The Norco rackmountable RPC-4020: a pictorial odyssey. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 253 Old 02-12-2009, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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After much hemming and hawing, I finally took the plunge and ordered a Norco RPC-4020. One of the things that delayed my purchase was a lack of really detailed photos. There are only a handful on Newegg and even on Norco's own website. A few threads here and elsewhere did contain some pics, but not to the extent that I would've preferred.

With the 4020 in-hand, though, I figured I'd go ahead and completely document this rackmountable enclosure. This is part 1. Part 2 will detail installation of the motherboard and some starter hard drives.

Underneath each pic will be clickable links to far higher 1600x1200 or 1200x1600 images. My comments appear under each thumb.

The standard disclaimers and caveats apply - I'm not a professional photographer and my lowly Canon SD700IS can only do so much. Some turned out well, while others not so hot. If you like the photos, great. If not, hey, I tried.

Without further ado...

THE NORCO RPC-4020
http://www.norcotek.com/item_detail....delno=RPC-4020

Newegg link:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811219021


http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...pping_box1.jpg
The shipping box as it arrived from Newegg. I'm almost positive it was drop-shipped from Norco. As a bonus, it arrived a day before UPS' delivery prediction.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...pping_box2.jpg
The side of the box.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...pping_box3.jpg
Trying to impart some scale by using my left foot. This thing is about the size of a full-tower case.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...pping_box4.jpg
It arrived double-boxed.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...pping_box5.jpg
Opening the box revealing the top Styrofoam padding.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...rez/front1.jpg
The front of the unit in its full glory. The handles came already attached and are made of some sort of high-impact plastic.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...rez/front2.jpg
Another frontal shot. As the face is completely black, it's a bit hard to capture edge details.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...lrez/side1.jpg
A crappy shot of the side. Still, it should give some idea as to the mounting options possible with this chassis.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ez/bottom1.jpg
The bottom of the unit.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...lrez/back1.jpg
And the back. The 4020 allows a full complement of expansion cards. I had considered the RPC-3116 at one point, but it only allows four expansion cards to be installed due to the rather bizarre placement of the OS drive.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...cessories1.jpg
The accessories included with the package. In order (descriptions taken from kapone):
- Two CPU mounting plates for socket 771 motherboards (the two rectangular ones).
- The cable guide.
- Rubber feet.
- The little wrench that you use to install/uninstall motherboard standoffs (they are screwed into the chassis bottom for most server cases).
- A CPU mounting plate for socket 775 motherboards (the squarish one).



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...cessories2.jpg
The screwpacks, each in their own bags. I've highlighted the one on the far left because it is a critical one, as it contains eyeglass-size screws that are needed to securely fasten any slimline devices that will be installed. I used one screw and washer to install the optical drive that I had already purchased (keep reading).



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco.../top_open1.jpg
The top panel open, revealing the innards. From this angle, the slimline slots, operating system (OS) cage, front wire leads, fan assembly, and motherboard tray can be seen.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...z/os_cage1.jpg
A shot of the cage which is designed to mount the drive holding the OS. It sits right behind the front panel leads and seems well ventilated.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...z/os_cage4.jpg
A top shot of the cage. There's a snap-on plastic guard at the front to protect the front panel wire leads from rubbing against the bare metal. The entire cage slides and snaps into place and is permanently held down by a single screw.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...z/os_cage2.jpg
A side shot of the OS cage.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...z/os_cage3.jpg
And the bottom of the cage.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...z/os_cage4.jpg
The top of the removed cage, where one can see the plastic guard running along the top edge. Good grill patchwork for ventilation.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...rez/front3.jpg
The front with the slimline optical drive cover removed and the top off.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...rez/front4.jpg
A close-up of the optical drive bay, ready to be filled.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...rage_cage1.jpg
One of the storage drive trays removed from the chassis. It's a bit flimsy, so care should be taken during handling. I've read that this part can be ordered separately from Norco, but I don't have any URLs to verify.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...rage_cage2.jpg
A top-down shot of the drive tray.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...rage_cage3.jpg
The underside of the tray. Note that drives can only be mounted from the bottom, not from the sides.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco..._backplane.jpg
The fan assembly fully installed. I put my trusty Craftsman magnetic screwdriver there to give viewers a sense of what tight spaces will be involved to work with the backplane with the fan assembly still in place. I encourage people to remove it entirely, as it only takes nine screws. Once that's done...



