SuperMicro server questions for use as a JBOD DAS?

Notice: Page may contain affiliate links for which we may earn a small commission through services like Amazon Affiliates or Skimlinks.

Defcon1

Member
Aug 18, 2016
40
0
6
42
I have an old server with following hardware -
  • 846E16-R1200B chassis
  • 2x Xeon L5630 cpu
  • LSI 9223-8i dual port 6 controller flashed with 9211-8i firmware in IT mode
  • backplane BPN-SAS2-846EL1
  • PSU which I replaced with PWS-920P-SQ
  • original fans
Unfortunately I wasn't able to use it much due to other issues, and made do with my desktop pc as server with a few external drives. It wasn't an ideal solution of course. Now I am able to get back into this and have decided to use unRaid. I bought a key since I saw they were moving to an annual subscription model.

But I've been thinking that the hw in my server is rather old. Even at the time I bought it many were replacing it with newer desktop pc mobo+cpu for better perf/power usage etc. It was also quiet loud. I had chosen the low power L Xeons as well as bought the SQ PSU with the intention of improving these but the fans also need replacing for use in my apartment.

I also have a HP Elitedesk sff with a Core i5 7th/8th gen cpu that I got for cheap, as an upgrade for my desktop pc which is now very old. I was thinking it would instead do better as a server, and then use the SM as a DAS. This would give me a faster server and much lower power usage, right? This sounds like a much cheaper option than replacing the internal components of the server. I also don't want to run unRaid on the current server since I have a faster/newer option.

I have a few questions -

server:
- it seems you need a board like the CSE-PTJBOD-CB1/2, which provides power etc and works with existing CM chassis. it has only 2 fan headers, how do you connect the rest?
- also a lot of people replace the fan wall with 3x120mm for lower noise and temps. how would these connect?
- since the fans aren't pwm do they run full speed?
- I'm guessing losing IPMI etc is not a big deal (there is a CSE-PTJBOD-CB3 but its 3x the cost)

connection:
- not too sure about this. since the backplane has a SAS expander, it means I don't need the LSI card in the server, and it should go in the HP?
- backplane right now connects to the LSI card via an internal sff-8087 cable, right?
- my understanding is that there are 2 ways I can do this -
  1. use a longer version of the current 8087 cable between the 2 computers
  2. add pci adapters in between, plus external sff-8088 cable between the 2 computers
which one is better?​
- or do I need a different HBA?

misc:
- with this setup, can unRaid still see drive temps etc?
- do you turn on DAS before or after server? does it ever go to sleep? does it even support sleep modes?

I'm new to all this so any advice is helpful, and I'd also like to keep costs down. Thanks
 

nexox

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2023
738
313
63
The backplane itself should have fan headers, you can also use splitters. Running a long SFF8087 cable between the machines is janky but works, the pci slot bracket adapters are better, but you may actually be able to get an HBA with external ports cheaper than the adapter (so then just one in the DAS.) You don't even strictly need the CSE-PTJBOD card, just any way to provide a power on signal to the PSU, which can be as sketchy as a paperclip.
 

nexox

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2023
738
313
63
Also, I don't know the details, but I have heard that some Supermicro LGA115x boards can be used without a CPU or memory to run a DAS, could be cost competitive with the JBOD boards, the information is on this forum somewhere.
 

Defcon1

Member
Aug 18, 2016
40
0
6
42
The backplane itself should have fan headers, you can also use splitters. Running a long SFF8087 cable between the machines is janky but works, the pci slot bracket adapters are better, but you may actually be able to get an HBA with external ports cheaper than the adapter (so then just one in the DAS.) You don't even strictly need the CSE-PTJBOD card, just any way to provide a power on signal to the PSU, which can be as sketchy as a paperclip.
doesn't the HBA need to go in the server? the DAS is just the disks no?
I searched for HBA but it seems they either come with internal 8087 or external 8088 not both.



Also, I don't know the details, but I have heard that some Supermicro LGA115x boards can be used without a CPU or memory to run a DAS, could be cost competitive with the JBOD boards, the information is on this forum somewhere.
wont it use more power than the smaller board designed for DAS? I wasn't able to find any
 

nexox

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2023
738
313
63
Yeah those passive adapters are about right, not sure about that brand, but at least it comes with the internal cable, though the length is borderline for the DAS chassis, the kind I am familiar with just have a connector on the inside.

