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Thoughts on Lian-Li PC-Q25B Builds

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I'm planning on building quite a few unRAID systems based on the Lian-Li PC-Q25B. I've already built four system experimenting with different wire management options. So far I've yet to find optimal overall package which would provide both the functionality and the looks I'm aiming for.

 

I'm struggling with these:

1. Power cabling to the 5 drive cage. None of the molex/SATA-power splitters I've found really fit nicely to the 3 power inputs. Usually there is too much cable between the connectors and the outcome looks untidy. The connectors are not placed evenly which makes it even harder for stock splitters.

2. Power and SATA cabling to the lower tray (2 x 3,5", 1 x 2,5").  Any ideas how to make it both functional (easy to add/remove the drive) and nice looking will be appreciated.

3. Power cabling to the motherboard. Even with the shortish cables 24-pin and 8-pin which come with Silverstone (modular) they are still too long. Especially the 24-pin cable does not look nice and blocks air when you have to twist it to fit. The 8-pin cable is of course easier but still way too long. I also tried out the short-cable-kit from Silverstone; the 24-pin power cable was longer than the one coming with the PSU ;)

 

I recently found www.moddiy.com, they provide all sorts of custom cables and the prices seem reasonable.  I've been thinking about ordering a complete custom cable set for this case. It would cover all the power and SATA-cables. Does anyone have experience with moddiy or some other similar company? Would someone else be interested in these kind of cable sets? It will require some design and at least one testing round to get all the measurements working but after that you could just order new sets. I will be most likely ordering in batches of 10 or so but I think once the set is designed, moddiy could also sell it individually.

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Just a heads up, the Q25 case is on sale right now at Newegg for like $80 w/ free shipping. >>>

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112339

 

You owe me $80 !!!    [since that's what your post just cost me  8) ]

... couldn't resist getting a spare Q25B  (I'm sure I'll use it for another build "one of these days"  :)]

 

I think I owe myself $35 because thats how much more I paid.

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I'm planning on building quite a few unRAID systems based on the Lian-Li PC-Q25B. I've already built four system experimenting with different wire management options. So far I've yet to find optimal overall package which would provide both the functionality and the looks I'm aiming for.

 

I'm struggling with these:

1. Power cabling to the 5 drive cage. None of the molex/SATA-power splitters I've found really fit nicely to the 3 power inputs. Usually there is too much cable between the connectors and the outcome looks untidy. The connectors are not placed evenly which makes it even harder for stock splitters.

2. Power and SATA cabling to the lower tray (2 x 3,5", 1 x 2,5").  Any ideas how to make it both functional (easy to add/remove the drive) and nice looking will be appreciated.

3. Power cabling to the motherboard. Even with the shortish cables 24-pin and 8-pin which come with Silverstone (modular) they are still too long. Especially the 24-pin cable does not look nice and blocks air when you have to twist it to fit. The 8-pin cable is of course easier but still way too long. I also tried out the short-cable-kit from Silverstone; the 24-pin power cable was longer than the one coming with the PSU ;)

 

I recently found www.moddiy.com, they provide all sorts of custom cables and the prices seem reasonable.  I've been thinking about ordering a complete custom cable set for this case. It would cover all the power and SATA-cables. Does anyone have experience with moddiy or some other similar company? Would someone else be interested in these kind of cable sets? It will require some design and at least one testing round to get all the measurements working but after that you could just order new sets. I will be most likely ordering in batches of 10 or so but I think once the set is designed, moddiy could also sell it individually.

 

Henris, what are you using for a motherboard, and will you need to use a sata card?

 

#1 is easy, I'll show you what I did when I get out of work today.

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Henris, what are you using for a motherboard, and will you need to use a sata card?

Asus H87I-Plus and yes an additional 2-port card is required to get to either 7 or 8 drives since it has only 6 ports.

 

Btw, just finished the first Q25B build with Intel components; Asus H87I-Plus with Intel Core i3-4130T (35W TDP). Also replaced all case fans and the CPU fan with Noctua 4-pins. 3 drives (3 x 3TB WD Greens) parity check finished with an average speed of 116MB/s, had also two 4TB WD Reds preclearing at the same time. So far I really like how cool and quiet the system runs. I'll be doing Plex transcoding testing with this system.

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That should work exceptionally well with the Haswell motherboard & CPU.  That's the same board I plan to use with my next Q25B board (although I'm going to use an i5 CPU).

