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How do you silence 8TB?
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Author:  Nick Geraedts [ Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:06 am ]
Post subject:  How do you silence 8TB?

Like Wibla's Monster, my own file server has gone through it's share of upgrades and revisions over the years. It started out as a lowly Athlon XP 2000+ system with two WD5000AAKS drives and has grown into the behemoth that it is now.

Last summer, I wanted to make myself a reliable storage server (which could also serve other purposes later) that had room to expand as I needed it to. The parts list as it stands now:

Case: Coolermaster CMStacker 810
PSU: Corsair HX620
Motherboard: ASUS P5K Premium Wifi
CPU: Intel E2160 (soon to be upgraded)
RAM: 4x2GB OCZ Gold DDR2-800 5-5-5-18
Optical Drive: Pioneer DVR-212D
Graphics Card: EVGA GeForce 7200GS
RAID Card: 3ware 9650SE-8LPML
System drives: 2x WD5000AACS
Storage drives 8x WD10EACS
Fans: 3x Scythe Slipstream 800RPM
Heatsink: ThermalRight Ultra 120 Extreme

I had originally setup the hard drives in CoolerMaster's 4-in-3 modules, and everything was bolted together. It was fairly quiet, but there was a distinct hum coming from the computer (more noticable from some directions than others).

A local fabric/sewing store had rolls of 25m of corded elastic on sale for $3, so I jumped on that and got myself two. The stacker case makes suspending hard drives dead simple, since there are convenient holes in the case meant for screwing 5.25" drives in place.

And as is always necessary, the pictures. :)


The insides of the computer - not the cleanest build, but it works. I guess I could spend a little more time taping cables to the back panel if I wanted to... but I'm a little lazy.
Image

The ugly side of things...
Image

A closeup of the suspension.
Image

The glory!!!
Image


The difference in noise is like night and day. 8)

I've closed off the top vent of the case as well to prevent the airflow short-circuit that would otherwise happen. The drives themselves run at about 33-35C at idle, 35-38C when working. Not too shabby if you ask me... :)

Author:  that Linux guy [ Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:23 am ]
Post subject: 

I love that last pic.... Truly, that is glory!

I've always thought the Stacker 810 cases made great servers like yours. Hell, they're great for anything. If I ever get rid of my Solo, I'm definitely going for a case like that one.

I hope you got a bulk discount on those harddrives. Those are the Western Digital Green Power drives, right?

Author:  FartingBob [ Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:46 am ]
Post subject: 

Impressive! i dont think ive seen 10 HDD's suspended in 1 case before! With that many drives, you really would want them to be though, vibration would be insane otherwise.
Also, Impressive levels of packratting if you actually need that many drives. :)

Author:  dragonfire [ Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:02 pm ]
Post subject: 

*drool*

All the 1TB hdds must have cost a fortune... and the result is simply glorious.

How did you configure the RAID array? What OS are you running? Do the drives spin down when not in use?

Author:  thejamppa [ Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:21 pm ]
Post subject: 

Simply: B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!

Author:  galvitron [ Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

I have that same case and I am using the 4 in 3 bay or whatever. I think I will remove it and try your method.

BTW, do you normally have fans in front of the HDs? If not, what do you use as the intake fan?

Author:  Nick Geraedts [ Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

that Linux guy wrote:
I hope you got a bulk discount on those harddrives. Those are the Western Digital Green Power drives, right?
They are indeed Green Power drives. Two 500GB models and eight 1TB models. :)

FartingBob wrote:
Impressive! i dont think ive seen 10 HDD's suspended in 1 case before! With that many drives, you really would want them to be though, vibration would be insane otherwise.
Also, Impressive levels of packratting if you actually need that many drives. :)
Yea, like I said before, the difference is very noticable. The system itself wasn't loud per se (pre suspension), but it was definitely "there".

dragonfire wrote:
All the 1TB hdds must have cost a fortune... and the result is simply glorious.
I managed to find a direct reseller of WD drives here in Vancouver. I bought two of the 1TB drives a few months ago for $250, and then the other eight (2x500gb, 6x1TB) for a total of $800 just a month ago. It sounds like a lot of money, but when you're looking at what you're getting from that, it's quite cheap.

dragonfire wrote:
How did you configure the RAID array? What OS are you running? Do the drives spin down when not in use?
The system drives are RAID1 on the ICH9R controller of the motherboard. I've always liked how RAID arrays built on Intel Matrix controllers are pretty much universally transferrable to other Intel chipsets. If the system itself dies and you need to pull the data off a single drive, you can simply plug it into any Intel chipset and be able to read the data.

