Anything better than SM CSE-LA25TQC-R609LP for 2U/8-bay SATA/SAS?

kpfleming

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Dec 28, 2021
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My NAS is an SM X11SCM-F (with Xeon E-2134, 64GB ECC RAM) in an el-cheapo 2U rackmount case with an off-the-shelf ATX power supply and the 4TB drives fixed-mounted in a very difficult location. Performance wise its just fine for what I need, but I'd rather have a better physical arrangement and a redundant power supply.

Given the supply chain issues there isn't a lot out there, but the best thing I can seem to find is a CSE-LA25TQC-R609LP (plus slide rails and an air shroud). I'd need to get a new SATA HBA to make effective use of the connectors on the TQC backplane as well.

Anyone have any better suggestions?
 

kpfleming

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Dec 28, 2021
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I decided to get a CSE-825TQ-600LPB instead; don't really need the redundant power supply, and the TQ backplane is more than sufficient for my needs (and it includes the shroud and rails, which add up to $150 at least).
 

kpfleming

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Dec 28, 2021
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Continuing to talk to myself...

Canceled that order, and instead sourced various components from a bunch of different eBay sellers. When assembled, I'll have (what would be) a CSE-825TQ-R500LP, with slide rails but no air shroud, and an LSI 9211-8i HBA with SM mini-SAS/SATA breakout cables. All in about US$400.
 

UhClem

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Jun 26, 2012
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I'd advise against the 9211. Nothing wrong with SAS-2 for your setup, but using a (PCIe) Gen2 HBA will need your one/only PCIe slot (x16, Gen3) for decent bandwidth. Consider, instead, getting, e.g., a 9207-8i (Gen 3) HBA AND a M.2-to-PCIe_x4 riser adapter (with open slot), example [Link] (probably also avail @AMZN). That gives you the same, or better, bandwidth for disks, AND keeps your x16/Gen3 slot open for future expansion.
 
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UhClem

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Since there is very little price difference between LSI Gen2/SAS2 & Gen3/SAS2 HBAs now, getting the Gen3 (and using the slot now) leaves you with future options (that will not leave you with an unused, and even more obsolete, Gen2 card--if you end up going in the riser/Gen3 direction later).
====
Free speech!! (one each ...) --R.H.
 
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kpfleming

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I appreciate the guidance! I think the Gen2 LSI HBA will still be a significant upgrade over using the SATA ports on the motherboard (and the Marvell SATA HBA I've got in the PCIe slot now to provide the number of ports I need).
 

TXAG26

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Aug 2, 2016
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Let us know your thoughts on the CSE-825 when you receive it. I'm looking at the 2U 825/826 series for an upcoming build and am interested in how quiet your built is.
 

kpfleming

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Dec 28, 2021
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The chassis has arrived, but I won't be able to assemble the system for a couple of weeks as the rest of the parts arrive. I'll update this thread once it is operational. I've got a pair of 80mm Noctua fans in the existing chassis that I might move over to the 825 if necessary.
 

TXAG26

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How are the trays on the CSE-LA25TQC-R609LP? They look different than regular SM trays. Is it just the plastic bezel on the front of the tray that is different?
 

kpfleming

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According to the chassis page they are 'black gen 9 toolless cost-effective' trays, most likely because this particular model of chassis is intended to be sold to OEMs and Supermicro keeps the cost as low as possible (it does not include rails or a shroud, has a 'cost effective' PDB, etc.)
 

TXAG26

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I wonder what is different about the cost-effective PDB? I wonder if it supports I2C reporting and power consumption/usage in the IPMI interface?
 

TXAG26

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I “think” the “S” stands for “short” length 24-pin cable. I think no “S” is regular, but that’s just what I recall from looking at other PDB’s.

I’m hoping the “L” in PDB-PT826-L8824 just means “long” cables and not otherwise gimped or mean “Low end” with no i2c cable. SM sometimes uses “L” in some of their motherboard models to designate low end configurations.

I reached out to SM to inquire about the PDB-PT826-L8824 & PDB-PT826-8824, but they are closed today. I’ll post back if they’re able to provide additional details.
 
