iStarUSA D-400L-7 anyone? Or, yet another 4U chassis recommendation thread

Discussion in 'Chassis and Enclosures' started by matt_garman, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. matt_garman

    matt_garman Active Member

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    I've gone back and forth on home server cases more times than I care to admit. Every time I switch I promise myself, this time it's permanent. I haven't kept my promises. :)

    My current home server is housed in a Supermicro 825 (2U) series chassis. As much as I like SM stuff, there are two issues I want to address: interior height and the power supply.

    On the interior height: I don't have an immediate need for more height, but I have my eye on that Asrock Rack X470D4U board, and if I migrate to that, I'd like to not be too limited with CPU coolers. Also, bigger cases allow bigger fans, so they can run slower (read: quieter) while still providing enough airflow.

    The main issue is really the PSU: one, it's way over-powered for my humble setup; and two, it's loud. It's actually not that loud, but it's high-pitched and rather annoying. I could be mistaken, but it looks like SM doesn't make any low powered (say <300W) PSUs, and I think (at least with this case?) they are not standard 1U PSUs, so I can't just buy any old 1U PSU. Happy to be wrong here: if I can get a quiet(er), right-sized PSU, I'll likely be happy for now.

    That said, I'm looking to replace the chassis with a 4U rackmount. I'm afraid to stay with SM, partially due to cost, but mostly due to worry of being in the same boat regarding PSUs... I'd really like to use a plain old ATX power supply, as they are cheap, readily available and quiet. (I don't need redundancy for this home server. The current SM chassis has dual 1U hotswap PSUs, but I actually have one pulled for efficiency.)

    I only have four 3.5" spinning drives (plus one 2.5 SSD and one M.2 SSD). Hot-swap is nice to have, but not absolutely necessary, as long as the drives are reasonably easy to access/change.

    So, after a fair amount of searching, I landed on this: iStarUSA D-400L-7. Note the "L" (for "long") which gives it enough room for the 3x120mm fan panel in the middle. Just over $200 online. ATX power supply. All those 5.25" bays could house 3.5" drives (using adapters) or could accommodate hotswap racks if I want to get fancy.

    Other cases that meet my requirements, but fall short, include:
    • Rosewill RSV-L4x00 (e.g. RSV-L4500) - some reports of this not actually fitting and working smoothly with sliding rails in a rack cabinet; also, not sure if the 5.25" bays are standard enough to accommodate generic hotswap caddies (i.e. is it restricted strictly to Rosewill caddies?).
    • Various Norco offerings - I don't need SM quality, but in my experience, Norco goes too far in the other direction. I had a Norco 4U many years ago, and found out the hard way it's actually too wide to be used with sliding rails in a standard 19" rack. Also the front panel buttons physically broke (and stopped working).

    Anything I'm overlooking?

    Other than the drives I mentioned, the rest of the server is an x10sdv-tln4f (Xeon D-1541).

    Thanks!
     
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  2. BLinux

    BLinux cat lover server enthusiast

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    i'm not really sure i understand you about SMCI PSUs? A large subset of their chassis all share the same PSU design so they are mostly interchangeable except for a few cases. The PWS-920P-SQ is the silent Plat. PSU that you probably want.. and it should work in the SM825 as well as the 4U SM846 and SM847 chassis, and many other SMCI server as well as some workstation chassis. It can be found on eBay for $50-$80. The ability to upgrade a lot of older SMCI servers with their latest "SQ" (Super Quiet) PSUs is one of the things I really like about SMCI servers; unlike other brands where they seem to change the PSU design in every generation or even between models of the same generation.

    BTW, as far as 2U vs 4U cooling with larger fans that run quieter... you are not going to see that benefit unless you actually make use of the larger cross section of airflow. Meaning, if you use a 120mm or 140mm fan in a 4U, but all your hot components are still sitting in the bottom 2U half of the chassis, you're not going to necessarily get better cooling in order to be able to run the fans slower. To take advantage of the larger cross section, you need to setup air ducts to direct the 4U cross section of airflow across the components you need to cool; by narrowing the airflow cross section, you increase the velocity without speeding up the fans themselves. The other way, more expensive way, is to conduct the heat into larger cooling devices that take advantage of the 4U space, like really tall heatsinks; but you might need to put some thought behind that because if the only thing you put large heatsinks on is the CPU, the other components may become starved of airflow (VRM, RAM, IOH, etc.). Personally, I would look into making air ducts with larger slower fans as the best approach.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
  3. EffrafaxOfWug

    EffrafaxOfWug Radioactive Member

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    Are SM cases not compatible with generic 1U/2U PSUs then?

