One last upgrade for my Acer H340

MBastian

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Jul 17, 2016
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Düsseldorf, Germany
Build’s Name: Phoenix
Operating System/ Storage Platform: Arch Linux (for now)
CPU: Ryzen Pro 4650G
Motherboard: Asus Strix B550-I
Chassis: Acer easyStore H340
Drives: 2x WD SN730 512 GB OEM NVMEs (Raid1, OS), 4x WD RED 6TB (raidz10), 1x Corsair mp510 1920GB (libvirt lvm storage backend)
RAM: 2x 32 GB KSM32ED8/32ME
Power Supply: Seasonic SSP-300SUG
Case fan: Noctua NF-A15
CPU cooler: Noctua NH-L9a-AM4


Usage Profile: NAS, containers, libvirt VMs, building and compiling.

Edit: Finished my build tonight, splicing the power connector for the old SATA backplane and putting it all together was a bit tedious. I am too tired for pics.

Edit2: My NAS idles now at 7W less (43W vs 36W. with disks spinning) compared to the old setup. Yay for modern hardware! If I load all cores that goes up to aprox 100W.
Not bumping this thread, if someone with a H340/H341 needs some pointer of how to do the neccessary modifications I am glad to answer.

Original post:
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Well, I've got this cute lil NAS Box 12 years ago. Until then I've upgraded it quite alot. Currently installed is an Asrock Q2900-itx board with 16GB RAM and 4x 6tb WD Reds running in an raidz5. OS is CentOS 7 installed on an software raid1 2x 128GB mSATA SSD in an 1x PCIe card. I use it mainly as a NAS but also compile stuff, like openwrt, and run some libvirt VMs and docker containers if I am too lazy to spin up my main rig.
Recently I've considered a last round of upgrades before I go all-flash, but the PSU is limiting my choices quite alot. I don't think it can reliably power more than a 20W TDP cpu.
If internal space allows I want to upgrade to a Ryzen 4000G, but for that I need another PSU. Currently I am considering an SSP-300SUG but it's quite expensive in Europe and I am wondering if:

a) I am missing a budget upgrade option which would not require a new PSU (J5005 seems kind of not-worth-it to me)
b) I am overthinking and a cheaper PSU with 250W or even less would be enough to power a 35-65W TDP CPU. It just needs to be reliable and quiet.

A nice to have would be one ot better two m.2 slots. I have two 512GB WD SN730 I don`t really need in my main rig.

Edit: I do not have any other special and power-hungry requirements like 10Gbit Ethernet or a dedicated graphics card. The option for 32GB or more ECC RAM would be great. Also I'd rather have more cores than high clock speed.
 
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MBastian

Active Member
Jul 17, 2016
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Düsseldorf, Germany
It took some time but I was able to get a Seasonic SSP-300SUG for a really good price (12,55€) a while back on Ebay.

After that I was on the hunt for a good dual M.2 AMD Renoir capable ITX board plus either a 4350G or 4650G CPU with at least 32GB ECC Ram. The rather outlandish prices for the Renoir APUs made that a lengthy process but I've finally got a very good deal for the CPU, board and low profile cooler.
For RAM I ordered two 16 GB Kingston ECC modules from Jacob Electronic but it got canceled after a few day. I've got an 10€ voucher for my trouble. While checking what other ECC non-registered Modules they had in stock I was able to pick up two "b-ware" KSM32ED8/32ME 32GB modules for 221€. :) (They had two more that where gone in less than ten minutes)

The last few days I did sync all data to my main workstation which will act as my interim NAS for the time being. While doing that I consolidated some data and freed up two WD SN730 512GB OEM NVMEs.
Well, I've had second thoughts if it is really a good idea to reuse that old case but I shouldn't have worried. Tonight I did the upgrade and it went really smooth. Only thing missing is the SATA backplane, I first want to make sure that the new PSU can handle the load before I cut and solder the proprietary power cord from the old PSU.
 