 

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That should work exceptionally well with the Haswell motherboard & CPU.  That's the same board I plan to use with my next Q25B board (although I'm going to use an i5 CPU).

 

I worked a lot later than I thought possible today, so I'll have to talk about actual build stuff tomorrow. BUT, Gary, you have mentioned several times about using an I5, so why you think that upgrade is needed? Dirty Sanchez is transcoding multiple streams with an I3. I'm not finding fault, I just don't know. It just seems like it would be very hard for a home server to require more than an I3, even if everyone in the house was snowbound & had their client dialed up to 11.

 

Bonus question is lets say your network is experiencing the perfect storm demand wise, what would help you out more, more memory or a faster CPU?

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An i5 is completely unnecessary for UnRAID ... but the cost difference is trivial; and just in case I ever wanted to repurpose the box I'd prefer to have the additional "horsepower" available.

 

If we never bought more than we "needed", we'd all be driving 4-cylinder cars with manual windows  :)

 

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If we never bought more than we "needed", we'd all be driving 4-cylinder cars with manual windows  :)

My favorite kind of car.  I like smaller cars and while I do like the convenience of the power windows I have now I wouldn't need the key in the ignition and power to roll down a window if it was manual.

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I'm planning on building quite a few unRAID systems based on the Lian-Li PC-Q25B. I've already built four system experimenting with different wire management options. So far I've yet to find optimal overall package which would provide both the functionality and the looks I'm aiming for.

 

I'm struggling with these:

1. Power cabling to the 5 drive cage. None of the molex/SATA-power splitters I've found really fit nicely to the 3 power inputs. Usually there is too much cable between the connectors and the outcome looks untidy. The connectors are not placed evenly which makes it even harder for stock splitters.

 

I just unclipped the connectors and put them where I wanted them, the cable from the PS to the first connector couldn't be a better size. The extra wire from the front fan I just velcro'd under the drive cage.

 

ll7.jpg

 

ll8.jpg

 

2. Power and SATA cabling to the lower tray (2 x 3,5", 1 x 2,5").  Any ideas how to make it both functional (easy to add/remove the drive) and nice looking will be appreciated.

 

I can't really help you here but maybe it makes sense to custom make your power connections like I did above. My connections for the bottom drives are Molex, so right away I want to change them to sata.

 

3. Power cabling to the motherboard. Even with the shortish cables 24-pin and 8-pin which come with Silverstone (modular) they are still too long. Especially the 24-pin cable does not look nice and blocks air when you have to twist it to fit. The 8-pin cable is of course easier but still way too long. I also tried out the short-cable-kit from Silverstone; the 24-pin power cable was longer than the one coming with the PSU ;)

 

I used the non-modular PS and every fan & vent is completely unobstructed, (of course I cut off the extra wires I didn't need). Granted the 8 pin wire is long but it wrapped around the top fan frame nicely, that and the sata cable to the backplane kept tucked up to the top of the case where they bother nothing. You do know you can "train" wires to relax & lay where you want them, instead of where they would be inclined to be right out of the box?

 

Anyhow, the black fuzzy thing is the sata cable to the back plane that comes off the inside of the MB.

 

ll10.jpg

 

ll9.jpg

 

I recently found www.moddiy.com, they provide all sorts of custom cables and the prices seem reasonable.  I've been thinking about ordering a complete custom cable set for this case. It would cover all the power and SATA-cables. Does anyone have experience with moddiy or some other similar company? Would someone else be interested in these kind of cable sets? It will require some design and at least one testing round to get all the measurements working but after that you could just order new sets. I will be most likely ordering in batches of 10 or so but I think once the set is designed, moddiy could also sell it individually.

 

I think the PS I used was near perfect, but the only thing I would do differently would be take it apart and see if I could remove the PCI cables internally instead of externally. I actually wouldn't want the 24 pin cable shorter because right now there is just enough length to pull the PS back to work on the MB.

 

Now I would love custom sata data cables to the backplane. I used 4 right to right, and 1 right to straight cables, all 10". If you look you will see the 2 bottom ones are probably going to interfere with the lower drives.  I think round cables would eliminate the problem, but I think the easiest solution is to use all right to straight cables, so you can get a couple 8". I dunno... 

 

 

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Very nicely done.  I agree that removing the PCIe connection internally would be better ... but haven't opened up the PSU to look at that (perhaps with my next build).    I agree the non-modular Silverstone is just about ideal for this case -- just cut off the PCIe connection and everything else is just about right ... especially with the tweaks you did on the power connections to the backplane.

