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Feedback on Norco 4224 24 bay build

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August 27, 2012 4:52:19 PM

Hi All

I am putting a new server together since my 5-year old WHSv1 starts to have issues.
The MB lost the network port and I had to re-install the OS already once in the last months and the server keeps bugging me that I have to repair one drive about once a week and now it randomly reboots every few days now so it is getting urgent (yes, I have a data backup).

I did spend way too much time on research for this, but I think I have it almost together now:

Lots of room for hard drives. I am running a bit low and want to copy all my videos from discs to the server:
Norco 4224 Case
http://www.ncix.ca/products/?sku=55462

Quieting the rear fans:
80mm Fan x 2
Noctua NF-R8 80MM Ultra Quiet PWM Cooling Fan 300-1800RPM 39.4-53.3M3/H 10.2-17.1DBA 4PIN
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=64543&vpn=NF-R8%20PWM&manufacture=Noctua

Get the 120mm fans in the middle for noise reduction:
120mm fan wall bracket for RPC-4224, RPC-4220, RPC-4216, RPC-4116, RPC-4020, RPC-4164
http://www.ipcdirect.net/servlet/Detail?no=258

And the fans to go with that:
120mm Fan x 3
Noctua NF-F12 PWM 120MM Ultra Quiet Cooling Fan 300-1500RPM 93.1M3/H 22.4DBA 4-PIN PWM
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=66920&vpn=NF-F12%20PWM&manufacture=Noctua

I wasn't too happy with the network port on my old MB dying on me and i don't know if the current issues are MB relates, so I want a board that's going to last me for years to come:
Asus SABERTOOTH Z77 MB
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=69881&vpn=Sabertooth%20Z77&manufacture=ASUS&promoid=1205

And some RAM that should work as far as I have seen:
Kingston ValueRAM 8GB (2X4GB) DDR3 1333 CL9 240-PIN SDRAM
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=58488&vpn=KVR1333D3N9K2%2F8G&manufacture=Kingston

Since it seems the MB has 8 SATA ports I need 2 of these cables (is 60cm long enough?):
3ware CBL-SFF8087OCR-06M 0.6m Multi-lane Internal SFF-8087 Serial ATA Reverse Breakout Cable
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816116101

And then I need two of these to get the other 16 drives:
Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 8-Port SAS/SATA Add-on Card
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=37999&vpn=AOC-SASLP-MV8&manufacture=SuperMicro

and four cables for them:
Anyone know if 50cm is fine or if need to go 75cm in this configuration?
50cm NORCO C-SFF8087-D SFF-8087 to SFF-8087 Internal Multilane SAS Cable - OEM
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816133034
or
75cm SUPERMICRO CBL-0281L SAS Data Transfer Cable
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816101355

As for the OS I think I'll go for WHS2011.
I have a Windows7 Pro around, but it just feels better to have Server OS underneath and it has more remote access options.
Any opinions on why I should use Win7 instead of WHS2011?

I haven't decided on a processor yet.
Most of what will be done is file serving, but there will also be transcoding of video streams and Serviio, Plex, PS3 Media Server and some other background tasks running.
Now my choices are probably overpowered, but my old AMD BE-2350 was fine for its time five years ago, but it's starting to get a bit slow for what I need and I want to have CPU that's going to be working great for me in a few years - I don't want to underbuy.
I am not quite sure between:
Intel Core i5 2400S Quad Core Processor LGA1155 2.5GHZ 6MB Cache 65W
and
Intel Core i5 2405S Quad Core Processor LGA1155 2.5GHZ 6MB Cache 65W
I can see at http://ark.intel.com/compare/55446,52208 that the 2405S has better graphics which may help transcoding with QuickSync, but it seems the 2400S has more virtual capabilities (which I may need at some time?)
I am leaning towards the 2405S though. Any thoughts?

How is the stock cooler on these CPUs? Should I get a different cooler for heat and noise?
Since it won't be using much of processing power most of the time i think it should be fine, but what do you think?

Now to something I don't know yet:
PSU
I know I want a fairly quiet one, but what wattage?
One online calculator tells me I need a 600W one, another one 1000W....?
Any thoughts?

Thanks
Mark
August 27, 2012 4:58:59 PM

do you really need 24 hard drive bays? you could just get 8 3tb drives and you get 24tb of storage (which i doubt you can use)
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August 27, 2012 5:29:12 PM

Well...I don't need 24 bays now.

I did a rough calculation if I copy all my videos and don't compress them I'll be ending up with approx 20TB.
Since I want to have room for a few more years I will probably need at least 30TB not too soon.
Even if I buy all 3TB I'll need a case with room for 10-12 drives.
I forgot to mention I'll be running Flexraid, so I need at least one parity drive.
Packing 10-12 drives in a regular case scares me since the drives are packed so tight and I am already having heat issues on my 6-drive build.
So I figure: get a large case, space them out and be sure to have enough storage for a few years.

