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

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I'm just using one Supermicro cage atm but the goal is to get two more. I think there are rails from top to bottom.

 

If your Zalman case is like most other cases, these rails are simple punch-outs and folds of the steel side panels - you should bend them flat before attempting to install your drive cages.  The normal method for unRAIDers, is to use a large G-clamp to flatten them.  If you look back up this thread, you can see my photo with the clamp in action.

 

 

As I said, Zalman cages have some specific design which allows their installation despite the rails.

 

Most (all?) 4 in 3 and lesser cages have slots to accomodate the rails, but with 5 in 3 cages, there simply isn't space.  No 5 in 3 cage has slots.

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I'll remove the jumper and see how the drives react in terms of heat dissipation.

 

For this test run, I'd recommend to first make sure you have adequate airflow in your case. Let us know how it goes.

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I might do this as well but don't have the courage to move the jumper right now. Moreover I think that stacking 5 HDD's in such a small place might generate important heat, so a fanless setup is not an option in the long run but I may be wrong. Is there someone here that runs 5in3 cages without fans? Is this a via viable option?

 

To run a 5x3 cage without a fan, make sure you have some pretty strong exaust fans in your case that can pull enough air flow from the front of the cage and across the drives. Also, cover up any other points in the front of the case where "stale" air may be pulled in, like an empty 5.25 bay - you want all the incoming air from the front of the case to be pulled through the cage(s).

 

Shawn

 

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Also, cover up any other points in the front of the case where "stale" air may be pulled in, like an empty 5.25 bay - you want all the incoming air from the front of the case to be pulled through the cage(s).

 

Don't cover just the front - I covered all vents except those in the drive cages, and the ones where fans are fitted to exhaust the air.  Even with ambient temperatures in excess of 30C, my drives run at 40 - 44C during parity check.

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I believe by now it is evident with all the comments, that running your 5in3 without a fan could turn into a very risky move. Why exactly are you trying to do it?

 

A silent fan option with more than average airflow might be the safe way to go.  Something like a SilenX (40CFM+ and rated at 14db) will do the trick.

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I ordered a Noctua fan with Ultra Low Noise Adapter. Noise shouldn't exceed 8 dB, that seems pretty decent to me. With 3 of them, I expect noise to reach nearly 30 dB. I'm also planning to either get a fanless PSU or go with a fanless heatsink for the CPU, or both. Silence is a requirement because the server stands in the living room and is up 24/7.

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I ordered a Noctua fan with Ultra Low Noise Adapter. Noise shouldn't exceed 8 dB, that seems pretty decent to me. With 3 of them, I expect noise to reach nearly 30 dB. I'm also planning to either get a fanless PSU or go with a fanless heatsink for the CPU, or both. Silence is a requirement because the server stands in the living room and is up 24/7.

 

Good idea. I got Noctuas in my media PC.

Noctua fans are available in two basic variants, either designed for low (general use case fans) or high static pressure scenarios (can be used as CPU cooler fans). Only a high-pressure fan will work properly pulling air through five hard drives in a 5in3. Their NF-B9 model should work from factory in your install, and maybe with the LNA, but with the ULNA adapter (8db install) static pressure drops to 0.64 mm H2O and ~24CFM. That seems quite low to pass enough cooling air through five hard drives.

 

About the noise level, remember the decibel scale is logarithmic, and anything at or below 18db is considered virtually inaudible in a real life setting. In a real life situation three 8db fans should stay under 12db. An 8db fan is considered 'silent' in real life, and three should prove as loud as your hard drives or similar. If you are looking for a silent PC level of operation you should consider using soundproofing in your case (like Accoustipack, available from Quietpc and others).

 

Ramon

 

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I ordered a Noctua fan with Ultra Low Noise Adapter. Noise shouldn't exceed 8 dB, that seems pretty decent to me. With 3 of them, I expect noise to reach nearly 30 dB. I'm also planning to either get a fanless PSU or go with a fanless heatsink for the CPU, or both. Silence is a requirement because the server stands in the living room and is up 24/7.

 

Good idea. I got Noctuas in my media PC.

Noctua fans are available in two basic variants, either designed for low (general use case fans) or high static pressure scenarios (can be used as CPU cooler fans). Only a high-pressure fan will work properly pulling air through five hard drives in a 5in3. Their NF-B9 model should work from factory in your install, and maybe with the LNA, but with the ULNA adapter (8db install) static pressure drops to 0.64 mm H2O and ~24CFM. That seems quite low to pass enough cooling air through five hard drives.

 

About the noise level, remember the decibel scale is logarithmic, and anything at or below 18db is considered virtually inaudible in a real life setting. In a real life situation three 8db fans should stay under 12db. An 8db fan is considered 'silent' in real life, and three should prove as loud as your hard drives or similar. If you are looking for a silent PC level of operation you should consider using soundproofing in your case (like Accoustipack, available from Quietpc and others).

 

Ramon

 

Thanks a lot! Indeed I ordered one NF-B9. As for the cooling, if people here are running 5in3 cages without fans, I think the ULNA might be sufficient. Personnally I'm using two Zalman cages at the moment. One with and one without a fan, and I don't see any temperature difference between the two. But I might sleep better knowing at least some thin air is passing through my HDD's  :P

 

I'll let you know how the Noctua fan performs.