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TXAG26

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PDB-PT826-L8824 is cost effective. It supports under 1KW power.

PDB-PT826-8824 supports up to 1.6KW.

Both PDB support i2c cable to pass power supply consumption information to IPMI interface.
 

kpfleming

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Dec 28, 2021
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Parts have begun arriving so I'm assembling the chassis and preparing to swap in the components from the existing system. As best I can tell the X11SCM-F does not have a PMBus/SMBus header, so I don't think I'll be able to connect the I2C cable from the PDB to anything. That's unfortunate.

Everything else has gone well; removal of the 'fixed' 600W power supply was simple, and installation of the PDB and hot-swappable power supplies was equally simple.
 
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kpfleming

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Dec 28, 2021
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TL: DR; build is about 75% complete, details below.

The barebones I purchased is a CSE-825TQ-563LPB. Of relevance here, that's an SC825 chassis, BPN-SAS-825TQ backplane, PWS-563-1H power supply, and FAN-0126L4 fans (Nidec 80x80x38 7K RPM). It arrived in good shape, and in working order.

I moved over my X11SCM-F with CPU/RAM without any issue; even though the quick reference page in the manual does not show a power supply I2C connector, it does have one, although the PWS-563 doesn't.

The seller who sold me the 9211-8i sent the wrong board and has gone non-responsive, so I found another seller (close enough for local pickup) and got a Supermicro-branded 9207-8i. I also purchased the Supermicro 'staggered' cables for SFF-8087 to SATA (with sideband). Those are all working fine, although I haven't setup anything to pay attention to the SES information yet.

I have a Toshiba slim SATA DVD drive that I plan to put in this case, so I bought the Supermicro mounting kit for it; haven't figured out how to assemble it yet though!

I have 4x4TB WD Red drives as the main rust pool in the NAS; those moved over fine as well. I also have some 'backup rotation' drives of various kinds, which I used to attach using an external USB3 enclosure; those are now in caddies and will be rotated through one of the drive bays.

I bought a set of standard-length Supermicro rails; they arrived in working order. Turns out they were one inch too long for my rack, but... my rack is adjustable-depth, so I could increase it from 26 to 27 inches. I just had to do that while it was loaded with operating equipment and suspended from the basement ceiling :) Once that was done the rails were easily installed.

At this point the server is operating, although still sitting on a work table as the build is not complete. Noise-wise it's not bad, although I wouldn't want to be in a room with it all day long. During powerup and for the first couple of minutes the BMC runs the fans at full speed (it is set in 'Optimal' mode), but then it slows them down because the heat load in the system is fairly low and the ambient temperature in the basement is about 40F. I have the center case fan plugged into a 'CPU zone' header, and it blows almost directly onto the CPU cooler. The other two fans are plugged into 'PCH zone' headers. Those three fans are operating right now at around 2500RPM (the CPU cooler fan is a Noctua unit so it's operating at 400RPM which the BMC dislikes). The BMC reports temperatures all over the system well below 20C, but as I said our basement is pretty cold right now!

Now on to the less-successful parts:

I hadn't realized the CMOS battery on the motherboard was dead (clearly I need to setup IPMI monitoring on this box), and so when it came back up it wouldn't boot. That will be an easy fix.

I also purchased a PDB-PT825-8824 and two PWS-501P-1R, intending to pull the 563 power supply and install redundant power. However, with those in place the system won't power up. The BMC gets power and works normally, but when the BMC tells the system to power on it does not power on (both with and without the I2C cable plugged in). I suspect I may have a non-operational PDB, but will need to get another one to determine whether that is the case. Supemicro sells this same combination in other barebones kits, so I believe they are compatible with each other.

I'll leave the Nidec fans in place until summer gets here and our basement warms up; if the noise level increases substantially then I'll replace two of them with Noctua fans from the previous chassis.

Here's a picture of the current state.
 
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kpfleming

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Dec 28, 2021
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I also don't quite understand how the drive caddy lights work; while all the drives are working fine, the red lights on all eight bays flash rather often during disk activity, even in bays where there are no drives installed.