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

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

 

:)

... or just wait until you actually need to add another card.    There's really NO doubt that it'll work just fine -- but I'm sure you'll feel more re-assured when you actually do it.

 

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Did you try to use video output with the SATA controller plugged into the primary PCIe slot by chance?  Just curious.

Yes "on chip video" is what I use only (an i3-4340). before I try install Unraid, I had this MB running 64 bit Windows 7 for a week to test out all its functions ( a Linux newbie here ).

 

I attach a picture of my build, hope it shows up.

unraid.jpg.d24bc0db7a64abd065ad7cf0acbdb789.jpg

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So you now have confirmation that not only does an add-in controller work in the primary PCIe slot; but on-chip video continues to work just fine with the card installed [as I've said all along  :) ].

 

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So you now have confirmation that not only does an add-in controller work in the primary PCIe slot; but on-chip video continues to work just fine with the card installed [as I've said all along  :) ].

 

Awesome, thanks everyone!  garycase, it's not like I didn't want to believe you!  It's just that when you get a confirmation straight from the manufacturer, you're usually inclined to believe it...    :D

 

Hey garycase, I asked earlier, but you might have missed it: When you use that drive cage that you referred me to, do you actually stick a fan in it?  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.

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...  garycase, it's not like I didn't want to believe you!  It's just that when you get a confirmation straight from the manufacturer, you're usually inclined to believe it...    :D

 

You'd be surprised how often replies from the customer service reps are wrong.    Remember, these folks are often simply parroting the documentation ... they generally not technical experts.    The reply you received was likely from someone who was simply reading the same documentation you'd read -- which was written by some tech writer who was writing what would happen if a video card was inserted in the slot, and didn't bother to differentiate what might be different with a non-video card.    I've got a PhD in math, Masters in both Math and Computer Science, and about 50 years of experience (about 40 with computers at home) -- probably just a bit more then your average customer service rep  :)

 

 

Hey garycase, I asked earlier, but you might have missed it: When you use that drive cage that you referred me to, do you actually stick a fan in it?  It seems to me that adding a bottom exhausting fan could disrupt the airflow of the case ...

 

Adding a fan to the cage helps cool the drives in the case, and doesn't have any notable impact on the overall case airflow.

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...  garycase, it's not like I didn't want to believe you!  It's just that when you get a confirmation straight from the manufacturer, you're usually inclined to believe it...    :D

 

You'd be surprised how often replies from the customer service reps are wrong.    Remember, these folks are often simply parroting the documentation ... they generally not technical experts.    The reply you received was likely from someone who was simply reading the same documentation you'd read -- which was written by some tech writer who was writing what would happen if a video card was inserted in the slot, and didn't bother to differentiate what might be different with a non-video card.    I've got a PhD in math, Masters in both Math and Computer Science, and about 50 years of experience (about 40 with computers at home) -- probably just a bit more then your average customer service rep  :)

 

 

Hey garycase, I asked earlier, but you might have missed it: When you use that drive cage that you referred me to, do you actually stick a fan in it?  It seems to me that adding a bottom exhausting fan could disrupt the airflow of the case ...

 

Adding a fan to the cage helps cool the drives in the case, and doesn't have any notable impact on the overall case airflow.

 

Awesome man, thanks again.

 

This may sound like a really stupid question, but do you install the cage fan for intake, or exhaust?  My gut says intake, blowing cooler air over the drives.

 

Your info has been very helpful, because I fear that using my Sandisk TR8M+B for expansion will be pretty darned slow (8 drives, using multilane SATA, 4 drives per port, 2 ports, all on a x1 bus).  I found a post on this forum where people were reporting preclear speeds of only ~5MBps.  With that being the case, I'd rather use that HD cage with a new SATA card, for better performance.  The SYBA card I currently use is nothing special, and my I/O speeds are comparable to on board.

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I'd install the fan as intake -- as you noted, blowing air across the drives is much more effective than pulling air out and across them.  Intake also preserves the overall chassis airflow design of positive pressure from incoming air, with all exhaust out the back [and top if you're using top fan(s)].

