My HDDs get too hot. What type of fans do I need?

itsme

New Member
Jun 8, 2019
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Hi everyone,
I have 2 unraid servers that get too hot when parity syncing, especially in the summer, so it is time to change the fans (original fans that came with the case).
I like the cases I am using, and you cannot find anything similar these days, but due to their idiosyncrasies, I am not sure what type of fans I need, high airflow or static pressure?

So I would really appreciate your input:
1. As you probably can see, in both cases, the fan(s) on the bottom right leave some space between them and the cages (and there is additional space around the cages). What type of fan would be preferable (I am guessing airflow)?
2. For the middle bottom fans in 1st case what type of fan would be preferable (I am guessing pressure)?
3. I also have some 2->3 and 3->4 cages for the 5.25″ drive bays but I guess that the type of fans needed is pressure?

4. Also, since I will need almost 10 fans, I am wondering if there is something similar in quality to noctua but more affordable?

Thanks in advance for any information...

lian-li1.jpg

lian-li2.jpg
 

i386

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Mar 18, 2016
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If the second Chassis is Like Others with a 'front door' opening it would improve the temperatures drastically. Did you try that?

And what are the ambiet temperatures?
 

elvisimprsntr

Member
May 9, 2021
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You should really be looking for cases that are "cool" and not just look "cool". Form over function will always result in technical compromise. Just ask Jony Ive.
 

itsme

New Member
Jun 8, 2019
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If the second Chassis is Like Others with a 'front door' opening it would improve the temperatures drastically. Did you try that?

And what are the ambiet temperatures?
You are correct, the front door opens and it helps. But it is not enough. For the time being I have both side cover open and some small desktop fans pointed to them, in order to not reach too high temps.

Ambient temps can reach 30-32C in the summer, esp. when I am away and AC is off (too costly to keep it on all the time).

You should really be looking for cases that are "cool" and not just look "cool". Form over function will always result in technical compromise. Just ask Jony Ive.
Looking "Cool" has nothing to do with the reasoning for using these cases. I like them because they are high quality and, also, form & function coincide here, since I need many HDDs and the cases that offer this feature are numbered nowadays. I dont think any other cases that can afford >15 HDDs would be much better, temperature-wise.
 

i386

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Btw you posted in the title "hdds" and in the post it's "server". Is it both?
And what means "too hot"? controller/hba alarm? "high tempoerature" in smart data?
Links to manufacturer? (first chassis is black inside, can't see details at the bottom)
I dont think any other cases that can afford >15 HDDs would be much better, temperature-wise.
not 100% sure what you mean with "afford" in that context...
"no chassis with 15+ hdds that can cool hdds"?
 

itsme

New Member
Jun 8, 2019
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Btw you posted in the title "hdds" and in the post it's "server". Is it both?
And what means "too hot"? controller/hba alarm? "high tempoerature" in smart data?
Links to manufacturer? (first chassis is black inside, can't see details at the bottom)
The HDDs that get hot are inside the servers I mentioned. Both cases are Lian-Li (Lian LI PC-V2010 & Lian Li PC-A71B). I am refering to the HDD SMART temps.

not 100% sure what you mean with "afford" in that context...
"no chassis with 15+ hdds that can cool hdds"?
I get what you mean, e.g. if I had a rack mounted server (or any case_ with industrial fans, I would not have any temp problems. Unfortunately, currently I do not have the luxury to put my unraid servers somewhere isolated where loud fans won't be a problem. So, I am using Desktop cases for my servers. Also, these cases have good airflow, it just is not enough where I live, where ambient temps are high. So, I am looking to improve the 1 component that could currently help, the fans/
 

Stephan

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Apr 21, 2017
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You need to a) get fans close to your HDDs, below 5 cm or 2 inches and b) get the heat out of the case.

For best performance at low prices look into Arctic P12. Available as PWM but also as "silent" with 3-pin. With that many fans you will probably use a fan header multiplier PCB. The 3-pin 1050 rpm "silent" version mounted closeby should be ok for run of the mill 7200rpm SATA 10+ TB disks. For SAS at 10k or 15k RPM you have to up that to more like 1500 rpm. Provided you can remove enough hot air from the case at all.

