Looking at X8 based Fat Twin, Options/Questions inside

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FelixTCat

New Member
Feb 23, 2016
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Hi Everyone,

Long time lurker, very occasional poster :), I have a bunch of questions, I have looked for the answers but can't seem to find them.

Pretense:
So I was browsing ebay from some hot deal and up pops a supermicro fat twin, digging a little deep there are some ranging from $99 no proc, ram, or trays to $249, 2 cpu's, 16gb (4x4gb), 24 trays:
$249 - SuperMicro Storage Server 24 Bay 2026TT-DLRF 2x X8DTT-HEF+ E5620 CSE-217 +Trays | eBay
$195 - SuperMicro Storage Server 24 Bay 2026TT-DLRF 2x X8DTT-HEF+ CSE-217 + 15x Trays
$159 - SuperMicro Storage Server 24Bay 2026TT-DLRF 2x X8DTT-HEF+ 2xE5620 CSE-217 +Trays | eBay
$99 - SuperMicro Storage Server 24 Bay 2026TT-DLRF 2x X8DTT-HEF+ SATA SAS SSD CSE-217 | eBay

Now... I know what you are all thinking, why buy this "old crap"... well I don't have heaps of money, and I'm from Australia so most of this stuff costs 5x here if you can actually find it. A R710 will run you at least A$500 with 2x5640 and 24G ram, then there is shipping.

So sorry for such a large intro. Questions:
  • Can the X8 board be upgraded to X9/10 board? With a new sled or just m/board. ie is the backplane for the sled the same over board generations.
  • Can the PWS-1K41P-1R be swapped out for other (ie SQ psu's)? Looking at the psu matrix on this page: Super Micro Computer, Inc. - Support | Power Supply Matrix, says it has "Backplanes (gold finger)", so any PSU that has backplanes (gold finger) can be substituted?
  • Would you guys recommend getting the more expensive "deal" or buy some trays separately?
I don't need a lot compute power. Most of what I want to do is learn/play, so the lack of compute power compared to a e5 v1-4 is fine. Just want some more ram to play around with (obviously need to buy more on top of the chassis). My thoughts were to buy a pair of 5640L and a pair of x5675's or something similar and 64-128G ram. Down the road (assuming the boards can be upgraded) get a new board and cpus. So I'm looking at this as an investment in the chassis.

Please tell me i'm stupid... Happy to hear other options if i'm looking in the wrong direction. Would like to keep it under US$600, that chassis is $295 shipped to AU (ebay rate)... so not a lot left over. Obviously more will be needed for the ram/proc upgrade when that is required later.

Cheers,
Ryan
 

ttabbal

Active Member
Mar 10, 2016
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I've never seen these before, but some quick google time makes me think they aren't bad. The motherboards plug into the backplane, so any boards you replace them with need to be compatible. I suspect that they are made to work together and upgrades are going to be difficult. If you don't need a ton of compute, they aren't bad as they are. X56xx series CPUs are available at reasonable prices, as are DDR3 RDIMMs. You should be able to upgrade those without issues.

The trays look to be the usual 2.5" trays, so you should be able to get them anywhere. I bet someone around here has some of them available, but I have seen them around on ebay. I've read that with Supermicro cases, you want the trays and either a drive or a blank installed for proper cooling over the installed drives. I don't know how true that is, but it makes sense as air will follow the path of least resistance.

Each node has half of the drive slots assigned to it. It looks like they are fixed and can't be used on the other node. That's kind of annoying if you want to build a large storage array. If you just want to have a couple drives on each for boot and storage, it's likely fine. Just something to be aware of.

My main server uses a dual 1366 board with X5675s installed. They are power hungry compared to more modern CPUs, but the cost difference at my power costs is a few years worth of power. I'll likely upgrade before that happens. And the 20 HDDs installed probably use as much or more power anyway. :)

The other downside to these older setups is that they are older. However, server grade parts tend to be built well and should hold up fine for at least a few more years. I see working Supermicro boards that are older all the time.

If the idea is to have a future proof chassis, so far as that happens anyway... I might avoid these unless you find boards that are documented to work with the backplane. A normal single board chassis is going to be more flexible that way. My SC846 can take most any board I want to put in there, as it uses the "normal" method of connecting everything up with standard cables, other than the front panel (power switch/LED, drive LED, etc), but there are cheap adapter cables around for that.
 

pgh5278

Active Member
Oct 25, 2012
478
130
43
Australia
Hi Everyone,

Long time lurker, very occasional poster :), I have a bunch of questions, I have looked for the answers but can't seem to find them.

Pretense:
So I was browsing ebay from some hot deal and up pops a supermicro fat twin, digging a little deep there are some ranging from $99 no proc, ram, or trays to $249, 2 cpu's, 16gb (4x4gb), 24 trays:
$249 - SuperMicro Storage Server 24 Bay 2026TT-DLRF 2x X8DTT-HEF+ E5620 CSE-217 +Trays | eBay
$195 - SuperMicro Storage Server 24 Bay 2026TT-DLRF 2x X8DTT-HEF+ CSE-217 + 15x Trays
$159 - SuperMicro Storage Server 24Bay 2026TT-DLRF 2x X8DTT-HEF+ 2xE5620 CSE-217 +Trays | eBay
$99 - SuperMicro Storage Server 24 Bay 2026TT-DLRF 2x X8DTT-HEF+ SATA SAS SSD CSE-217 | eBay

Now... I know what you are all thinking, why buy this "old crap"... well I don't have heaps of money, and I'm from Australia so most of this stuff costs 5x here if you can actually find it. A R710 will run you at least A$500 with 2x5640 and 24G ram, then there is shipping.

