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

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...Sure the drive cage is sturdy, but how often do the cages undergo crushing force?...

 

 

Funnily I somewhat regularly put them under crushing force. We use Supermicro cages in the servers here at work and when we replace a server or a cage or even a dead drive (we have lots of spare trays) we leave the hard drives in the trays and crush them in our hydraulic hard drive crusher because I work at a hospital and they have private patient data on them hahaha. They are actually pretty damn tough. Our crusher will break a hard drive in half like they are made from cardboard but we usually have to do three or four presses before it'll crack the tray.

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Where are you, PeterB? WiredZone (www.wiredzone.com) is a Supermicro retailer that ships to a lot of countries around the globe, and they sell those CSE-M35T-1 for US$ 102.

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Where are you, PeterB? WiredZone (www.wiredzone.com) is a Supermicro retailer that ships to a lot of countries around the globe, and they sell those CSE-M35T-1 for US$ 102.

 

Thanks for your suggestion.  I can obtain the Supermicro products here.  Although comparatively expensive, I'm sure that the cost of shipping from USofA would negate any savings made by purchasing from a stateside supplier.

 

My real problem is that the Supermicro is not my first choice - I really want trayless, and favour the iStarUSA BPN-350.  My big problem is finding a mechanism for purchasing and shipping iStar products.

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...Sure the drive cage is sturdy, but how often do the cages undergo crushing force?...

 

 

Funnily I somewhat regularly put them under crushing force. We use Supermicro cages in the servers here at work and when we replace a server or a cage or even a dead drive (we have lots of spare trays) we leave the hard drives in the trays and crush them in our hydraulic hard drive crusher because I work at a hospital and they have private patient data on them hahaha. They are actually pretty damn tough. Our crusher will break a hard drive in half like they are made from cardboard but we usually have to do three or four presses before it'll crack the tray.

 

Seems like such a waste when there are technolgies out there that can safely erase the data and technology does not have to be destroyed.

 

Maybe you could save the trays at least and offer them up to folks.  There's no data in the trays! <grin>

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Seems like such a waste when there are technolgies out there that can safely erase the data and technology does not have to be destroyed.

 

Maybe you could save the trays at least and offer them up to folks.  There's no data in the trays! <grin>

 

I agree, but time is money, and it's much quicker to flatten a drive than to hook it up to a box and wait for it to do several erase passes. I do remember seeing demagnetizers though, and I'd assume they'd also work just as well.

 

It would only take a few seconds to unscrew the cages. Those suckers get expensive when you're replacing them with every new drive change.

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Seems like such a waste when there are technolgies out there that can safely erase the data and technology does not have to be destroyed.

 

Maybe you could save the trays at least and offer them up to folks.  There's no data in the trays! <grin>

 

I agree, but time is money, and it's much quicker to flatten a drive than to hook it up to a box and wait for it to do several erase passes. I do remember seeing demagnetizers though, and I'd assume they'd also work just as well.

 

It would only take a few seconds to unscrew the cages. Those suckers get expensive when you're replacing them with every new drive change.

 

 

It's quicker to just replace the tray with a new one then swap it. If one of us wanted to take some of them off in out spare time to keep for personal use we could but no one ever bothers.

 

Not sure if either of you have ever worked in the health care industry before but because of the HIPAA and HI-TECH acts we have to actually destroy all devices taken out of production, whether its because they are broken or being upgraded, replaced, etc. Even keyboards have to be destroyed. Crazy, I know.

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Not sure if either of you have ever worked in the health care industry before but because of the HIPAA and HI-TECH acts we have to actually destroy all devices taken out of production, whether its because they are broken or being upgraded, replaced, etc. Even keyboards have to be destroyed. Crazy, I know.

 

Not crazy at all! http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/27/mission_impossible_mouse_attack/

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Even keyboards have to be destroyed. Crazy, I know.

 

I guess that it's possible that the most worn keys might give a clue to passwords.

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Just want to add my thoughts.

 

I have one Icy Dock 5in3, and I'm thinking of moving to the Supermicro for my next set of drive trays in my server.