 

 

 

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Besides if that case is like the full tower the front fans should already have the air going from outside to inside the case.

Also there is a "filter" on the front of the case.

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Hey man, very nice build. I love minimalist, tidy builds so this is right up my alley.

 

I thought I would just mention, I noticed your drives have SDI, SDH, SDG written on the drives. You should probably change this to Parity, Disk1, Disk2, etc. as the mount points can change if you shuffle disks around or even just by adding another disk. The disk numbers are more important in terms of rebuilding everything but if in doubt, put both on the drives.

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Hey man, very nice build. I love minimalist, tidy builds so this is right up my alley.

 

I thought I would just mention, I noticed your drives have SDI, SDH, SDG written on the drives. You should probably change this to Parity, Disk1, Disk2, etc. as the mount points can change if you shuffle disks around or even just by adding another disk. The disk numbers are more important in terms of rebuilding everything but if in doubt, put both on the drives.

 

Thanks!  Yeah, this has already bit me after I added another drive.  I just haven't gotten around to re-labeling them.  I should probably get on that...

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Nice build! Just one little question, what 5.25 -> 3.5 drive bay did you use? Just like how clean yours is.

 

Thanks.

 

Thanks! For the adapter, here is the part I bought:   http://www.microcenter.com/product/408675/Internal_35_to_525_HDD_Plastic_Mounting_Kit

 

Thanks for the reply, I just noticed that you just put a single drive in tot eh 5.25 bay. I though you might have used 5.25 to 3.5 caddy that might have given you 3 x 3.5 drive slots.

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Thanks for the reply, I just noticed that you just put a single drive in tot eh 5.25 bay. I though you might have used 5.25 to 3.5 caddy that might have given you 3 x 3.5 drive slots.

 

Honestly I thought about it, but for $10, I can convert 2x5.25 bays to 2x3.5 bays, versus spending a lot more on one of those caddies, just to get room for one more one additional drive.  Instead (thanks to suggestions on this thread), if/when I need to expand my storage, I plan to buy this:

 

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

 

4 additional drive slots for only $30.  Now that's my cup of tea!

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Honestly I thought about it, but for $10, I can convert 2x5.25 bays to 2x3.5 bays, versus spending a lot more on one of those caddies, just to get room for one more one additional drive.  Instead (thanks to suggestions on this thread), if/when I need to expand my storage, I plan to buy this:

 

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

 

4 additional drive slots for only $30.  Now that's my cup of tea!

 

You might find this interesting for additional space, converts 2 x 5.25" into 3 x 3.5" with cooling for cheap - http://www.amazon.com/EverCool-Dual-Drive-Triple-Cooling/dp/B0032UUGF4

 

Also one other thing that I found out about the R4 Case is that you can double stack the lower hard drive cages from Fractal - https://support.fractal-design.com/support/solutions/articles/190191-will-i-be-able-to-fit-an-extra-hdd-cage-in-my-case-

 

With that being said this case could turn into a 14 drive system.

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You might find this interesting for additional space, converts 2 x 5.25" into 3 x 3.5" with cooling for cheap - http://www.amazon.com/EverCool-Dual-Drive-Triple-Cooling/dp/B0032UUGF4

 

Also one other thing that I found out about the R4 Case is that you can double stack the lower hard drive cages from Fractal - https://support.fractal-design.com/support/solutions/articles/190191-will-i-be-able-to-fit-an-extra-hdd-cage-in-my-case-

 

With that being said this case could turn into a 14 drive system.

 

Thanks for the info, that is certainly one way to go.  I was probably going to just put one more drive in the remaining free 5.25 slot, and buy the drive cage that I referenced (4x drive capacity), bringing my drive total to 14 as well.  So many options!

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Yes, there are a lot of options in that case.  It's a REALLY nice case  :)

[Definitely one of my favorites for larger systems, although I've become a very big fan of micro-ITX based systems that are physically much smaller]

 

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Also one other thing that I found out about the R4 Case is that you can double stack the lower hard drive cages from Fractal - https://support.fractal-design.com/support/solutions/articles/190191-will-i-be-able-to-fit-an-extra-hdd-cage-in-my-case-

 

Anyone know where to get the supplemental/additional 3 position hard drive slot bracket?

