Fully loaded compact NAS (NSC-800)

maes

Member
Nov 11, 2018
74
42
18
So, ever wondered just how much hardware you could possibly pack inside a mini-itx NAS case (U-NAS NSC-800)?

motherboard, cpu, ram? (X10SDV-2C-TNL2F with 2x 16GB DDR4)
1x LSI9211-8i
8x 3.5" HDDs? Easy. That's what's it's made for.
2x 2.5" SSDs? Somewhat of a tight fit.
1x Connectx-3?... where?
and 2x m.2 drives.

Finally finished my build and managed to cram everything in that tiny chassis! The m.2 drives aren't final, but they were enough to test the new bifurcating riser. Took a custom wiring harness on the PSU to make everything fit, but fit it does!

top view, with the Connectx-3 at the top in its riser, the LSI9211 and the bifurcating riser between it and the motherboard
The connectx-3 is mounted internally on a m.2 to pcie x4 extension, connected to the motherboard's sole m.2 port, and fixed on a 3d-printed bracket that mounts where the top 2.5" drive mount used to go.

side view, with the 2 boot SSDs and internal fibre jumper The NSC-800 has an emplacement at the side opposite the motherboard that can accommodate their 2.5" drive mounting plate for a 2nd internal drive. A bit of custom 3D-printing again turns that into an emplacement for 2 drives.
The adapter bracket for the PSU (FlexATX to '1U') is also 3d-printed and extended to include a keystone jack holder, where the fibre coupler is nestled.

3d-printed bracket for 2x 2.5" drives
custom low-profile bifurcating riser by C_Payne
What made it all finally possible was this custom riser by C_Payne, that allows splitting a pcie x16 connector into an x8 passthrough and a pair of m.2 ports wired as pcie x4. It's sized in such a way to allow mounting a low-profile card 'straight in' while respecting the height profile of a full-height card, and the U-NAS riser cable just plugs in it without issue.
 

maes

Member
Nov 11, 2018
74
42
18
Very nice and well done maximizing the resources in that chassis!

How are the temps behaving? esp in the top card bay (9211)?
'Spinning rust' drive temps are all good around ambient +5 to +10C, CPU is in the high 40s, low 50s most of the time.
Temps for the Mellanox and SAS card are good as well but I have some concerns with the temperature of the nvme drives so I might look into adding some spot-cooling with a side-mounted 50mm pulling fresh air inside the case and towards the mellanox, and a small blower aimed at the bifurcating riser.

I'll look at making a full teardown/assembly picture dump some time this weekend.
 
  • Like
Reactions: itronin

itronin

Well-Known Member
Nov 24, 2018
567
323
63
Denver, Colorado
What made it all finally possible was this custom riser by C_Payne, that allows splitting a pcie x16 connector into an x8 passthrough and a pair of m.2 ports wired as pcie x4. It's sized in such a way to allow mounting a low-profile card 'straight in' while respecting the height profile of a full-height card, and the U-NAS riser cable just plugs in it without issue.
I looked on C_Payne's website and did not see this riser in his store. Was this a custom build for you? Just curious as to the approximate cost for the risers. Looks like the riser supports m.2 110mm - Can you confirm?

I picked up a couple of the no label UNAS 800's that were being dumped on the bay. I already had a couple of old AIMb 273's I picked up very cheaply that needed a purpose in life. I was thinking of using in these chassis but they're quite limited. I have been looking for the unicorn mitx board, ya know, QSV, DDR4 normal sized dimms, 10Gbe SFP, SAS onboard - it doesn't exist as near as I can tell. I thought about custom internal brackets to expand things a bit.

Here you've done it! Well done!

As you've illustrated with this riser a whole new world of non server and current iteration mitx boards that could quite probably fit the bill!
 

ullbeking

Active Member
Jul 28, 2017
490
49
28
42
London
Congratulations!!

I have one of these but I find it impossible to work on inside. Every time I try I get cuts and scrapes on my hands, and it's just an unpleasant experience. That's just me personally though.

I'm waiting until they restock the 810A model (shouldn't be long now) and building my home NAS using this. It can take a micro-ATX board, but to help airflow I'm going to use a mini-ITX board with an E3-1240v6 CPU and low profile CPU cooler.
 

maes

Member
Nov 11, 2018
74
42
18
I looked on C_Payne's website and did not see this riser in his store. Was this a custom build for you? Just curious as to the approximate cost for the risers. Looks like the riser supports m.2 110mm - Can you confirm?