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I'm just using one Supermicro cage atm but the goal is to get two more. I think there are rails from top to bottom.

 

If your Zalman case is like most other cases, these rails are simple punch-outs and folds of the steel side panels - you should bend them flat before attempting to install your drive cages.  The normal method for unRAIDers, is to use a large G-clamp to flatten them.  If you look back up this thread, you can see my photo with the clamp in action.

 

 

 

Do all 12-bay cases need this flattening-procedure? Or are there cases that can do without?

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I received the Noctua and I'm very happy! Extremely silent with ULNA. I'm gonna order more of these fans for the other cages.  8)

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Do all 12-bay cases need this flattening-procedure? Or are there cases that can do without?

 

Basically yes. There are very few cases that don't have the tabs separating the 5.25" bays, and those are few and far between. At least in the US they are very difficult to obtain.

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I received the Noctua and I'm very happy! Extremely silent with ULNA. I'm gonna order more of these fans for the other cages.  8)

 

Excellent news! Hope your HDD temps stay acceptably low. ULNA cuts deeply the fan speed-thus making it virtually silent.

 

You should consider replacing the Zalman case fans while you're at it and get rid of the brushed sound signature typical of the Zalman units. I'd suggest either Nexus (reference) silent fans, or the higher flow Noctua units. Either should be able to keep your case airflow at a safe 35CFM or so level, and virtually silent.

 

Welcome to the silent PC (and tower) world.  8)

 

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RED LED on Icy Dock - external 3TB vs. internal 3TB - both Seagate Model ST3000DM001

 

I purchased a new Seagate 3TB External Expansion Model STAY3000102 drive intending on removing the drive from the USB 3.0 enclosure and inserting it into my Icy Dock 5 in 3 Model MB455SPF-B located in my unRAID server.  The external model is $30 cheaper with the same warranty than the internal model and I got a free USB 3.0 cable.  After removing the drive, it was model ST3000DM001 part # 9YN166-570 firmware CC9D made in Thailand.  After inserting it in the Icy Dock, the LED under my drive on my Icy Dock was RED meaning the drive was bad per Icy Dock.  It glows RED before and after the O/S boots up.  I have three of the same model Icy Docks and it was RED on all three after trying each one.  There is no problem with the drive as I can read/write to it.  I went to Seagate's web page and found a firmware update for the new Barracuda 1TB/platter drives located at:

 

http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/223651en

 

The problem is this firmware only updates drives currently with firmware CC46, CC47, CC49, CC4C, or CC4G.  Mine was CC9D and the firmware would not update.  I went back to Seagate's web page and found "Download Finder", a page where you can type in your Model/Serial #:

 

https://apps1.seagate.com/downloads/request.html?userPreferredLocaleCookie=en_US_

 

I tried both the Model ST3000DM001 / Serial # Z1Fxxxxx located on the internal drives sticker and also the model and serial # on the Seagate Expansion box, Model STAY3000102 / Serial # 2GHxxxxx.  They both said I had the most recent firmware CC9D, which causes the red light on my Icy Dock. 

 

New plan.  I bought a new internal drive model ST3000DM001 part # 9YN166-302 firmware CC4C.  It's sticker said it was made in China.  The last 3 digits of the part # are different on the internal vs. external and the last 2 characters of the firmware are also different.  The internal drive was from China and the external drive was from Thailand.  I installed the new internal drive in my Icy Dock and I still had the RED LED of death!  My last chance was to upgrade the firmware from CC4C to CC4H.  It upgraded successfully and told me to power cycle the computer.  The light was green!  Until and if Seagate releases a firmware upgrade newer than CC9D for the CC9x series, you probably will have a RED light on your Icy Dock.

 

Drew

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Do all 12-bay cases need this flattening-procedure? Or are there cases that can do without?

 

Basically yes. There are very few cases that don't have the tabs separating the 5.25" bays, and those are few and far between. At least in the US they are very difficult to obtain.

 

Should read, all in-expensive cases - as most Lan-Li cases have owned/used do not have the tabs (or if they do, its on every 3rd one, so works perfect with the cages).

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I found that I had issue mounting the Norco SS-500 in my Antec 1200 case, apart from the removal of the tabs with a dremel I found that using normal screws to hold the Norco SS-500 inplace resulted in the screws going to far into the cage itself and stopping the caddies/drives going in and out.  I replaced my fans with Enermax Magma Batwing Blade I'm still not 100% happy with the temp the drives get up to but I can't hear any of the fans running in the case so I may look at getting some fans that may not be on the quiet side to see if I can get some extra cooling.  Might even try the original fans since I never did try them.

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I found that I had issue mounting the Norco SS-500 in my Antec 1200 case, apart from the removal of the tabs with a dremel I found that using normal screws to hold the Norco SS-500 inplace resulted in the screws going to far into the cage itself and stopping the caddies/drives going in and out.

