10G Card for low-airflow workstation

Discussion in 'Networking' started by Praxis, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. Praxis

    Praxis New Member

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    Hi guys,

    I'm looking for recommendations on a good 10G SPF+ card for use in my primary workstation.

    Due to the remarkably crap ventilation situation in my office, I run a somewhat unique water cooling loop; basically blocks on everything that I can manage which then route to radiators in the basement to remove heat from the room.

    It occurs to me that due to having such a setup I have almost no positive airflow over the PCI slots in this machine. This is a problem as most server class cards rely on said airflow for cooling.

    Anyone have a recommendation for a card that has a decent thermal dissipation design, or barring that one that can be easily converted to active cooling via something like this?

    Good compatibility with Windows 10 (I know), and *nix would be a bonus!


    Thanks!
     
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  2. Keljian

    Keljian Active Member

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    Chelsio T420-SO-CR with a (tiny) block on it?
     
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  3. sth

    sth Active Member

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    Chelsio run way hot, Intel is better but still needs some flow. Sorry I have no suggestions. SFPs likely better than copper cables though.
     
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  4. Gnodu

    Gnodu Member

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    I'm nowhere near the expert on this, but I run the Mellanox connectx-2 versions, and am in the process of setting up some 10gbase-t for an area I really don't want to run fiber thru the walls. (Can see it now... Potential buyer: why in the heck did this guy run fiber from the office to his bedroom, of all places?!?)

    I am not sure a water block (if you had one for the NIC) will really help on their SFP+, unless you can cool their transceiver slot pretty well. That gets as hot as the chip/ heat sink.

    Not sure what your case is, but if you are using water cooling, I'm assuming that you have at least some room. I would consider doing the following...
    1) there are a couple of Northbridge heatsink/fan replacements.... I would avoid the really cheap ones, but the one I have used (recommended be someone on STH in an XR997 (dell 10g rj45 adapter w integral fan/heatsink) Is the Enzotech SLF-1.
    Link: http://www.amazon.com/Enzotech-SLF-1-Northbridge-Southbridge-Low-Profile/dp/B0014T161S/Not cheap, at $30, but if doing water cooled, I doubt you are looking for cheap. My two run quiet- don't even know they are on.
    2) you could consider putting a (strategically located) Noctua fan in the case- they typically run about 20 (give or take), and are (IMO) the quietest and most reliable Line of fans I have ever worked with. They also all come with an in-line resister cable to further slow, should that be necessary.... I've only ever needed to try it once..

    The heatsink noted- measure the hole-to-hole length on your 10g card- it's designed for 52mm to 58mm, or very close to that. Again tho- it'll only help the chip, not the transceiver.

    Hope this helps- good luck!

    **afterthought- I reference the XR997 card- several members here have reported this particular card does not always like directly with x540-t2 cards (more recent version), which is likely the reason you can get them for much less money. They also need an out-of-the-box immediate addition of a resistor on the fan... It may be tiny, but at 9000rpm, it's a bit loud. I have not run into compatibility issues, but I don't have any x540 cards (not til next week!). Just added in the interest of full disclosure. (If I were adding the x540, I would go with option 2- the Noctua one) due to the size of built in heatsinks)
     
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  5. Patrick

    Patrick Administrator
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    Mellanox ConnectX-2 EN or ConnectX-3 EN. I use those with a very small amount of airflow as my workstation is near silent. The SC732i has a 12omm fan mount for the PCIe cards. I am using a near silent Corsair 120mm fan unit in my workstation and have every PCIe slot filled, yet that Mellanox ConnectX-2 EN runs fine.

    They went up in price but are still fairly inexpensive: MNPA19-XTR MELLANOX 10Gb/s SFP+ EN Single Port CONNECTX-2 New In Retail Box
     
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  6. bds1904

    bds1904 Active Member

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    Even with watercooling you still need to cool your motherboard with air cooling. The VRM's, RAM, chipset, etc generate heat and need to be cooled. That being said, a single 120mm fan or dual 80mm/92mm in the case is usually enough to take care of it.

    To answer your question, the ConnectX-2 cards run pretty cool. I wouldn't hesitate to have one in a low-profile workstation and the cooling in those SUCKS! From my experience all the 10Gb-BaseT chipsets run really hot, especially Intel ones (which are the only ones I would actually use).

    Public Service Announcement: Running fiber through walls is easy if you use the correct fiber. Armored self limiting fiber isn't super cheap but it isn't bad either. I actually run bend-insensitive riser-rated fiber quite often at work. As long as you pull it with the Kevlar support strands you are good.
     
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  7. Praxis

    Praxis New Member

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    Thanks for all the thoughts guys!

    I have an X520 kicking around that I'm going to try a mosfet block on. It'll be at the end of the loop, but I doubt that will matter much.

    I'm also going to grab a few of those Mellanox cards; what a steal! I've not used Mellanox stuff much outside of some HP C7K hosts so this is a great opportunity to do some testing before I muck about with the Intel card.

    Also bds1904, thanks for that fiber pulling tip. I've always been super cautious pulling the stuff. Good to know the kevlar can be used that way.
     
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