Fractal Design Define 7 build


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Hi All - wanted to share my first Unraid Build. The Define 7 fit met my criteria of having enough space and being quiet. The build was very easy and enjoyable. Only caveat was having to buy additional hdd mounts (I ended up purchasing more than i needed), it comes with 6. I currently have 10 hdd in place but you could have 11 vertically. Fractal designs give you options to mount the HDD all over the place, but wiring would be a headache. If you want more than 11 HDD, I recommend going for the XL. Happy to answer any questions.


FD-C-DEF7A-01

Intel i5-10400

GIGABYTE W480 VISION W LGA 1200 Intel W480

Cache - Intel SSDPEKNW010T9X1 665P 1TB - 2x

Array - WD Gold 10tb - 10x

Seasonic FOCUS Plus 650 Gold SSR-650FX

 

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Edited by phea
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1 hour ago, ChatNoir said:

I saw several cases on those forums of crosstalk between SATA cables

I'm not convinced the issue is crosstalk, but I AM positive that you can DEFINITELY create issues by bundling cables. I suspect the issue is more the extremely poor connection at the SATA end, where any misalignment can cause issues. If the connector is being pulled by the cable instead of being allowed to float free, it can create an angle between the drive and the connector, and when the drive vibrates and moves from thermal expansion the wires don't touch the pads on the drive solidly. This can cause CRC errors, and in extreme cases cause the drive to temporarily stop responding.

 

It doesn't help that the cable and connector design has gone through several changes, with some cables being incompatible with some drives, notably the retention mechanism that's supposed to help alleviate the issues in my first paragraph.

 

TL;DR, Don't bundle cables, allow them to relax near the drives so they don't pull on the connectors.

 

If someone can link to a study that proves crosstalk corruption in modern SATA cables is a thing, I'm definitely willing to learn, but all I can find are studies proving data corrupting crosstalk shouldn't be possible due to balanced signalling.

 

8 hours ago, uldise said:

so much drives on one power cable?

Looks like a custom cable set, should be easy to refit by splitting the existing cables into smaller sections and providing each section with a dedicated PSU feed.

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@phea Your machine is super clean, looks amazing. Please don't feel attacked by all the criticizing posts, we all really do admire a clean build.

 

We are trying to give you some ideas for improving the long term stability of the system, so you don't start having strange issues that can be difficult to pin down.

 

You obviously put a LOT of time and effort into the build, we want you to have a long and successful run with it.

 

Quick question, I can't see where the last 4 SATA cables are connected? The motherboard only shows 6.

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I agree with @jonathanm, your build looks super nice, I realize all those remarks could be misinterpreted.

 

Regarding the SATA connectors there are 4 double 90° connectors + 2 on the board in the bottom right.

Two of the 10 are on an ASMedia ASM1061. Don't know if it it the grey or the orange ones.

 

Regarding crosstalk or not, you are right, not sure if it is this particularly, but many cases of bundled cables causing a problem.

 

04.png

Edited by ChatNoir
corrected error : SATA instead of LAN ...
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14 minutes ago, ChatNoir said:

Regarding the LAN connectors there are 4 double 90° connectors + 2 on the board in the bottom right.

Two of the 10 are on an ASMedia ASM1061. Don't know if it it the grey or the orange ones.

Ahh, I see. I googled the specs of a GIGABYTE W480 VISION, and found 6 SATA ports on the spec sheet. If I would have googled GIGABYTE W480 VISION W, I wouldn't have been confused. Amazing how 1 letter changes everything. 🙂

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5 hours ago, BillX said:

 

Super clean look. I also wonder the same question. Plus, is it safe?

From a non-technical standpoint, I can report that so far so good. Regarding if it is safe or not, I would have to defer to any electrical engineers. Here was my mindset going into the build

- Use a 12v single rail PSU

- Not go crazy with power splitters (ended up removing the connectors and adding it to the original as pictured). I figured the weakest point would be at an adapter/splitter.

- Majority of the disks will be spun down idle. Utilizing this server mainly for plex and I organized the structure so that a group of media (example season 1 of a show) to be on a single disk.

- Hopefully my punchdown technique of the power connectors is adequate.

 

Since there seems to be a lot of concern on safety, I found some info on the wire itself. 

AWM STYLE 2468 18AWG 80°C 300V

Cable specifications:

conductors gauge (AWG) 18 material bare copper cord size (strands) 41 x 0.16 jacket material 80°C, 48P, PVC color black diameter (mm) 4.4 ± 0.10

electrical properties rated voltage (V) 300 rated temperature (°C) 80 rated current (A) 7 insulator resistance (Ohm/Kft) 2.5

operating temperature (°C) -10 ~ +80 resistance at 20° C (Ohm/Km) max 23.2 spark test (Kv) 3.0/4.0 humidity rating <75%

 

1 hour ago, jonathanm said:

I'm not convinced the issue is crosstalk, but I AM positive that you can DEFINITELY create issues by bundling cables. I suspect the issue is more the extremely poor connection at the SATA end, where any misalignment can cause issues. If the connector is being pulled by the cable instead of being allowed to float free, it can create an angle between the drive and the connector, and when the drive vibrates and moves from thermal expansion the wires don't touch the pads on the drive solidly. This can cause CRC errors, and in extreme cases cause the drive to temporarily stop responding.