 

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I just unclipped the connectors and put them where I wanted them, the cable from the PS to the first connector couldn't be a better size. The extra wire from the front fan I just velcro'd under the drive cage.

That looks cool and tidy! That's just what I had in mind, I'm just a bit hesitant to make any cables myself. Moddiy seems to be eager to make custom cables with custom measurements for products like this:

T1JUirXgVwXXc30mra_122253__70067_zoom.jpg

 

I think the PS I used was near perfect, but the only thing I would do differently would be take it apart and see if I could remove the PCI cables internally instead of externally. I actually wouldn't want the 24 pin cable shorter because right now there is just enough length to pull the PS back to work on the MB.

I assume people want to use non-modular for the price difference? Or is there some other reason, clipping wires seems so brutal ;) I definitely would want to get rid of the twist on the 24-pin cable but certainly understand also your point on being able to pull back the PS without removing the cable. But this could also be avoided by using a modular PSU where you can easily detach it from the PSU side.

 

Now I would love custom sata data cables to the backplane. I used 4 right to right, and 1 right to straight cables, all 10". If you look you will see the 2 bottom ones are probably going to interfere with the lower drives.  I think round cables would eliminate the problem, but I think the easiest solution is to use all right to straight cables, so you can get a couple 8". I dunno...

You could also think about using a right angle to L-angle cables if such things existed. But I think your current method with varying cable lengths could work the best.

 

Thanx for the great pics and ideas!

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I just unclipped the connectors and put them where I wanted them, the cable from the PS to the first connector couldn't be a better size. The extra wire from the front fan I just velcro'd under the drive cage.

That looks cool and tidy! That's just what I had in mind, I'm just a bit hesitant to make any cables myself. Moddiy seems to be eager to make custom cables with custom measurements ...

 

The connectors are very easy to remove, just remove the clip on top. Then I put all the connectors in the backplane, the one on top still attached to the wires, and hung the wire strands down past the lower connections. Now just press the wires in where they go, I left a little bit of slack in the wires. I pressed them in just enough for them to catch and removed the cable so I could work on a firm surface, and not risk breaking the backplane. The special tool I used to press the wires in was a regular flat screwdriver, with a nice flat tip, (not all worn and rounded off). You can use anything that is the proper width but that is what I had handy. I used a nice sharp utility knife to cut the wires on the end, in a shearing motion. I have a nice pair of flush cutting side cutters but the cut just wasn;t clean enough for the clip to fit back on properly.

 

I think the PS I used was near perfect, but the only thing I would do differently would be take it apart and see if I could remove the PCI cables internally instead of externally. I actually wouldn't want the 24 pin cable shorter because right now there is just enough length to pull the PS back to work on the MB.

I assume people want to use non-modular for the price difference? Or is there some other reason, clipping wires seems so brutal ;) I definitely would want to get rid of the twist on the 24-pin cable but certainly understand also your point on being able to pull back the PS without removing the cable. But this could also be avoided by using a modular PSU where you can easily detach it from the PSU side.

 

To be honest saving $ is part of it, but I don't know if I'd be any more satisfied with a modular PS. Seriously, it took less than 2 minutes to cut & tape the extra cable, and I saved over $30. You tell me if you would object to the finished product as a consumer. Each wire was cut a bit longer than the last, and they were taped in pos/neg bundles and then taped to the ATX 8 pin cable, tightly up to the factory heatshrink. You can see the end result if you look closely at the last two pictures above. I do wish I had thought to pull the cable internally before I assembled things, but oh well. Gawd, now I am thinking about pulling the PS and openning it up. I might as well re-do all of the case wires because they are a clusterfk.

 

Now I would love custom sata data cables to the backplane. I used 4 right to right, and 1 right to straight cables, all 10". If you look you will see the 2 bottom ones are probably going to interfere with the lower drives.  I think round cables would eliminate the problem, but I think the easiest solution is to use all right to straight cables, so you can get a couple 8". I dunno...

You could also think about using a right angle to L-angle cables if such things existed. But I think your current method with varying cable lengths could work the best.

 

Ya, this is the one aspect of this particular build that I am not happy with. I know we are nitpicking various details that border on the anal retentive compusive design, but feeding the backplane from this MB is tough. You want to come off those 4 edge ports with a right angle cable, but when you go with very short cables, with the twists they need, you are putting a lot of pressure on the connections. That's why I keep thinking round cables might be the way to go here.

