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The 5X3 Cage review - Norco, SuperMicro, iStarUSA and Icy Dock

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I actually prefer that the Supermicro does not have power lights for each slot. When disks are being acessed it is very obvious. Figuring out which slot is occupied is not a biggee for me.

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I actually prefer that the Supermicro does not have power lights for each slot. When disks are being acessed it is very obvious. Figuring out which slot is occupied is not a biggee for me.

 

I'd be more than happy if there was an activity only light instead of a powered on light that doubles as an activity light.

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I actually prefer that the Supermicro does not have power lights for each slot. When disks are being acessed it is very obvious. Figuring out which slot is occupied is not a biggee for me.

 

I'd be more than happy if there was an activity only light instead of a powered on light that doubles as an activity light.

 

Maybe I'm confused, but this is how the supermicro's work.  All lights off with no activty, lights on for activity.

In my setup the FAIL light came on when there was a failed hard drive.

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I actually prefer that the Supermicro does not have power lights for each slot. When disks are being acessed it is very obvious. Figuring out which slot is occupied is not a biggee for me.

 

I'd be more than happy if there was an activity only light instead of a powered on light that doubles as an activity light.

 

Maybe I'm confused, but this is how the supermicro's work.  All lights off with no activty, lights on for activity.

In my setup the FAIL light came on when there was a failed hard drive.

 

On my iStar cages, the green light is always on. When there is activity, that same green light turns orange. I think this is because each slot can be individually turned on/off so they provide a light to represent which slots are powered. This light turns on if there is a drive in the slot or not and depends on the slot being turned on.

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On my iStar cages, the green light is always on. When there is activity, that same green light turns orange.

 

The newer iStar's (well, certainly the BPN-340 and 350) use blue for power on, red for activity.

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On my iStar cages, the green light is always on. When there is activity, that same green light turns orange.

 

The newer iStar's (well, certainly the BPN-340 and 350) use blue for power on, red for activity.

 

Of course they would, especially after I ordered 3 of these guys

 

Are you saying that the ones I purchased use red/blue light colors?

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Of course they would, especially after I ordered 3 of these guys

 

Are you saying that the ones I purchased use red/blue light colors?

 

I'm not sure what colour lights those have but, with a total of 13 indicators on the front, I guess that they are separate for power and activity.

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Just to update... I just ran some parity checks to correct more then 224 million, yes million, parity errors I had. This in turn provided for some good temperature readings on three of the cages, iStar one still not back from RMA.  I took screen shots throughout and will post tomorrow, or I guess later today (or crap, days blending into each other....) so you guys will have some indicator of where the temps were. I still will run the 5x7200's preclear test once the iStar arrives on all four cages.

 

Initial findings.... the SuperMicro ran the coolest... and in some cases, by as much as 10 celcius less. And that was the parity drive. :)

 

But, some difinite numbers later tomor... today... OCD...

 

Shawn

 

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Initial findings.... the SuperMicro ran the coolest... and in some cases, by as much as 10 celcius less. And that was the parity drive. :)

 

With the stock fans or the suggested replacement fans?

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I would like to point out.

 

If you find the supermicro fans to be to loud, you can unplug the fan cable on the back of the unit and put a fan speed controller on it.  I cranked my fans way down to the almost silent point and i still have almost the same temp readings with green drives. the fan fail alarm still works with the speed controller.

 

Of course your mileage may vary. You might have to find the sweet spot of minimal sound and decent temps.

 

The supermicro cages are also interchangeable with the current line of supermicro servers. You can get spare cages for just under $20 each shipped if you need one for a cold spare or your dog eats one.

 

As far as the fail light, I think you have to buy the more expensive flavor pointed out elsewhere in this thread. Not the $110 model from newegg, you also need to have a supermicro board/controller.

 

to keep costs down for the consumer the pullouts are universal. so they have the lights. the cheap-o model is missing the circuitry? Please correct me if I'm wrong. I'd love to get mine to work on my SM boards or my Areca cards.

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The Temps!

 

Let me preface this by saying, all fans are stock, not modified in anyway. These are in an Antec 1200, the two rear 120's running on low, the top Big Boy, 200 running on low. All my drive are 7200 RPM except for parity drive, which is 5900. Drives are Seagate, Samsung and Hitachi.

 

SuperMicro - 4 drives installed, 1 being parity

Starting Temps (lowest of all drives) - 25 Celcius

Highest Temp (Of any one drive) - 28 Celcius (this was the parity drive)

 

IcyDock - 3 drives installed

Starting Temps (lowest of all drives) - 28 Celcius

Highest Temp (Of any one drive) - 35 Celcius

 

Norco, 3 drives installed

Starting Temps (lowest of all drives) - 26 Celcius

Highest Temp (Of any one drive) - 38 Celcius

 

There is the very unscientific results.... One drive in the Norco seemed to run hoter then the rest for some reason.

 

Still waiting for iStar RMA return for some real testing via preclear scripts...

 

Shawn

 

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I have the iStars... the ones with the coloured aluminum handles... these have vents behind the aluminum handles so air circulation is not a problem.

