SC846: Norco wall with Noctua NF-F12 iPPC-3000 PWM

i386

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Mar 18, 2016
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They had some at a fair in 2014, but noctua didn't believe in them and they never were mass produced.
 

RobertFontaine

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Dec 17, 2015
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:confused:
I'm going the other direction: over the next few months I'm going to replace my lian lis + noctuas with supermicro 745b + supermicro fans. ;)
As much as I like my Lian Li D8000 and my noctuas, I'm quickly running out of space in the dungeon. If you can make a 4u residential quiet it is extremely appealing.
 

sfbayzfs

Active Member
May 6, 2015
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I have been experimenting with 80mm fan replacements in my Supermicro 3U and 4U systems:
  1. The 0.6a stock Nidec fans are quieter than the older 0.8A ones, but still too loud in a JBOD, which doesn't spin them down as low as a system with a PWM motherboard does.
  2. NF-A8-PWM fans are great noise-wise, and 0.09A max, but even running full tilt they can't cool well enough without super low intake temps
  3. Some old stock Panaflo fans at 0.17A max are louder than Noctuas, but still very quiet and move just enough air at full tilt to cool well depending on your intake temps. The only problem is they are 3-pin, and the connectors don't fit in the hotswap carriers, but I just run them with splitters to the mobo or backplane anyway.
  4. I have been using Supermicro 0.55A and 0.35A exhaust fans in the midplane carriers and they seem to have enough cooling headroom and preserve the hotswap capability. Quieter than stock in a JBOD, and they cool well enough for me. These are more of a no-brainer swap for me.
Disclaimer - I try to only use 5400RPM drives, and my intake temps are pretty low since the rack is in the basement.
 
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K D

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Dec 24, 2016
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I have used the PanaFlo fans that @sfbayzfs mentioned and they are significantly quieter than the stock offerings and keep 5400rpm drives reasonably cool. I'm using them in a 826 JBOD.
 

CyberSkulls

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Apr 14, 2016
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I'm using them in an 826 midplane. The 826 does not have an exhaust.
You got a model number on the panaflo model you use?

I had some Arctic F8's in some Chenbro chassis that cooled my 2/4TB Red drives just fine (below 30C). But switching to 8TB Reds, which are much thicker drives, and the Arctic fans can't keep up which is honestly what I expected since I'm basically taking away all the extra room around the drive inside of the bay.

I have plenty of San Ace fans from my SM 846 chassis I scrapped as well as the stock San Ace fans that came in the Chenbros but I am trying for some decently quiet builds this time around. Might try out three of those fans your using in one of my chassis and see what the temps do with the 8TB Reds.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

K D

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Dec 24, 2016
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I'll try to open the chassis and get the details of the fan over the weekend.
 

K D

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Just wanted to post a quick update. I have been running 2 test systems - One AIO Freenas system on a SC846 chassis with a XeonD 1518 board, (12) HGST Deskstar 4TB 7200 RPM , (4) WD Red 6TB 5400 RPM and (8) misc SATA SSDs. The other is a JBOD with a SAS2EL1 backplane and JBOD3 controller with (14) WD Red 8TB 5400 RPM Drives. Both have a single 920SQ PSU. Only mod done in both was replacing the midplane fans with 3x Noctua iPPC 3000 fans.

Found a script at the freenas forums that I changed a little to suit my needs. The drive temps average at 32c. I have 4 drives that seem to run about 4-5c hotter than the rest. They were all from the same batch I purchased recently. Over the last week, I see that the fans haven't spun up to more than 1500RPM and for most of the time they are running at 800RPM.

Both systems running together are quieter than the other items in my half-rack. I think I have hit the noise/cooling balance that I was looking for. I still have to clean up the cabling in both. I'll post the build log once I'm done.

Thanks for everyone's valuable input in this and other posts.
 

Negative Entropy

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May 20, 2020
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Thread necro on purpose here. This is one of the better threads google turns up so I thought this better than starting a new one to post a correction. Just picked up a SC836 so I will be starting to play with the fan options and have been researching (I do not even have the mainboard yet).

An important mistake was made on page 1 when comparing the specs of the Noctua to the stock SM fans that helps explain why their performance falls so short for some.

The static pressure rating of the Noctuas is in mm of H2O, not inches of H2O. i.e. the NF-F12 PWM fan is 2.61 mm H2O max pressure. This converts to 0.10 inches of H2O (conversion is a factor of 25.4:1).

