I can sleep again ... Noctua NH-L9x65 in Supermicro SC216

gb00s

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Thanks to @Rand__ for his help purchasing a solid Supermicro SC216 (2U) with a super quiet PWS-920P-SQ. I didn't have so much space for another 3U or 4U case in my IKEA home rack. Therefore I was looking for a 2U unit only, fully aware of the problems coming with it in a home office environment. Temps vs noise. This is my D2D-workstation with some storage and lot's of VM's. I have some Asus Z10PA-D8 and put one of them in the Supermicro SC216.

In a normal/standard configuration, I run these boards with an Intel E5-2673v3 cooled by a noisy Intel fan. But the case fans of the Supermicro SC216 are even worse noise-wise. So attacked the standard noise level by exchanging the standard SAN ACE 80 (9G0812P1G09) with 3x ARCTIC F8 PWM PST CO - 80mm and Noctua NF-A8 PWM Chromax Black. Both fans extremely decreased the overall noise level, but temps were quiet not there where I wanted them. I had some strange behavior with the temps of the drives in the bays in front of the drivers, which made everything even more 'challenging'. I played much more with the mainboards itself and found out that I can play with the fan speed of each cpu/case fan separately. As the other periphery in the case, like HBA LSI 2308, Sandisk ioMemory X350 3.2TB, Sun Dual QSFP 40Gb/s InfiniBand, produces a lot of heat, I switched back to the standard SUN ACE 80 case fans. But, at a 15% rate of their standard rpm, which is .... exactly 945 rpm +/- 5%. This is quite enough to suck enough air to cool the HDD's adequately and to provide enough airflow for the other periphery, supported by small 12V Noctua NF-A4x20 FLX. So noise level was kind of ok. But the CPU fan killed the overall good experience. It was just still toooooo loud to 'sleep' just 1.5-2m away from it.

Old Intel Server Fan
Intel_Fan1.jpg

So I made some research which 2U server CPU cooler would work. As all active CPU coolers I know are all equipped with high rpm fans, server hardware would not help. So back to the retail section. Only low profile coolers will be in question. The other problem is, that 70mm high coolers won't fit anymore. Ok, you can still close the lid, but the fan or the fins of the cooler will touch it and you will definitely 'transport' some vibrations. A CPU cooler with max 69mm will fit perfectly. So as an example, a very good cooler like the Noctua NH- L12s might fail.

I bought the Noctua HN-L9x65 as it was rated for retail CPUs like i7 6950X Extreme or 5960X Extreme, bot very comparable TDP-wise.

CPU0.jpg

Result? I can sleep again. The noise difference is huge. On a standard-setting, this cooler not just lowers the CPU temperature by 20%+, the noise reduction is just outstanding. While the old Inter server cooler cooled the CPU down to 44-47C in idle at 32C room temperature. Comparing the delta, it's ok but very noisy. The standard installation suggests to install the fan pushing the air through the cooler. Oh oh, with so less space left between the case and the fan, that's terrible. And so was the result. The fan literally dies due to starving from air and pushing the air through the cooler fins additionally to the airflow from the case fans, has a negative effect. So switching from pushing the air to pulling the air made the trick.

That's the result with 32C room temperature:

Screenshot_2020-08-09_14-33-03.png

That's a 20% decrease in CPU temperature at standard-setting of fan rpm set by the BIOS. As you can set the fan rpm in the BIOS separately for each fan, I played a little bit and set it to 80% at a steady rpm rate. The noise level is still acceptable, as you can barely hear the fan with a closed case. The case fans at 15% fan speed are still a little bit noisier. But it's fine. Putting the air condition on and setting the room temperature to 25C and a 80% fan speed brings the CPU temperature down to this:

Screenshot_2020-08-09_15-42-30.png

Still you can't hear anything with closed case and it's kind of awesome. A 2U server rack properly cooled in a warm environment and still almost totally quiet like a normal workstation. Sure, not as noiseless as a desktop can be, but that's a different story.

CPU1.jpg

CPU2.jpg

I can sleep right next to my server rack and do not need to care about temperatures. I'm not sure someone considered these CPU coolers in a 2U server environment, but it's worth a try.