If there is no mount for fans close to HDDs, try four zip ties and suspended in air.

Are these Lian Li? Expensive, bad designs, lots for weight because of all the metal, lots of bling, but little clever functionality is my impression for some time now. The cases seem badly designed for this many HDDs, which can be seen by the lonely 120/140mm fan in the back. Way too little airflow, you are cooking your HDDs inside at 30deg ambient. Look at Fractal Design "Torrent" or 7 XL case to see what I mean. How fast is the back side fan? This looks suspiciously like one big bottleneck. Every disk will add say 5 watts that need to get removed. To remove that much heat with a single 120/140mm fan in the back, you need a Noctua 3000 rpm industrial fan. Or one with similar characteristics. But those are anything but quiet.

If you have that many HDDs you want a Netapp DS4246 with cables and a (cooled) PCIe 3.0 8e SAS controller. Or ditch the cases and get a 7 XL with some trays to mount all these HDDs. Study the manual before buying to gauge what you need in extra parts.
 
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itsme

New Member
Jun 8, 2019
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You need to a) get fans close to your HDDs, below 5 cm or 2 inches and b) get the heat out of the case.

For best performance at low prices look into Arctic P12. Available as PWM but also as "silent" with 3-pin. With that many fans you will probably use a fan header multiplier PCB. The 3-pin 1050 rpm "silent" version mounted closeby should be ok for run of the mill 7200rpm SATA 10+ TB disks. For SAS at 10k or 15k RPM you have to up that to more like 1500 rpm. Provided you can remove enough hot air from the case at all.

If there is no mount for fans close to HDDs, try four zip ties and suspended in air.
Thanks for the good info, do you have a typical example of a fan header multiplier, so I know what I am looking for? Also, since Arctic P12 are high static pressure fans, O am guessing you are implying that this is the type of fans I need.

Are these Lian Li? Expensive, bad designs, lots for weight because of all the metal, lots of bling, but little clever functionality is my impression for some time now. The cases seem badly designed for this many HDDs, which can be seen by the lonely 120/140mm fan in the back. Way too little airflow, you are cooking your HDDs inside at 30deg ambient. Look at Fractal Design "Torrent" or 7 XL case to see what I mean. How fast is the back side fan? This looks suspiciously like one big bottleneck. Every disk will add say 5 watts that need to get removed. To remove that much heat with a single 120/140mm fan in the back, you need a Noctua 3000 rpm industrial fan. Or one with similar characteristics. But those are anything but quiet.
I think you are exaggerating, you have to take in account that these are 15 yrs old, at that time they were very good (and great quality). Most cases have one fan at the back anyways (but I am guessing you are implying that they also have exhaust fans on the top). Even so, good positive pressure should be enough, to compensate for lack of many exhaust fans. Also, one of the cases has fans on both sides of the HDD cage. As for the high temps of the additional cages I put in the 5.25" slots, Lian Li is hardly to blame...

I should mention that I use a Phanteks P600S for my main PC and although it has excellent airflow and I have set it up optimally, it still gets a bit hot due to where I live.

If you have that many HDDs you want a Netapp DS4246 with cables and a (cooled) PCIe 3.0 8e SAS controller. Or ditch the cases and get a 7 XL with some trays to mount all these HDDs. Study the manual before buying to gauge what you need in extra parts.
Netapp (and similar enclosure) is unfortunatelly too expensive in Europe (although it is ideal) more than 700E. So is any other case, especially since I have to get 2 cases (for 2 servers). My badget is restricted, that is why my original question was about fans...
 

i386

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Mar 18, 2016
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What nobody asked yet: how large are the hdds you currently use?
(Personally I would replace all <=6TB hdds with 16TB+ hdds (lowest price per TB for new datacenter sata hdds in eu))
 

itsme

New Member
Jun 8, 2019
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What nobody asked yet: how large are the hdds you currently use?
(Personally I would replace all <=6TB hdds with 16TB+ hdds (lowest price per TB for new datacenter sata hdds in eu))
They are all 6-14TBs. In EU in particular I have noticed that 14TB-16TB are indeed the sweet spot, depending on the week.
 

nabsltd

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Jan 26, 2022
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I dont think any other cases that can afford >15 HDDs would be much better, temperature-wise.
Pick two:
  • Lots of drives
  • Drives stay cool
  • Fans are quiet
Like the old, "cheap, good, fast...pick two", hard drive cooling is the same. My 4U rack mount servers hold a crap-ton of drives, and the drives stay cool, but the rack is in the basement where I can't hear it.