I picked up a couple of the no label UNAS 800's that were being dumped on the bay. I already had a couple of old AIMb 273's I picked up very cheaply that needed a purpose in life. I was thinking of using in these chassis but they're quite limited. I have been looking for the unicorn mitx board, ya know, QSV, DDR4 normal sized dimms, 10Gbe SFP, SAS onboard - it doesn't exist as near as I can tell. I thought about custom internal brackets to expand things a bit.

Here you've done it! Well done!

As you've illustrated with this riser a whole new world of non server and current iteration mitx boards that could quite probably fit the bill!
It was a custom card, so the initial development and design costs were a little steep, but now that the design is done he might be able to do more them for only the manufacturing cost? The riser does support both 2280 and 22110, on both front and back faces, I have just been testing it with a pair of 2280s I had on hand.

When I get the teardown album done, I'll include all the CAD drawings for the various 3D-printed brackets. Many of them double as 'cable combs' to hold the PSU wiring harness in place and out of the way.

I was also looking at mini-itx boards with a built-in sfp+ initially, but the prices I could find for those were way out of my price range when excluding the Atoms (got burned by AVR54 on a previous Avoton board that was out of warranty).

Congratulations!!

I have one of these but I find it impossible to work on inside. Every time I try I get cuts and scrapes on my hands, and it's just an unpleasant experience. That's just me personally though.

I'm waiting until they restock the 810A model (shouldn't be long now) and building my home NAS using this. It can take a micro-ATX board, but to help airflow I'm going to use a mini-ITX board with an E3-1240v6 CPU and low profile CPU cooler.
I also found the case was a bit of a pain to work inside, but got my hands on a pile of plastic edge trim and was able to use that and a hot glue gun to cover all the sharp edges. You can just barely see some of that edge trim at the bottom of the 1st picture, lining the edges of the oval holes so the SAS cables (and HDD power cables hidden under the PSU) didn't get nicked or cut.
 
  • Like
Reactions: itronin

MBastian

Active Member
Jul 17, 2016
118
31
28
Düsseldorf, Germany
Very nice build!

It was a custom card, so the initial development and design costs were a little steep, but now that the design is done he might be able to do more them for only the manufacturing cost? The riser does support both 2280 and 22110, on both front and back faces, I have just been testing it with a pair of 2280s I had on hand.
If it splits x8/x4/x4 I'd be in for two, depending on price. Is anyone else interested? Maybe it'll be a little bit cheaper with enough orders. I'll send him an inquiry tomorrow.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: itronin and nasi

maes

Member
Nov 11, 2018
74
42
18
AIMb 273's
Yep, that's exactly what it does. x8 pass-through and x4/x4 for the m.2 slots on either side. One important thing to note is that the riser does not include a PLX pci express switch, so bifurcation has to be supported at the motherboard level. You can't use just any mini-itx board out there and expect it to work.

I'll be preparing the teardown pics tonight.
 
Last edited:

itronin

Well-Known Member
Nov 24, 2018
567
323
63
Denver, Colorado
Is anyone else interested? Maybe it'll be a little bit cheaper with enough orders. I'll send him an inquiry tomorrow.
Yes. Interested in a minimum of 2, possibly 3-4 total in case I also get a U810A down the road.

I mean great solution to get a pair x4 2210 nvme disks in a mini-itx build.
 

itronin

Well-Known Member
Nov 24, 2018
567
323
63
Denver, Colorado
AIMB 273

Yep, that's exactly what it does. x8 pass-through and x4/x4 for the m.2 slots on either side. One important thing to note is that the riser does not include a PLX pci express switch, so bifurcation has to be supported at the motherboard level. You can't use just any mini-itx board out there and expect it to work.
AIMB273's are O-L-D. Pcie 1.0 s near as I can tell and I don't recall seeing bifurcation support in the BIOS. Dont' even know if they will fit in the 800 because they have an m.2 SATA on the bottom of the board. I just had them so in lieu of finding the unicorn motherboard - minimal effort to try to build something for my next project. this riser though, means just a board with 10gbe sfp+ or shudder 10gbe and you have essentially put a saddle on the unicorn! :cool:

FWIW I've played with bifurcation on "cheap Chinese motherboards" as well as SM X9 and X10, in all cases I've experienced the docs are rarely correct, what you see in the BIOS is not necessarily what you get coming out of the slots. For example 2 slots may be x8x8 by default but when you enable X8x4x4 it may or may not be AB = x8 and CD = x4x4 and could be vice versa. The motherboard block diagram if it exists is helpful for the first guess but even in SM docs I've found inaccuracies let alone the "cheap Chinese motherboards". at the end of the day bench build experimentation (IMO) should be used to map out what you need prior to deploying the case and especially an 800. and yes absolutely if you don't understand pcie bifurcation, can't read a motherboard block diagram then please don't try this at home without juvenille supervision!

