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Supermicro Chassis or Norco 4224?

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Elegant

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Hi guys, I've recently noticed that the Norco 4224 comes with a new backplate for SATA III and SAS3 support something that the Supermicro doesn't have (within a reasonable price) and that my LSI 9300-8i would benefit from. My current setup is using some hotswap bays on another chassis until I can figure out my next move.

Is it worth looking at a Norco? Or should I hold out for these newer Supermicro chassis to be sold used on eBay?
 

depasseg

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SuperMicro over Norco
I really wouldn't worry about SAS3 over SAS2 unless you are running 24 SSD's off a single SAS2 connection.
 

Elegant

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Fair enough. Assuming I bought a used one, I'd have to look into purchasing power supplies if I went barebones? More specifically, there is no bracket for your everyday Seasonic PSU I might want to use?
 

depasseg

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They usually come with power supplies, and no, a desktop PSU won't fit.
 

Bidule0hm

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Well, with a hammer big enough anything can fit into anything... :D
 

jgreco

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SuperMicro over Norco
I really wouldn't worry about SAS3 over SAS2 unless you are running 24 SSD's off a single SAS2 connection.

A single SAS2 connection would only be 6Gbps. Perhaps you mean an x4 wideport (SFF8087 etc)?

For a NAS, be asking yourself, "am I really going to be having three 10Gbps ethernet ports fully active" ... if the answer isn't yes, then the 24Gbps of a SAS2 x4 is quite possibly sufficient. It would be unusual to find a situation where this wasn't actually true, unless you were going all SSD or something like that.
 

depasseg

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Bidule0hm

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Would you suggest the six pound sledge, then?

A 10 pounds one should be better, PSUs are usually pretty sturdy...
 

depasseg

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I think a SawZall would be handy as well to get it in there.
 

jgreco

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I think a SawZall would be handy as well to get it in there.

Proud product of Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation. I strongly recommend a Milwaukee 2101-20 power screwdriver as well. It'll help make screwing it into place that much easier.
 

Elegant

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I think my issue comes down noise; how much noise does a PWS-920P-1R 920W make in comparison to some Noctua fans in a Norco with a Seasonic PSU (broad question right?). Unfortunately the server will be in an open area (next to a TV for a few years...) and I have to take this into account. Anyone have any experience with the noise of the SM PSUs?
 
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SweetAndLow

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If you plan on being in the same room then supermicro servers are not going to work. I'm 100% positive on this.
 

jgreco

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If you plan on being in the same room then supermicro servers are not going to work. I'm 100% positive on this.

Neither is the Norco.

The problem isn't the Supermicro per se, it's that all the rackmount chassis that do 24 drives in 4U are designed for high static pressure fans. 4U is 7 inches. Six drives, stacked, is 6 inches. Then there's the case, and trays, and separators, and all that. In the end, you're needing a huge amount of air to be moved through lots of little spaces that are often just a millimeter high.

You're not going to want to stick "some Noctua fans in a Norco". You'll just cook your drives from a lack of airflow, because they'll have no pressure. It takes a lot of energy to create that air pressure, and the process is inherently noisy. That's why the rackmount gear is noisy.

Anecdotally (based on lots of past forum discussions) by the time you finish screwing around with the Norco to get sufficient cooling, you will have spent a substantial amount of money, it'll be noisy, and you'll have an inferior product to the Supermicro for a price that isn't that much less. Or you'll cook your drives and the cost will be a heck of a lot more.

The best thing you can contemplate is a nice roomy non-rackmount chassis with a bunch of quiet fans gently blowing air around drives that are not stacked right on top of each other.
 

depasseg

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I will tell you that the "freenas1 - SM 5028R" in my sig is amazingly quiet. The SC847 expansion chassis is much louder, and that is due to the fans (for fun I temporarily removed the hot swap fans and I couldn't hear the PSU's running).
 

tvsjr

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I will tell you that the "freenas1 - SM 5028R" in my sig is amazingly quiet. The SC847 expansion chassis is much louder, and that is due to the fans (for fun I temporarily removed the hot swap fans and I couldn't hear the PSU's running).