 

I personally think the Icy Dock sucks in two areas:

 

1)  My fan was ridiculously loud to me.  I removed it, my Antec 1200 has enough airflow, so I'm good there.

2)  The REALLY HORRIBLE design of the power inputs.  Unbelievable.  What a major PITA to install, with the tension on the cables from "jumpering" between the three power inputs, I have had a power problem or two.

 

I love consistency so it annoys the heck out of me that I will likely have a server without a consistent look.  But I just cannot stand the thought of living through maybe 3 more 5in3's with the problems my Icy Dock has.

 

I realize that I may have just got a bad fan, so perhaps #1 I shouldn't even mention.  But really the power inputs to this thing suck.

 

I need to purchase a new 5in3 soon so I'll probably re-read this amazing thread before I settle on which one I'll buy.

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Thank you Shawn for such an excellent review!

 

Mostly based on what I saw in this thread, I've bought a Norco SS-500 cage to expand the drive capacity of my Fractal Designs XL case. The Norco 5in3 has just arrived. It shows excellent build quality and very limited instructions (basically none except what is printed on the box). Will install the cage in the next couple of days.

 

First order of business was to replace the Norco fan with a quieter unit. I've installed a Zalman 80mm fan. Have 7 volt and 5 volt fan resistors at hand in case I can reduce the fan speed while keeping safe temps. Only drive that is going in for now is a Hitachi Green 2TB. Will slowly populate the 5in3, and report accordingly.

 

Thanks again.

ramon

 

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Just want to add my thoughts.

 

I have one Icy Dock 5in3, and I'm thinking of moving to the Supermicro for my next set of drive trays in my server.

 

I personally think the Icy Dock sucks in two areas:

 

1)  My fan was ridiculously loud to me.  I removed it, my Antec 1200 has enough airflow, so I'm good there.

2)  The REALLY HORRIBLE design of the power inputs.  Unbelievable.  What a major PITA to install, with the tension on the cables from "jumpering" between the three power inputs, I have had a power problem or two.

 

I love consistency so it annoys the heck out of me that I will likely have a server without a consistent look.  But I just cannot stand the thought of living through maybe 3 more 5in3's with the problems my Icy Dock has.

 

I realize that I may have just got a bad fan, so perhaps #1 I shouldn't even mention.  But really the power inputs to this thing suck.

 

I need to purchase a new 5in3 soon so I'll probably re-read this amazing thread before I settle on which one I'll buy.

 

Seems like regardless on the model, some of us have gotten good fans and some have gotten loud ones. The SuperMicro cages usually have a rep of a LOUD fan, yet mine is probably the second quietest of the lot. Course, I am running an Antec 1200 with 4 cages, so that is a BIT subjective. :)  And yes, I did not like the power inputs on the Icy Dock either.

 

Shawn

 

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Thank you Shawn for such an excellent review!

 

Mostly based on what I saw in this thread, I've bought a Norco SS-500 cage to expand the drive capacity of my Fractal Designs XL case. The Norco 5in3 has just arrived. It shows excellent build quality and very limited instructions (basically none except what is printed on the box). Will install the cage in the next couple of days.

 

First order of business was to replace the Norco fan with a quieter unit. I've installed a Zalman 80mm fan. Have 7 volt and 5 volt fan resistors at hand in case I can reduce the fan speed while keeping safe temps. Only drive that is going in for now is a Hitachi Green 2TB. Will slowly populate the 5in3, and report accordingly.

 

Thanks again.

ramon

 

 

Thanks for the note and glad it could help you decide. :)

 

Shawn

 

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Really a bit off topic, bu have anyone tried this iStarUSA enclosure?

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816215246&cm_re=istarusa_trayless-_-16-215-246-_-Product

 

They are trayless with a 80mm fan, seems really solid.

 

There have been some discussions on the whole trayless solution in various threads... How stable the drives might be though and cooling concerns are two of the biggest unknowns. :)  If you pick one up, feel free to add your findings to the thread.

