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neilt0

MicroServer N36L/N40L/N54L - 6 Drive Edition

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Here is my thought on it...

 

Personally. I would go with the "6" drive flavor..

I would get 5x 3.5" drives and 1x 2.5". especially with drives costing what they do right now...

fill it with 2TB or 3TB and go with that......

 

then spend the cost of all of the "extra stuff" you need to make it into a 7 drive box and just buy another box (with that killer UK deal) and put that in storage for when you fill this box..

 

then at a later date, when drives are cheaper, larger or you run out of space.... upgrade this one, moving drives to the other microserver.... or just build the other one fresh.

 

I have a 4 (and a half) drive micro server that i got back when drives were 1 TB in size. I then upgraded it to 1.5TB drives, then 2TB and now it has 3TB drives.. just as the drives start getting full, the next size up goes on sale as drives get bigger and cheaper. (I somehow don't see 4TB drives getting cheap soon though).

 

 

 

as far as the old drives. they are all in my "back up server" so they are not a wasted investment...

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OK I've read the thread for the third or fourth time, and I think I have a good idea now of what I would need. I understand where you're coming from with the annoyance at people like me asking questions, and I'm hoping I'll be done after this. But I do have a couple of things that I don't know for definite after reading everything again, and I would just like to double check.

 

My current plan is to fill the 4 standard bays obviously, then add 2 3.5" drives at the top, and a 2.5" cache drive as well if possible. The microserver as I understand has one extra SATA port, that requires a BIOS mod but is fine for 1 of the 2 3.5" drives at the top. There is an eSATA port, perfect for the 2.5" cache drive, leaving a need for one more SATA port for the 2nd 3.5" drive. For this I aim to buy a Rocket 620 (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/highpoint-rocket-620-(r620)-2-channel-internal-pci-e-v2-x1-to-sata-6gb-s-non-raid-controller-card) and a Nexus Double Twin (http://www.aquatuning.co.uk/product_info.php/info/p6594_Nexus-Double-Twin-HDD-decoupling.html)

 

The next thing I'd have to buy - cables. This is the area I have the loosest grip on at the moment. I'll need 2 SATA cables for the data transfer (although I think one comes with the microserver?) but what about power? Will cables that come with the drives suffice? Or will I need one of these to power the 2 drives up top? (I think I will) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Molex-to-2-SATA-Internal-Power-Splitter-Cable/dp/B0002GRUV4

 

Finally, the lid. I've read speculation in this thread about whether it would be safe to leave it on with 2 drives up top or not, but no definitive answer. I would rather have it on but obviously won't if it would endanger the components.

 

Sorry again for the questions but I don't want to buy things that I don't need, or not buy enough! Once the build is done I can start getting my hands dirty, and hopefully will learn much quicker then :) Thanks.

Power -- already answered in this thread: http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=11585.msg146008#msg146008

 

Heat -- already answered in this thread: http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=11585.msg139990#msg139990

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OK I've read the thread for the third or fourth time, and I think I have a good idea now of what I would need. I understand where you're coming from with the annoyance at people like me asking questions, and I'm hoping I'll be done after this. But I do have a couple of things that I don't know for definite after reading everything again, and I would just like to double check.

 

My current plan is to fill the 4 standard bays obviously, then add 2 3.5" drives at the top, and a 2.5" cache drive as well if possible. The microserver as I understand has one extra SATA port, that requires a BIOS mod but is fine for 1 of the 2 3.5" drives at the top. There is an eSATA port, perfect for the 2.5" cache drive, leaving a need for one more SATA port for the 2nd 3.5" drive. For this I aim to buy a Rocket 620 (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/highpoint-rocket-620-(r620)-2-channel-internal-pci-e-v2-x1-to-sata-6gb-s-non-raid-controller-card) and a Nexus Double Twin (http://www.aquatuning.co.uk/product_info.php/info/p6594_Nexus-Double-Twin-HDD-decoupling.html)

 

The next thing I'd have to buy - cables. This is the area I have the loosest grip on at the moment. I'll need 2 SATA cables for the data transfer (although I think one comes with the microserver?) but what about power? Will cables that come with the drives suffice? Or will I need one of these to power the 2 drives up top? (I think I will) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Molex-to-2-SATA-Internal-Power-Splitter-Cable/dp/B0002GRUV4

 

Finally, the lid. I've read speculation in this thread about whether it would be safe to leave it on with 2 drives up top or not, but no definitive answer. I would rather have it on but obviously won't if it would endanger the components.

 

Sorry again for the questions but I don't want to buy things that I don't need, or not buy enough! Once the build is done I can start getting my hands dirty, and hopefully will learn much quicker then :) Thanks.