Turanos

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Jan 30, 2021
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Hey man, just found this post. My h340 is still going strong, with 3/4 original drives... amazing. I love the size of this thing, wanted to upgrade it and give to my folks.

How was the upgrade journey? Run into any issues? Power buttons, leds, etc?

Do the drives run in sata3 speeds?

Thanks
 

MBastian

Active Member
Jul 17, 2016
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Düsseldorf, Germany
.
How was the upgrade journey? Run into any issues? Power buttons, leds, etc?
Power button and Power LED
Three female - male jumper wires from the original backplane connection plug to the motherboard
Note: The LED Backplane is quite complicated, you can get the Power button and LED working with just three wires as the GND from the power button is also used for the whole LED board. Getting any other LEDs to work would be a major pain. I didn't see the need.

Disk activity LEDs
I'd advise you to just forget about it, cut the cables and be done with it.

SATA Backplane
The original board has a custom delayed startup circuit with an extra connector to the backplane. There are alot of weird solutions floating around in different forums but in truth you can just cut it and splice the right wires together. I never had a problem with the original PSU spinning all four disks up at once.

Case Fan
The fan is sucking air out, turn it around. Temperatures will be much better.

Do the drives run in sata3 speeds?
Yes, just be aware that you will most likely have to buy slightly longer SATA cables with one end cropped in the right direction. The space behind the backplane is very limited.

If you don't want to mess with the PSU you're stuck with 10-20W embedded ITX board.The best budget option would probably be an Asrock J5005 or J5040. I'd also advise you to not use high speed SATA disks with a huge spin-up power draw.

Sorry, I don't have time right now to dig though my old bookmarks for the details regarding the power button and SATA backplane. Hopefully tomorrow or on monday.
 
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Turanos

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Jan 30, 2021
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Awesome time to start shopping for hardware. The reverse fan was the only mod I ever did on this thing. It’s pretty amazing that it still runs.
 

Turanos

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Jan 30, 2021
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Your setup looks pretty awesome, impressive you can cram in a noctua in there too. Definitely, when you get some time, post any pics or whatever you have laying around. Would love to see it. I'll crack mine open to take a look. I know I had taken some pictures but it was years ago...
 

MBastian

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Jul 17, 2016
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Düsseldorf, Germany
Honestly, it's a bit too messy for my taste right now. I'll fix it up one of these days. Also be aware that the original PSU has only the standard ATX plug. I am also a bit unsure if I have to make further modifications in summer. Right now my Box runs pretty cool and halfway silent as long as I do not push it. The Noctua cpu cooler was the only one with enough free space to the hdd cage, it is pretty limited TDP wise.

One of the main reasons for the upgrade was that I did not want my power guzzling dual Ivy Bridge workstation (140W idling) rig running just to play with terraform, libvirt, k8s and whatever while sitting on the couch with my laptop. If all you want is serve files and run a couple of containers any old J2900 mainboard or slighty better would be fine.
 
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MBastian

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Jul 17, 2016
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Düsseldorf, Germany
SATA Backplane
According to this Backplane schematic you just need to connect pin 7 and 8 to 5V on the proprietary 10 pin motherboard connector. You can get this from pin9. See this blog entry for details. The author did not detail where to get 5V, see my comment (User MB-X) for that.

Power button
The adjacent orange and purple wires on the 16 pin front-plane connector. Just be aware that it does matter which pin is GND. If it is inverted your box will start when you snap the front in place. There is a small metal thingy near the bottom that acts as a GND bridge on it.

Regarding the power LED. I can't find my old post on the now defunct "We Got Serverd" forums on archive.org. I'd have to open my box and take a picture first.
 
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MBastian

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Jul 17, 2016
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Found it.

Google translate:
To get the power LED to light up, it is sufficient to connect the PWR LED+ pin to the blue wire (on the side where the yellow wire is, 2 connections further) next to the power switch (important: orange is GND). I have a strong suspicion that this is not the right method, but it works fine and is enough for me.
 