 

I could go for the caselabs cage, but I would rather have the matching bracket set from Fractal.

none of my searches turned up that specific product.

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I did a couple quick Google searches with no luck for the bottom cage, only the top cage. If I were you, I'd just contact fractal directly and I bet they could take care of you. Personally, I think the caselabs cage is a better design for that space regarding airflow, along with having more capacity.

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I tend to agree that the CaseLabs cage is a better choice, simply because of the extra 120mm fan capability it provides -- that direct ventilation on the extra set of drives seems like a VERY good idea ... especially since they'll be sitting right next to the power supply.

 

However, if you really want the bottom cage, it IS available from Fractal's European spare parts distributor:

http://www.fractal-design-shop.de/index.php?a=359    ... but not, apparently from their US source for spare parts.    Since those are the only 2 locations to order spares, it seems you need to get a European friend to buy the cage for you and then ship it to you.  [Note that although the part is identified as a lower cage for ARC-R2- ...  it's listed under the R4 spare parts, so I assume it's the same cage.]

 

 

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Another reason to use the caselabs cage is HDD connection access.  If you use a second r4 bottom cage, you'll probably have to remove the entire cage to access the sata/power connections, since there is no access to the back of the cage like there is for the stock cages.  With the caselabs cage, all the drive connections are easily accessible.

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Another reason to use the caselabs cage is HDD connection access.  If you use a second r4 bottom cage, you'll probably have to remove the entire cage to access the sata/power connections, since there is no access to the back of the cage like there is for the stock cages.  With the caselabs cage, all the drive connections are easily accessible.

 

I have mine all facing the left door so I do not have to remove the right side door (by motherboard tray).

Yes it's a lil sloppy. the cables stick out a lil. So be it.  They are tied in bunches and are not interfering with airflow.

I considered the caselabs bracket, but that means I would have to unscrew and remove it from the bottom before operating on the drives.

The actual Fractal Design 3 drive cage would be perfect for me.

I would put two drives in there as RAID0 parity and an SSD. 

I know you can attach SSD's to the motherboard tray.

However, you have to remove the motherboard in order to swap out the SSD and I'm not willing to do that every time I upgrade.

 

I might buy an older used beat up R4 and cannibalize it for parts.

I've also considered ditching the R4 in favor of the R5 since the SSD trays are removable and maybe the frames/trays are easier to source.

I was considering how would I get the RAID0 set in there then had an epiphany.

I might just get rid of the R4 and get the limetech D-316M instead.

 

Decisions decisions.

I haven't fully decided yet. Thanks for all the input.

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I went with the Caselabs option, I think it's the slickest expansion solution for the R4..

 

e21468351090129.jpg

 

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It looks sweet and neat!, but how do you change the drives in the caselabs bracket?

You have to unscrew it from the bottom and remove it right?

 

I think the caselabs option is going to interfere with the video card and supplementary controller I plan to install.

Plus the shelf where I put this on, covers that bottom vent.  It's not going to work for me. *sigh*

 

 

Sure looks nice though! Great job!

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It looks sweet and neat!, but how do you change the drives in the caselabs bracket?

You have to unscrew it from the bottom and remove it right?

 

I think the caselabs option is going to interfere with the video card and supplementary controller I plan to install.

Plus the shelf where I put this on, covers that bottom vent.  It's not going to work for me. *sigh*

 

If you want to change a drive, you do have to unscrew it and take it completely out. Needless to say, it's no hot-swap, lol! Those drives are certainly going to be the last to be upgraded, and will stay there unless one fails.

 

The cage does take up an awkward part of the case. The X10SL7's 14 SATA ports are right behind it and are in the way enough that I had to space the cage out a bit and screwed it into the metal fan grill holes and not the original fan holes, if that makes any sense. It's still really solid and not going anywhere. I can see how many cards would not allow you to use it.

 

I look forward to seeing what you come up with, have fun  ;D

 

 

 

 

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