    Aside from the prices in the UK, SM cases coming with comically overpowered PSUs is one of the big reasons I've never bought one; for a home build, if you're not going to be using 500W plus, even using the 900W SQs is wasting a huge amount of power over the lifetime of the kit due to you never getting into the efficiency sweet-spots. Doing a test on my latest build, when I was testing power at idle with an old 640W 80+ Bronze, it clocked in an idle draw of 31W - switching that out for a 350W 80+ Gold and the exact same hardware drew only 23W. Basically I don't feel I can justify spending extra money on a power supply that'll end up costing me more money and heat over the equipment lifecycle, when a lower-powered PSU will be cheaper and quieter overall in both capital outlay and operating costs.</petpeeve>

    Personally I've never bought cases with PSUs included and have been happy with adding a super-efficient and very well made aftermarket Seasonic (including for my rackmounts).

    As far as fan walls go, I've got a 3U case that I quietened replacing it with three 120mm Noctua fans and a custom PWM cable - airflow is good enough for my purposes that additional ducting isn't needed (although it's not a server that runs full pelt CPU-wise).

    As per other threads I'm also building a X470D4U (although it won't be in the rackmount with the fan wall) with the 3700X - it can kick out a fair amount of heat running flat out but the included heatsink and good-but-not-wind-tunnel airflow should be perfectly adequate for cooling even the 12 core model.
     
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  4. BlueFox

    BlueFox Active Member

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    You're barely going to waste any power. 80+ platinum PSUs still need to be at least 90% efficient at 20% load, which is only 2% different than 50% load. Even if efficiency were only 80% at 5% load instead of 90%, that's about 5W difference, which comes out to be $0.37 a month at $0.10/kWh. I doubt it's actually that low too, just though an extreme would make for a good example. You're mostly paying for the noise and barely generating any extra heat or using much more electricity.
     
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  5. matt_garman

    matt_garman Active Member

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    Likely due to me posting without 100% knowledge of SM's PSU lineup. :)

    I didn't realize they could be had that cheap, I just saw the $200 retail price. I might give this a try... it's an option anyway. But I'm kind of with EffrafaxOfWug, a 920W power supply is serious overkill for my system. I estimate it tops out at 200 watts max at boot time with the spinning drives starting up. But once running, even if the CPU is maxed, I can't imagine it draws much over 100 watts, likely around 50-60 most of the time. On the other hand, if the PWS-920P-SQ is cheap and quiet, maybe I'll say good enough.


    Mainly, I do in fact want the height for tall CPU heatsinks. I'm pretty confident none of the rest of the components (i.e. the "low" stuff that lives near the floor of the chassis) need direct forced cooling - as long as there's some reasonable airflow, everything should be good enough.

    I also forgot to mention I'm flirting with the idea of getting a full-height GPU for dipping my toes into some machine learning projects.


    I'm not sure - I assume the answer is no, but don't take my word on it! Can anyone confirm or deny this?
     
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  6. i386

    i386 Well-Known Member

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  7. EffrafaxOfWug

    EffrafaxOfWug Radioactive Member

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    I'm aware of the power requirements of hard drives, but at no point does the OP mention they're using 15k screamers. You also need to consider that most of that draw is likely going to be on the 12V rail (depends on the hard drive but IIRC they all power their motors from the 12V rail). Of course, with SAS discs you can usually use staggered spin-up so that the PSU wouldn't ever see anywhere near the theoretical peak power draw.

    Your average SATA NAS drive that most home users will be using - such as a relatively thirsty model like the 10TB Toshiba N300 (7200rpm and no helium) - has a working power draw of 10W and a spin-up of 16W, and less than 12W for the ~5400rpm helium models.

    From the pictures, the mounts look standardised and I've heard anecdotes of people replacing them with non-SM power supplies... but evidence is few and far between. If you've already got the case are you able to compare the mounting with other cases?
     
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  8. matt_garman

    matt_garman Active Member

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    No disagreement with your math, but in my case, I have two HGST He8 drives and two Seagate Helium 10TB drives (all SATA). Runtime power consumption is 7.4W and 8.4W, respectively, so 31.6W. I don't see spinup power consumption numbers, but assume 30W, that's still only 120W at startup.

