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Shopping Suggestions - Quiet, 8-12 Slots (one 2.5" cache), $1200 Budget

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Today's a shopping day, so I figured I'd start this thread in case anyone has any suggestions as I go along.

 

I have a little experience building unraid-specific boxes for myself (two down, this is third), but only by following builds and posts on here.

 

I have zero experience with soldering or difficult modding for fans, so I'm looking for a box / drive cage (if necessary) combo that's already silent or near-silent (this needs to be a unit that fits in a room adjoining my viewing area, maybe 15 feet away through open space).

 

I feel like 8 slots would be enough (parity, 2.5" cache, and six data drives), as I have plenty of room to grow in my other two unraid boxes, but if there's only a minor jump in cost or noise, it might be nice to have the extra space to make old 1 and 2TBs useful as I move them out of rotation; I just wanted to build another one specifically for "active" material (vs. the other two being archive), so that would just be icing on the cake.  Silent and under $1200 are the main concerns.

 

Accordingly, I'll want a "beast" system (to use Rajahal's terminology) that can handle the processor-intensive plugins, including speedy extractions, transcoding, and encoding.  It would also be nice if I could skip the SATA add-on cards I've used in my other boxes and go with one of these new motherboards that handles 8-12 SATA connections, but it looks from a bunch of posts like these are often difficult boards for unraid.

 

The $1200 does NOT include hard drives - I'm set on those.

 

Really, my key requirement is silence or near-silence.  A cool-looking box wouldn't hurt, but there's a decent chance it'll get stuffed in a ventilated, open area behind a cater-corner couch if it's quiet enough, so a silent ugly box wins over a good-looking near-silent box.  I'll even go up to $13 or $1400 if that jump guarantees some sort of space-age negative-sound system, but I'd hate to jump up to $1500 on what should just be a fun project (and sanity saver, for reasons explained in my 5.x Support "salvage" thread on another of my boxes).

 

Thanks to everyone in advance for any suggestions - I'll post my shopping progress on this thread as I go.

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As for a good motherboard ... this works well with UnRAID and has 14 SATA ports on it:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813182821

 

Add a pair of memory modules (I'd get 2 8GB ECC modules), and good Xeon E3 series CPU (you can choose just how much "horsepower" you want to pay for -- personally I'd go with an E3-1271v3)  and you'll have a VERY nice setup that can handle about anything you care to throw at it.

 

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Thanks, Gary - you've been tons of help today!

 

Some OCD part of my brain hears about the 14 slots and wonders if there's a way to do anything fun with the extras in a case like the Fractal - assuming there's not a bigger version of the R4 or 5 that's equally quiet and takes advantage.  I'm thinking at least one could be used for a SATA-to-ESATA dock that could serve as an external Preclear slot when needed.

 

Does anyone have any experience using this board for something like that?

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The Define R4 can actually hold 14 drives.  There are 8 3.5" bays inside the case;  you can install a 3-in-2 cage in the two 5.25" bays to hold 3 more;  and a 2nd bottom drive cage will fit beside the bottom cage to hold 3 more.

 

Unfortunately, for some reason the bottom drive cage is only sold by Fractal's European spare parts supplier [ http://www.fractal-design-shop.de/index.php?a=359 ], and is not listed by the US supplier.  [There are only 2 spare parts vendors for Fractal]    But some folks have used other cages in that location with no problem ... I'll see if I can find a link to one of those builds and post it here a bit later.

 

Note:  If you think you'll want to do this, don't use a power supply that's deeper than 180mm, as that's all the clearance there is with a 2nd cage installed.

 

 

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This is the case I was thinking of:  http://www.caselabs-store.com/hdd-cage-assy-standard/

 

It holds 4 drives ... so with the 8 internals, that's already 12 drives.    So you wouldn't even need a 3-in-2 adapter for the 5.25" bays ... you could just mount one drive in each of those bays to get to 14 drives.  It also provides for another fan, which will give the extra drives nice additional ventilation.

 

You can see a picture of the R4 with this cage installed here:  http://www.imagebam.com/image/e21468351090129

 

 

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If you didn't want to install the final 2 drives in the 5.25" bays, you could just provide for a couple of eSATA ports on the back that you could connect to external docking stations for pre-clearing, etc.