 

I use the screws provided by Norco for this reason. Since they don't give you enough for the cages and the drive trays, you have to buy more: link. $10 for a bag of screws is pretty ridiculous, but they are the only ones I've found that are proven to work.

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I found that I had issue mounting the Norco SS-500 in my Antec 1200 case, apart from the removal of the tabs with a dremel I found that using normal screws to hold the Norco SS-500 inplace resulted in the screws going to far into the cage itself and stopping the caddies/drives going in and out.

 

I use the screws provided by Norco for this reason. Since they don't give you enough for the cages and the drive trays, you have to buy more: link. $10 for a bag of screws is pretty ridiculous, but they are the only ones I've found that are proven to work.

 

I notice in you blog that you used the antec 1200 v3 thumb screws for the for the norco cages how did you manage this

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I notice in you blog that you used the antec 1200 v3 thumb screws for the for the norco cages how did you manage this

 

They fit, but they strip the Norco's screw holes a bit. For future builds, I've decided that it is better to use the Norco-provided screws instead of the Antec thumb screws. They don't look as nice, but they do a better job of holding the cages securely.

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On all the cages I used the screws provided by the supplier - hence why I say make sure you keep them all seperate and marked well. The thread sizes and depths are all different for each cage of course...

 

Shawn

 

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First of all let me say hello to everyone!

 

I've found this thread looking for information on 5in3 cages and, after readyng EVERY post of it (and several other similar threads on limetech forums) I can say I'm quite enlighted :)

 

I currently have a Supermicro CSE-M34T

http://www.supermicro.com/products/accessories/mobilerack/CSE-M34T.cfm

wich I modded to accept a 12cm fan.. and I'm very satisfied with it.

 

Now I plan to upgrade from 4x2tb drives to 5x3tb, and so I was also planning to upgrade to a 5 drive cage.

 

The obvious upgrade path would be the Supermicro CS35 wich has been plenty discussed here, but I'd like to go for a trayless design.

The new istarusa BPN-DE350SS unit seems to be very nice: it is trayless, seems to be moddable to 12cm fan, and seems to be shorter than the supermicro one:

http://www.istarusa.com/drivecages/bpndespec.php

 

Has someone in the forum seen/tested the new design, as seen here?

 

Thanks everyone!

Aldo

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First of all let me say hello to everyone!

 

I've found this thread looking for information on 5in3 cages and, after readyng EVERY post of it (and several other similar threads on limetech forums) I can say I'm quite enlighted :)

 

 

Glad it helped.

 

The obvious upgrade path would be the Supermicro CS35 wich has been plenty discussed here, but I'd like to go for a trayless design.

The new istarusa BPN-DE350SS unit seems to be very nice: it is trayless, seems to be moddable to 12cm fan, and seems to be shorter than the supermicro one:

http://www.istarusa.com/drivecages/bpndespec.php

 

Has someone in the forum seen/tested the new design, as seen here?

 

I don't know that there are offcial tests/reviews of that unit yet. One thing that has come to mind when i think about trayless versus trayed units is the issue of vibration. I have a single drive hot swap "trayless" unit, and I would assume the 5x3 would be similar. Slid the drive into the mechanism, door closes, "locking" the drive into place.

 

My issue is the fact the drive isn't solidly mounted/secured. There may be a bit of wiggle room for vibration. Now think, if running 15 or 20 drives that way, you could have the most minor of vibration that introduces an occasional error when the disk is writting.

 

I saw a video, where a guy in a datacenter yelled right in front of a large disk array. They were running monitoring software and such and you could see the impact. :)

 

Yes, trayless are convienient. But for the number of times I need to pull drives in and out, I am going to use trays to make sure everything is secure.

Just my thoughts on that...

 

Shawn

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Hi

I think you're right about vibrations.. I was concerned about them but now that you make me think about it, resonance could worsen the things.

At this point then, if thinking about a tray design, the 2nd most important point is cooling... the Supermicro M34 has the sata ports lined at the bottom in line, so mounting a 12cm fan was easy.. the M35 has the sata slots parallel to each other, so space could be an issue..

if someone (whaler please?) has a  M35 at hand... could you please use a ruler to measure the free space between the power and sata ports to check if a 12 cm fan would fit in there? (ie, not overlapping/covering the ports)

 

Many thanks!

 

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Hi

I think you're right about vibrations.. I was concerned about them but now that you make me think about it, resonance could worsen the things.

At this point then, if thinking about a tray design, the 2nd most important point is cooling... the Supermicro M34 has the sata ports lined at the bottom in line, so mounting a 12cm fan was easy.. the M35 has the sata slots parallel to each other, so space could be an issue..

if someone (whaler please?) has a  M35 at hand... could you please use a ruler to measure the free space between the power and sata ports to check if a 12 cm fan would fit in there? (ie, not overlapping/covering the ports)

 

Many thanks!

 

I would have to pull out my whole system to look, but, if you check out the pics, you are out of luck. The SM comes with the 92mm fan mouted in the fan holder. If you removed that and tried to mount a 120, you would definately cover the power and SATA ports. I would point out, cooling has been excellent on this unit with the stock 92mm.

 

Shawn

 

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