There are definitely HBAs with a combination of internal and external ports if you need that, the LSI nomenclature is something like "4i4e": LSI SAS9205-4i4e 6Gb/s SAS/SATA PCI-E 3.0 H3-25279-04D Controller Adapter Card | eBay
 

Defcon1

Member
Aug 18, 2016
40
0
6
42
Yeah those passive adapters are about right, not sure about that brand, but at least it comes with the internal cable, though the length is borderline for the DAS chassis, the kind I am familiar with just have a connector on the inside.

There are definitely HBAs with a combination of internal and external ports if you need that, the LSI nomenclature is something like "4i4e": LSI SAS9205-4i4e 6Gb/s SAS/SATA PCI-E 3.0 H3-25279-04D Controller Adapter Card | eBay
is that an HBA? how come its so cheap? will it work to connect to backplane for all 24 drives and replace the LSI card, which hopefully I can sell?
 

Defcon1

Member
Aug 18, 2016
40
0
6
42
Yeah those passive adapters are about right, not sure about that brand, but at least it comes with the internal cable, though the length is borderline for the DAS chassis, the kind I am familiar with just have a connector on the inside.

There are definitely HBAs with a combination of internal and external ports if you need that, the LSI nomenclature is something like "4i4e": LSI SAS9205-4i4e 6Gb/s SAS/SATA PCI-E 3.0 H3-25279-04D Controller Adapter Card | eBay
I was just thinking, why do I need internal 8087 port on the HBA? its just going in the PCI slot on the server, so all it needs is external port right?
 

nexox

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2023
738
313
63
Yeah unless you want to connect more SAS drives in the server you don't need the internal port. I would personally go for the slightly more expensive SAS3 8e version (LSI Logic SAS9300-8e 12GB/s 2 Mini-SAS HD SFF8644 PCIe SAS/SATA HBA Dell 0J91FN | eBay) and then keep an eye out for a 12G backplane for your DAS, not only do you get double the link bandwidth, but the 12G expanders can aggregate two links and share one 12G lane between two 6G disks to get quite a lot more effective bandwidth. That means a dual 12G passive adapter (https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01MFHET83) and a cable that converts SFF8643 to SFF8087, for ease of upgrade when you find that backplane.
 

Defcon1

Member
Aug 18, 2016
40
0
6
42
Thanks. I don't see myself upgrading the backplane but good to know.

I would personally go for the slightly more expensive SAS3 8e version (LSI Logic SAS9300-8e 12GB/s 2 Mini-SAS HD SFF8644 PCIe SAS/SATA HBA Dell 0J91FN | eBay)
this won't connect to the 8088 cable though right? it says mini-sas HD. how would the other end connect to the backplane?

Also, do these LSI cards need cooling? I remember reading that somewhere. I will be putting these in this - https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c06047207
 

nexox

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2023
738
313
63
You should be able to get cables with different connectors on each end, use the 12G cable from the HBA to the passive adapter then the correct cable to run from the adapter to the expander. HBAs do usually require a bit of airflow, a 40mm axial fan or centrifugal blower is usually enough, those chips are OK running hotter than you'd want for a CPU.
 

nexox

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2023
738
313
63
There's also the HP H241 HBA, it has a smaller heatsink than most LSI HBAs, so might make a bit less heat.
 

nexox

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2023
738
313
63
I see an H241 on eBay for $40, but with no plastic duct (not sure how effective that will be in a desktop,) that starts at $54, neither are too much more than the LSI 9300.
 

Fallen Kell

Member
Mar 10, 2020
57
23
8
Just wondering why you have ruled out just using the 846 chassis for the server? You can swap out the motherboard easily with any ATX or E-ATX (up to a certain length) board. The only issue you can run into is the power distribution board not having enough EPS cables to support some of the latest boards (i.e. ones that require 2x 8pin EPS cables), but that can be solved by changing out the power distribution board to a more modern one.