 

This would make that very easy:  http://www.amazon.com/Backplate-Bracket-ESATA-Internal-Adapter/dp/B00MCM0SM4/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1420989042&sr=1-1&keywords=SATA+to+eSATA+backplate

 

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Based on this list, I think I'm at $1100 or a little over with tax and shipping:

 

CASE: Fractal Define R4 ($120 + tax)

MOBO: Supermicro MBD-X10SL7-F-O ATX LGA 1150 Intel C222, DDR3 ($250 + tax)

CPU: Xeon E3-1271v3 ($350 + tax)

RAM: 2x 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X ECC ($140 + tax)

PSU: Corsair RM-650 ($120 + tax)

INTERNAL CAGE: 4-Drive per garycase ($30 + tax + s/h)

 

...and the unraid license brings me up to my budget.  Nice!

 

garycase, thanks again for all of the incredibly helpful suggestions; this is how I'm thinking of laying things out:

 

Start with internal 4-drive cage (any suggestions on a silent fan for it?), but only place the 6TB parity drive in there for now.  Won't be filling the other 3 slots until I've maxed the case, unless that's a bad idea for some reason.

 

Start filling up the 8 front slots with existing data disks (2, 3 TBs, have at least 6 good ones, maybe more)

 

Use one of the 5.25" bay slots for a cache drive, and keep the other open as an easy-access Preclear slot.

 

...or is the 5.25" difficult enough to work with that the eSATA back plate makes more sense?

 

I'm trying to minimize messing with the box once it's up and running, but it'd be really nice to have a dedicated Preclear slot or dock that's insanely easy to access.

 

Any thoughts?  I'm about to dig through other threads talking about the Fractal R4 and how best to work with it, then I'll head back here before ordering parts.

 

Thank you again to garycase and anyone else who can help!

 

 

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Already may have answered one of my own questions.  Based on the description of "almost hot swappable" in this thread (http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=34096.0), it'll probably make most sense for me to go with the esata backplane, but just connect one to the MOBO and use the 5.25" as cache drive space (doubt I'll flip that one out insanely often, but Preclear is a different story).

 

EDIT: Or maybe http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817994143 for the 5.25" bay, and keep the cache and parity drives on the "unscrew everything to change disks" drive cage...

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I'd use the eSATA backplate and an external eSATA dock (either single or dual ... your choice).    But you could also put a 3-in-2 cage in the 5.25" bays and have 3 hot-swap slots there, if you'd prefer to keep everything in the case.

 

That's a VERY nice set of components ... this will be a very nice and amazingly quiet system (you'll be surprised at just how quiet the R4 is).    The only compliant I've ever seen folks have with the R4 is how bright the power LED is ... and you can mitigate that by either putting a bit of translucent tape on it; or simply not connecting it internally.

 

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So if I put the 3-in-2 in the 5.25" (Cache, Preclear Slot, and Empty for Now) and still have 8 slots up front, that puts me at 11, with one permanent gap in the internal cage that'll hold my parity and (eventually) the last two data disks I'd install.  Still need to figure out a fan for the internal cage though, and find a 3-in-2 with quiet enough built in fan to not defeat the silent goal...

 

Unless I'm better off with a different approach for the internals if I'm only using 3 slots at most?  In theory, I won't be filling 2 of those 3 for a year or more, if ever, but I'd really like the parity drive to be "buried" and figure I may as well do that at the building stage - in 4 years of unraid, haven't needed to replace one yet.

 

Of course, now that I've typed that...

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Personally, I'd add the extra 4-drive internal cage and not bother with the 5.25" bays unless you expand to the point where you really need them, for the reason you noted -- I've yet to see a 3-in-2 cage that has a really quiet fan.  These cages all use 60-80mm fans, and small fans have to spin faster to move air ... thus generating notably more noise than the 120-140mm fans that can spin much slower.

 

 

 

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I am selling three 3-2 cages. They are quiet and come with 92mm fans. One even has a built in speed controller. 

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Trigger pulled! Thanks for the offer, mr-hexen, but decided to lay out the tower thusly:

 

4-drive internal cage = 3 drives = 6TB HGST 7200rpm Parity (new), 4TB WD Green (new data drive, hopefully last awhile), 1TB WD Black (new cache drive, hopefully last awhile)

 

1 SATA-to-eSATA backplane

 

Remaining 10 SATA slots = 8 in the normal slots, 2 in the 5.25"s

 

...no real need for a cage now that I've found an internal setup I'm comfortable with (though knowing my luck, even thoroughly Precleared 4TB may end up dead in a year or two).  C'est la HD.