I'll be preparing the teardown pics tonight.
awesome! edit Looking forward, please post your parts list too if you would not mind. you already did. apologies for the double ask.

edit: and FWIW, last week I ordered some SM SFF-8087 forward breakout SATA 23cm length cables to use in my chassis's to replace the :eek: janky SATA only cables that came with it. ;)
 
Last edited:

maes

Member
Nov 11, 2018
74
42
18

Here's the full buildup and parts list!


Parts list:
U-NAS NSC-800 mini-itx ca
Seasonic SS-300M1U PSU with custom wiring harne
Supermicro X10SDV-2C-TNL2F
2x BeQuiet! Silent Wings 3 120mm PWM fans
2x 16GB DDR4-2133 ECC
2x intel DC S3500/S3520 120GB SATA S
8x 4TB 3.5" HDDs (mix)
1x Mellanox Connectx-3 MCX311A-XCAT
1x Dell PERC h200 cross-flashed to generic LSI 9211-8i
1x custom bifurcating low profile pcie riser. 16x --> x8/m.2/m.2
1x pcie flex riser
2x m.2 nvme drives
1x R44SF m.2 extend
1x m.2 to pcie x4 adapter
1x 16" OM4 fiber pigtail
1x fiber keystone insert
2x 18" right angle-right angle sata cables

3d-printed PSU bracket
3d-printed 2.5" HDD holding frame
3d-printed m.2 extension holder
3d-printed IO shield
 

ullbeking

Active Member
Jul 28, 2017
490
49
28
42
London
motherboard, cpu, ram? (X10SDV-2C-TNL2F with 2x 16GB DDR4)
The U-NAS 800 that I haven't worked on in lieu of waiting for the 810A to start start shipping has a Supermicro A1SRi-2758F board (pre-RMA, unfortunately, which is one reason I've left it to the side).

Anyway, I have A1SRi-2758F boards that have been repaired, and I have checked here: Intel Atom® Processor C2758 (4M Cache, 2.40 GHz) Product Specifications . Here is a set of specs on PCI-e:
  • PCI Express Revision: 2
  • PCI Express Configurations: x1, x2, x4, x8, x16
  • Max # of PCI Express Lanes: 16
Does the third line imply an x16 PCI-e slot? And if so, does the second line imply that an x4 + x4 + x8 bifurcation is possible? Or am I reading this all wrong?
 

maes

Member
Nov 11, 2018
74
42
18
Does the third line imply an x16 PCI-e slot? And if so, does the second line imply that an x4 + x4 + x8 bifurcation is possible? Or am I reading this all wrong?
Unfortunately that's the specs for the CPU itself, that has a maximum of 16 lanes in total. On the A1SRi-2758F boards, the pcie connector is only electrically wired for pcie x8. The other lanes from the CPU are either used for other things (usb 3.0 controller, IPMI chip, etc.) or just not available because the physical pins on the CPU are mapped to other functions (SATA connectors, etc.)

Overall, it means it wouldn't do any good with the riser. You would only get the passthrough x8 part.
 

ullbeking

Active Member
Jul 28, 2017
490
49
28
42
London
Unfortunately that's the specs for the CPU itself, that has a maximum of 16 lanes in total. On the A1SRi-2758F boards, the pcie connector is only electrically wired for pcie x8. The other lanes from the CPU are either used for other things (usb 3.0 controller, IPMI chip, etc.) or just not available because the physical pins on the CPU are mapped to other functions (SATA connectors, etc.)

Overall, it means it wouldn't do any good with the riser. You would only get the passthrough x8 part.
Thanks for the explanation. I have no intention of getting rid of the chassis, but I have other mini-ITX board that are alternative candidates. For example, a Supermicro X10SDV-4C+-TL4F (which I think is appropriate in the context of this thread?).
 

itronin

Well-Known Member
Nov 24, 2018
567
323
63
Denver, Colorado
Thanks for the explanation. I have no intention of getting rid of the chassis, but I have other mini-ITX board that are alternative candidates. For example, a Supermicro X10SDV-4C+-TL4F (which I think is appropriate in the context of this thread?).
that's a sibling to the board @maes has. check x16 check pcie 3.0, odds are good its BIOS also supports bifurcation though the version of BIOS you need I dunno having never worked with one.