The big issue with noise that you probably initially were dealing with is due to the high RPM 80mm and 40mm fans. That is easily solved in the 846 as you can remove the fan wall at the front of the chassis and replace it with 3x120mm fans zip-tied/velcro'ed/dual-locked/double-sided-taped together (I use 3x Noctua NF-F12 iPPC 3000 fans, which have higher airflow than the 3x80mm fans originally there and are close to 12db quieter). I also removed the exhaust fans in the rear (but I have active cooling heatsink+fans on my CPUs) and there is enough static pressure after I taped up the various vent holes on the chassis that air pushes out the back without any problem.

With the SQ power supplies you already purchased and just a few fans, that chassis will be much quieter. You will still need to swap out the fans to make it quieter anyway if you are trying to use it as a JBOD, since it will still be just as loud as it was previously without changing those fans, and now with just using the 846, you don't have to deal with external -> internal SAS cables, and all the issues with ensuring the external JBOD is powered on, dealing with sleep states, etc...
 

Defcon1

Member
Aug 18, 2016
40
0
6
42
@Fallen Kell that is also an option. I just thought that using the HP I already have as a main server is cheaper and simpler. Are you suggesting buying a new mobo + cpu and putting it in the SM?

Its a long story - my original idea was to use the SuperMicro as a server like you said. I have my data on a bunch of mostly external drives in NTFS that I use with my Windows pc. As you can imagine not what I want as the end solution. But I had some issues getting everything together, had to move etc, so the SM just ended up not getting used.

Recently found out about mini pc's and how cheap they are - picked up an Optiplex to be my desktop, and then found a great deal on the HP G4 SFF.

I always intended to run unRaid but kept hesitating. Saw the recent news about their pricing and decided I have to finish all this. When I compare the cpu/power usage of the old hw in the SM vs the HP, it doesn't really make sense to use the old Xeons. Then I considered purchasing a newer gen cpu+mobo+ram, like most people do, but that won't be cheap. I also thought of taking the internals of the HP and moving them into the SM chassis, I don't think that's going to be an easy thing and not really advisable, plus I'd lose a perfectly nice and quiet HP pc.

so in the end, it just doesn't seem worth it. Like you said I need to do something about the fans either way. The cost of adding a CSE-PTJBOD-CB2 board (I've seen some posts that even this isn't needed, it just helps you turn it on/off) and a few sff-8088 cable and bracket seems much lower, and it lets me use my HP with an 8th gen Intel as a server, overall power usage should be much lower too.

I hope that makes sense? what are your thoughts?
 

Defcon1

Member
Aug 18, 2016
40
0
6
42
btw, do 140mm fans not fit in the case? no one seems to use them so I assume not. also with just using as JBOD there will no PWM or fan control, so the fans would run at 100% always right?
 

Fallen Kell

Member
Mar 10, 2020
57
23
8
The 140mm's would only fit if you remove the power distribution board and the hot swap power supply cage (or remove the hard drive backplane and supports, but that kind of defeats the usually purpose of this chassis). The 3x120mm fans will fit in the same spot as the fanwall divider where the 80mm fans were originally installed.

Sorry, let me clarify, you could fit 2x 140mm fans, but would need to then fill the remaining space to have correct airflow (3D print a custom bracket, or use pool noodle or similar foam cut to fill in the gaps). The 2x140mm fans may also struggle to provide enough static pressure as well (for instance the 120mm NF-N12 iPPC 3000 rpm fans have 7.63mm H2O static pressure, while the 140mm NF-A14 iPPC 3000 fans have only 6.58mm H2O static pressure (and now you are also only using 2 instead of 3).
 
Last edited:

Defcon1

Member
Aug 18, 2016
40
0
6
42

Fallen Kell

Member
Mar 10, 2020
57
23
8
The IPMI would probably work, but without CPU/RAM the fans will not run as the BIOS will effectively shut the system down when it hits the checks for CPU/RAM, finds none and powers things down.

Don't you have an existing board with the 2x Xeon L5630 and LSI controller? Those CPUs are relatively low power (40W TDP, back in the time that TDP was a fairly accurate measure of the power draw of the CPU). I mean, if you are trying to keep the costs down, using what you have is the best method. Alternatively, nothing prevents you from putting an ATX, E-ATX, or micro-ATX board+CPU in the 846 (obviously the most modern boards might have issues if you need additional 8pin EPS cables and/or PCI-E power, but can be resolved by purchasing an updated power distribution board that has those cables):