Regards

Mike
 
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Rand__

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Nice - how did you mount the small Noctuas to the extension cards?
 

gb00s

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Between case and HBA thin double-sided tape. Between HBA and Sandisk SX350 they just hold together. Like they were made to. Between the Sandisk SX350 and the Sun QSFP card (not on the picture) it's the same. It just fits without bending the cards. If you put normal (thick) tape between them to fix the fans, it will bend the cards. Wouldn't recommend it. A friend of mine just put rubberband around card and cooler. Works as well.
 

gb00s

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No, but wait .... ;) Could think about it. I had some super-thin industrial tape from a family member. Very rare, very expansive. This was so strong you could not take away the fan without pulling a 'tip'. But it's effective and the cards do not bend. So it's fine.
 

T_Minus

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This is an interesting work around for CPU... Those intel fans are SUPER loud, I would have suggested the Dynatron copper (heavy), they're nearly silent, and I can run a 216 behind me with lid off without even noticing it's on :D Probably a bit cheaper than this route.

Like @Rand__ said, the 3d printed holders would be nice! I use ZipTie for my home servers for HBA, Intel NVME (enterprise) and FusionIO very similiar to how you did, and they work, but aren't, uh,. ermm clean :D

If someone would 3d PRINT an adapter for the HS that could fit the noctua fans and it clipped on, that'd be great!
 
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gb00s

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If I'm not mistaken, the Dynatron's are all with Narrow pattern, while my board is 2011-3 with Square pattern. I know them as well, as I have a similar on an SM X10 (1155). I also considered these for a 1U chassis I'm working on with the same mainboard but just with E5-2630v4. But I could not find a square model.

I'm already working on 3D model. Just not sure for the moment to go 40mm (3x), 60mm (2x) or 80mm (1x) in these chassis.
 
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T_Minus

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If I'm not mistaken, the Dynatron's are all with Narrow pattern, while my board is 2011-3 with Square pattern. I know them as well, as I have a similar on an SM X10 (1155). I also considered these for a 1U chassis I'm working on with the same mainboard but just with E5-2630v4. But I could not find a square model.

I'm already working on 3D model. Just not sure for the moment to go 40mm (3x), 60mm (2x) or 80mm (1x) in these chassis.
oh, man you're 100% right!
Not sure why I breezed over it was a V3 setup!

Maybe making an adapter for V3\4 should be suggested to them, those are my favorite HSF for 2U, and the SM 4U for 4U.
I too also use variants of them on my 115x setups too!

I look forward to your 3d model @gb00s
 

mmo

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i am using SNK-P0048AP4 with NF-A6x25 PWM, not the best cooling but fits my need :).
 

acquacow

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If you put blanks in to the right of the ioDrive and covered some of the mesh behind the CPU, you might not even need the 60mm to keep that sx350 cool...
 

gb00s

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If you put blanks in to the right of the ioDrive and covered some of the mesh behind the CPU, you might not even need the 60mm to keep that sx350 cool...
My idea is to get away from the 40x40x20 solution between the cards because you always need one slot space between them. Otherwise, you would need like a 'clip' solution which clips directly to the card, and the fan is connected to this clip. The disadvantage of that solution is the different hide and lengths of the cards. So the hide has be be adjustable. Fans on the card could possibly interfere with the card right next to it do to length differences to each other.

No, I'm thinking about a swiveling solution, with 3-4x 40mm/2-3x 60mm or 1-2x 80mm fans mounted to them and behind the cards. The device should be fixed to the case, maybe movable via a bar in order to position it behind the cards and being able to adjust the gap to it. Direct airflow is not always the most efficient.

Lets figure it out ...

i am using SNK-P0048AP4 with NF-A6x25 PWM, not the best cooling but fits my need
I already lost more than 50% hearing ability, but still this max 8600rpm fan wouldn't be a good solution to get sleep/work ;) right next to the server
 
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mmo

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I already lost more than 50% hearing ability, but still this max 8600rpm fan wouldn't be a good solution to get sleep/work ;) right next to the server
I swapped the 8600rpm fan with noctua NF-A6x25 PWM and it's dead silent :)