 

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There's actually one other advantage to the modular version of the Silverstone vs. the non-modular version:  it's more efficient.  The non-modular is 80+ Bronze certified; the modular version is 80+ Gold => so it's rated at 5% more efficient.    This difference likely carries over to the less-than-20% efficiencies, so you're saving about 5% even at very low power draw.  However, at 30 watts, the difference between perhaps 70% and 75% efficiency (likely ranges when drawing that little) is about 3 watts.  3 watts 24/7 is about 26kwh/year ... or about $3.00/year in power savings at $0.12/kwh (typical US cost).

 

Nevertheless, the slightly neater cabling arrangement plus the higher efficiency does make this an attractive alternative  The $30 cost difference is irrelevant in the great scheme of things.

 

There is, however, also an advantage to the non-modular -- modular PSU's are, statistically, slightly less reliable than their non-modular cousins, since every connection is a potential point of failure.  The non-modular only has one cable that you wouldn't want connected anyway (the PCIe connection) ... and it's very simple to just cut that off.    THAT is why I use it -- not for the price difference.  "snip, snip" and it's got exactly the connections I want with no modular plugs to corrode and potentially cause issues down the line  :)

 

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There's actually one other advantage to the modular version of the Silverstone vs. the non-modular version:  it's more efficient.  The non-modular is 80+ Bronze certified; the modular version is 80+ Gold => so it's rated at 5% more efficient.    This difference likely carries over to the less-than-20% efficiencies, so you're saving about 5% even at very low power draw.  However, at 30 watts, the difference between perhaps 70% and 75% efficiency (likely ranges when drawing that little) is about 3 watts.  3 watts 24/7 is about 26kwh/year ... or about $3.00/year in power savings at $0.12/kwh (typical US cost).

 

Nevertheless, the slightly neater cabling arrangement plus the higher efficiency does make this an attractive alternative  The $30 cost difference is irrelevant in the great scheme of things.

 

There is, however, also an advantage to the non-modular -- modular PSU's are, statistically, slightly less reliable than their non-modular cousins, since every connection is a potential point of failure.  The non-modular only has one cable that you wouldn't want connected anyway (the PCIe connection) ... and it's very simple to just cut that off.    THAT is why I use it -- not for the price difference.  "snip, snip" and it's got exactly the connections I want with no modular plugs to corrode and potentially cause issues down the line  :)

 

Right, less connections = less trouble. But, while answering Henris I noticed something. The non-modular PS does not have a grommet on the case where the wires come out. In other words the wires are free to bear pressure against the edge of the metal PS case.

 

I am surprised to see something that basic left out.

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To be honest saving $ is part of it, but I don't know if I'd be any more satisfied with a modular PS. Seriously, it took less than 2 minutes to cut & tape the extra cable, and I saved over $30. You tell me if you would object to the finished product as a consumer. Each wire was cut a bit longer than the last, and they were taped in pos/neg bundles and then taped to the ATX 8 pin cable, tightly up to the factory heatshrink. You can see the end result if you look closely at the last two pictures above. I do wish I had thought to pull the cable internally before I assembled things, but oh well. Gawd, now I am thinking about pulling the PS and openning it up. I might as well re-do all of the case wires because they are a clusterfk.

Well I hope you are not considering anything due to my comments, like you said we are deep in the compulsive space and your system already looks superb. I truly appreciate that you took the time and effort to share your experiences and build pics.

 

Ya, this is the one aspect of this particular build that I am not happy with. I know we are nitpicking various details that border on the anal retentive compusive design, but feeding the backplane from this MB is tough. You want to come off those 4 edge ports with a right angle cable, but when you go with very short cables, with the twists they need, you are putting a lot of pressure on the connections. That's why I keep thinking round cables might be the way to go here.

You could also try using longer right-to-straight cables and make the twist completely under the drive cage. That way the back side would show only five sata-cables going down on one neat package and disappearing under the cage. This will require at least 45cm cables since it didn't work with 30cm cables I had.

 

The Akasa Slim cables I linked few posts back would have the perfect cable since they are so flexible but unfortunately they do not make them angled.

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It seems I split off too much => I just marked everything from where the discussion diverged to the end ... but several posts shouldn't have been moved.  I've now merged those back into this thread (Thanks to Qtrmeg for a hint on how to do that).

 

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It seems I split off too much => I just marked everything from where the discussion diverged to the end ... but several posts shouldn't have been moved.  I've now merged those back into this thread (Thanks to Qtrmeg for a hint on how to do that).

