WTB: Server Hot Swap Chassis

Roaming Builder

Roaming Builder
Apr 12, 2017
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Good Morning All,

I am relatively new to these forums, so please excuse me if I am not doing something right.

I am currently reworking my home network/servers and am planning to re-dedicate what is currently my storage/Misc server as solely storage. it is currently sitting in the following, and I would love to rehome it in a chassis that is better suited for a storage server with hot-swap bays.

Chassis (Rosewill RSV-L4500): Rosewill RSV-L4500 Black Metal/ Steel, 1.0 mm thickness , 4U Rackmount Server Chassis, 15 Internal Bays, 8 Included Cooling Fans-Newegg.com
MOBO(SUPERMICRO MBD-X9SCL-F-O LGA): SUPERMICRO MBD-X9SCL-F-O LGA 1155 Intel C202 Micro ATX Intel Xeon E3 Server Motherboard-Newegg.com
RAID: LSI MegaRAID SAS 9260-16i

I would love to see something with 16+ Hot Swap Bays, some internal ones for the system drives would be fine. On my current chassis, adding more drives is too cumbersome, and I want something a bit easier with all of the changes I am planning to make.

I have been considering the following, but am having a hard time pulling the trigger due to the price.

NORCO RPC-4216
NORCO RPC-4216 Server Case-Newegg.com

iStarUSA EX4M24
iStarUSA EX4M24 Heavy-duty SGCC Cold-rolled Steel 4U Rackmount 4U 24-Bay Storage Server Rackmount Chassis - Newegg.com

Anyone have anything worthwile laying around? Id even take recommendations on other options if you are not selling.

If I need to be more focuse din my request let me know, and I will move this over to chassis forums for opinions.
 

CyberSkulls

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Apr 14, 2016
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Your going to get a lot of different opinions on here but I can't recommend Norco due to their very low quality. Their support is even worse than their quality.

So o to my suggestions. First couple are below your specs and are 12 bay chassis.

Supermicro 826 which is a 12 bay hot swap. Excellent build quality, can be upgraded easily as parts are readily available on eBay.

I personally just purchased some Chenbro RM23212 chassis on eBay new in the box for $109. I couldn't beat the price as I was looking to convert away from my 60 bay HGST chassis to smaller/quieter chassis with larger capacity drives.

Next is the go to chassis for a lot of us, the Supermicro 846 which is a 24 bay hot swap chassis. Built like a frikin tank and easily upgradable off eBay just like the smaller 826 mentioned above.


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pricklypunter

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+1 on the Chenbro RM23212. If you need 24 bays, buy 2 bare chassis and use one as a disk shelf :)
 
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CyberSkulls

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+1 on the Chenbro RM2312. If you need 24 bays, buy 2 bare chassis and use one as a disk shelf :)
That's exactly how I have mine set up. Running three of them as JBOD's into a unRAID host machine. I'm actually pretty happy with them and I honestly blame you for all this. Our couple of conversations talked me into the purchase :)


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pricklypunter

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Hehe, (not) guilty :p:D

Truth be told, I love mine, it has the looks, is pretty well engineered (Chenbro have been in the game a long time) and you simply can't beat the bang for buck on that deal :)
 

Roaming Builder

Roaming Builder
Apr 12, 2017
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Ha and wait after I get this sorted, then i'll be looking for bulk drives to fill it up the rest of the way. I only have 8 drives in there now :)
 

Roaming Builder

Roaming Builder
Apr 12, 2017
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I like the size of the Supermicro 846 but much of what I was reading was saying that they cannot take more than 2TB drive sizes, which leads me to think that the backplane might need to be replaced, but not finding much info...
 

K D

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Dec 24, 2016
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You seem to be in the same boat as me. I have been running Norco 4224, Rosewill 4411 and 2 Chenbro RM42300-F with IcyDock Fatcages for a few years.

Here are my impressions.

Norco 4224 - I hear a lot of negative feedback for this case. But After replacing the fan wall with the 120mm version and some fiddling with the backplanes, I have had no issues with it for the past 3 years. Runs quiet, Keeps the drives around 35degrees. I've only had a maximum of 16 drives in the case at one time though.

Rosewill 4411 - 12 Hot Swap. Ran very quiet. Dont remember If the fans included are PWM. Needed a case for a build and There was a good deal on amazon warehouse deals and got it. Used it for a month or so but it has been just sitting around empty for a year.