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Best solution

August 27, 2012 5:33:14 PM

its going to be even hotter in that case given its more drives cramped into one area

id think of this case. load the thing up with 3tb WD Red Nas drives and you get a nice 42tb system
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=63338
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August 28, 2012 4:38:53 AM

TheBigTroll said:
its going to be even hotter in that case given its more drives cramped into one area

id think of this case. load the thing up with 3tb WD Red Nas drives and you get a nice 42tb system
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=63338


I did have a good look at the case and saw some great reviews. And with the 10 bays and the 4 5.25" it could run 14 (maybe 15 with an adapter) drives.
And with it not needing SAS I could save the SAS cards and just move my 4-part SATA adapter for 12 drives.
I do have 2x1TB, 1x1.5TB and 2x2TB in my current home server and may "move" another server that has 1x1TB and 2x2TB into it.
Replacing some drives with 3TB versions will add more cost with incremental capacity increase, but the savings on the SAS parts and case would help offset some costs if I go that way. (It's already 8 drives for only 12.5TB)
I just don't want to buy too small (when are 4TB/5TB...drives coming?).

I am still a bit concerned with the heat since on the 4224 the air is pulled over the drives lengthwise and the Define XL has six HDs caged in a smaller space than I imagine the Hot Swap bays of the 4224 are and it tries to go sideways over two drives and then...still a bit of a mystery the airflow in that compartment.
We often get 30C ambient where the server will be in the summer and I don't want to fry the drives.
I did find (before, not now) a review of the 4224 where a parity check was run and the drives didn't get hotter then 34C or 40C after several hours, and I didn't find any heat numbers with the Define XL loaded up.

Any suggestions re CPU and PSU (either case)

Thanks
Mark
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August 28, 2012 8:30:13 PM

the hard drives in a system shouldnt run very hot in the system. the WD red drives spin at 5400rpm which is slower than the usual 7200rpm. they are still fast enough for a storage server. the case cooling is decent enough to handle the drives no problem

as for the chip id get a i5 3470 or the i5 3450 depending on the pricing. yes quicksync will be much faster on a hd4000 conpared to the hd2500 intergrated graphics (good as hd3000).

if you need cooling for the define xl, id get a noctua nh-d14. biggest cooler you can get and it should be able to run the CPU passively if you would like. 49.99 right now at ncix

as for the motherboard, id stay out of the sabertooth as you are just paying for a plastic shell around the motherboard. id get the p8z77-v pro thunderbolt (219.99 at ncix currently). its a great bang for the buck board.

if you are truely unsure about building a server, there are many helpful technicians at ncix that can help you. you can give them a email at PC@Ncix.com
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August 29, 2012 7:06:20 AM

Thanks for the post.

I had already placed the order before I saw it (too many BSODs in the last two days on my old server).
I did send a message to see if I can still change the CPU. The 3470 seems great.

I only found the fan for about $90, but I read in a review of the case that the CPU cooler didn't seem to make a notable noise difference. I can always change it later if necessary.

The p8z77-v pro thunderbolt seems to be a really great board, but of all the additional features I only really would like the Thunderbolt, but the Sabertooth has a five year warranty and after my last board not lasting, I'll take the extra warranty...hoping that the built would be a bit better and last me longer.
And I had pricematched that to $235 - so quite close.

Thanks
Mark
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August 29, 2012 10:28:09 AM

i chose the define xl for the reason it had lots of storage and it is dead quiet

asus makes good stuff. hardly matters if there is extra warranty given by 3 years later, its already outdated. still have a asus board with a pentium 4 chip inside it that works. you can always get more warranty from ncix.
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August 29, 2012 5:21:27 PM

Best answer selected by MarkCanada.
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August 29, 2012 5:22:56 PM

I hope the Asus MB will be good.
While for a desktop 3 years life is a good estimate, my 5 year old file server would still have worked speed and feature wise if it didn't have issues with stability.
And on WHSv1 the OS partition can't be imaged, so I have to do re-installs of the OS and programs. And then I usually lose PC backups.
WHS are OEM editions and once the board dies it may not be easy to get another activation on another board if this one dies and I doubt I'll get WHS2011 in a few years since it's the end of the line.
That's why the warranty doesn't actually matter as much as the company seeming to show more trust into the board lasting longer. Third party warranty doesn't help there.
That's a computer where I don't want to touch the hardware for the next five+ years other than adding a new hard drive to it. Stability on a file/media server is just more important than the newest features. (Who knows - I may be adding a Thunderbolt card later to it when I need it)

Thanks for your help
Mark
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