So sorry for such a large intro. Questions:
  • Can the X8 board be upgraded to X9/10 board? With a new sled or just m/board. ie is the backplane for the sled the same over board generations.
  • Can the PWS-1K41P-1R be swapped out for other (ie SQ psu's)? Looking at the psu matrix on this page: Super Micro Computer, Inc. - Support | Power Supply Matrix, says it has "Backplanes (gold finger)", so any PSU that has backplanes (gold finger) can be substituted?
  • Would you guys recommend getting the more expensive "deal" or buy some trays separately?
I don't need a lot compute power. Most of what I want to do is learn/play, so the lack of compute power compared to a e5 v1-4 is fine. Just want some more ram to play around with (obviously need to buy more on top of the chassis). My thoughts were to buy a pair of 5640L and a pair of x5675's or something similar and 64-128G ram. Down the road (assuming the boards can be upgraded) get a new board and cpus. So I'm looking at this as an investment in the chassis.

Please tell me i'm stupid... Happy to hear other options if i'm looking in the wrong direction. Would like to keep it under US$600, that chassis is $295 shipped to AU (ebay rate)... so not a lot left over. Obviously more will be needed for the ram/proc upgrade when that is required later.

Cheers,
Ryan
Ryan, I am in Brisbane and about to upgrade a 12 bay 2 node version to X9 boards, will let you know week after next , as am away this week.. You just need to match the chassis / the backplane and the connector card.. Can chat offline sometime to explain, however if you goto supermicro site and look up the twin models you can see the the x8 and x9 models use the same chassis in many instances, used that as my guide and very confident it will be extract, and plug in new ones..as the chassis model is exactly the same.. However you do have to pick the initial purchase and upgrade path..
 
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T_Minus

Build. Break. Fix. Repeat
Feb 15, 2015
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I should look into seeing if I can upgrade my x9 to x10, hmmm :)
 

pgh5278

Active Member
Oct 25, 2012
478
130
43
Australia
Ryan, I am in Brisbane and about to upgrade a 12 bay 2 node version to X9 boards, will let you know week after next , as am away this week.. You just need to match the chassis / the backplane and the connector card.. Can chat offline sometime to explain, however if you goto supermicro site and look up the twin models you can see the the x8 and x9 models use the same chassis in many instances, used that as my guide and very confident it will be extract, and plug in new ones..as the chassis model is exactly the same.. However you do have to pick the initial purchase and upgrade path..
If you havent purchased here is one at a good price with X9
SUPERMICRO 6027TR-DTRF FAT TWIN 2 NODE BAREBONE CTO NO CPU NO MEM NO HDD RAILS
 

pgh5278

Active Member
Oct 25, 2012
478
130
43
Australia
I should look into seeing if I can upgrade my x9 to x10, hmmm :)
T_Minus, I looked at going straight to X10, the boards and sleds are not so available and at reasonable pricing on ebay yet,, perhaps soon..
I did find out is better to bed board with sleds, as the x8 and x9 boards have different mount holes.....:)
 
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FelixTCat

New Member
Feb 23, 2016
11
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38
Wow wasn't expecting such a response, let alone so quickly. Thanks guys.

ttabbal - Yeah the new boards would have to be fat twin boards, I wasn't sure if the backplane was compatible from one generation to the next (x8, x9, x10,...) which I guess is the crux of me looking at this chassis. If I can't upgrade the board then I would be stuck. If I can upgrade I can buy a board/cpu/ram from the states down the road and postage for those things isn't soooo expensive given the size/weight is a lot less than a complete server.

Half the drives being to each node is fine. I would most likely be using an external case for more drives. I currently have a an i3 3220T based "server" with win2012, that is starting to reach it's end so I would probably be re-purposing this case to be an external DAS. I have a lian li cube case that can take 24 drives too if started to get desperate, but my storage needs at the moment are OK.

Yeah I wasn't thinking of leaving both nodes on all the time. If I moved my current setup over to a dual 5640L, and had the x5675's powered on when I wanted to use them for learning/playing or some trans-coding or something...

pgh5278 - Thanks, may take up you on that offer. let me know how you go with the upgrade. I just recently moved from Brissy down to Mel, bit of a temperature diffence :(. If the boards can be upgraded then "my plan" works. I was looking on the SM website and that was the impression I got but it isn't really confirmed, googling/redit/here didn't seem to confirm either... hence this thread.

No I haven't purchased yet, wont be till my tax is done. That one you linked does look good though, SQ power supplies already, X9 based... mmm damn. maybe posting wasn't the best idea. now I want to spend more money.

T-Minus - you have some X9 based fat twins? How are they on noise? I'm assuming with these being 2u they are "quieter" than a 1u server?

Cheers,
Ryan