Chenbro RM42300 with ICYDock Hotswap Cages. Was looking for a short depth case which would fit in a very short rack and went with this one. One has a Dual 5520 with one 5 bay hotswap for dev and the other has 10 drives in 2 5 bay hotswap cases + 4 internal mounted drives for a total of 14 drives + 2 SSDs as my primary file server. Had to replace all the fans though to make them quiet. These 2 have been my workhorses for the past 3 years running 24/7.

Supermicro 835 and 846 with "A" Backplane - Could not make them as quiet as I needed and I've given up on them for the time being.

Supermicro 823 - Got a great deal. Ordered it for a new build and should be delivered Friday. Has 6 HotSwap. Primarily going to be using it for Compute. Will only have a few SSDs in the hotswaps. So Quiet fan replacement is possible without hurting the drives.

Supermicro 826 - Have one on order again to be delivered Friday. Have seen some posts where the posters have been able to get to a cool and quiet system. If it works out I'll be replacing the Chenbros with it.

Be sure to use newer platinum PSUs or the SQ versions of the power supplies. The older ones that came with my cases could be heard outside the house :)
 

CyberSkulls

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Ok I was looking at these now, the chenbro ones are definitely the right price. If you use the second one as a disk shelf, how would you route the Data and power to the second box for the hard drives and fans? I would like to keep the wiring somewhat clean, and my raid card is a 16i

Lot of 2 Chenbro 2U Rackmount Server Case ATX 12X3.5 SAS/SATA RM23212 NO PSU NEW | eBay

price is right for 2
Power is ran just like you normally would. I happen to use SeaSonic SS-400L2U ($80) simply because I already had them from previous builds. To turn the unit on, I used a Supermicro JBOD power boards ($10). Again, I already had them. So now we have power to the unit.

To access the data, I ran three 8087 to 8087 cables from the backplane to the rear I/O of the chassis and used some short (2U) 8087 to 8088 converters. I had those as well but they are only about $15/EA. And from there it was 8088 to 8088 cables to the rear of the host machine and go into an LSI 9201-16e.

Now you could simplify that by using a SAS expander in the JBOD and running a single cable to the host machine. I only did it the way I did since I already had the parts. And this way each JBOD gets full PCIe speeds on the host as each JBOD gets its own card.

As to the fans, that's the tricky part. Since there is no motherboard to control the fan speeds they will be running at full speed if you don't add in a fan controller of some sort. I personally changed out the fans to Arctic F8's and plugged them directly into the backplane to let them run at full speed. They are very quiet. They don't move much air but since all other heat sources have been removed from the chassis and it's just holding drives, my 5,400 RPM non helium drives idle at 28C and my 5,400 8TB helium drives bounce between 31-32C wether it's idle or reading/writing.


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pricklypunter

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If you use the second one as a disk shelf, how would you route the Data and power to the second box for the hard drives and fans? I would like to keep the wiring somewhat clean, and my raid card is a 16i
There are a few ways of going about it, really depends on what you need from it, how neat and tidy you want it and how much you want to spend doing it.

A couple of options:

If neat and tidy is the primary goal:
Fit 3x 8087/ 8088 adapters at both ends (1x dual port, 1x single) and use 3x 8088 extension cables between them. You will also need 3x 8087's to go to the backplane from the adapters in the JBod and also from your controller to the adapters in the head end. In the disk shelf/ JBod box, fit a cheap SM JBod controller along with your power supply. This allows you to turn the JBod on/ off front the front panel.

If functional is the primary goal:
Fit 3x grommets into unused expansion slots at each end and pass 3x 8087 cables that are long enough, through each one between your controller and the backplane in the disk shelf. In the disk shelf/ JBod fit a power supply, with or without a mains switch, your choice, and modify the wiring so that it is always on when powered.

To tidy up the bundle of cables between them you can use some velcro cable straps etc :)
 

CyberSkulls

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Speaking of grommets, have you seen any for expansion slots? I have a handful of I/O shield blanks that I thought about drilling a hole or three into it, inserting a grommet and running my cables that way and skipping the whole 8087 to 8088 conversion. It would just eliminate a break in the cable I have now. It's just one more place to have a signal issue.

But I have never seen the PCIe slot grommets. My googlefu is not strong today.