 

It also has a switch on the unit that allows you to run the fans in high or low mode... I set it to high since my server is in the basement and noise isn't a issue, but imagine that if noise was an issue and heat wasn't, you can set it to low...

 

 

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The iStar came in today. Loaded 'er up with hard drives, let them "aclimate" and now running 5 preclears to see what temps we get. I have a 1TB, 3 x 500GB and 1 x 320GB - all Seagate, 7200 RMP drives...

 

Shawn

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Added results of the first set of tests to the 1st post. Now to move a bunch of drives around. :)  Better have that screen shot handy.  :P

 

Shawn

 

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Any advice for quieting the Norco? Would a fan speed controller be a good option? Or, is it easy enough to replace the fan with an aftermarket fan? If the fan option is best, any recommendations?

 

Tom

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A fan controller might work, but seems a bit overkill to quiet a fan. As the fan is completly mounted "within" the back of the case, routing the cable out may be an issue as well. You can replace it with a 80mm, 4pin fan - no recommendations directly. But if you search, you want to look at a fan that has decent CFM versus RPM to make it quiter. You may have a bad fan also - mine unit is not overly loud.

 

Shawn

 

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A fan controller might work, but seems a bit overkill to quiet a fan. As the fan is completly mounted "within" the back of the case, routing the cable out may be an issue as well. You can replace it with a 80mm, 4pin fan - no recommendations directly. But if you search, you want to look at a fan that has decent CFM versus RPM to make it quiter. You may have a bad fan also - mine unit is not overly loud.

 

Shawn

 

 

I think you mean high CFM vs. low dB or sone....RPM makes no difference at all.

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A fan controller might work, but seems a bit overkill to quiet a fan. As the fan is completly mounted "within" the back of the case, routing the cable out may be an issue as well. You can replace it with a 80mm, 4pin fan - no recommendations directly. But if you search, you want to look at a fan that has decent CFM versus RPM to make it quiter. You may have a bad fan also - mine unit is not overly loud.

 

Shawn

 

 

I think you mean high CFM vs. low dB or sone....RPM makes no difference at all.

 

Thanks for the advice. I bought two cages, and both are fairly loud, so I don't think it is a bad fan. I'll report back if I successfully make the replacement.

 

Tom

 

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I think you mean high CFM vs. low dB or sone....RPM makes no difference at all.

 

Correct :)

 

Shawn

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Test results are up on the Norco. Manage to beat the iStar cage by a degreee or two. Overall seemed to be fewer temp reading going up to 32C - more stable management around 30-31C. Very good results.

 

Shawn

 

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Are there any 5 in 3's that do not require me to bend down the tabs on my case to install?

Not that I know of.  There are cases that do not have the tabs, but I don't know of any 5x3 cages that do not require the tabs to be bent down.

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Are there any 5 in 3's that do not require me to bend down the tabs on my case to install?

 

I dont belive so.

 

there are 4in3's that have slots in them for tabs.

for 5 drives to fit, the tabs are in the way of the drives...

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A fan controller might work, but seems a bit overkill to quiet a fan. As the fan is completly mounted "within" the back of the case, routing the cable out may be an issue as well. You can replace it with a 80mm, 4pin fan - no recommendations directly. But if you search, you want to look at a fan that has decent CFM versus RPM to make it quiter. You may have a bad fan also - mine unit is not overly loud.

 

Shawn

 

 

I think you mean high CFM vs. low dB or sone....RPM makes no difference at all.

 

Thanks for the advice. I bought two cages, and both are fairly loud, so I don't think it is a bad fan. I'll report back if I successfully make the replacement.

 

Tom

 

 

Let me know if you find an inexpensive one, and how difficult the process was.  Mine makes a bit of noise, also.

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Re purchasing three iStarUSA BPN-350V2 trayless 5in3s from the states.

 

Can anyone here suggest a reasonably cost-effective, but reasonably secure, method of shipping three units internationally?

In the end, I may have to accept the Supermicro units, because that is the only supplier with an official distribution in Philippines.  Even then, I expect that the price will be almost double that in the states.

 

Well, I found a mechanism for placing my order with good delivery arrangements and reasonable cost ... but the service company can only accept payment by paypal.  I've tried paying twice, using different cards, and on both occasions Paypal have taken the money out of my accounts sat on it for a couple of weeks and then returned it ... with no explanation why.  They wrote a message to the merchant with advice on how to avoid disputes with the customer!  The merchant and I have had very good, amicable, communication throughout the whole sad affair - the only problem has been the high-handedness of Paypal.

 

So, I'm back at square one - no backplanes and with difficulty finding a supplier who can accept direct payment by card (rather than Paypal [spit!]) and who can ship to Philippines at an acceptable cost.

 

.... or I have to accept the Supermicro trayed units, and pay whatever the distributor here in Philippines charges.

 

================================================================

Later:

I've just received the quotation from the local Supermicro reseller - the CSE-M35T-1 backplanes sell for 8000 pesos here - the equivalent of USD185.  That makes a total of USD555 for three... against the USD415 it was going to cost me obtain the IStarUSA BPN-350V2 units from USofA.

 

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