Jump to content
De1taE1even

Fractal Define R4 10 drive 16TB system: Couldn't be happier!

62 posts in this topic Last Reply

Recommended Posts

Intro

 

Unraid has been more than a godsend to me.  In my infinite (lack of) wisdom, I assembled an 8-bay dual raid5 system a couple years ago, but I built it with green drives, which is a really bad idea, though I didn't work that out at the time.  Sure enough, one of the raids stopped booting about 6 months ago (luckily it had nothing on it I really needed).  Before the second raid followed suit, I decided to make a change.  That's where unRAID comes in and saves my bacon.  Since it's not a raid, my green drives are perfect for the job, which saved me a lot of money.

 

System Hardware/Software

 

OS at time of building: 6.0-beta5a

Beta or not, I wanted to take advantage of what 64bit has to offer.  I've had no issues so far.

 

CPU: Core I3-4360

I chose this CPU because it was a good blend between cost and transcoding capability.  With a passmark score of 5644, it should be more than capable.  It also helps that my local Micro Center was having a great CPU/Mobo bundle deal going.

 

Motherboard: Asrock H97M PRO-4

This Mobo had a decent feature set and good reviews on Amazon/Newegg, and I got it for next to nothing as part of the bundle deal.

 

RAM: Crucial Ballistix 16GB (8X2)

Overkill?  Yeah, probably, but they were on sale, and with the unRAID6 running 64bit, I figured it might take advantage.

 

Case: Fractal Design Define R4

This case is simply awesome.  Great build quality, great looks, fully featured, good airflow, terrific for wiring... I could go on and on, but I can't say anything that the hundreds of great reviews around the web haven't said already.

 

Drive Cage(s): One simple 5.25 -> 3.5 adapter

Just a simple adapter, not much to say about it.

 

Power Supply: Corsair CX500M

Seems to be a popular choice, and it was on sale.

 

SATA Expansion Card(s): IOCrest SATAIII 4-Port PCIe2.0x1

I bought the exact model that was recommended in the lime-tech hardware wiki.  This is the IOCrest version, as opposed to SYBA, but they're essentially the same card.  It posted and I've been using it since day 1 with no modifications.  Plug-n-play.

 

Cables: Bought at Microcenter, unsure of brand

I know people get pretty passionate about SATA cables, but I just tend to buy ones that look like they have decent shielding.  I've never had issues.

 

Fans: Four 140mm Fractal Design R2 fans (two came with case, two bought separately)

I was happy with the two fans that came with the case, but the drives in the upper cage were running a bit warm, so I bought two more.  I have no interest in spending tons of money on quiet fans because the server sits in my basement, well away from earshot.  Those 4 fans, combined with my cooler basement temperatures, and my drives rarely see temps above 30°C.  Their idle spinning temps stay in the low 20's.

 

UPS: Cyberpower CP1500AVRLCD

Micro Center did the deciding for me on this one.  I knew the CP series UPS's all played nicely with unRAID, so it was just a matter of size.  Micro Center had this on a great sale, so I snagged it.  It was actually cheaper than the 1000 or 1350 at the time.

 

Parity Drive: 2TB Seagate Barracuda HDD

Data Drives: 2TB Seagate Barracuda HDD (x8)

I 3xPrecleared all drives to make sure they were good to go, and all checked out.  I had 8 drives from my previous build, and Micro Center had them on sale, so I picked one more up to max out my setup.

 

Cache Drive: 250GB Samsung 840Evo SSD

Great reviews, fast R/W, long estimated life, and it was on sale.

 

System Traits

 

Total Drive Capacity: 16TB

Primary Use: Plex server, DVR storage, miscellaneous media storage

Likes: Runs very cool (being located in my basement helps), and the Fractal R4 case is awesome.

Dislikes: None so far

Add Ons Used: Preclear, UnMenu, Plex Media Server, Couch Potato, Sick Beard, SABnzbd, Transmission

Future Plans: None specifically

 

Power Consumption

 

Boot (peak): 224W

Idle: 88W (all disks spun up)

Idle: 42W (all disks spun down)

Light Use: 58W (4 disks spinning, plex media server running, one video streaming)

Parity Check: 114W

 

Pictures

 

20140708_225447.jpg

 

20140708_225532.jpg

 

20140708_234520.jpg

 

EDIT: I forgot to subtract the overhead on the Kill-A-Watt measurements used by my router and sonos box (total of 16W)

Share this post


Link to post

Hi De1taE1leven,

 

thanks for your excellent post! This couldn't have come at a better time for me as I am currently planning to fuse my current setup:

 

1 QNAP TS210P NAS that currently serves as an small application server for sabnzbd, sickbeard, etc.

and

1 unRAID on an HP N40L MicroServer

 

into one unRAID box running the applications from Docker containers.