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pricklypunter

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Last time I done it, I just used a couple of small oval shaped rubber grommets, that I got at the local car accessory shop, to fill up the i/o space in the chassis. I cut them, wrapped around the breakout cables and stuffed em back in at each end. You could always use rubberised or epdm plastic grommet strip cut to length as well. The main thing is just to stop the cables being chaffed by any sharp edges when moving stuff about :)

Obviously, the concept really only works where function trumps flexibility, but if you regularly pull/ move chassis around in your rack, it would probably make more sense to spend the extra money upfront and use 8088 cables & adapters on the JBod with an external port controller in the head end, so you can at least pull them out without faffing about. In this case though, with only 12 disks in the Chenbro, it's not really worth the investment in a seperate expander card unless you envisage a future use for one :)

I did at one time consider buying 2 chassis, cutting the bottom out of one and tacking/ stitch welding them together to form one 4U box, but I came to my senses before that happened :D
 

CyberSkulls

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I did at one time consider buying 2 chassis, cutting the bottom out of one and tacking/ stitch welding them together to form one 4U box, but I came to my senses before that happened :D
Oh god, I wouldn't go that far!!

I had some right ange 8087-8087 cables that I used since the space between the backplane and fan wall was so tight. However those cables are not exactly cheap. They are about $15/EA. I only asked about the grommets as I ordered (3) 2M 8087-8088 cables to run from the backplane out the empty I/O plate and into my LSI 9201-16e. So rather than having a $15 8087-8087 cable from the backplane to the $15 8087-8088 converter then a $10 8088-8088 cable connecting the JBOD to the host, I could run a $10 2M 8087 to 8088 cable from Monoprice through a I/O shield blank (I have plenty of those) with 3 holes, each with a grommet, that could potentially save me $90 per chassis and achieve the same result.

I have a small drill press in the garage so punching out three evenly spaced holes would require 2 minutes worth of work for a $90 savings.

I was originally just going to buy a couple new SAS3 controller and new QSFP+ to HD Mini SAS cables which total would have been in excess of $1,000. After building out one of these Chenbro chassis and how damn quiet I can get them, I can't stand the sound of my HGST 4U60's anymore.



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pricklypunter

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There's certainly incentive to run cables directly between controller and backplane, if at all possible. I have no regrets with my setup, I feel like I struck the balance just right with my chassis, in terms of noise/ heat. Mine is certainly no louder that the average desktop PC, if not a smidge quieter than that and that's with 8 HGST Ultrastars running in it :)
 

CyberSkulls

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There's certainly incentive to run cables directly between controller and backplane, if at all possible. I have no regrets with my setup, I feel like I struck the balance just right with my chassis, in terms of noise/ heat. Mine is certainly no louder that the average desktop PC, if not a smidge quieter than that and that's with 8 HGST Ultrastars running in it :)
I was having an issue keeping drives cool running quiet fans but once I decided to run them as JBOD's and removed basically all the other heat sources from the chassis, I'm happy with the temps being sub 30C for my normal drives and 30-32C for my helium drives depending on load.

It's been a long time since I had server chassis this quiet. When you can hear the spindle motor spinning up the drive from its sleep state over the noise of the entire chassis, that's pretty damn quiet!

After building out a couple of these I found myself doing something I never thought I would do: looking at my desktop which is the Fractal Define R4 and wondering why it's so damn loud.

I'm testing the last couple WD80EZZX (WD 8TB white label drives) pulled from the My Book externals. I test them inside their external case then once I'm satisfied, I void the warranty and shuck them. So these little 2U chassis will each pack 96TB of cool and silent storage for me.


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schro

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Apr 9, 2013
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I recently picked up a Supermicro 826 to use as a drive shelf with an existing server - couple of notes -
1. Make sure you get the SAS2 variant (harder to find at a good price). Part number would look something like CSE-826-SAS2 instead of without the two. Same should apply to the 846.
2. Agree to agree on the $10 2m Monoprice 8087-8088 cable. Using that just fine.
3. The SAS2 backplane does fan control without having to worry about it. This was a relief after finding the JBOD v2 board just ran them at hairdryer speed.
4. If you're doing SSDs, then you'll have a bottleneck on the single SAS cable connection, but my back of the envelope math says a dozen spinners are fine.
 

CyberSkulls

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2. Agree to agree on the $10 2m Monoprice 8087-8088 cable. Using that just fine.
Nice to hear. I didn't see any specs on the signal speed but read some negative comments on other 8087-8087 cables about only running at SAS1 speeds. So I assume your getting full speeds out of the cable without connection/communication issues?