My 4U workstation case only holds 10 hot swap drives, and the I set the fans to be not annoying in the same room, and the drive temperatures suffer a bit (45-47°C).
 

Stephan

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Apr 21, 2017
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Well, with engineering and more money, you could have lots of drives, which stay cool, with quiet fans.

I have a Fractal Design 7 XL with eight 14 TB drives in RAIDZ2. Right in front of the drives are three Silent Wings 2 PWM. On one of the drives I have a thermal sensor taped to it which goes to an Aquaero 6 PCB mounted in the case's ceiling. The Aquaero controls the HDD fans based on actual temperature. I use hd-idle to spin down all drives if nothing is going on (mostly the case). Fan curve set in Aquaero will keep fans at inaudible 500 rpm and ramp to 1200 rpm if temperature increases. One PWM output ("Front Mitte+U" = front middle+bottom) is split with a 4-pin PWM fan Y-cable going to two fans for the front HDDs. Ran out of PWM outputs...

Another fan is controlled by another temperature sensor going to a SAS controller card. This is a 92mm Noctua PWM on a carrier right below the card. Might as well have just used a constant 800-900 RPM fan because the card never needed any more airflow.

Finally the backside fan (German "Hinten") is controlled by the temperature of the first voltage regulator ("fan amplifier 1") on the Aquaero itself. If that gets hotter, hot air is stuck in the ceiling of the case, requiring removal. So the backside fan will ramp up.

The USB connection of the Aquaero is passed through to a Windows VM because software is Windows only. Settings only need to be set once, then system is autonomous though. When system reboots, the VM is frozen to disk and thawed once it is back up. This will soft break USB. I have replicated a libvirt hook script and an USB reset script below in case any of you want to try this. The script will wait 30 seconds after VM is thawed and then remove and re-attach the USB device.

Capture.PNG

/etc/libvirt/hooks/qemu, mode 0755:
Bash:
#!/bin/bash

VM="sterzing"

if [ "$1" = "$VM" -a "$2" = "started" ]; then
        F="/usr/local/sbin/vm-aquaero-reset"
        if [ -x "$F" ]; then
                "$F" "$VM" >/dev/null 2>&1 </dev/null &
                disown
        fi
fi

exit 0
/usr/local/sbin/vm-aquaero-reset, mode 0755:
Bash:
#!/bin/bash

[ $# -eq 0 ] && { echo "Error: Missing VM name." >&2 ; exit 1; }
[ $# -eq 1 ] && sleep 30

VM="$1"

USB1=$(virsh dumpxml $VM 2>/dev/null | \
        awk '
                BEGIN { go=0 }
                /<hostdev mode='\''subsystem'\'' type='\''usb'\'' / { go=1 }
                { if (go) print $0 }
                /<\/hostdev>/ { go=0 }
        ' | sed 's/ missing=\x27yes\x27//'
)

USB2="<hostdev mode='subsystem' type='usb' managed='no'><source startupPolicy='optional'><vendor id='0x0c70'/><product id='0xf001'/></source></hostdev>"

if [ -n "$USB1" ]; then
        echo $USB1 | virsh detach-device $VM /dev/stdin >/dev/null 2>&1
        sleep 3
        echo $USB2 | virsh attach-device $VM /dev/stdin >/dev/null 2>&1
fi

exit 0
Base system runs Arch btw.
 
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andrewbedia

Active Member
Jan 11, 2013
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I have to second the notion on Arctic P12. They're really good for $7-10 each
Even better if you can find them are Nidec Servo's "Gentle Typhoon" fans.
Do you have noise requirements? If not, see if you can get PWM Delta fans. They aren't quiet but they aren't usually as expensive as Noctua.