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SuperMicro CSE-M35T 5in3 Hotswap Cages

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I've been recommending these cages for users wanting to build a server. They eliminate the most common problem users have, and that is knocking cables loose while adding or exchanging drives. Over time, the ability to painlessly swap in and out drives, and even swap problematic drives between ports to isolate problems, is priceless.

 

Consider this all to common scenario. You want to replace a drive (maybe it is failing, or maybe just want to upsize it). You open the case and swap out the old and swap in the new. In the process, you can't help but touch a few cables with the back of your hand. No harm done. You put the server back together. Boot up. Everything looks good. You start the drive rebuild. 2 hours later you check on progress. The array is offline. A different disk in your array is showing a red + (it has dropped offline). Looking in the logs you see that it was getting link resets and ultimately the drive dropped offline. One of those cables you thought you harmlessly touched - it wasn't harmless. Even the slightest skewing of a cable can create an intermittent connection. You now have a more complicated recovery to do, and if you make a mistake, could easily lose data.

 

Hot-swap cages are not the cure - they are the vaccine. Once you have them and they are burned in, this should never happen to you.

 

These are a pretty good deal. $67 delivered. And you can make an offer (looking at purchase history looks like seller has been accepting most offers).

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SUPERMICRO-CSE-M35T-1B-5-x-3-5-Hot-Swap-SATA-Hard-Drive-Enclosure-/172642519582?hash=item28324bca1e:g:c7oAAOSwXj5XGSS3

 

Seller has 100% positive feedback.

 

These particular cages are highly recommended by me. I have a bunch of them and they work flawlessly. They have 92mm fans that cool quite well. and these can be swapped for quieter fans if needed. Three of these together with an Antec 900 or similar case, gives you an excellent 15 drive case for an unRAID server.

59b2b9afdb141_Antec900with5-in-3s.png.e9d15d96f849c704410450e6148a8474.png

 

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6 hours ago, bjp999 said:

Three of these together with an Antec 900

 

Do they fit the Antec 900 without any tinkering ?

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Yes - you just need to fold back the metal tabs separating the 5.25" slots with a long neck C-clamp. Very easy to do.

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Thanks for the info.

 

I had to perform a somewhat more difficult procedure on a Zalman MS800 a couple of years ago, always interested in something better :)

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8 hours ago, jwegman said:

The lowest he went for me (last week) was $60 (with free shipping).

 

Great price! Enjoy!

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You can buy a large bag of the screws on Amazon for just a few dollars. I am not aware of any substitutes for these screws, you you have to buy them.

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Just a question for the group.  I am a norco user myself and love the simplicity of having a backplane.  The way I am figuring this is 100 bucks for a case and 180 dollars for the enclosures.  It seems like for 300 bucks, I can buy a norco case with a backplane and not have to fuss with 15 sata cables with Power Y splitters.

 

Yes, I have a rack for my norco, but lately it does just fine sitting on the floor.  What is the big draw for a solution like this?  It does not appear to be price.

 

Side note - this IS a solid deal for this product.  I am more questioning the overall solution.

 

Thanks

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51 minutes ago, wisem2540 said:

Just a question for the group.  I am a norco user myself and love the simplicity of having a backplane.  The way I am figuring this is 100 bucks for a case and 180 dollars for the enclosures.  It seems like for 300 bucks, I can buy a norco case with a backplane and not have to fuss with 15 sata cables with Power Y splitters.

 

Yes, I have a rack for my norco, but lately it does just fine sitting on the floor.  What is the big draw for a solution like this?  It does not appear to be price.

 

Side note - this IS a solid deal for this product.  I am more questioning the overall solution.

 

Thanks

 

A few advantages of this type of solution:

 

1 - You can grow it over time. Buying just one of the M35Ts will provide 5 hot swap ports. That will keep many users happy for a while, and then you can add a second and later a third ... Norco is a bigger initial purchase. Many users have an old tower leftover and can set up a small array with hot-swap for only about $70. And can incrementally grow it over time without losing their investment in hotswap cages. Once you start a project like that, buying a Norco and scrapping the existing investment can be more expensive. It is nice to have a low cost of entry, and then be able to spend incrementally to grow as needed, even if ultimately you will have spent more.

 

2 - This case takes up very little floor space. I personally am not interested in having a computer rack in my house, and would much prefer the small footprint of a tower case. And even if I was ok having one, the WAF is very low!

 

3 - These work better than the Norco's, which many users report as having quality issues. The Norco's also don't cool particularly well (I bought a Norco 5in3 that I assume is the same design and didn't like it at all. Luckily I found a forum member and traded it for his SuperMicro). The supermicro drive cages leave the entire top and bottom of the drives open for complete airflow - and the cages are made of aluminum. They are an excellent design. 