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco.../backplane.jpg
...you can get shots like these. Here is the SATA backplane in all its glory. This is the true heart of the box. Notice the ten molex adapters on the left and the 20 SATA adapters on the right. Nope, no SAS expanders came with this unit, unfortunately, but I'm sure I'll make do.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...e_molexes1.jpg
A more detailed shot of the molex cluster. Finding a way to populate all these is going to be a challenge. However, it could've been far, far worse had users been forced to provide discrete molex leads for all twenty storage drives. So, ten doesn't sound like too bad a trade-off. Don't forget, though, that you'll need at least additional molex lead for the fan assembly. And don't forget you'll also need to power the OS drive and any slimline devices. In total, a fully populated case will need 14 power leads (10 for the storage drives + OS drive + 2 slimline devices + fan assembly). At least 11 of those will have to be molexes (unless adapters are used). A beefy PSU with LOTS of connectors is an absolute must.

NOTE - depending on your mileage, you can get away with connecting only five molexes to the backplane. This might cause some stability issues on low-amperage PSUs when all 20 slotted drives are in use, but is worth a try. My recommendation is to hope for the best, but plan for the worst by getting a beefy PSU, preferably one with a SINGLE-RAIL design. At the time of this edit, I switched the Silverstone 750 I was using to a Corsair CMPSU-1000HX unit (see page 4 of this thread for the new photos). I'll preserve the Silverstone pics, though, for those thinking of using one.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...lane_sata1.jpg
A shot of the 4 x 5 SATA connector cluster arrangement. Definitely looks like straight-thrus would be the best choice at this end of the SATA link.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...lane_sata2.jpg
Another shot, hopefully with a bit more detail. Populating all 20 of these will be both a nightmare and a challenge.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco..._assembly1.jpg
The fan assembly completely removed. Five 80mm Delta fans are provided (CFM and dBA specs unknown). These fans are LOOOOOUUUUUUUDDDDD! If you're looking to silence the unit, you couldn't do any better than replace these stock fans with adequate 120mm models, but make sure you don't trade too much airflow for lower decibels.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco..._assembly2.jpg
The front of the fan assembly. If you're quick, you'll note two oddities - one, there appears to be an extra 3-pin connector (for what? Another fan?). And two, Norco cheapened out and only included two screws to fasten each grill instead of the usual four.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...rear_fans1.jpg
A shot of the rear fans, just above the back I/O cluster on the motherboard. They look a little used (hrrmmm).



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...rear_fans2.jpg
A reverse shot of those same fans.


And that's it for part 1! Now, I have some questions from the more learned individuals still reading this:
  • What are the best, most quietest 80mm fans to use as replacement units that still has a decent CFM rating? The default fans look like they could summon the dead.
  • Has anyone used any of the other accessories included inside the box? What do you do with them?
  • If I wanted to use this build as my server/storage farm AND my main bedroom computer to play all the hottest games and whatnot and still map specific directories into one common pool for other in-home computers to access, is that possible?

Thanks a bunch! Hope you liked the pics. Part 2 is underway and should be completed over the weekend. Wish me luck!
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post #2 of 253 Old 02-12-2009, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
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I haven't started the build yet (still waiting on some hard drives), but thought I'd go ahead and enumerate what's going into this case. All links lead to Newegg, but parts were purchased at various times. This will be extremely detailed, so I hope not too many eyes glaze over. I'll post pics later when the actual transfer of components commences (this weekend).

Norco Technologies, Inc. 4U Rackmount Chassis RPC-4020
http://www.norcotek.com/item_detail....delno=RPC-4020

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811219021

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128358

Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo CPU
(No longer being sold by Newegg. Will get it replaced someday.)

Dynatron P199 80mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835114075
(EXTREMELY loud when fan is on full blast, but I got it for its low profile.)

Arctic Silver ACN-60ML (2-PC-SET) Thermal material Remover & Surface Purifier - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835100010

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835100008

CORSAIR CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...007&Tpk=1000hx

Western Digital Raptor X WD1500AHFD 150GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 1.5Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136011
(No longer sold by Newegg. Might replace it.)

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136284
(Four of these to start, more to be added later.)

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136319
(An existing drive I plan to reuse.)

LITE-ON Black 8X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 8X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 8X DVD-ROM 24X CD-R 24X CD-RW 24X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA Slim 8X DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106260

BYTECC 18" Sata and Slim Sata Power 7+6pin Cable, for Sata Slim OD Model SATA-XP118 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16812270183

SAPPHIRE 100256L Radeon HD 4670 1GB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102804
(Note that this card does NOT require a PCI-E power lead.)

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231145

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16823109148

Generic Logitech trackball, various SATA cables, and screws.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wish me luck!
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post #3 of 253 Old 02-12-2009, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
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The Norco RPC-4020 build - final part.

