SuperMicro SC846 questions

Defcon1

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Aug 18, 2016
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Planning to purchase following server from ebay seller -

Chassis: CSE-846E16-R1200B, 24 3.5 bays
Motherboard: X9DRi-F
Backplane: BPN-SAS2-846EL1
cpu: dual E5-2620 v2
controller card: LSI 9211-4i HBA

- Is this a good config or do you suggest any changes?

I live in an apartment and have been reading the many threads on how to quiet these down.

- is it worth it to upgrade to E5-2630L low power cpu? When cpu is idle both will use same power correct? Most of the time the server will not be doing that much like most home servers

- is there much difference between 4 x 8GB vs 8 x 4GB DIMM for RAM. 8x4 is cheaper but does it add a lot to power usage? Is it cheaper to buy additional RAM by itself from ebay or should I get it from the seller?

- I plan to purchase the PWS-920SQ PSU. Does most of the noise come from the PSU fans?

For fans I've read of 3 options :-

1. from this thread https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/supermicro-sc847-fan-choices.16724/, it says -

I have used both 74L4 and 104L4 with an 846 chassis.

74L4 - direct drop in replacement. Noise level is not too bad. I use a script that adjusts fan levels based on Hdd temps and I target around 35deg idle Temps. Fan runs at 2800rpm most of the time.

104L4. - I just let it run at full speed. It is completely inaudible. The HDD noise is more. When used with 12 drives in alternative rows in an 846 chassis, drives idle at around 32deg and go to around 35 degree at load. When used with 20 drives, drives idle at 37 degs and go up to 42 degs at load.​

Will these fans be enough? This is easiest as they are drop in replacement, but they are not cheap - $25 each.

2. replace with some other 80mm fans. But they may not be enough to cool drives?

3. Final option is to remove fan wall and put 3x 120mm fan as some have done. But I don't know how easy this is, and also how much it will cost. Are there cheaper 120mm fans than Noctua that work well?

Which of these do you recommend? Do I need to replace the 2 rear case fans as well?

- do I need to replace cpu cooler? It comes by default with fanless heatsinks. If I use the bios control or replace with quieter fans, do I need active cpu cooling?

Thanks
 

TerryPhillips

New Member
May 7, 2019
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Rack chassis cooling depends on many factors:
  • Qty/Form factor of drives: fully populated drive bays minimize total airflow through chassis unless it's 2.5" drives in a 3.5" bay. Higher RPM fans assist with this (hopefully more volume of air)
  • RPM of drives or SSD: How much heat are the drives generating?
  • Other components as you noted: CPU, memory and other cards.
  • Room temp?
  • Can the room/house/occupants tolerate the additional BTUs generated by said system?
Regardless of components/fans/etc, there a direct correlation between Watts (power) consumed and BTUs (heat) generated. A system consuming 500w will generate approx 1700 BTU per hour regardless of fan speeds, heat is heat. So it would be fair to ask yourself: 1) How much do you want to spend to power the system and 2) How much heat can your environment tolerate?

With regards to active CPU cooler, if the total mass airflow through the case is reduced with lower RPM fans then a active CPU cooler should help lower the CPU temps as long as you get the heat out and cooler air in the chassis.

As far as the SM power supplies, they all will have high RPM 40mm fans that will be noisy. swapping power supplies would only make sense if you're switching to a more efficient PS and only then if the added efficiency will provide an real ROI in a realistic time frame.

Questions for you:
  • Do you own existing drives that will go into the system? Qty?
  • What's your OS of choice?
  • What the intended purpose of the system?
For myself it was much easier to build a low power / low noise system from scratch than it was to convert a noisy rack mount server. But my driving factors are high electricity cost and lack of AC... Living in Germany, having a low wattage system (250w vs 500w) will save me over $700 a year in electricity cost, so I'd rather put that $700 in my system build than give it to the electric co. Plus I'm producing half the amount of heat...
 

Defcon1

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Aug 18, 2016
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You make good points about power draw. But I'm not even sure what the power draw of the system I'm considering will be like. What would you recommend as low power build instead?