The industrial NF-F12 3000 PWM, which seems to be Noctua's highest pressure 120mm fan is 7.63 mm H2O or 0.30 inches of H2O. So compared to the FAN-0115L4, the 3000 PWM is capable of only 1/4th the max pressure and 2/3 the max air flow (109 cfm vs 155 cfm).

Unfortunately Noctua does not post performance curves for their fans like those that can be found for the Nidecs that came with the 836 I bought or a more direct comparison could be made at points besides the extremes. Suffice it to say, these fans are not "comparable" in the sense that they have very different intended use cases, as pointed out by others, since the SM specified fans needed to be able to accommodate a case full of 15k RPM screamers. It's only because (many of our) our homelabs have much more modest cooling requirements that we can get by with a swap like this. I am concerned though that my 836 with its E1 backplane will have such high flow resistance that the comparably low pressure PPC 3000 will net tiny amounts of flow. It would be an interesting experiment to hook up a pressure gage and measure the actual pressure change the stock fans generate at various points in their curve and how that correlates with drive temps. Perhaps a summer science experiment for my kids to learn from.
 

ramblinreck47

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Aug 3, 2019
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Thread necro on purpose here. This is one of the better threads google turns up so I thought this better than starting a new one to post a correction. Just picked up a SC836 so I will be starting to play with the fan options and have been researching (I do not even have the mainboard yet).

An important mistake was made on page 1 when comparing the specs of the Noctua to the stock SM fans that helps explain why their performance falls so short for some.

The static pressure rating of the Noctuas is in mm of H2O, not inches of H2O. i.e. the NF-F12 PWM fan is 2.61 mm H2O max pressure. This converts to 0.10 inches of H2O (conversion is a factor of 25.4:1).

The industrial NF-F12 3000 PWM, which seems to be Noctua's highest pressure 120mm fan is 7.63 mm H2O or 0.30 inches of H2O. So compared to the FAN-0115L4, the 3000 PWM is capable of only 1/4th the max pressure and 2/3 the max air flow (109 cfm vs 155 cfm).

Unfortunately Noctua does not post performance curves for their fans like those that can be found for the Nidecs that came with the 836 I bought or a more direct comparison could be made at points besides the extremes. Suffice it to say, these fans are not "comparable" in the sense that they have very different intended use cases, as pointed out by others, since the SM specified fans needed to be able to accommodate a case full of 15k RPM screamers. It's only because (many of our) our homelabs have much more modest cooling requirements that we can get by with a swap like this. I am concerned though that my 836 with its E1 backplane will have such high flow resistance that the comparably low pressure PPC 3000 will net tiny amounts of flow. It would be an interesting experiment to hook up a pressure gage and measure the actual pressure change the stock fans generate at various points in their curve and how that correlates with drive temps. Perhaps a summer science experiment for my kids to learn from.
If you want to quiet your SC836 down, I highly suggest changing out your fan wall fans with FAN-0074L4’s and your rear fans with FAN-0104L4’s. Makes a huge difference in noise without affecting airflow too much and still keeps the hotswap feature.
 

AJXCR

Active Member
Jan 20, 2017
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Thread necro on purpose here. This is one of the better threads google turns up so I thought this better than starting a new one to post a correction. Just picked up a SC836 so I will be starting to play with the fan options and have been researching (I do not even have the mainboard yet).

An important mistake was made on page 1 when comparing the specs of the Noctua to the stock SM fans that helps explain why their performance falls so short for some.

The static pressure rating of the Noctuas is in mm of H2O, not inches of H2O. i.e. the NF-F12 PWM fan is 2.61 mm H2O max pressure. This converts to 0.10 inches of H2O (conversion is a factor of 25.4:1).

The industrial NF-F12 3000 PWM, which seems to be Noctua's highest pressure 120mm fan is 7.63 mm H2O or 0.30 inches of H2O. So compared to the FAN-0115L4, the 3000 PWM is capable of only 1/4th the max pressure and 2/3 the max air flow (109 cfm vs 155 cfm).

Unfortunately Noctua does not post performance curves for their fans like those that can be found for the Nidecs that came with the 836 I bought or a more direct comparison could be made at points besides the extremes. Suffice it to say, these fans are not "comparable" in the sense that they have very different intended use cases, as pointed out by others, since the SM specified fans needed to be able to accommodate a case full of 15k RPM screamers. It's only because (many of our) our homelabs have much more modest cooling requirements that we can get by with a swap like this. I am concerned though that my 836 with its E1 backplane will have such high flow resistance that the comparably low pressure PPC 3000 will net tiny amounts of flow. It would be an interesting experiment to hook up a pressure gage and measure the actual pressure change the stock fans generate at various points in their curve and how that correlates with drive temps. Perhaps a summer science experiment for my kids to learn from.
Worth noting- I’ve had no issues running Noctura Ind fan swapped Supermicro 4U 36 and 72 bay enclosures loaded to the brim with memory, dual high power CPU’s, multiple fiber 40G NIC’s, HBA’s, 2.5” SAS3/NVMe and/or 3.5” HGST spinning disks.. 24/7 for years.