 

Many of the parts I had planned are almost exactly what you used (e.g. the excellent Fractal Design case which I have used in the "Mini" version for a couple of servers now).

 

I am very glad to you that you are happy with the build. I have been juggling different options for Mainboard lately, your pick seems to be an excellent choice.

 

Thanks for the report!

Share this post


Link to post

I am very glad to you that you are happy with the build. I have been juggling different options for Mainboard lately, your pick seems to be an excellent choice.

 

Thanks for the report!

 

Not a problem.  I've always enjoyed posting projects in forums and interacting with other members.  Have fun with your build!

Share this post


Link to post

This looks fantastic.  I am currently researching out parts to build an Unraid server for my media and streaming.  I will be using it for an XBMC SQL server and possibly a Plex server.  I love how you have done a nice clean job putting it together.  One question, where are the other two fans?  I am really new to this so I was also wondering what SATA expansion card you used (I can't find it anywhere)?  Also, where did you get the drive cases?

Share this post


Link to post

The Fractal R4 is indeed a superb case -- I've used it for several builds in the past year or so.

 

If you decide to add additional drives, this nifty little 4-drive cage screws directly to the bottom 120mm fan mount between the power supply and drive cage and works very nicely, with excellent airflow in that case:

http://www.caselabs-store.com/standard-hdd-cage-assy/

 

Share this post


Link to post

It looks like you have made the drives hot-swapable.  Where did you get the white tabs for the hard drives?  Are the drives hot-swapable?

Share this post


Link to post

It looks like you have made the drives hot-swapable.  Where did you get the white tabs for the hard drives?  Are the drives hot-swapable?

 

the are drive rails, quite common in most decent cases now a days.

Share this post


Link to post

It looks like you have made the drives hot-swapable.  Where did you get the white tabs for the hard drives?  Are the drives hot-swapable?

 

The rails mounted on the drives are common -- they are NOT hot-swap cages, however.  There are standard SATA cables (both data & power) connected to the rear of the drives in this case.    To remove/change a drive as this is configured, you'd have to remove the right side panel and unplug the cables from the drives; then slide them out; change the drive; and then slide the new drive in and plug in the cables.

 

Note you can also mount the drives with the connectors facing out (towards the left side), so you can simply unplug the cables, then pull out a drive -- but this doesn't look nearly as neat cosmetically (and may require unplugging more than one drive to free up the space to pull the drive out).

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Sorry everyone, I didn't know there were any new replies to this post!  I looked in my forum settings, and couldn't find a setting to send me an email when I get new replies, like most sites.  If anyone knows where that pesky setting is, I'd love the info!

Share this post


Link to post

It looks like you have made the drives hot-swapable.  Where did you get the white tabs for the hard drives?  Are the drives hot-swapable?

 

The rails mounted on the drives are common -- they are NOT hot-swap cages, however.  There are standard SATA cables (both data & power) connected to the rear of the drives in this case.    To remove/change a drive as this is configured, you'd have to remove the right side panel and unplug the cables from the drives; then slide them out; change the drive; and then slide the new drive in and plug in the cables.

 

Note you can also mount the drives with the connectors facing out (towards the left side), so you can simply unplug the cables, then pull out a drive -- but this doesn't look nearly as neat cosmetically (and may require unplugging more than one drive to free up the space to pull the drive out).

 

Exactly!

 

The drives may not be hot-swappable, but it's just about as easy to replace a drive.  Both side panels on the R4 case are removable, so replacing a drive is as easy as removing both panels (4 thumb screws), disconnecting power/sata from the drive, squeezing the white tabs of the drive bay, and pulling out the drive.  Pretty darned easy!

 

Also, just in case it wasn't clear in previous posts, those drive rails DO come with the case.

Share this post


Link to post

The Fractal R4 is indeed a superb case -- I've used it for several builds in the past year or so.