 

Everything listed a few posts above has been ordered, plus a $50 shipped and taxed fan for the internal cage.  Probably going to spring for the two-key unraid license (never thought I'd build a third, so may as well prepare for a fourth), and total spend without that license and a new low-profile USB stick was (including shipping and tax) $1075.82.

 

BUDGET SUCCESS, if I just did a single unraid license.

 

Thank you to everyone for your help with this!  I'll post results once I get everything in, up, and running.

 

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... BUDGET SUCCESS, if I just did a single unraid license.

 

Nicely done ... and a very nice set of components.  However ... I'd definitely go for the 2-pack license.  An extra Pro key for $30 is an excellent value, and you never know when you might need it  :)

 

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... by the way (as I assume you know) you can buy the 2-pack but only use one of the registration keys now, if you don't have a 2nd USB flash drive to use for it.    To do that, just leave the GUID field for the 2nd key blank -- you can then get a key anytime you need it in the future by just sending the new GUID to LimeTech for the 2nd USB flash drive.

 

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Yep! That's what I did with my first key(s); for the extra $~30, makes sense to prepare for more even when I'm thinking "surely I'll have all I need NOW!"

 

...

 

Not sure the chicken or egg on this one, unraid vs. hoarding tendencies.

 

Thanks again, garycase!

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Newegg saver on all my newegg items; everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) I need to build this sucker is already here... except my RAM, which has been sitting in the same shipping facility since Monday.

 

I could get started, I know, but that inability to boot the damn thing up - I'm just going to wait.

 

Hopefully posting a build update this weekend, but that's up to newegg saver...

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Yes, it's frustrating to have everything except one key component.

 

On the other hand, the RAM simply plugs in -- so you could get everything assembled & ready to go  :)

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It's the mental aspect of it - like building a lego monorail set without the piece that gets the engine running.  Staring at that lonely nigh-complete tower while my RAM spends its third full day sitting in a shipping facility in Kentucky and my 4TBs stand ready for preclearing would just eat me up inside.

 

Really hoping I see some movement on tracking tomorrow at least, but something tells me newegg saver (which has almost always been more like 1-2 days than 4-7 days for me) is finally giving me the shipping speed it's promised, and I'll be getting my ram on Tuesday.

 

Wish I could be cautiously optimistic on this one, but that damn tracking status...

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That is indeed a very rare occurrence -- I always use the "Super Saver" shipping and can't recall seeing any delays of that length except during major winter storms.

 

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Well, got everything in, managed to barely fit the internal cage, and I'm wondering what I'm going to do when I need more SATA power cables (PSU only came with 2 4-prong plugs), but my biggest headache is the red "Power Failure" LED 6 on the motherboard.

 

I tried unplugging everything but the PSU and the motherboard (except the CPU, left that hooked up) - any other ways to tell if it's a bad PSU or something else?

 

This would actually be my second dead Corsair straight out of the box (last one was my first UnRaid box, which was a painful and long RMA process... Really hope I don't need to repeat that one, but I guess I'd rather it be a simple fix than something worse!)

 

RE: PSU, the fan doesn't even spin up - but it sounds like this RM650 won't even start spinning up until it reaches a certain temperature, so I don't know if that's a red flag or not.

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Just to be sure -- you DID plug in both the ATX connector and the CPU auxiliary power connection ... right?

 

Do you have another PSU you can try?  I've never used an RM series Corsair - but have had the low-end CX series fail to work with some motherboards.    I always use the HX or AX series when I buy Corsairs (although I've used some TX series units in years past).

 

Do you have a power supply tester or multimeter, so you can at least check that all power buses are functioning?

 

 

 

 

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Yep to both plugs - nope to the power supply tester / multimeter.

 

Weird thing: when I first turned on the PSU, the motherboard's LED 5 (BMC Heartbeat) was blinking green (which according to the instructions meant "BMC normal"), but it was paired with a red LED 6 (power status).  Subsequent attempts to power up, only the red light lit up; BMC heartbeat produces no light anymore.

 

Only way to try another PSU would be to disassemble one of my existing unraid boxes; honestly, RMA would be less of a pain.

 

I'm crashing for the night, but will try any other suggestions anyone posts when I'm home from work tomorrow, and will plan on RMA'ing on Tuesday if I'm still out of luck by the time I crash tomorrow.

 

Thanks, garycase!

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Sounds like either a power supply problem or possibly a short somewhere.    Are you certain you have all of the standoffs mounted correctly -- and no standoffs in an unused position (which could be shorting the motherboard to the chassis).

 

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