Turanos

New Member
Jan 30, 2021
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The j5040 looks pretty decent... wish it took standard DIMMs. I have a couple "server" asrock boards, they weren't great, but had ECC and IPMI, one died, got RMA'd.
Not much out there with embedded cpu and ITX.
 

Turanos

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Jan 30, 2021
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Ugh the dream might be dead. Can't find stock (in Canada), online either no stock or crazy expensive.
Looked at some alternative, mini itx builds but I think I want low power over performance. Some older boards are around but only have 2 SATA :(

The Q2900 would be awesome too, again no stock
 

MBastian

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Jul 17, 2016
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Düsseldorf, Germany
Have some patience. Once in a lifetime deals on ebay happen every so often. ^_^
The last DDR3 option is the J4250-ITX, if you can source it. DIMMs should be much cheaper.
 

bits101

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Jun 25, 2022
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My power supply died and I purchased a slightly different model that did not have the 8 pin SATA cable. I used the 2 x 4 pin molex connector wires to connect to the original 8 pin SATA connector. However, when I hook everything it seems like various components power up and then stop and power up and stop and then after about 30 seconds it powers off. Does the main board 24-pin connector have a custom configuration? I thought I came across that previously. Looking at it, it seems to have at least one or more extra brown wires that the new power supply doesn't seem to have. Any help / guidance is appreciated.

Thanks!
 

MBastian

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Jul 17, 2016
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If you wired the 8-pin connector correctly it should work. If it is the disks that are powered up and down then it might be that the custom spinup delay logic on the original motherboard is detecting a problem.

Just guessing:
The motherboard got shot when the old PSU died or there aren't enough amps on some lines. Most likely the ones going to the SATA backplane. Also make sure the new PSU isn't faulty.
Remove all disks or even better unplug the 8-pin connector and see if it also shuts down after a while.

EDIT: I rather doubt it but you could check the connector to the Frontpanel. I've had some weird issues with that. If nothing works unclip the front and try a power on. The Frontpanel with the power botton and lights get its GND from the case when it is secured in place via a small spring latch at the bottom.
 
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bits101

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Jun 25, 2022
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If you wired the 8-pin connector correctly it should work. If it is the disks that are powered up and down then it might be that the custom spinup delay logic on the original motherboard is detecting a problem.

Just guessing:
The motherboard got shot when the old PSU died or there aren't enough amps on some lines. Most likely the ones going to the SATA backplane. Also make sure the new PSU isn't faulty.
Remove all disks or even better unplug the 8-pin connector and see if it also shuts down after a while.

EDIT: I rather doubt it but you could check the connector to the Frontpanel. I've had some weird issues with that. If nothing works unclip the front and try a power on. The Frontpanel with the power botton and lights get its GND from the case when it is secured in place via a small spring latch at the bottom.
Thank you for the quick and informative response. I borrowed a friends PSU to copy all my files so I know the rest of the system was working after the PSU failed. I removed the 8 pin connector and it seemed to boot up where I could connect to it over the network. I was doing the testing from memory and missed the part about removing the drives with the SATA connector connected.

For the SATA connector, looking at the P3 label, it is yellow (12V), yellow (12V), red (5V), red (5V), black x 4 (0V) -- I used the same eight color wires (yellow x 2, red x 2, black x 4) feeding 2 x 4 pin HDD connectors without paying attention to if they are 2 x 4 pin sets but just made sure to match colors when soldering them together.

When I power on the system with the 8 pin SATA connector disconnected, the power shows up on the yellow and red leads immediately. Should there be a delay on the power or does the motherboard send the delay startup to the SATA drives via other signals? When I connect the SATA plug (after unplugging the PSU) and power up, the i (information) light flashes red for a bit, the Backup light continues to flash (never even saw this light before), the first drive light comes on for a bit and then goes off. And the power light seems to fade brighter and dimmer and then eventually it turns off after 30 to 60 seconds probably. Then it seems to come back on by itself. When performing these tests, the PSU is sitting separate from the case. Could it be a ground issue that could be resolved by grounding the PSU & case (connecting/touching them)?