 

If you decide to add additional drives, this nifty little 4-drive cage screws directly to the bottom 120mm fan mount between the power supply and drive cage and works very nicely, with excellent airflow in that case:

http://www.caselabs-store.com/standard-hdd-cage-assy/

 

Wow, that is a great cage!  I'll definitely look into that one.  I have one more spot for a HDD, but then it's time to think about expansion.  I have a Sandisk TR8M+B that I can use, so I'll have to think about the advantages/disadvantages of using one vs the other.  A potential issue I see right off is that I'm not sure if my power supply can handle 14 spinning drives.  I'm also out of sata power connectors.  I know I can split out from the molex power ports, but I don't think I have many of those left either.  With the Sandisk, most of that issue will be resolved, since it has its own power supply.  We'll see.  Expansion is definitely on the back of my mind, but not needed at this point, since I'm only currently using about half my capacity, and that's after ripping my entire blu-ray collection (over 300 movies).

 

One lesson learned with this project is the selection of the PCIe SATA card.  The one I'm using works flawlessly, but I should've spent more money and bought one with more ports, because this little card is already maxed.  I do have one more PCIe port on the mobo, but it's the primary, so if I use it for a SATA card, I'll get no onboard video output.  Not a big deal 99% of the time, but it's always nice to have the option in a pinch.

 

Here's the link to the TR8M+B in case you're interested: http://www.sansdigital.com/towerraid-/tr8mplusb.html

Share this post


Link to post

This looks fantastic.  I am currently researching out parts to build an Unraid server for my media and streaming.  I will be using it for an XBMC SQL server and possibly a Plex server.  I love how you have done a nice clean job putting it together.  One question, where are the other two fans?  I am really new to this so I was also wondering what SATA expansion card you used (I can't find it anywhere)?  Also, where did you get the drive cases?

 

There are a total of 4 fans, all 140mm.  There are 2 fans blowing in from the front, 1 fan blowing out the back, and 1 fan blowing out the top.

 

The SATA card I used is here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AZ9T3OU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Share this post


Link to post

I do have one more PCIe port on the mobo, but it's the primary, so if I use it for a SATA card, I'll get no onboard video output.  Not a big deal 99% of the time, but it's always nice to have the option in a pinch.

 

Whether you use that slot or not has no impact on your video.    The video in your system is provided by the integrated HD4600 graphics in the CPU chip.

 

Share this post


Link to post

I do have one more PCIe port on the mobo, but it's the primary, so if I use it for a SATA card, I'll get no onboard video output.  Not a big deal 99% of the time, but it's always nice to have the option in a pinch.

 

Whether you use that slot or not has no impact on your video.    The video in your system is provided by the integrated HD4600 graphics in the CPU chip.

 

I understand that, but many mobos (including mine, according to ASRock) automatically disable onboard/cpu graphics when a card of any kind is plugged into the primary pcie bus.  Basically the mobo is "assuming" that the connected card is a video card, and disables video output via mobo ports.  I think that's a crappy approach, and I think it should be config driven in the BIOS, but many mobos operate this way nonetheless.

 

Hey I have a question regarding your HDD cage: Do you actually use a fan in that cage?  It seems to me that adding a bottom exhausting fan could disrupt the airflow of the case, but you're more familiar with the R4, so I wanted to ask.

Share this post


Link to post

...  many mobos (including mine, according to ASRock) automatically disable onboard/cpu graphics when a card of any kind is plugged into the primary pcie bus.  Basically the mobo is "assuming" that the connected card is a video card...

 

I very seriously doubt your board does that.    It's been well over a decade since I've seen a motherboard that would do that.    There's a protocol that lets the BIOS "know" whether or not the card is a video card ... and it's not going to disable the on-chip video unless that's the case.

 

Anything's possible, but I simply don't believe that's the case.  Very simple to confirm -- just plug ANY PCIe card (except a video card of course)  into the primary slot and see if you still get video  :)

Share this post


Link to post

...  many mobos (including mine, according to ASRock) automatically disable onboard/cpu graphics when a card of any kind is plugged into the primary pcie bus.  Basically the mobo is "assuming" that the connected card is a video card...

 

I very seriously doubt your board does that.    It's been well over a decade since I've seen a motherboard that would do that.    There's a protocol that lets the BIOS "know" whether or not the card is a video card ... and it's not going to disable the on-chip video unless that's the case.