Power -- already answered in this thread: http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=11585.msg146008#msg146008

 

Heat -- already answered in this thread: http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=11585.msg139990#msg139990

 

The heat posts say it runs fine, they say nothing about whether that is with the lid on or off. But thanks anyway.

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The heat posts say it runs fine, they say nothing about whether that is with the lid on or off. But thanks anyway.

 

Of course it's with the lid on, otherwise it would have said "the drive temps are insane!11!!! I have to run it with the lid off!!!111!!!".

It doesn't.

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The heat posts say it runs fine, they say nothing about whether that is with the lid on or off. But thanks anyway.

 

Of course it's with the lid on, otherwise it would have said "the drive temps are insane!11!!! I have to run it with the lid off!!!111!!!".

It doesn't.

 

Alright, well I'm new to all this and I thought that running it with the lid off might be an obvious thing to do when an extra 2 or 3 drives are crammed in than there should be. I am grateful for all the help I've been given, I'm just trying to get a decent footing in all this without wasting any money :)

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I am currenlty running with the lid off due to high temps when doing parity checks.  With the lid on tems for the top 2 drives get to around 47c with the lid off around 41c and again only while doing parity checks/drive rebuilds.  I am currenlty working to place 2 small 4cm fans just behind the front cd slot so I can run with the lid on.

 

I have 6 3tb drives in my box with the top 2 drives being Hitachi 5400 rpm drives.

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I am currenlty running with the lid off due to high temps when doing parity checks.  With the lid on tems for the top 2 drives get to around 47c with the lid off around 41c and again only while doing parity checks/drive rebuilds.  I am currenlty working to place 2 small 4cm fans just behind the front cd slot so I can run with the lid on.

 

I have 6 3tb drives in my box with the top 2 drives being Hitachi 5400 rpm drives.

 

One of the two drives in that top area is my cache drive, so it's spun down during the parity check. Also, in the 5.25" opening I inserted a mesh grill thingy from another case:

 

61qkW.png

 

My temps in that area during a parity check are about the same (or lower) than in the regular 4 bays.

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The PSU has to cope with at least 4x 7200rpm drives.

With 2x 7200rpm 3.5" + 3x 5400rpm 3.5" and 1x 5400rpm 2.5", I saw a max draw of about 115W at boot. I think they put a 200W PSU in the N36L in this revision, so I'm sure it'll be fine as long as most of your drives are "Green".

 

neilt0,

I'm interested in the Black Friday Newegg deal on the N40L.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16859107052&Tpk=N82E16859107052

 

But it only has a 150w PSU.  What do you think the limitations of that would be?  

 

EDIT: regarding your post below.  I misread your thread here, thinking your unit came with a 200 Watt PSU

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The PSU has to cope with at least 4x 7200rpm drives.

With 2x 7200rpm 3.5" + 3x 5400rpm 3.5" and 1x 5400rpm 2.5", I saw a max draw of about 115W at boot. I think they put a 200W PSU in the N36L in this revision, so I'm sure it'll be fine as long as most of your drives are "Green".

 

neilt0,

I'm interested in the Black Friday Newegg deal on the N40L.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16859107052&Tpk=N82E16859107052

 

But it only has a 150w PSU.  What do you think the limitations of that would be? 

 

Mine also has a 150W PSU. Boots fine with 2x RAM modules, 2x7200rpm drives and 4x5400rpm drives. Idles at 27-37W.

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I am currenlty running with the lid off due to high temps when doing parity checks.  With the lid on tems for the top 2 drives get to around 47c with the lid off around 41c and again only while doing parity checks/drive rebuilds.  I am currenlty working to place 2 small 4cm fans just behind the front cd slot so I can run with the lid on.

 

I have 6 3tb drives in my box with the top 2 drives being Hitachi 5400 rpm drives.

 

One of the two drives in that top area is my cache drive, so it's spun down during the parity check. Also, in the 5.25" opening I inserted a mesh grill thingy from another case:

 

61qkW.png

 

My temps in that area during a parity check are about the same (or lower) than in the regular 4 bays.

 

well I'll be dammed.  Did exaclty what you did put a mesh blanking plate in there and bang temps on all  drives identical.  Got 36degrees while doing a drive rebuild.  Much better temps than with the lid off.

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well I'll be dammed.  Did exaclty what you did put a mesh blanking plate in there and bang temps on all  drives identical.  Got 36degrees while doing a drive rebuild.  Much better temps than with the lid off.

 

That fan at the back has to draw air from somewhere, so having some of the air come through that grill will cool the drive better than having the lid off, when the air could come from that big hole in the top!  ;D

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One of the two drives in that top area is my cache drive, so it's spun down during the parity check. Also, in the 5.25" opening I inserted a mesh grill thingy from another case:

 

61qkW.png

 

My temps in that area during a parity check are about the same (or lower) than in the regular 4 bays.