CSE847 chassis here... can confirm. There are 7 fans in the front... for whatever reason, the three closest to the motherboard plus the one behind the power supplies (the single-stack one) are connected to the MB. The other three are connected to the backplane. The backplane does not throttle these fans back much at all... if any... resulting in the noise.

I need to get a PWM splitter to light the 7th fan up from the motherboard, then I want to see if the drive temperatures remain reasonable. A project for tomorrow.
 

SirMaster

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You're not going to want to stick "some Noctua fans in a Norco". You'll just cook your drives from a lack of airflow, because they'll have no pressure.

This has not been my experience at least for my use case. I have a 24 bay Supermicro primary machine and a 24 bay Norco backup machine.

I bought 2 of the Norco 120mm fan walls (it fit just fine in the Supermicro case as well) and 6 Noctua NF-F12 fans, 3 for each server. Temps for all my disks in both cases idle at 30-34C and load (during a scrub) at 35-38C. This is in a 70-75F apartment. Both servers are in my bedroom and are very quiet to my ear with the Noctua fans and normal quiet ATX power supplies.

Granted I don't have all 24 bays filled yet. I have 16 bays filled in each, but I would be OK with a couple more degrees even for load which I would imagine would be the case with 8 more disks.

The NF-F12 are meant for radiators so they have at least higher static pressure than most 120mm fans, especially at their sound pressure level. I also made sure to seal up any other holes that the cases have on the side of the disks and also seal up any other holes in the fan walls around all the wires and things so all the air can only come in through the drive bays.

If this wasn't enough cooling I would imagine you could cut holes in the sides (if you aren't rack mounting) or top of the rack cases. This would create a larger volume of air that must be sucked in through the front since it's the only intake and adding a couple more quiet fans shouldn't increase the overall SPL much.

The other thing you can do is go with slightly more powerful PWM 120mm fans and write a script to control their speed based on temperature so that they only speed up during high load like a scrub where you might need a couple extra degrees of cooling or on a hot summer day if you don't use indoor AC.

Anyways, all that being said I prefer and recommend the Supermicro over the Norco. The build quality is simply superior and the integrated expander in the backplane makes everything more convenient.
 
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tvsjr

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Only you can decide for your system. Keep in mind, you're also (probably) running 7.2k SATA drives... the Supermicro chassis are built for 15K SAS stuff. I can assure you they generate substantially more heat.

We were having some discussions on this in another thread, but I'll add them here as well. I have a CSE847 36-bay chassis, with 14 15K drives, 6 7.2K drives, and 4 SSDs currently installed. After some poking around, I found that the fan connectors on the backplane never seem to idle back at all, where the motherboard connectors do. So, I connected three of the fans connected to the backplane to the motherboard (ran out of headers) and left the 4th disconnected. I then loaded all of the drives heavily (2 threads of dd from /dev/urandom to each drive, simultaneously) and let the drives get hot and heat-soaked. I then pushed the fans up to full speed via ipmitool and let that run for an hour. I found a 2C difference in temperatures. This tells me that, at least in my configuration, the chassis are "over-fanned".

I also added active (fan-based) heatsinks to both CPUs, to help extract that heat from the system. With all of the these changes, the system makes a constant low fan noise, rather than the normal screaming-banshee behavior.

Now, if I had 36 15K drives, a pair of E5-2687W v2 fire-breather CPUs, and every PCIe slot full of high-end graphics adapters, I doubt I would find the system to have more fan than it needs. Supermicro builds these systems to cool themselves properly at full load... so, you can cut back some, but you have to do your own research and monitor your own temperatures to make sure you don't cook something.
 

SirMaster

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I will add that for my servers I am using all 4TB WD Reds which people seem to believe are 5400RPM. I would assume they generate less heat than most other disks which is also one of the main reasons I chose them as I wanted to build quiet servers in these convenient and cheap 24 bay rack cases.
 

tvsjr

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Yep, the Reds are 5400RPM. Red Pro is 7200. I only went 7200 on my big storage (6x 4TB RAIDZ2) because the price was right (free). My fast storage (14x 450GB mirrored/striped) is 15K SAS to get maximum IOPS, as they will be used for VMware datastores. Each increase in RPM definitely causes a noticeable increase in heat output.
 
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