 

It doesn't help that the cable and connector design has gone through several changes, with some cables being incompatible with some drives, notably the retention mechanism that's supposed to help alleviate the issues in my first paragraph.

 

TL;DR, Don't bundle cables, allow them to relax near the drives so they don't pull on the connectors.

 

If someone can link to a study that proves crosstalk corruption in modern SATA cables is a thing, I'm definitely willing to learn, but all I can find are studies proving data corrupting crosstalk shouldn't be possible due to balanced signalling.

 

Looks like a custom cable set, should be easy to refit by splitting the existing cables into smaller sections and providing each section with a dedicated PSU feed.

I didn't know about crosstalk or bundling could be an issue. I just did some quick searches and found a lot of people talking about it as you said. I'm curious to see what symptoms would occur if it happened.

 

For example, i'm not noticing performance degradation as my parity rebuilds are averaging 180-220 MB/sec. I would be concern if there is any data corruption.

 

1 hour ago, jonathanm said:

@phea Your machine is super clean, looks amazing. Please don't feel attacked by all the criticizing posts, we all really do admire a clean build.

 

We are trying to give you some ideas for improving the long term stability of the system, so you don't start having strange issues that can be difficult to pin down.

 

You obviously put a LOT of time and effort into the build, we want you to have a long and successful run with it.

 

Quick question, I can't see where the last 4 SATA cables are connected? The motherboard only shows 6.

I appreciate everyones comments and feedback and I take it constructively whether positive or negative. So far i'm really happy with the build and unraid has been fabulous. Thank you for recognizing that there was a lot of time and effort put into this and I also want to make sure my investment lasts.

 

The remaining 4 SATA cables are actually right under the 4 that you see on top. However taking a second look, you really cant see that there are 8 cables running to the side from that angle. 

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The issue with the power cables isn't the continuous draw, that's perfectly fine. The way unraid works with a group of drives in the parity array, it will spin up all the drives at once if there is an error detected.

 

The instantaneous draw of all the drives spinning up at once could draw enough current to cause the voltage to sag for just a split second. So, just when unraid needs clean data, you could be causing one or more of the drives to hiccup as the power does a quick brown out.

 

You could keep the clean look, and split that segment of 10 into 5 and 5, fed from above and below with two different sets of wires from the PSU. I'm assuming since you are doing custom cable crimping that you are using soldered or crimp and soldered joins to the original PSU feeds? I would definitely eliminate any slip fit adapter connections you can, those are a bear to get right, and will cause high resistance heat building connections if done wrong.

 

As far as data cabling causing issues, it's probably not going to show up right away, because at the moment everything is right and tight. It's after many heat and vibration cycles that any tension on the connectors can cause alignment issues to start happening, typically throwing CRC errors as the drive has to resend data when the first transmission is partially garbled by electronic noise.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, 

 

Total unRaid n00b here! Just signed up yesterday and this is my first post. Been sifting and drooling over all the different builds.


Been eyeing the Define 7 XL since I saw the video of Jaystwocents and linus. Actually had a 4 bay Buffalo years ago and I was leaning towards a prebuilt for a year like QNAP until I saw the video from Gamers Nexus that show how bad/impossible it was to fix one, because you can't get the parts. And since I live in the Philippines doing an RMA is out of the question.

So here I am in your forums and eyeing the beautiful build you did with your Define 7. Can't wait to start my own. I pulled the trigger on the parts, but holding off on the case until I have enough drives to populate it.

 

Edited by Nanuk_
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  • 1 month later...
On 10/8/2020 at 3:08 PM, jonathanm said:

The issue with the power cables isn't the continuous draw, that's perfectly fine. The way unraid works with a group of drives in the parity array, it will spin up all the drives at once if there is an error detected.

 

The instantaneous draw of all the drives spinning up at once could draw enough current to cause the voltage to sag for just a split second. So, just when unraid needs clean data, you could be causing one or more of the drives to hiccup as the power does a quick brown out.

 

You could keep the clean look, and split that segment of 10 into 5 and 5, fed from above and below with two different sets of wires from the PSU. I'm assuming since you are doing custom cable crimping that you are using soldered or crimp and soldered joins to the original PSU feeds? I would definitely eliminate any slip fit adapter connections you can, those are a bear to get right, and will cause high resistance heat building connections if done wrong.

 

As far as data cabling causing issues, it's probably not going to show up right away, because at the moment everything is right and tight. It's after many heat and vibration cycles that any tension on the connectors can cause alignment issues to start happening, typically throwing CRC errors as the drive has to resend data when the first transmission is partially garbled by electronic noise.

 

 

+1 on splitting the power cable into 5 + 5 SATA drives, and +1 on at least loose some of those SATA cable ties, they DO cause problems in my experience. 

 

Splitting the power cable can ease the job of a future drive replacement too, or you will have to unplug/plug too many drives to access those which are in the middle. 

 

Other than that, that's a top tier and solid build.

Edited by gfjardim
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@phea Thanks for sharing and this looks so clean!  I'm starting my first build this week too and its very similar to yours Define 7 XL, i5 10th gen etc. I'm wiring everything up and its just been pure chaos with my stock sata cables etc.  Can you share the parts, tools, etc and how you made your custom cables? Seeing them in your build is inspiring me to give it a shot and clean all this cable mess up. Thanks in advance and the build seriously looks soo good.

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