 

4 - The hot-swap units can be moved between cases, and even used to create drive towers that can sit external to a case and provide storage. Norco's have no such flexibility.

 

5 - Removing all of the drives from a tower case leaves a relatively light shell that can be moved, lifted to a workbench, whatever to troubleshoot or enhance. I don't own one, but my sense is the Norco would be considerably heavier and more unwieldy. Especially lifting off the floor! I prefer to be able to work on my server without needing another pair of hands. My newest case is on wheels, and it was easy to move the hot-swaps into it. Being on wheels makes it particularly easy to move around even with a lot of drives installed.

 

To each his own, but these are the reasons I think the tower option is better, at least for some of us.

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21 hours ago, SSD said:

Removing all of the drives from a tower case leaves a relatively light shell that can be moved, lifted to a workbench, whatever to troubleshoot or enhance. I don't own one, but my sense is the Norco would be considerably heavier and more unwieldy. Especially lifting off the floor! I prefer to be able to work on my server without needing another pair of hands. My newest case is on wheels, and it was easy to move the hot-swaps into it. Being on wheels makes it particularly easy to move around even with a lot of drives installed.

I have rails on my rack and the rack has wheels so I can move my 5 systems around my basement all at one time.  To work on an individual system I just pull out a single norco case on the attached rails and remove the top cover to give complete access to everything in the MB compartment.  I can get my 5 systems in the same floor space of two of my Lian Li V2000 full tower cases.  So for me it makes sense to use a rack mounted norco over a tower.  For a single system I would probably have stayed with my Lian Li's.

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4 hours ago, BobPhoenix said:

I have rails on my rack and the rack has wheels so I can move my 5 systems around my basement all at one time.  To work on an individual system I just pull out a single norco case on the attached rails and remove the top cover to give complete access to everything in the MB compartment.  I can get my 5 systems in the same floor space of two of my Lian Li V2000 full tower cases.  So for me it makes sense to use a rack mounted norco over a tower.  For a single system I would probably have stayed with my Lian Li's.

 

For 5 systems the rack sounds like a great option. 

 

And if the rack allows easy access, that really downplays the "it's hard to lift onto the bench" argument. (But moving it up the stairs would still be hard :) )

 

There's no wrong answer. Important thing is to hear reasons to go rack or tower, to allow each person to make the best choice for themselves.

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Has anyone looked at mounting a dust filter in front of these?

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On 1/15/2018 at 1:43 PM, tdallen said:

Has anyone looked at mounting a dust filter in front of these?

 

Nope - never had dust buldup in mine.

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As an owner of a icydock 5-in-3 ... how is the air spacing in this cage?

 

My icydock is ok with a 80mm fan on high out back, but I've seen many with really poor venting which can result in high temps.

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These have 92mm fans on the back pulling air into the case through the drive. The drive cages are horseshoe shaped and made of aluminum. So they act somewhat like a heatsink and do not cover the top or bottom of the drive. The bottom is the hottest part. So it allows a strong tunnel of air to pull past the drive. I have never noticed that the drive on one side is hotter than one in the middle. Bottom line, they cool very well and consistently.

 

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These things are so expenisive in Europe ie Netherlands, anyone have a clue how to be able to ship these fairly cheap?

 

Have heard of shipito solutions but do not know if this works?

 

Any help appreiciated. This does help me in building a dual 2670 xeon server, vm, docker, plex unit. 

 

 

JP

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20 hours ago, JeepeeMajoor said:

These things are so expenisive in Europe ie Netherlands, anyone have a clue how to be able to ship these fairly cheap?

 

Have heard of shipito solutions but do not know if this works?

 

Any help appreiciated. This does help me in building a dual 2670 xeon server, vm, docker, plex unit. 

 

 

JP

*SNIP* just found a supplier at 106 euro new.. Ordered one. @JeepeeMajoor

https://www.gigaserver.nl/gigaserver_nl/cse-m35t-1b.html

Edited by SiNtEnEl

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I picked up two of these thanks for the tip @SSD! I had a question. Why are there two power inputs on the cages? I am currently just using one cord to power both cages using just one port. Will this be just fine? Everything is working just fine. I only have 4 drives at the moment.

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6 minutes ago, sadkisson said:

I picked up two of these thanks for the tip @SSD! I had a question. Why are there two power inputs on the cages? I am currently just using one cord to power both cages using just one port. Will this be just fine? Everything is working just fine. I only have 4 drives at the moment.

 

The dual power plugs are for server use when there are redundant PSUs. You can plug one into each PSU and be protected if a PSU fails.

 

For single PSU, you can plug in one or both. Does not matter.

