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MicroServer N36L/N40L/N54L - 6 Drive Edition

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Hi,

 

I've been running my N36L for the last year with 5 x 2TB drives and a 320Gb cache drive, which got to the point of being rather full :)

 

I've just installed the 6th 2TB drive but I note that the two drives in the double twin in the ODD are getting rather warm..  Does anyone have any suggestions for good mechanisms for cooling them?  I assume leaving the top off is not necessarily a good idea as it it won't help airflow?

 

I've got a 2 channel RocketRaid 620 to give me the extra drive, but someone mentioned having 2 2x2.5" under the ODD - how do you that to fit??

 

Chris

 

http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=11585.msg153232#msg153232

 

To see where to put the 2.5" drives, see the first post in this thread.

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Hi,

 

I've been running my N36L for the last year with 5 x 2TB drives and a 320Gb cache drive, which got to the point of being rather full :)

 

I've just installed the 6th 2TB drive but I note that the two drives in the double twin in the ODD are getting rather warm..  Does anyone have any suggestions for good mechanisms for cooling them?  I assume leaving the top off is not necessarily a good idea as it it won't help airflow?

 

I've got a 2 channel RocketRaid 620 to give me the extra drive, but someone mentioned having 2 2x2.5" under the ODD - how do you that to fit??

 

Chris

I put one of these in my N40L.  It is a tight fit but I got it in.  That way I can have the top on.

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Thanks for the suggestions - now to source one of those in the UK, although I guess to start with I could leave the top on and just remove the front bay cover (since the server is not visible anyway)

 

Not sure that I really want to add a 2nd 2.5" drive, but it seems a waste not to use the controller ;-)

 

Cheers

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What's the consensus here on HDD temps inside one of these?

 

I love the idea that below 40C is fine, but realistically, here in Australia, the ambient temp can be that high during our summer (now), let alone an electronic component.

 

Woke up this morning to one of the drives idling around the 38-39C mark. That said, the lid was off. I guess I can't really do too much except turn the air con on? haha

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Lid off can be hotter than lid on because you are messing up the airflow.

 

Lid is on... 2 degrees lower which is good.

 

Guess I can't do much else. No point mounting an intake fan?

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What I recommend is to put a cache drive and an array drive in the top ODD bay (with an X-Swing or similar). Both should be 5400rpm, ideally.

 

That way, if your cache drive is thrashing, that array drive is probably going to be spun down and if the array is being parity checked, the cache drive could be spun down or not in much use.

 

I actually have two 5400rpm array drives in there, with the mesh grill in front of them and they do not get hotter than the other 4 drives in the hotswap slots.

 

My drives will get close to 40 degrees, but I (and Google in their long-term mass testing) don't consider that to be a problem.

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I need to buy some new drives for my server.

 

I'm thinking 3 x 2tb.

 

Anybody recommend anything. I'm in the uk.

 

I notice there are red, blue and green wd drives. Which is best?

 

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I have 6 Hitachi 3TB Deskstar Coolspin drives in my box. They are running like a charm. All TV, Sports & Documentaries on the server. Highly recommended drive, a bit pricey perhaps but has high star ratings on all the sites that sell the drives.

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I'm not sure if any of you did this already but today I've super-sized on my MicroServers into a full blown energy efficient 14-drive unRAID tower.

 

I've used the Microserver mainly as a backup for important stuff while the main Tower used an old Celeron board which idling at 180W wasn't very energy efficient at all. Having a surplus microserver, I've decided to take the mainboard and some internal from the MicroServer and upgrade the old tower.

 

The proprietary format of the mainboard made it a little difficult to fit but after some measuring I've decided to attach the the mainboard metal plate to the ATX tower and mount the mainboard into it's original and secure location.

 

To my surprise, this was not only an energy efficient upgrade, but a performance one as well. Writes on the new mainboard have risen up to 21MB/s from 16MB/s while the cache drive writes at over 65MB/s from about 50MB/s on the previous setup.