    Two Crucial MX300 SSDs, which appear to have a max power draw of 5.2W, so 10.4W total. Given these are actually idle or near-idle most of the time, their actual power consumption is negligible.

    I don't believe my x10sdv-tln4f motherboard (with embedded CPU) will ever draw over 100W. (Couldn't find hard numbers on this, but 45W TDP CPU, and double that and round up a bit for a conservative estimate of MB, RAM, VRM, etc power usage.)

    That's 230W absolute worst-case scenario. Budget a generous 30W for fans, and I'm right at 260W. But realistic typical runtime ought to be on the order of 30W for drives + 50W for CPU/MB + 10W for fans = 90W. So I'd say a 300W PSU is ideal for my system.
     
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  9. matt_garman

    matt_garman Active Member

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    Attached are a couple pictures of my Supermicro power supply and a generic 1U PSU I have on hand. The Supermicro is a PWS-721P-1R, and the generic is a Seasonic SS-250SU.

    Obviously there's no way I can use the generic 1U in my SM case: the SM PSU is meant to plug into a "backplane", so there are no wires or connectors, just a bit of PCB hanging out with electrical pads on it. You can also see the width (or height, depending on your perspective) is different: the Seasonic 1U is clearly a few mm wider than the SM.

    Birds eye view:
    birds_eye.jpg


    Side-by-side:
    rear_view.jpg
     
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  10. BLinux

    BLinux cat lover server enthusiast

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    If you want to use non-SMCI PSU in a SMCI chassis... you can remove the PDB (Power Distribution Board) with the PSU, and even the "PSU cage"... then it's just a matter of making holes to mount whatever you want to mount.
     
    #10
  11. BlueFox

    BlueFox Active Member

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    It's also worth mentioning that not all Supermicro chassis utilize hot-swap power supplies. There are plenty that have more standardized form factors with no PDB.
     
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  12. matt_garman

    matt_garman Active Member

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    To be clear, you're saying the chassis will need to be physically modified, right? As far as removing the PDB, do you happen to know offhand, can that be done with screws? Or is the PDB attached with rivets that would need to be drilled out?

    By "making holes", I assume you mean drilling holes in the chassis? I think it would also require some kind of custom plate to which the aftermarket/generic 1U PSU would attach. I suppose such a plate could be 3D printed, though I don't know how I would attach the plate to the chassis. I don't feel like this is a trivial modification, unless I'm missing something.

    It would be ghetto, but perhaps I could remove the PDB and PSU cage (assuming they come out with screws), then use something like industrial-strength velcro to hold the generic 1U in place. Maybe good enough for a home server.
     
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  13. BLinux

    BLinux cat lover server enthusiast

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    on the 846 and 825 chassis i've taken apart, you can remove the PDB with just screws. Supermicro chassis are usually pretty modular and most of it can be taken apart with just screws. the part that i find that has rivets (still possible to take apart if you know how to work with rivets) is usually the HDD cage at the front.

    Depends on what you're trying to fit... i've seen on many reddit posts where people put standard ATX PSUs in 4U or 3U? SMCI servers and it didn't seem that complicated. drilling holes and taping threads isn't that hard if you've done it once before. i guess it just depends how comfortable you are with "DIY"... i'm the type of fool who spends a couple hours filing square holes (https://forums.servethehome.com/ind...le-weekend-project-for-my-server-build.15630/)... don't take my advice. :p
     
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  14. Wolfstar

    Wolfstar Member

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    Late to the game here, but wanted to point out that it's not JUST the PWS-920P-SQs that are quiet. Any of the Gold or Platinum rated Supermicro PSUs below a kilowatt are very reasonable - I've got a PWS-563-1H (560w 80+ Gold non-swap PSU) in my CSE-815TQ and you can't hear the thing - certainly not over the fans, but even a noise test was barely noticeable. Same could be said of the PWS-721P-1R, of which I have a pair.

    My file server is using a PWS-501P-1R, which is a 500w 80+ Platinum hot-swap (in a CSE-836). I no longer have the data sheet I found, but I found the data sheet for it and it was listed as 24 decibels at 50% power draw. Best of all, the power board in my 836 is a PDB-PT825-8824, very likely the same as in OP's current chassis. So there's a 500w platinum PSU that's functionally as silent as you can get while still spinning a fan, and that can be had for $30-$50 on eBay.
     
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