That looks cool any idea how lay ones hand on that cool mesh grill thingy?

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That looks cool any idea how lay ones hand on that cool mesh grill thingy?

 

Sharkoon sell them as spares (Europe, possibly Asia), but that case has probably been discontinued, so may not be easy to find. I'm sure other cases use similar ones, so you might find a vendor selling spares. Or maybe try a speciality cooling web site.

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My new N40L shipped with BIOS 041 Installed dated 7/25/11.

 

In the Bios, version 041

 

IDE Configuration

--SATA Controller Mode

--IDE

--RAID

--AHCI

 

AHCI is enabled as standard

 

There is also settings for Sata Link Rate, default is AUTO.  Also 1.5Gps Max, and 3.5Gps Max

Drive write Cache is off as standard.

 

So by the looks of it, AHCI is enabled for all connected SATA devices.  Is this right?

 

Is there no need to update BIOS for the SATA connection in the optical bay to get full speed? Can anyone confirm if this new BIOS remedies the need to flash the BIOS to get full speed on a fifth drive.

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My new N40L shipped with BIOS 041 Installed dated 7/25/11.

 

In the Bios, version 041

 

IDE Configuration

--SATA Controller Mode

--IDE

--RAID

--AHCI

 

AHCI is enabled as standard

 

There is also settings for Sata Link Rate, default is AUTO.  Also 1.5Gps Max, and 3.5Gps Max

Drive write Cache is off as standard.

 

So by the looks of it, AHCI is enabled for all connected SATA devices.  Is this right?

 

Is there no need to update BIOS for the SATA connection in the optical bay to get full speed? Can anyone confirm if this new BIOS remedies the need to flash the BIOS to get full speed on a fifth drive.

 

After the modded BIOS is installed on an N36L, you'll see this screen:

 

DSC00021.jpg

 

If you don't see it on the N40L, you may need a modded BIOS. http://www.avforums.com may have a new N40L BIOS -- you'll need to look for it.

 

This says it works on the N40L and is required if you want to run all the N40L SATA ports at full speed. Don't blame me if your N40L explodes and burns down your house though: http://www.avforums.com/forums/networking-nas/1521657-hp-n36l-microserver-updated-ahci-bios-support-3.html

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Quick question - is the esata connection on the drive considered the 6th drive then if you connect it up?

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Quick question - is the esata connection on the drive considered the 6th drive then if you connect it up?

 

Yes.

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Can anyone confirm if the MicroServer supports 4tb drives?

 

There is a report that it does not. I posted this in the 4TB thread:

 

http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=17480.msg160284#msg160284

 

Has anyone installed a 4TB drive?

 

I had assumed that because my HP Microserver supported 3TB drives, 4TB drives would also work. Apparently, not -- the AMD SB800 Southbridge only supports drives up to 3.2TB: http://forums.overclockers.com.au/showthread.php?t=958208&page=316

 

I checked the latest firmware for the Adaptec 1430SA and that states it supports "drives over 2TB", so I'm assuming that will work with 4TB drives. Has anyone connected a 4TB drive to a 1430SA?

 

Given the price of 3TB drives, I have been shopping for 4TB drives, as the price differential isn't that great.

 

I have a spare 1430SA, so will use that in my Microserver if it supports 4TB drives.

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I have two MicroServers running unRAID. Both have been extended to run 6 drives. A third system is currently in use as ESXi server and may become another unRAID next year. Here is some information that maybe useful for other MicroServer owners.

 

A. BIOS Update: This is required for adding a 5th and 6th hard drive. I have been using the 'Russian' BIOS mod for a while, but all my systems run a version supplied by TheBay now. I have documented the process and required settings in a PDF document [1]

 

B. Hardware mods: I have been using the Nexus DoubleTwin [2] to mount 2 drives in the Optical Drive Bay (ODB) [3] [4]. Cables required are (i) a power splitter / Y cable from Molex to 2x SATA power; (ii) an internal SATA cable, approx 50cm long; and (iii) an external eSATA to internal SATA cable, approx. 50cm long. The 5th drive is connected using (ii), routing the cable from the motherboard to the ODB. See the silver cable in pictures [4] [5] [6]. For the 6th drive, cable (iii) is routed from the back of the case through an opening above the PCI extensions slots [7]. You can easily bend the metal on the clamp that holds down extension cards with a pair of pliers. Temps can go up a bit during parity checks, but are OK otherwise. Replacing the ODB cover with a perforated cover might be a good idea.