The storage drives are RAID5 on the 3ware card. The drives don't spin down when idle, but then again, I'm not sure of many RAID controllers that support that kind of feature. I'm using Windows Server 2003 R2 x64 at the moment, but I'll soon be moving up to Server 2008 x64 as soon as I can get a cheap license through my contacts. For the record, if you want to have 2TB+ arrays in Windows, you'll need Server 2003 or later (Vista included) and run the array as a GPT disk (instead of MBR disk). For more information, look here.

thejamppa wrote:
Simply: B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!
Thank you. :)

galvitron wrote:
I have that same case and I am using the 4 in 3 bay or whatever. I think I will remove it and try your method.
It's quite easy with the stacker case. You can see the holes that are meant to screw 5.25" drives into place - just use those and you should be fine.

galvitron wrote:
BTW, do you normally have fans in front of the HDs? If not, what do you use as the intake fan?
I did have 500RPM slipstream fans mounted to each of the 4-in-3 modules before, but now I'm simply relying on the exhaust fans to draw enough air over the drives. I've taped off the top vent, and I cut a large piece of cardboard to block the big circular vent on the side panel. These two simple mods make the case entirely front-to-back airflow with the two 800RPM slipstreams and the HX620 drawing air through the system.

Author:  galvitron [ Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:54 pm ]
Post subject: 

Quote:
galvitron wrote:
I have that same case and I am using the 4 in 3 bay or whatever. I think I will remove it and try your method.
It's quite easy with the stacker case. You can see the holes that are meant to screw 5.25" drives into place - just use those and you should be fine.

galvitron wrote:
BTW, do you normally have fans in front of the HDs? If not, what do you use as the intake fan?
I did have 500RPM slipstream fans mounted to each of the 4-in-3 modules before, but now I'm simply relying on the exhaust fans to draw enough air over the drives. I've taped off the top vent, and I cut a large piece of cardboard to block the big circular vent on the side panel. These two simple mods make the case entirely front-to-back airflow with the two 800RPM slipstreams and the HX620 drawing air through the system.


Thanks for the quick reply. Maybe I am running too many fans if you can do this and keep it cool enough.

As for the side door. I didn't like that side vent either so I got one of these:

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/ ... ts_id=2185

Author:  Nick Geraedts [ Thu Aug 21, 2008 4:15 pm ]
Post subject: 

galvitron wrote:
Thanks for the quick reply. Maybe I am running too many fans if you can do this and keep it cool enough.
You'll have to test with your system. The WD GP drives draw very little power, and I found that with the old WD5000AAKS drives in there, I needed *some* active cooling to keep them happy.

Author:  zoob [ Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:37 pm ]
Post subject: 

What level of RAID are you using for your 8 x 1 TB?

I've been wanting to build something like this for a while now but can't get over the fact that RAID5 on ICH9R is slow unless using write caching.

I can't saturate my gigabit network however it read/writes over 100 MB/sec if I do everything locally on the server -- possibly some kind of override when it is happening over the network.

Author:  Nick Geraedts [ Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:34 am ]
Post subject: 

Like I said before, the 8 storage drives are in RAID5, connected to the 3ware controller. Aside from the speed, I wanted the card for the added functionality that onboard solutions simply don't have (notifications, monitoring, support, etc).

The ICH9R is slow for RAID5, but you have to remember - it's a software raid solution. The XOR calculations are done on your CPU, which is the simple bottleneck here.

Aside from dealing with the slightly slower speeds, your only option is to purchase a dedicated hardware RAID card.

Author:  galvitron [ Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:01 am ]
Post subject: 

Quote:
I did have 500RPM slipstream fans mounted to each of the 4-in-3 modules before, but now I'm simply relying on the exhaust fans to draw enough air over the drives. I've taped off the top vent, and I cut a large piece of cardboard to block the big circular vent on the side panel. These two simple mods make the case entirely front-to-back airflow with the two 800RPM slipstreams and the HX620 drawing air through the system.
_________________


So what RPM are the rear fans now?

I have 2 Noctuas: 1 intake, 1 exhaust. Plus a Scythe S-Flex at 800 rpm throttled by the MB on the Thermalright black thingy over my CPU. I also have a switched 80mm next to the EN9600GT fanless. I turn it on during gaming...my PSU is up top (you know, two space on the 810 and all ;-])

In your opinion, am I overkill?

Author:  zoob [ Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:16 am ]
Post subject: 

Ah sorry, somehow I missed that in your earlier post. Thanks!

Do you happen to have this on a UPS at all? What kind of read/write speeds are you getting?

The stock heatsink on the 3ware card looks so dinky -- how hot does it get under heavy load?

Very nice build. Looks like Stackers are back on my list of possible cases.

Author:  galvitron [ Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:24 am ]
Post subject: 

zoob wrote:
Looks like Stackers are back on my list of possible cases.


It should be, honestly.