 

Anything's possible, but I simply don't believe that's the case.  Very simple to confirm -- just plug ANY PCIe card (except a video card of course)  into the primary slot and see if you still get video  :)

 

Well that's great to hear, and I hope I (and ASRock) am wrong.  While researching hardware for this project, I came across a forum post where they warned that the mobo might do that.  So, I emailed ASRock directly to ask them about it.  Here is my original email, and their response:

 

Original email

Hi, I can't find anywhere on your website or in my owner manual what devices are compatible with the PCIe slots on my motherboard. I have read that some motherboards ONLY support graphics cards in certain PCIe slots. I need to install a SATA controller card, but I want to make sure I'm buying one that is compatible with the motherboard. Thank you for your support.

Their response

Motherboard support any PCIe in any slot except in the first PCIe slot close to the CPU ,since the slot is compatible with video cards only; other PCI e cards disable the onboard video .

Share this post


Link to post

It's certainly possible that it works as the reply from AsRock noted ... but I'd give it a try anyway, as I suspect that reply may not be correct.

 

Any non-video PCIe card will work fine for a test -- a network card; an add-in USB card; etc.

 

... actually, you've already got a PCIe SATA card => just move it to the first PCIe slot and confirm whether or not it works okay there  :)    Five minutes & you'll know for sure  8)

Share this post


Link to post

I have the same mobo (Asrock H97M PRO-4) as OP and a PCIe SATA card (Supermicro AOC-SAS2LP-MV8 ) plugged in primary slot and everything work fine out of box.

Share this post


Link to post

I have the same mobo (Asrock H97M PRO-4) as OP and a PCIe SATA card (Supermicro AOC-SAS2LP-MV8 ) plugged in primary slot and everything work fine out of box.

 

I'm not at all surprised (as I noted already) ... but it's nevertheless nice to have confirmation  :)

Share this post


Link to post

I have the same mobo (Asrock H97M PRO-4) as OP and a PCIe SATA card (Supermicro AOC-SAS2LP-MV8 ) plugged in primary slot and everything work fine out of box.

 

I had little doubt that the card would "work".  My only worry was that video output would be disabled.  Did you try to use video output with the SATA controller plugged into the primary PCIe slot by chance?  Just curious.

 

Like I said, I very much hope y'all are right, and thanks for the input.  Even if it were to disable the video output, I'd still probably use it anyways.  In the very rare case that I needed a display for the box, there are other alternatives, such as an old PCI video card or something.

 

Hey garycase, since we're loosely on the subject, I have a quick question.  How easy is it to replace (or upgrade) a SATA controller with unRAID?  I assume that unRAID just reads the disks based on unique device ID, and not based on the SATA port they're plugged into, so as long as everything posts ok on startup, unRAID will be happy.  I just wouldn't want to start unplugging/rearranging SATA ports if unRAID is going to freak out.

 

Thanks!

 

p.s. - does anyone know how to edit my forum settings so I get an email when someone replies to this post?  I'm not great at checking every day.  This is the only forum I've ever been a part of that either doesn't offer that, or I just can't find the setting.

 

EDIT - I just found and enabled the "NOTIFY" button on this post, and got an email after mr-hexen's reply.  Glad I found it.

Share this post


Link to post

I have the same mobo (Asrock H97M PRO-4) as OP and a PCIe SATA card (Supermicro AOC-SAS2LP-MV8 ) plugged in primary slot and everything work fine out of box.

 

I had little doubt that the card would "work".  My only worry was that video output would be disabled.  Did you try to use video output with the SATA controller plugged into the primary PCIe slot by chance?  Just curious.

 

Like I said, I very much hope y'all are right, and thanks for the input.  Even if it were to disable the video output, I'd still probably use it anyways.  ...

 

I think Brian's comment implies the video works fine as well.    I'm virtually certain it will (as I said before) ... but if you're at all skeptical, just move your SATA controller to that slot to confirm it ... a couple minutes and you'll know for sure  :)

Share this post


Link to post

I have the same mobo (Asrock H97M PRO-4) as OP and a PCIe SATA card (Supermicro AOC-SAS2LP-MV8 ) plugged in primary slot and everything work fine out of box.

 

I had little doubt that the card would "work".  My only worry was that video output would be disabled.  Did you try to use video output with the SATA controller plugged into the primary PCIe slot by chance?  Just curious.

 

Like I said, I very much hope y'all are right, and thanks for the input.  Even if it were to disable the video output, I'd still probably use it anyways.  ...

 

I think Brian's comment implies the video works fine as well.    I'm virtually certain it will (as I said before) ... but if you're at all skeptical, just move your SATA controller to that slot to confirm it ... a couple minutes and you'll know for sure  :)

 

Very true.  Maybe I'll drum up the motivation to check at some point.

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.