 

Shawn

 

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I've installed the Norco SS-500 drive cage in my Fractal XL with just one 2TB green drive. In spite of using a Zalman 80mm fan, this setup is too loud for me. My Fractal went from virtually silent to noticeably loud. I know, quite subjective, but not quite acceptable for my home office.

 

With the Zalman fan at a full 12 volts, the 2TB Hitachi Green's temperature held at 30 Degrees C during preclears with a relatively low ambient temp of 22-23 degrees.

 

Will try reducing fan voltages first, recheck temps and decide if another type of fan is needed to quiet down the 5in3 cage. But results with this cage setup are far from satisfactory at this stage.

 

Any ideas?

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I've installed the Norco SS-500 drive cage in my Fractal XL with just one 2TB green drive. In spite of using a Zalman 80mm fan, this setup is too loud for me. My Fractal went from virtually silent to noticeably loud. I know, quite subjective, but not quite acceptable for my home office.

 

With the Zalman fan at a full 12 volts, the 2TB Hitachi Green's temperature held at 30 Degrees C during preclears with a relatively low ambient temp of 22-23 degrees.

 

Will try reducing fan voltages first, recheck temps and decide if another type of fan is needed to quiet down the 5in3 cage. But results with this cage setup are far from satisfactory at this stage.

 

Any ideas?

 

Well, one thing that comes to mind, you are going to notice the noise. If you are going from an almost silent setup to running a 5x3 cage, you are going to hear it. Even my Colermaster 4x3 units which have a VERY quiet fan, are still noticable when everything else is quite. Running an 80mm fan to cool potentially 5 drives, you need to crank some RPM and airflow out of it, which means some dB as well.

Try the under volt though - might be a good comprise between a bit quieter system and a bit warmer drive. But, I fear, you are destined to hear fans, :) Personally, I will trade a bit more noise for cooler drives, especially as you load the cage up.

 

One reason a lot of us with large builds hide them away in closets, crawl spaces, garages, etc...

 

Shawn

 

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Well, one thing that comes to mind, you are going to notice the noise. If you are going from an almost silent setup to running a 5x3 cage, you are going to hear it. Even my Colermaster 4x3 units which have a VERY quiet fan, are still noticable when everything else is quite. Running an 80mm fan to cool potentially 5 drives, you need to crank some RPM and airflow out of it, which means some dB as well.

Try the under volt though - might be a good comprise between a bit quieter system and a bit warmer drive. But, I fear, you are destined to hear fans, :) Personally, I will trade a bit more noise for cooler drives, especially as you load the cage up.

 

One reason a lot of us with large builds hide them away in closets, crawl spaces, garages, etc...

 

Shawn

 

Thanks for the input Shawn. Your feedback gave me a couple of ideas since I still have time before fully populating my new drive cage. Since my temps, even w heavy use, are quite low ATM, will play with opening/shutting vents in the empty drive slots and with reducing the voltage on the Zalman. Will also buy a quieter fan such as a Coolink or Noctua 80mm, and test those.

 

At this stage, I'm afraid most probably will end up finding a suitable closet for the server, as a solution since it went from a quiet PC noise to a small server noise, IMHO.

 

Thanks,

 

Ramon

 

 

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I am looking to get the Norco unit, but while looking at them, I notice the Norco site only mentions SATA I & II drives, while the Icy Dock site specifically states SATA III and 3TB support.  Is that something the drive bay needs to support or is there nothing in them that would limit speed or size compatibility?

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I don't "believe" so - someone else can correct me if I am wrong. The backplane is typically just for routing power and connection signals. There should be no reason why a Sata 6Gbp/s drive shouldn't work or a 3TB drive, as long as the controller itself supports it.

 

Now, of course the SATA III is backwards compatible to SATA II, so not really a bit issue there. With unRaid, a Sata I port is more then fast enough. :)

 

I just did a quick check on the Norco product site for the SS-500 and it does list 6Gbp/s support. Checking google, there does seem to be mention of people using 3TB drives as well.

 

Shawn

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I don't "believe" so - someone else can correct me if I am wrong. The backplane is typically just for routing power and connection signals. There should be no reason why a Sata 6Gbp/s drive shouldn't work or a 3TB drive, as long as the controller itself supports it.