 

C. Wake-On LAN: This has to be enabled in the BIOS (see [1]). The current unRAID releases have a bug in their shutdown scripts causing the network interface to be in the "up" state on powerdown. However, at least on the HP, this prevents WOL to work when the system is powered off (as compared to a WOL from S3/Sleep, which is not supported by the MicroServer BIOS). To fix, this I have added the lines below to my go file:

 

# Fix Wake on LAN
mv /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1 /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.bak
sed 's/|| \/sbin\/ifconfig/\&\& \/sbin\/ifconfig/' < /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.bak > /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1
chmod 755 /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1

 

For reference, a copy of my go file can be found here [8]. There's some additional stuff in there that requires extra packages, so please adapt before use.

 

D. Auto Poweroff: I have been using a modified version of the auto_s3_sleep.sh script from this forum, with an added powerDownInsteadOfSleep option [9]. Assuming that this script is located in the bin folder of your unRAID flash share, the following lines in the go script [8] will activate it:

 

# Wait for disks to spindown and no network activity
/boot/bin/auto_s3_sleep.sh &

 

E. Misc enhancements: I have added very thin patches of felt to the drive holders to reduce vibrations and noise.

 

F. Experience: The system is stable with the latest unRAID beta (b14), except that NFS on user shares (NOT disk shares) is totally buggy.

 

Hope this helps some of you guys!

 

[1] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/HP%20Proliant%20Microserver%20-%20Flash%20Modified%20BIOS.pdf

[2] http://www.aquatuning.co.uk/product_info.php/info/p6594_Nexus-Double-Twin-HDD-decoupling.html

[3] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/IMAG0127.jpg

[4] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/IMAG0126.jpg

[5] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/IMAG0133.jpg

[6] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/IMAG0134.jpg

[7] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/IMAG0135.jpg

[8] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/go.txt

[9] http://www.jens-thiel.de/static/HP/auto_s3_sleep.sh.txt

 

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Jens,

 

Thanks for that detailed description of your experience with the HP micro server. I also have one N40L model and went a similar route, but rather then using the BIOS hack installed into the one slot a HighPoint Rocket 620 PCI-Express 2.0 x1 SATA III (6.0Gb/s) Controller Card plus in the other slot I stuck a Intel EXPI9301CTBLK 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI-Express Network Adapter just to make sure there are no network bottlenecks plus being able to see if the size of MTU will make a difference. It did not. I have so far installed 4 Hitachi 3TB Cool Spin drives and run 5.b14 and have not experienced any problems yet.

 

The only observance I have had so far is that writing to the protected array is not as fast as my other UnRaid server that uses Samsung 2TB drives. I chuck this one up to the Hitachi drives just being slower.

 

Next for me is waiting for the 3TB drives to get cheaper and then also installing the Nexus adapter for 2 additional drives in the optical drive bay.

 

Thanks again for you write up and this whole thread makes it a lot easier for putting one of these together.

 

O2G

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One2Go, the network won't be the bottleneck with unRAID, at least not when using it for write once read occasionally (WORO/MAID) type storage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_array_of_idle_disks) of media files: 1 GBit is fast enough to stream 20 full BluRay-original-quality HD streams at the same time. Also, SATA III isn't really needed. Hard drives won't get that fast, and for writing to a cache SSD @ 500MB/s, the network would become the bottleneck (plus you would need other systems that can actually deliver data that fast). Cache disks only make sense if you have a need to "burst" large amounts of data onto the server without having the time to wait for write completion.

 

Apart from that, you will need to accept that write speeds to the unRAID array are painfully slow.... The reason is that to calculate parity, unRAID will typically read the target disk, the parity disk, do the maths (well, XOR...) and then write to both the target and the parity disk. Writing to multiple disks would NOT speed this up: Compared to a RAID5, where a 'stripe' over several disks would be often written at the same time, the data on unRAID disks is typically not organized in a way suitable for this. As a result, unRAID would end up interleaving reads and writes at different positions on the parity disks and things would slow down even further.

 

You might see small improvements with a different scheduler, especially when speeds differ between devices (i.e. different hard drives or connected through different controllers). Try this with cfq and other supported values:

 

for i in /sys/block/[hs]d? ; do echo cfq > $i/queue/scheduler ; done

 

If you have huge amounts of data to transfer to your unRAID, setup an array without parity drive, format the disks, and then either write directly to the disk shares over the network, or even better, take them out and attach them to an eSATA port on the workstation currently holding the data. When done, add the parity drive and let unRAID calculate parity for the whole array, e.g. over night.

 

If you want faster storage in exchange for ALL drives continuously spinning / losing the ability to recover data from a single drive, setup a RAID5 or RAID10 array. FreeNAS works quite well for this, but there maybe slightly faster solutions.

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