Regarding the proposed experiment, I’ve actually got a little mobile test setup & the appropriate transducers/rtd’s/and other configurable misc digital and analog I/O channels that would be perfect for sampling and logging as many data point channels as we could possible dream up for this application.. but unfortunately it would have to take a number in a pretty dusty line of (have yet) to-do’s/pending side projects.

-Craig

Edit: I posted a few pictures of my first shot at this type of setup a while back in the following thread:

 
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Negative Entropy

New Member
May 20, 2020
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Thanks for the responses guys.

AJXCR, great to know it's continued to work out well for you. I did measure up the 836 fan wall last night and there appears to be just enough room for 3, 120mm fans. I spent some time looking for higher static pressure but quieter fans (including on the Nidec site - hoping they would have a 120mm x 38mm version that would match up) without much success.

If I can't get the stock fans (mine are FAN-0126L4, quieter than some of the others at 53dBA; rears are FAN-0125L4) I'll have to decide between cobbling together a custom fan wall and rock the PPC 3000s or just trying the FAN-0074L4 and FAN-0104L4 recommended by ramblinreck47. The 74L4 are rated to be some 8dBA quieter which is pretty close to the Noctuas (though I seem to recall comparing dB ratings across manufacturers can be folly).

I sure like the idea of not taking the time to make a custom fan wall and the hot swap would be nice to keep. This will be racked in my utility room, but it's next to a home theater under construction, so I do want it to be quiet.

Thanks again guys, I'll let you know how it turns out (mainboard/CPU/RAM/HSF arrives next week, HBA on 01 June), probably in a month or so.
 

Negative Entropy

New Member
May 20, 2020
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Following up:

Full details so others with similar setup can benefit:
Supermicro 836 case, 920-SQ power supplies, SAS2 EL1 backplane.
MB is X9SRL-F, CPU is E5-2680 V2 (10 core, 2.8 GHz base, 3.6 turbo, 115W TDP). I observed this MB reports fan RPM in 75 RPM increments and that's also when the IPMI Fan thresholds can be set in increments of.
Stock fans 3x FAN-0126L4 in fan wall (replacements are FAN-0074L4), 2x FAN-0125L4 in rear (replacements are FAN-0104L4).
CPU cooler is Noctua NH-D9DX i4 3U, with its stock, single 92mm fan.

I am running Unraid (first time user). Tried various fan control methods (IPMI Tools plugin, Dynamix Auto Fan plugin), using ipmitools CLI , other than altering high/low thresholds using the CLI, could not get any to work reliably, so using the stock IPMI "Optimal" fan profile. I may play with user scripting later but for now I am calling it "good enough".

MB has fan headers FAN1-FAN4 and FANA.

Rear fans are both on header FAN4, mid wall fans are individual on FAN1-FAN3.

My understanding is the MB based IPMI fan control algorithm is designed around the CPU temp for FAN1-FAN4. FANA I am uncertain of, but it's not CPU temp. (this per this resource, optimal = 30% PWM: https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?resources/supermicro-x9-x10-x11-fan-speed-control.20/ )

Originally had CPU fan on FANA but it would always just run slow and not ramp up. I moved it to the backplane which runs it at 100% all the time. This is fine as it's a quiet fan. I put together a fan cable so the sense signal is on FANA so that I can still get RPM monitoring/alarming. I experimented with the Noctua "low noise adapter", results below.

Put 8 SATA hard drives in the chassis (1 is a "permanent" 8TB WD white label, rest are temporary just for this testing, various old pulls from work, 500GB-1TB 5400 RPM/7200 RPM). The 8 unused drive bays did NOT have the Supermicro "dummy trays" in them, so I covered half of the vent holes in each tray with tape to simulate the air flow restriction of a hard drive being present.

My goal: low enough hard drive and CPU temps with the fans being relatively quiet. This is in a 4 post rack in my utility room, but it's directly adjacent to my home theater (under construction) so both volume and frequency of the sound matters in terms of it being obtrusive. I did not go to the effort of taking SPL or frequency spectrum measurements with REW or anything (at least not yet!), just using my ears.