 

Cool, now I can give the feedback on the modular/non-modular PS thing.

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To be honest saving $ is part of it, but I don't know if I'd be any more satisfied with a modular PS. Seriously, it took less than 2 minutes to cut & tape the extra cable, and I saved over $30. You tell me if you would object to the finished product as a consumer. Each wire was cut a bit longer than the last, and they were taped in pos/neg bundles and then taped to the ATX 8 pin cable, tightly up to the factory heatshrink. You can see the end result if you look closely at the last two pictures above. I do wish I had thought to pull the cable internally before I assembled things, but oh well. Gawd, now I am thinking about pulling the PS and openning it up. I might as well re-do all of the case wires because they are a clusterfk.

Well I hope you are not considering anything due to my comments, like you said we are deep in the compulsive space and your system already looks superb. I truly appreciate that you took the time and effort to share your experiences and build pics.

 

When I was writing that post, that you quoted, it dawned on me that it would be quicker to just pull out the PS and see exactly what can be done with it than to write about it. And THEN I thought about how you could improve the case wires, (power/led/fans/etc). Am I thinking about doing those things because of your comments? Absolutely, and that is a good thing. While we are talking about a specific build spec, what we are talking about can be used regardless of the various build options.

 

More good questions result in better answers.

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There's actually one other advantage to the modular version of the Silverstone vs. the non-modular version:  it's more efficient.  The non-modular is 80+ Bronze certified; the modular version is 80+ Gold => so it's rated at 5% more efficient.    This difference likely carries over to the less-than-20% efficiencies, so you're saving about 5% even at very low power draw.  However, at 30 watts, the difference between perhaps 70% and 75% efficiency (likely ranges when drawing that little) is about 3 watts.  3 watts 24/7 is about 26kwh/year ... or about $3.00/year in power savings at $0.12/kwh (typical US cost).

 

Nevertheless, the slightly neater cabling arrangement plus the higher efficiency does make this an attractive alternative  The $30 cost difference is irrelevant in the great scheme of things.

 

There is, however, also an advantage to the non-modular -- modular PSU's are, statistically, slightly less reliable than their non-modular cousins, since every connection is a potential point of failure.  The non-modular only has one cable that you wouldn't want connected anyway (the PCIe connection) ... and it's very simple to just cut that off.    THAT is why I use it -- not for the price difference.  "snip, snip" and it's got exactly the connections I want with no modular plugs to corrode and potentially cause issues down the line  :)

 

Further differences between the two. The non-modular has a power switch, the mod ver doesn't. The non-mod ver has all the wires in one spot, the mod ver has them spread across the height of the PS.

 

Right now I still lean towards the non-mod ver. I'd like to know exactly what differences got the Gold certification for the modular version. It is supposed to be better internal construction, but why would a company change something like that between sibling units? I'm sure the external connections are the same, and the extra modular connections can't add reliability...

 

 

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I've had the same thought r.e. the difference in certification levels => it would sure seem they're likely the same unit except for the connections ... and non-modular are generally MORE reliable than modular connections, since there are no connectors to corrode or work loose.  I was also very disappointed when I used the modular unit on a build that it didn't have a power switch.

 

I also just noted a difference in the rated outputs that I hadn't noticed before.  Looking at the ratings plates on the units, the rated capacities on several of the power buses are different !!  (In all but one case the non-modular has a higher current rating)

Strange, since they're both 450w units.

 

  Voltage:  +3.3v      +5v    +12v    -12v    5vSB

 

Modular:    19A        14A      37A      0.3A    2.5A

 

Non-Mod:    21A        22A      36A      0.5A      2.5A

 

I suspect I'll simply use the non-modular in all future builds.

 

 

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More good questions result in better answers.

;D couldn't agree more.

 

I've been browsing the web quite a bit to find inspiration and ideas especially on the cable management. One of the coolest collections of build pics I found was here in Moddiy.com site: http://www.moddiy.com/pages/PC-Showcases.html

 

On the PC-Q25B, I've seen a lot of pics using the black case. Here in Finland we don't even have the silver case available but I've been ordering it from Germany (caseking.de). Silver is my favorite, the look is very Apple like. I've also experimented removing the Lian-Li logo from the front and with a carpet knife blade you can carefully remove it leaving no marks. The empty inset for logo will of course be there but it isn't that visible.

Lian-Li-PC-Q25.jpg

 

The other thing I would like to change is the power LED. Is there any way to dim it?

 

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