  • Do you own existing drives that will go into the system? Qty?
Yes I do. I have 20 drives ready to go in of various sizes from 1TB to a few newer 8Tb drives.
  • What's your OS of choice?
unRaid
  • What the intended purpose of the system?
Main storage server and running other apps like docker, vm's

From what I can see, just getting the chassis, drive bays, hdd controller/expander will cost more than the entire cost of my system. The components I could replace are motherboard, cpu, PSU, RAM and I don't know how much difference that would make.
 

i386

Well-Known Member
Mar 18, 2016
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Does most of the noise come from the PSU fans?
I don't have a 846 yet, but a 836. Most of the noise comes from the 7.2k rpm hdds and midwall fans.
Replacing midwall and system fans
I'm not a fan of noctua or other consumer oriented fans in such a rackmount chassis.
The lowest supermicro fans I feel comfortable are the FAN-0074L4 fans.
do I need to replace cpu cooler?
In my experience with different supermicro chassis an active heatsink reduced the total noise level: the midwall and rear fans don't have to ramp up that much to "cool" the cpu
 

raiderj

Member
Dec 27, 2014
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I just recently set up an 846, here's what I did:
  • Purchased from ebay with 920SQ power supplies installed, they're very quiet
  • Replaced the 3x80mm fans in the midwall with the 0074L4 fans, and the two backwall fans with 0104L4
    • Midwall fans aren't silent, but aren't annoying either - should be fine with the cover on and in my rack
    • Backwall fans are very quiet
  • Picked up two 2x2.5" hard drive mounts: MCP-220-84603-0N
    • Had to build a Molex > 4x SATA power cable, but had all of that on-hand
  • My backplane has 3x SFF-8087 ports
    • Two are connected to my HBA (X10SL7-F on-board) for ~4GB/s bandwidth (not yet tested to confirm)
    • Third connects to an SFF-8087 port that I have in an empty PCI slot (for external connection to another DAS)
I can't think of anything else I'd need/want to do to this case. Whatever board/CPU/RAM combo you have will probably work fine, although you may want to have fans on your CPU heatsinks. The replacement fans from Supermicro aren't cheap, but as best I can tell they're good quality. When I finally button this up I shouldn't have to worry about anything.
 

Defcon1

New Member
Aug 18, 2016
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I just recently set up an 846, here's what I did:
  • Purchased from ebay with 920SQ power supplies installed, they're very quiet
  • Replaced the 3x80mm fans in the midwall with the 0074L4 fans, and the two backwall fans with 0104L4
    • Midwall fans aren't silent, but aren't annoying either - should be fine with the cover on and in my rack
    • Backwall fans are very quiet
  • Picked up two 2x2.5" hard drive mounts: MCP-220-84603-0N
    • Had to build a Molex > 4x SATA power cable, but had all of that on-hand
  • My backplane has 3x SFF-8087 ports
    • Two are connected to my HBA (X10SL7-F on-board) for ~4GB/s bandwidth (not yet tested to confirm)
    • Third connects to an SFF-8087 port that I have in an empty PCI slot (for external connection to another DAS)
I can't think of anything else I'd need/want to do to this case. Whatever board/CPU/RAM combo you have will probably work fine, although you may want to have fans on your CPU heatsinks. The replacement fans from Supermicro aren't cheap, but as best I can tell they're good quality. When I finally button this up I shouldn't have to worry about anything.
This is pretty much what I'd like to do as well. How much did you pay for the fans if you don't mind me asking and where did you buy them from? When I look online they are $20-30 each. Same for CPU heatsink, I'm considering the SM active heatsink but don't mind a cheaper option if its just as good.

Thanks for the link to hdd cage, I didn't know about those. Do you mean this kind of cable? - https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-3-Pack-Molex-Power/dp/B00STNUB04

Have you finished the build?
 

raiderj

Member
Dec 27, 2014
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This is pretty much what I'd like to do as well. How much did you pay for the fans if you don't mind me asking and where did you buy them from? When I look online they are $20-30 each. Same for CPU heatsink, I'm considering the SM active heatsink but don't mind a cheaper option if its just as good.

Thanks for the link to hdd cage, I didn't know about those. Do you mean this kind of cable? - https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-3-Pack-Molex-Power/dp/B00STNUB04

Have you finished the build?
There's just one free Molex from the power supply, so if you need to connect 4 SATA drives then it's a 4-way splitter. I couldn't find any, so I took a two-way splitter and added two more SATA power connectors. The power connectors are the type where you press in the wire and clip on the back.

The fans I purchased directly off of SuperMicro's eStore. They were $20-25/ea. when you accounted for shipping and all. I'm sure there are cheaper options, but I ended buying more stuff off their website, as a friend and I pitched in on two chassis, and shipping was free over $200.

I've not finshed the build, but everything is in place except for the motherboard. The chassis itself is all put together, and I've run another test mobo in place and all the power and drives work. Very nice setup.
 

vangoose

Active Member
May 21, 2019
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I too have the chassis and replaced the psu with sq version but leave mid fan untouched. It's quieter than my switches.
Couple weeks ago I replaced the chassis with 24*3TB disks with 8*10TB disks with 743SQ chassus plus 8*1TB SSDs. The 743 was the storage controller.