Wanted HD temps at or below 35 deg C when under load, CPU < about 70 deg C at load but not primary concern.

Utility room is in a basement in Minnesota (northern North America) so temps are pretty low year round (generally 63-72 deg F).

Impressions:

At IPMI Optimal idle the stock SM fans are not too bad. I would not want to sit next to the case all the time, but sitting one floor above I could not hear it. Running flat out of course you can hear them through the whole house.

I ran experiments as follows:
1) Note idle temps and noise and RPM for a particular setup
2) Writing 0s to all 7 temporary hard drives (using the "preclear" plugin). This put the CPU at about 60% utilization. Note temps and noise and fan RPM
3) Swap out the SM fans, first fanwall, then retest. Then rear fans too, retest. Then try Noctua Low Noise Adapter on CPU fan, retest.
4) FAN RPMs and CPU temp from IPMI. Drive temps from Unraid (via SMART). Ambient temps from IoT device.

Conclusions:
0) The advice to just get the quieter SM fans was solid - for my use case there is no need for the surgery and hassles (especially in a 3U case!) involved in retrofitting 120mm fans - thanks ramblinreck47 and others!
1) Leave the Noctua at 100%. Noise delta is minimal at idle (the SM fans dominate). At 100% CPU utilization, using the low noise adapter causes higher CPU temps (not much - 2.5 deg C) but the SM fans spin up to a higher RPM due to this increase. This more than overwhelms the noise savings from the low noise adapter - just leave it out.
2) The Noctua CPU cooler is super effective for this CPU TDP anyway. Max CPU temp at 100% Noctua fan speed was 57.5 deg C and the SM wall fans barely spun up. If the SM fans were kept at the IPMI Optimal idle speed regardless of CPU temps, then using the LNA may make sense.
3) At 60% CPU usage, CPU temp rose 10 deg C from idle but the IPMI Optimal algorithm left the fans at idle speed. Drive temps writing 0s flat out were only about 3 deg C higher than baseline idle. All were comfortably below 35 deg C with all fan configurations. This actually tells me that my best long term bet may be a fan control that just leaves the SM fans at their idle RPM all the time, no matter the CPU or drive temps. This should not be too difficult to implement (may be able to use simple IPMI commands in a script to do this if I can get ipmi PWM control to work as many others have on X9 and up mainboards).
4) The "fresh after a reboot of the OS" Fan RPMs were back to idle (yes, reboot of the OS, not the BMC). Even though I have uninstalled the plugins I played with, this implies there is still some interaction between the OS and IPMI. I may need to restore the IPMI firmware to factory - more work to do here.

This was not super scientific - none of this is calibrated, I waited about 45 minutes for drive temps to stabilize when writing 0s but not much longer. Probably apply an uncertainty of +/- 1 deg C to each reading due to methodology. i.e. there is no (scientifically/statistically) meaningful difference between a PCH temp of 48 and 50 deg C or drive temp of 29 and 31 deg C.

All temps but ambient are in deg C, ambient is in deg F.

Raw Results:
Configstockstockreplaced mid wallreplaced rear too
Server load / actionidlewrite 0s to all HDidlewrite 0s to all HDidlewrite 0s to all HDStress 5 minutes + write 0sLow noise adapter on CPU fan, all idleStress docker to put CPU at 100%, (Low Noise Adapter on CPU), drives idleafter testing, 20 hours later, all idle
ambient temp (basement)68 deg F68 deg F68 deg F68 deg F69 deg F69 deg F69 deg F69 deg F69 deg F69 deg F
CPU %16016016010011001
CPU temp273627.5372837.557.5296029
PCH temp46504849484948484545
ST500DM00224272629262928
ST500DM00926292731273130
ST500DM00225272528262928
ST500DM00224272528262828
TOSHIBA_DT01ACA10027302832293232
ST500DM002-1BD14227292731283131
ST500DM00228312832293232
cpu fan RPM1875187518751875187518751875135013501350
Fan 1-3 RPM2550255020252025202520252475202529252400
Fan 4 RPM2550255025502550900900120090015001125
VolumeDecentno changequieterno changeeven quieter - good enoughonly slight change for the better, SM fans dominate noise profilelouder! Not worth it due to SM fans at higher RPMFans did not spin all way back down, even 20 hours later. Still, only slightly more obtrusive than furnace fan in its "circulate" mode (equivalent to furnace idle) for both volume and annoyance level of pitch