If you like function over form, it is one of the best cases made. If you like style and efficiency, go for a Lian.

But serious, it's a glorious case...tooo bad I heard it was discontinued.

Author:  Hypernova [ Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:40 am ]
Post subject: 

That, is a lot of porn.

Nick Geraedts wrote:
I managed to find a direct reseller of WD drives here in Vancouver. I bought two of the 1TB drives a few months ago for $250, and then the other eight (2x500gb, 6x1TB) for a total of $800 just a month ago. It sounds like a lot of money, but when you're looking at what you're getting from that, it's quite cheap.


That's about $1100 New Zealand dollars, and considering that a 1TB retails for 500NZD here I say you got a hell of a deal.

Quote:
The storage drives are RAID5 on the 3ware card. The drives don't spin down when idle, but then again, I'm not sure of many RAID controllers that support that kind of feature.

Given the distributed nature of RAID trying to spin up/down individual drives in the array would probably wreck some serious havoc.

Author:  Nick Geraedts [ Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:30 pm ]
Post subject: 

galvitron wrote:
So what RPM are the rear fans now?
They're the 800RPM slipstreams.

galvitron wrote:
I have 2 Noctuas: 1 intake, 1 exhaust. Plus a Scythe S-Flex at 800 rpm throttled by the MB on the Thermalright black thingy over my CPU. I also have a switched 80mm next to the EN9600GT fanless. I turn it on during gaming...my PSU is up top (you know, two space on the 810 and all ;-])

In your opinion, am I overkill?
You don't have the Stacker 810, you have the Stacker STC-T01. The main difference was the location of the PSU, and the addition of the second 120mm fan. ;)

I wouldn't really call that overkill per se. As long as your temperatures stay reasonable, you should be fine. If you want, you could block off the 5.25" bays that aren't in use and see if you can remove the intake 120 (if it really bothers you). Chances are, you won't really need it if you're able to direct the incoming airflow properly.

zoob wrote:
Do you happen to have this on a UPS at all? What kind of read/write speeds are you getting?

The stock heatsink on the 3ware card looks so dinky -- how hot does it get under heavy load?
UPS is on my list of things to get. I've been trying to find one that isn't too bulky, and yet doens't break the bank. Something like the ones pictured here would be ideal, but those models are only 1200VA and up, and therefore cost over $200CAD locally.

Read write speeds - I'm able to get about 150-200MB/s reads, 100-125MB/s writes. Not stellar, but still fast enough to max out my gigabit network. :)

It gets warm, but never really that hot to the touch. 3ware doesn't give the option of a fanned heatsink (like Areca does, AFAIK), so they must know that it's sufficient. From what I've read, the RAID card's processor can handle temperatures similar to those found on graphics cards (100C+).

galvitron wrote:
If you like function over form, it is one of the best cases made. If you like style and efficiency, go for a Lian.

But serious, it's a glorious case...tooo bad I heard it was discontinued.
Sadly, the Stacker 810 is hard to find these days. I'm keeping this case for as long as I can, since you can shove a rediculous amount of hardware in there, and still have room for more!

I've always found Lian-Li cases overpriced. Sure - they might have great build quality, but I just can't imagine spending $300 on a case. :S


Hypernova wrote:
That, is a lot of porn.
You're referring to the P.L.O.H, I presume... :P

Hypernova wrote:
Given the distributed nature of RAID trying to spin up/down individual drives in the array would probably wreck some serious havoc.
I can imagine that you might be able to get all drives to spin down simultaneously, but I've got staggered spinup enabled (to save my PSU if nothing else), so having to wait 8 seconds for disk access after they've spun down would be a bit of a pain.

Author:  HammerSandwich [ Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:38 am ]
Post subject: 

zoob wrote:
I can't saturate my gigabit network however it read/writes over 100 MB/sec if I do everything locally on the server -- possibly some kind of override when it is happening over the network.
Hitting PCI's limit?

Author:  zoob [ Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

HammerSandwich wrote:
zoob wrote:
I can't saturate my gigabit network however it read/writes over 100 MB/sec if I do everything locally on the server -- possibly some kind of override when it is happening over the network.
Hitting PCI's limit?


I was thinking something along those lines, though I never did have it set up long enough to do some thorough testing and never got a hold of a PCI-E gigabit nic to test.

It's getting to the point where I'm considering either buying a prebuilt box and just tucking it away in a corner, or going all out and getting a nice hardware RAID card and build something similar to this.

Author:  JazzJackRabbit [ Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:36 pm ]
Post subject: 

Good one. I've updated my fileserver (my sig is terribly out of date) to something similar. Server 2008 with 8 WD10EACS in raid5 on Adaptec 31605 in P180 case. I thought about posting pics, but decided against it because as I have found Adaptec 31605 runs scorching hot so I had to use faster fans than I would have liked to so while rig is quiet, it's not SPCR quiet.

