Supermicro: Old Chassis + New(er) Motherboard

The Gecko

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Jan 4, 2015
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I tried to mount a new(ish) Supermicro motherboard (X9DR3-LN4F+) into an older CSE-846 revision ABC-03 chassis. You might be wondering why am I posting information about this very old chassis? As it turns out, all the eBay vendors I contacted cannot tell me what the revision is of the Supermicro chassis they are selling.

Here is what I have learned:

Standoffs:
The older chassis is missing two holes for two standoffs near the CPUs. Everything else matches up. A few (3? 4?) of the standoffs are permanently mounted to the chassis, but they were all used, so you don't have to worry about an unused standoff shorting out something on the bottom of the board.​


Chassis Fans:
Every fan in the chassis had a matching header on the motherboard.​


Power Supplies:
The chassis was using dual PWS-1K21P-1R supplies, certified for 80 Plus Gold. Pins image.


Power Distribution:
The chassis had a Power Distribution Board marked as "Ablecom 03573-0100-15F". Internet searching told me the SM part number is "PDB-PT846-8824" and is compatible with chassis SC846A-R1200B, SC846E1-R900B, SC846E1-R710B, SC846TQ-R900B. The PMBus cable fits into the motherboard, too.​


Power Connectors:
The 24-Pin and two 8-Pin power cables matched up while the 4-Pin ATX power cable went unused. The PDB-PT846-8824 doesn't offer a GPU connector. According to somewhere on the Internet, the Molex connectors in the 4-Pin 12V line should be physically capable of delivering 12V at 8 Amps per circuit, with the 4-Pin ATX cable having two circuits. 2*8*12 = 192 Watts max. I'd like to use a single GTX 1060 6GB in this system which is rated for 120W max, so I will try to find a 4-Pin to 6-Pin cable to power the GPU. But not this one for $40; that seller is wack.​


Front Control Panel Connector:
This is where things go sideways. The front panel connector on the X9DR3-LN4F+ is of the same size and shape as the front panel connector of the previous motherboard X8DTE-F. However, the pins are different. See photos:

If you rotate the X9 connector 180 degrees, a lot of the pins match the X8 connector. I might be able to jury-rig something using some male-to-female jumpers that I stole from my Arduino/Raspberry Pi. I really only care about the PWR, Reset, Ground, and Power LEDs. Pins 19-20 aren't used on X8 or X9, while pins 17-18 aren't even there, so they can be ignored.

I checked and the jumpers are the correct physical dimensions, but I've not yet attempted to turn on the server. The last thing that concerns me is if the X8's VCC pins were 5V or 3.3V.​
Air-Shroud:
The air-shroud will require some modification. A few of the plastic tabs on the side of the PCI-e slots will need to be removed, but they bend and snap off easily. These shroud tabs interfere with the RAM slots. A little bit of snipping will be needed to allow the PDB's PMBus cable to be plugged into the motherboard. Also, the shroud doesn't direct the air over the CPU's passive heat sinks in the X9 board like it did the X8. When I get my 3D printer up and running, I will probably try to fabricate a funnel. ...or a whole new shroud.

If there is something else you would like to know, or some tip to add, please post.
 

nthu9280

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Feb 3, 2016
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Just a my guess but I think the Serial # of the chassis has the revision (J/K/L etc) included in it like 3rd or 4th character from the right. It should be on the same sticker as ABC-0xx.

Another option for front panel connector. Supermicro also has split Front Panel connector cable. Check the spare parts list I posted under the resources section here. CBL-0084L & CBL0064L. IIRC, there is a 20pin variant too. Since you are going SM board to SM Front panel connector you may be ok just using the ribbon cable.

I just finished installing X10SRH-F in an older 216 Chassis. There is no matching mounting hole for one. I just used small rubber pad for that one to prevent flexing. That idea was stolen from Intel S2600Cp2J. :)
Another option is to use something like these nylon standoffs. I use them during testing boards that I buy on ebay.
 

The Gecko

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Jan 4, 2015
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Eric: Please, my friends informally call me "Gecko". Hahaha...

I used the jumper wires and it worked great. I was able to hook up the minimum requirements: power LED, power switch, and the reset switch. It looks rather ghetto, but under the air shroud, inside a closed server chassis, inside a closed rack, tucked under my basement stairs, who's going to notice?
 
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Sic_Alpha

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Aug 2, 2016
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Hah, sorry; just going by what you listed as your username.

I'm pretty sure the pinout does line up; I just used a multimeter to test, what I know how to anyway. I'm still afraid that I'll fry something in an attempt to plug it all in; can't really afford to replace any of it!
 

Markess

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May 19, 2018
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This was an interesting read. I'd assumed all the SM header cables would be interchangeable! I'm half way through putting newer hardware in an SC933T chassis I picked up cheap locally. I just checked the chassis manual online and it doesn't even mention the front panel connector! It was originally a commercial network appliance with an ancient H8DAE board in it, so I compared that board's header to the one on the X9 board I'm using. The pinout matches, but in my case its the physical orientation of the header that's 180 degrees different. Guess I lucked out.