am not really sure I care about SAS-3 vs SAS-2. I still don't quite grok drive bandwidth vs SAS bandwidth, seems like the bandwidth of the drives combined is faster than the SAS link.
 

Ericloewe

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True. But I'd take that MB and CPUs...
You're just saying what we're all thinking...

LOL, agree. I picked that one because it has a SAS-3 backplane. However, I am not really sure I care about SAS-3 vs SAS-2. I still don't quite grok drive bandwidth vs SAS bandwidth, seems like the bandwidth of the drives combined is faster than the SAS link.
Fundamentally, SAS3 is twice as fast. With spinning rust, it doesn't really make a difference normally. 4x 6 Gb/s (plus SAS is full duplex and SATA isn't, so the are some extra gains there) is plenty for 24 disks (the front backplane). Sure, you might be able to saturate that with some care and fast disks, but it's mostly academic.
 

danb35

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You're just saying what we're all thinking...
Since I'm running 2x E5-2670s anyway, I'm obviously not too concerned about power consumption, and I could probably mine ETH a bit more efficiently with those...

I really have to wonder, though, how much energy would be saved by swapping that MB and CPUs for, say, a X9SCL and a suitable i3. My guess, for normal workloads, is "not much".
 

danb35

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This person shaved off 110 watts by changing CPUs, PSUs, and some fans.
...and in so doing, seriously compromised system cooling. Again, MB/CPU are standard parts, though you may need some care with the CPU cooler. The PSU is likely at least Platinum rated, so there's no real gain there. And the fans are the way they are for a reason--sure, you can save both power and noise by swapping in Nocturas, but then you'll lose a lot of airflow and likely cook your drives.
 

ChrisRJ

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Oct 23, 2020
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306
I would like a configuration where I can plug in drives as my volumes evolve due to higher storage capacity.
Are you aware how ZFS works in terms of extending capacity? Because of its origin in the data center there are some serious limitations for this use-case. The forum and the Internet have plenty of details on that.
 

cwingert

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Feb 21, 2021
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Are you aware how ZFS works in terms of extending capacity? Because of its origin in the data center there are some serious limitations for this use-case. The forum and the Internet have plenty of details on that.
My volume upgrade strategy is buy X of the newer drives (not necessarily the highest capacity, but an economical tradeoff) and make a new volume, then copy the data to the new volume. 6 months ago I bought 6x 14TB drives. Then I use the old smaller drives for RAID1 archives. The 36 drive config will definitely help with this.

Thanks for everyone's feedback!
 
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