 

Mainboard is fully compatible with the Supermicro MV8 controller as you can see in the pictures, it runs with 9 Discs and has room for 5 more. Although you can use the HP mini SAS to 4 SATA cable, it was a bit difficult to manage the power connectors since they're joined with the data connector and terminated in molex connectors.  I've ordered a normal SAS to SATA splitter cable, hence only 1 of the on board SATA ports are now in use.

 

Migration was straight forward, I only had to reassign the drives and run a parity check. System idles now at 57W with 9 drives spun down, although the PSU is a bit dodgy (unknown brand) and sucks 8W when system is powered down!!?! Further 8W is taken by the MV8 controller alone while the 9 drives seem to drain about 9-10W when spun down. I run a variety of 2TB, 1.5TB, 1TB 5400 & 7200 drives.

 

The BIOS complained about missing the original 4-pin fan and kept shutting down the system so I installed and connected it as well.

 

I know is not as pretty as the original but when 6 drives won't cut it anymore, there is no need to invest in additional hardware, other than a new case.

 

 

Had to drill the old case and mount 3 mounting spacers

micro1h.jpg

 

I used 2 of the existing whole on the plate and drilled a third one for stability

micro2p.jpg

 

Mainboard sits comfortably and secure with 9 drives connected.

micro3pi.jpg

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Creative idea.

 

I wonder if the x4 slot for the remote access card can be used for another MV8 card.

 

A 22 HDD Microserver. Could it be possible? :D

It's an x1 slot not an x4.  It has a special slot for the IPMI card which is at the end of the x1 slot.  The IPMI card plugs into both - I have one.  So it would not be usable for an MV8 card.  You could use a SAS expander and LSI controller to go to 24 drives on the x16 slot.  Or you could use a two port card like the High Point 620 for two more drives.

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Thats one way to unmake the MicroServer...

 

that reminds me of my 24 drive Norco powered by an X7SPA ITX Atom.

There is a 16 port LSI HBA if you want to pass on the expander.

 

Personally, I prefer the micro server as a micro server, but is it neat to see one evolve into something else.

 

I like that you didn't actually destroy anything (unlike most modding). that way you can always rebuild the MicroServer when you chose to upgrade the board in the new build.

 

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The decision come from reducing costs. I had a spare MicroServer left after a client upgraded to something more powerful and I have another 2 running in the loft with other tasks. Overall they are neat little machines and it was hard for me to take one apart.

 

Since my unRAID tower was due for an energy efficiency upgrade, my options were to either buy a new motherboard or put them inside a Microserver and upgrade to larger drives, both of which involved new hardware and more money which would have defeated the purpose.

 

The thing I love most about unRAID is the flexibility it offers and that it works with pretty much anything. Apart from the MV8 controller, some drives and a couple of fans, most of the stuff it runs is on recycled hardware.

 

Indeed, I wanted to preserve the components as much as possible. Apart from a 4mm whole into the mounting tray, everything is pretty much intact.

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Interesting!

 

My route is to put larger drives, rather than more drives in mine. I have my second server as the recipient of lotsa drives.

 

Someone (I think on HARD-OCP) mentioned there is a hard limit on the number of drives, which might be 12? After that, the BIOS stops seeing more drives, but I don't know if Linux/unRAID will see more, ignoring the BIOS.

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Just got the N54L in the other day. Thanks for the tips on the 6 drive upgrade. Will have to check it out.

 

 

I decided to go with all 3TB drives.  7200RPM parity, 7200RPM disk 1, 5400 RPM Disk 2,3.

Will be interesting to see the speed variances when comparing models.

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I've installed today a new, more efficient PSU and taken some measurement on the new tower. Needless to say that I'm impressed! Best of all, the N36L board doesn't seem to suffer from high CPU load during writes to cashed user shares like the Atom boards seem to do. Although I don't have a spare SSD to test at full Gbit speeds, CPU load writing on cache drive (300G 7200rpm drive) alone at ~75-80MB/s was about 35-40% while writing to a cached user share added a small overhead of about 10% with room to spare. Bearing in mind this is a 1.3GHz CPU, I would say this is a great low power board for unRAID.