 

That's what I figured, but since I've never owned one before, I wasn't sure.

 

Now, of course the SATA III is backwards compatible to SATA II, so not really a bit issue there. With unRaid, a Sata I port is more then fast enough. :)

 

What do you mean by this?

 

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I don't "believe" so - someone else can correct me if I am wrong. The backplane is typically just for routing power and connection signals. There should be no reason why a Sata 6Gbp/s drive shouldn't work or a 3TB drive, as long as the controller itself supports it.

 

I recently purchased one of these:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004C3VI20

 

The description states, "Supports TWO 2.5" SATA I or II Hard Drives or SSD". However, I have a Crucial C300 and a Crucial M4 SSD in it (both SATA III/6Gb/s devices), and I get the same exact speeds that I get hooked directly to the motherboard.

 

 

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I recently purchased one of these:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004C3VI20

 

The description states, "Supports TWO 2.5" SATA I or II Hard Drives or SSD". However, I have a Crucial C300 and a Crucial M4 SSD in it (both SATA III/6Gb/s devices), and I get the same exact speeds that I get hooked directly to the motherboard.

 

 

So, are you stating that it does work, period, or that it does work, but not fast, at 6Gbp/s speeds, or something else. :) Course this thread isn't so much about benchmarking the drives, other threads for that. How are you measuring "speeds"?

 

Shawn

 

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Now, of course the SATA III is backwards compatible to SATA II, so not really a bit issue there. With unRaid, a Sata I port is more then fast enough. :)

 

What do you mean by this?

 

 

See This. Essentially a Sata I has a throuput of about 150MB/s. Some of the fastest mechanical drives can saturate that bus speed, and it is known the newest SSD drives can pretty much saturate a Sata II bus as well. But, in unRaid, when writting to the drive with parity, even using a 7200 RPM drive, you get about 30MB/s or slower write speeds. Writting to a cache disk can get you 60 or so MB/s. So, in unRaid, a SATA I drive has enough speed/bandwidth.... to bad they didn't make 2TB Sata I. :) 

 

There has been other threads where the discussion came down to something like my SATAII drive is only running at SATAI speeds... but for unRaid doesn't really matter. This may make more of a difference say in a large RAID0 hardware based array, or for some application/usage that can really push the drive.

 

If you check in This forum on drives and controllers, lots of good info...

 

Shawn

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I just installed my Supermicro 5in3.

 

The only bad part about the design is that it takes up the full square space of three 5 1/4 slots.  The tabs that I left in place (every third set) on my Antec 1200 case  to allow the 5in3's to slide in on top of, well, the Supermicro 5in3 was not happy with them there.  (of course the tabs in the "middle" of the 5in3 were already removed)

 

Anyway - I wish it was a bit less long, but other than that it is a good design.  Well at least compared to the crappy Icy Dock.  Man - everyone should stay the hell away from that thing.  I HATE that 5in3 now.  It is the most expensive one, and the HORRIBLE cabling design is really annoying me.

 

I say that because of course after installing my Supermicro beneath it, even though the cables were still connected, they must have been "jarred" enough to lose connectivity...  Even though the lights lit up, two of the five HD's reported as "missing".  I shut down, pushed in all cables, and for the heck of it re-seated all HD's.  Then those two HD's came back.

 

Considering this happened before with one hard drive, just randomly, after the computer had been untouched for months...  Well, again, I regret ever buying that piece of junk.

 

Ok I'll stop ranting now.

 

(Full disclosure - there is no HD yet in my Supermicro, just preparing it for when I order a HD when the next sale comes...  So theoretically the Supermicro may be DOA and crap too and I just don't know it yet :)  )

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....

 

(Full disclosure - there is no HD yet in my Supermicro, just preparing it for when I order a HD when the next sale comes...  So theoretically the Supermicro may be DOA and crap too and I just don't know it yet :)  )

 

Got a good chuckle out of that last part. :)

 

In my Antec 1200 I did get my SM cage to fit between the tabs I had left, like you said, every third set. But,  it was REALLY tight getting it to fit.

 

Shawn

 

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