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17 hours ago, SSD said:

For single PSU, you can plug in one or both. Does not matter.

Plugging in both has a couple advantages, if you have the available connection straight from the PSU (NO SPLITTERS)

 

Two connections halves the current in each wire, meaning less heat dissipation. Not too significant a benefit, probably not even worth talking about for the power levels involved.

 

However, if you have two independent paths to the PSU, you reduce the chances of vibration or other mechanical issues causing dirty power. In the long term, that alone is probably worth the second connection if you have it available.

 

Do not, under any circumstances, add a splitter connected to the drive cage to connect that second slot. Adding a power splitter negates the first point directly, and worsens the second point by adding more mechanical connections in the power path.

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8 minutes ago, jonathanm said:

However, if you have two independent paths to the PSU, you reduce the chances of vibration or other mechanical issues causing dirty power. In the long term, that alone is probably worth the second connection if you have it available.

 

Not following this exactly. But I suppose running two independent pigtails might have a very small increase in reliability. But it is hard to get excited about. ;) 

 

10 minutes ago, jonathanm said:

Do not, under any circumstances, add a splitter connected to the drive cage to connect that second slot. Adding a power splitter negates the first point directly, and worsens the second point by adding more mechanical connections in the power path.

 

Ha ha. When I first got mine this is exactly what I did - used power splitters along the pigtail so that I could feed power to both connectors. I thought one powered 2 drives and the other powered the other 3. (RTFM right?) Anyway - ran for years no problem. :)  But agree this is worse than just running one cable.

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Have you had any issues with speed using these? I noticed some poor reviews on newegg (about 10 between 1 and 2 egg reviews), mostly relating to speed.

 

Reading through them it seems the issue is probably the drives not making complete contact with the sata ports on the backplane, as 1 user figured out.

 

Void4ever

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15 minutes ago, void4ever said:

Have you had any issues with speed using these? I noticed some poor reviews on newegg (about 10 between 1 and 2 egg reviews), mostly relating to speed.

 

Reading through them it seems the issue is probably the drives not making complete contact with the sata ports on the backplane, as 1 user figured out.

 

Void4ever

I have 10 of these - used in both main and backup server. Some bought new, most used. They all work flawlessly. Never had a bad one. When they click in place they are solidly connected. They have been recommended over and over here, and never heard any complaints.

 

I looked at some of the negative reviews. Some mentioned speed issues, which could be improperly installed drive trays cages but could also be internal cabling. Some mentioned having to bend the case tabs (this is well known for installing any 5in3 in most any tower case, and not a reason for a 1 rating). One user had nothing good to say and I looked at all his reviews - everything he reviewed was SuperMicro and rated 1 star. Sounds like a axe to grind. One complained tech support was awful because he could not understand the rep. I doubt it. SuperMicro is a high-end manufacturer and has a good reputation for support. Yes - you do get overseas support some times. But I have to believe SM is at least as good as others.

 

One negative review mentioned a dead port and malfunctioning lights on two separate units. Sounds like some physical damage.  He was able to return for exchange.

 

There are some cons that I'd agree with, depending on your needs. The fans are loud. The little screws are annoying. And they are expensive. And I find the SATA connectors on the back awkwardly placed and difficult to connect and disconnect (esp. if you use locking cables).

 

But lots of pros. Cool well due to strong full ball bearing 92mm fans and aluminum horseshoe trays, replaceable fans, secure latch with almost no play, very well built (even the delivery box!). Built like the proverbial brick sh*thouse!

 

It is important to line the drives up properly and screw them in with all 4 screws so they are properly aligned. The horseshoe shaped trays have no bottom, which is great for cooling. But are not fully rigid until you mount them to a drive (with properly installed and tightened screws) so the disk and cage become one. Otherwise I guess they could loosen and pull back from the backplane. I guess if you tried to mount them backwards or something and pushed hard to get them to lock you could mess them up or bend the backplane. Like I said - I have never had even a hint of a problem.

 

I have tried two other brands. Rosewill 4in3s are cheap and not half bad, 4in3s, 120mm fans, plastic slotted tray covers hot bottom of drive but breaths some. I found you have to give the cages an extra shove to make sure they are fully inserted/seated. If you push until they click, there is still a quarter inch or more play.  Despite bigger fan and lower density (4 vs 5 drives), these still don't cool as well as the SMs). Other one I tried was a Norco SS-500. I hated them - trays covered hottest part of drive with cheap steel sheet metal that was starting to rust. 80mm fans. Ran very hot in my server.

 

Look on eBay. $160 is too much. You can find the SM on eBay for $60-$70. I've found as cheap as $50. Watch for high shipping, through.

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