Author:  Wibla [ Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:57 pm ]
Post subject: 

Looking good

Sceptical about:

1. Temps?
2. How it handles movement? i.e. being transported in, say, a car.

Always nice to be an inspiration tho :)

Author:  Nick Geraedts [ Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:07 pm ]
Post subject: 

@Wibla - Temps are prefectly fine. As I'm sitting here, they're all running between 32C and 36C (ambient in the room is 22-23). Transportation - I'd definitely remove the drives before transporting the case. They're stable enough to move the case slightly (for the odd dusting or maintenance), but not moving it from house to house.

I doubt that I'd be able to pull off the semi-passive cooling with any other drives than the WD GP. My guess is that the fact that it's 4W a piece (instead of 7-8W) at idle makes a huge difference.

Author:  iakovl [ Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:39 pm ]
Post subject: 

beautiful.... i love it
i also gonna build a fileserver based on the 3ware 9650-8 card. but in my case i want to use custom mAtx case... i like small things.

Author:  Mats [ Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How do you silence 8TB?

Nick Geraedts wrote:
CPU: Intel E2160 (soon to be upgraded)

Isn't that CPU enugh for a fileserver?

Author:  Nick Geraedts [ Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:20 pm ]
Post subject: 

It is, but this is becoming more than just my file server. First off - part of the file serving that the system does is videos (TV shows, movies, etc). I've got a queue of about 15 full seasons of TV shows that I need to rip and convert to XviD. My XBMC (XBox Media Center) currently plays all my files over the network, but converting the files takes quite a bit of time at the moment (when you've got several movies or shows queued up).

Secondly - I'm planning on moving to Server 2008 soon so I can start running Hyper-V. The E2160 doesn't support Intel VT, which is a requirement for the Hyper-V. The E8300 or E8400 is the likely route for an upgrade, but I've gotta wait a bit for that (waiting for paycheques to come in). I manage a cluster of about 30 linux servers at my workplace, and I like to test my management software and scripts on a virtual cluster before deploying them on the real one. I've currently got a system of 8 VMware machines setup as a group, but Hyper-V provides better performance overall than VMware Server from what I've seen and read (I've had a short while to play with it on other systems).


Ha det sa bra!!! (Jag har inga speciala bokstaver... :()

Author:  Mats [ Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:31 am ]
Post subject: 

Du med!

How come you speak Swedish? Not that common really. :wink:

Author:  Nick Geraedts [ Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:01 am ]
Post subject: 

My mother is Swedish, and my father lived there for 9 years before they moved out to Canada. They used to live just outside Lund.

I was brought up speaking Swedish when at home. My grandparents bought my sister and I a subscription to Bamse every year. :D

Author:  Mats [ Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:27 am ]
Post subject: 

OK, cool! Just tell me if you want recommendations for swedish music.
I wouldn't bother with the movies . . :wink:

(sorry for the delay)

Author:  JazzJackRabbit [ Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:17 am ]
Post subject: 

Nick Geraedts wrote:
Secondly - I'm planning on moving to Server 2008 soon so I can start running Hyper-V. The E2160 doesn't support Intel VT, which is a requirement for the Hyper-V.


Good luck with that. Apparently Hyper-V is still way too buggy. I installed it on one of my computers and it stopped rebooting. Would turn off fine but would not reboot anymore, it would get to the point where monitor would go blank and computer is supposed to reboot and it just wouldn't. I googled and apparently it's quite a common problem and depends on your hardware. If you're lucky and it's fully supported then it will work fine, but if you're unlucky like me you can run into problems. After I removed Hyper-V everything went back to normal.

Pity as I wanted to try it.

Author:  Nick Geraedts [ Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:39 am ]
Post subject: 

Hmm.... That bug seems to have some quirks with certain motherboards and hardware configurations. We'll see if this comes up when I get around to actually upgrading my hardware. There are other projects that have taken priority at the moment... hopefully pictures will come soon. :)

Also - I wouldn't really say that Hyper-V is "way too buggy". There seem to be certain setup issues, but remember, it's a v1.0 product. When it is up and running, the performance blows anything VMware has out of the water. I've seen a Windows Server 2003 VM start from a cold boot to all the fully functioning services up and running in roughly 3 seconds. If you want some detailed information on the underlying differences between Hyper-V and VMware (which is the largest competition), have a look at this thread, and keep an eye on cluberti's posts. There's one guy who really knows his stuff. :)

Another reason why not to doubt Microsoft and Server 2008/Hyper-V - They've been using it on all their production machines for a very long time. The microsoft.com domain was hosted on Server 2008 Beta 3 servers as of July 2007. If that doesn't speak confidence in your products, I really don't know what does...

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