Otherwise, I suspect the PSU or at least wires I used don't have the juice to feed the drives. I may try to unplug all 4 drives and then try to add one at a time.

The new PSU label lists the following 4 DC output voltages.
+3.3V @ 6A, +5V @ 12A, +12V @ 13A and +5VSB @ 2A. Do you know what +5VSB is? I wonder if I spliced into this output causing the lack of current. Given the original PSU has the same DC output and same current rating, I suspect that is on the main connector or perhaps the 4 pin connector.

There is an additional DC output on the original PSU not listed on the new one -12V @ 0.5A. Not sure what that would be used for.

Thanks again and in advance!

Edit:

I was able to try to power up with the 8 pin SATA connector connected but all 4 disks disconnected. This seemed to work no problem and I noticed the fan came on for the first bit. No issues.

When I plugged in 1, 2 and then 3 drives (starting with 1 as the bottom drive), it seemed to flash the HD light and then turn off within a few seconds. Adding the 4th drive caused more front light issues (USB Backup light kept flashing, top HDD light was on and power light went brighter and dimmer) but stayed on longer powering off after about 30-60 seconds. I tried to make sure the PSU was touching the case as much as possible. I also ran some of these tests with the front panel off the case.

No luck. Yet.
 
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adman_c

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Feb 14, 2016
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I love these little boxes! I have a couple that I use in NAS duty with various standard ITX motherboards. I have yet to replace the PSUs in any of them, so I still have the power cable that runs to the backplane. To get the drives to spin up properly, I use a hack that I first discovered on the yougotserved forums years ago:
H340-backplane wiring.jpeg
FYI, this is for the other connector on the backplane (the little one), not the power plug.

For whatever it's worth, I've run all kinds of low-to-medium-power CPUs (dual-core pentiums, Core i3s, and even a Ryzen 5 1600), and run tasks as demanding as handbrake encoding for several days in a row and never had an issue with the PSUs. Handbrake with the Ryzen did spike the CPU temp pretty high, but it never got so high as to be really worrisome.
 

MBastian

Active Member
Jul 17, 2016
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Düsseldorf, Germany
To get the drives to spin up properly, I use a hack that I first discovered on the yougotserved forums years ago:
View attachment 23322
FYI, this is for the other connector on the backplane (the little one), not the power plug.
Actually you can just cut the whole cable and connect pin 9 (5V) with pin 7 and 8. I am running that for a long time. See one of my posts further up

When I power on the system with the 8 pin SATA connector disconnected, the power shows up on the yellow and red leads immediately. Should there be a delay on the power or does the motherboard send the delay startup to the SATA drives via other signals? When I connect the SATA plug (after unplugging the PSU) and power up, the i (information) light flashes red for a bit, the Backup light continues to flash (never even saw this light before), the first drive light comes on for a bit and then goes off. And the power light seems to fade brighter and dimmer and then eventually it turns off after 30 to 60 seconds probably. Then it seems to come back on by itself. When performing these tests, the PSU is sitting separate from the case. Could it be a ground issue that could be resolved by grounding the PSU & case (connecting/touching them)?
In this case my guess would be a short on the Backplane , a misswired or short (GND from the case, check the insulations) on the 8-pin connector splice or just insufficient power from the PSU.
 

adman_c

Active Member
Feb 14, 2016
142
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Chicago
Actually you can just cut the whole cable and connect pin 9 (5V) with pin 7 and 8. I am running that for a long time. See one of my posts further up
Oh wow. That's great to know! Just to confirm, you're saying that pin 9 on the backplane already has 5v running to it and thus just needs to be tied to pins 7 and 8? I have another one of these I bought off ebay that I need to spin up, and if I can minimize the amount of soldering that would be excellent. Thanks!