 

And for the stats:

 

N36L Microserver board with 4GB RAM

Supermicro MV8 Controller

4 x 12cm fans powered @ 7V

7 Drives - 4 x 2TB WD EARS, 2 x 1.5TB Samsung Green, 1 x 300G Hitachi

 

---Tagon, dual 12V rail @ 20amps / rail - 480W PSU

Power off - 7.5W

Boot Peak - 152W

Boot - 102W

Idle - all drives spun up - 92W

Idle - 1 drive spun up - 61W

Idle - all drives spun down - 56W

 

--- Antec Neo Eco - single rail @ 30amps / rail - 400W PSU

Power Off - 1.5W

Boot Peak - 122W

Boot - 82W

Idle - all drives spun up - 74W

Idle - 1 drive spun up - 52W

Idle - all drives spun down - 43W

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Have any of you tried installing ESXI on N40L and what the performance like? is it too much hassle?

 

I played with ESXi on N36L shortly but because (1) you can not passthrough a hardware controller to a VM and (2) CPU is incredibly weak for any practical application, it makes little sense to run ESXi on a microserver other than for testing and experimenting.

 

 

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Have any of you tried installing ESXI on N40L and what the performance like? is it too much hassle?

 

I played with ESXi on N36L shortly but because (1) you can not passthrough a hardware controller to a VM and (2) CPU is incredibly weak for any practical application, it makes little sense to run ESXi on a microserver other than for testing and experimenting.

 

How it can make sense to run ESXi on a microserver when you say CPU is incredibly weak for any practical application?

 

I am considering selling N40L so I can build my own mini server (same server case size) with much powerful CPU and better motherboard that support passthrough.

 

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You probably missed the word "little" but I'm glad we agree :)

 

Ah yes I did lol.

 

Any suggestion which Server Case I should buy? I wanted something small like MicroServer N40L, then I need to buy a motherboard with much powerful CPU :)

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For those interested, I just purchased a N54L.

I'm able to see 16GB of ram with the following chips.

Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT102464BA1339

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148466

 

I get 4392.57 bogomips

 

I also installed this unit up top so I could swap drives in an out fast.

SYBA SY-MRA55006 5.25" Dual Bay Mobile Rack for both 2.5" and 3.25" SATA HDD, Plus 2 USB 3.0 Port

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817998184

 

I'm using an addonics SIL3132 card for external eSATA access to a Sans Digital PM Unit.

 

I plan to swap it out with a SYBA SD-PEX40031 so I can use the internal SATA ports for the upper two bays.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816124038&Tpk=SD-PEX40031

 

We'll see how it goes.

 

In the mean time I am preclearing 4 drives simultaneously. They seem to be running at max speed.

 

Two of the drives are 3TB 7200 RPM Seagates - ST3000DM001

I was getting 170MB/s on the first 1TB of the drive, now I'm at 155MB/s.

For the Hitachi 3TB 5400 RPM drives HDS5C3030ALA630, I started at 130MB/s and I'm at 115MB/s after the first 1TB.

 

Nifty lil machine.

 

The monitor I have is the GeChic 2501. It has all sorts of cool features.

GeChic On-Lap 2501M 15.6” LCD Monitor with built-in battery. It supports HDMI, MHL and VGA output.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0V10H35673

 

Since my new apartment is much smaller then the old one, I have to get creative about how many monitors and how long they will be connected. This puppy is battery and/or usb powered with a VGA adapter MHL and HDMI adapter.

 

I'm using a DELL Bluetooth keyboard until everything is stable and I no longer need to access the console.

iPhone_406-small.JPG.d968fa6aa974a604c43733b79fed8154.JPG

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Nice setup.

 

A little off topic. what is the max resolution on that portable monitor?

 

I have been looking for something like that for a while.

I have a rack mounted mac mini server that gets used offsite quite often. most of time it needs no monitor. but every now and then we need to put a monitor on it. We found out that none of the normal portable USB monitors work as the primary/only display on OSx. the HDMI of this one should work for us.

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