Summary:
---------
Part 1: Dealt with the arrival of the chassis, its unboxing, and documenting its nooks and crannies by way of digital photography using a Canon SD700IS camera. Thumbs and links to higher resolution shots were posted.

Part 2: Enumerated each piece of hardware which would go inside the chassis. No pics posted in this part.

Part 3 (this part): Details the construction, with appropriate along-the-way build steps.

ONWARD!

Stage 1 - the slimline optical drive.
------------------------------------

http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...m_optical1.jpg
The slimline optical drive to be installed in the 4020, along with the requisite notebook connection adapter.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...m_optical2.jpg
A somewhat blurry shot of the back of the optical drive, revealing why an adapter is needed.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...m_optical3.jpg
Connected!



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...m_optical4.jpg
The other end of the adapter. It contains a 2-wire molex male part and a standard SATA connector.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...m_optical5.jpg
The optical drive clicks into place by way of the retention tabs.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...m_optical6.jpg
Fully installed and fastened with an eyeglass screw. Just needs to be connected to the PSU and motherboard.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...m_optical7.jpg
The optical drive cover plate when removed. Probably best to keep this stored someplace.


Stage 2 - the power supply unit.
----------------------------------

NOTE - I have since replaced this with the Corsair 1000HX. See pics on page 4 of this thread.

http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU1.jpg
The Silverstone SST-ST75F modular 750 watt unit. Has already seen some action, so I know it's good.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU2.jpg
The power rating of the unit. Should be able to tackle the Norco just fine.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU3.jpg
Where all the power leads come together. I'll be using the EPS 8-pin, 24-pin main power, 10-pin SATA power, and all four 4-PIN IDE outs. I WON'T need the AUX 6-pin, ATX 4-pin, nor any of the PCI-E 6-pin outs.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU4.jpg
The Silverstone is first attached to this mounting plate using a standard 4-screw set. The plate is keyed via the screwholes, so you can't make a mistake.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU5.jpg
The entire assembly is then attached in this manner, with the PSU fan facing the bottom.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU6.jpg
And here is the unit fully screwed down.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU7.jpg
Another shot of the Silverstone. You can see how incredibly beneficial it was to place the PSU here rather than the other side of the case, as this is the closest it will ever be to the molex cluster on the backplane.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU8.jpg
However, note that the PSU is suspended a bit from the bottom of the chassis. Care should be taken to ensure that all screws are tightly wound, as those screws will be the only parts keeping the unit in-place and stable.

More shots of the attached power wiring to come. Until then...


Stage 3 - the motherboard, memory, and videocard.
-------------------------------------------------------

http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...therboard1.jpg
What's gonna run this puppy? A Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P, that's what!



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...oard_tray1.jpg
A shot of the full expanse of the motherboard area, with standoffs. I was a bit disappointed that the "default" standoffs weren't machined as part of the case. I had to tighten all of them and went ahead and added the three extra included with the accessory bundle.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...therboard2.jpg
The motherboard fully seated in the tray area (I/O shield already in place).



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...therboard3.jpg
A close-up of the screwed-down motherboard. Notice the extremely low-profile Dynatron CPU cooler. I originally had a bad-ass Tuniq Tower 120, but the weight of the thing coupled with its uncanny ability to slice and dice my fingers whenever I got near it led me to the Dynatron. Which can get very, VERY LOUD on its own, but can also be dialed back for a more sensible noise level.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ooler_CPU1.jpg
A close-up of the Dynatron CPU cooler. After using one of these, I don't think I'll ever go back to skyscraper-like coolers.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ez/memory1.jpg
The G.Skill PC2-8000 2x4 gig set (F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ).



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...videocard1.jpg
At this point, I should document the videocard which'll be used - a Gigabyte HD4670 w/1 Gig of GDDR3 RAM. I chose this card very carefully and deliberately, as it has a shortened design, which won't interfere with any DIMM slots. It also requires no PCI-E power lead (it's powered by the bus itself). And it's still plenty fast, even for today's graphic-intensive games.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...therboard4.jpg
Another shot of the motherboard installed, this time with the videocard inserted. If you look carefully, you can see that it does not impact with any of the DIMM slots.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...therboard5.jpg
A 3/4 shot of the motherboard. This pic yields a better angle of the videocard in relationship to the DIMM slots.


Stage 4 - drives and final assembly.
-------------------------------------------------------

http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...drives_os1.jpg
My OS drive, a lowly Raptor X 150 gig (the one with the cool window for which I'll now have no use).



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...drives_os2.jpg
Going into the OS cage (front shot).



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...drives_os3.jpg
Another shot of the OS case (rear shot).



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...drives_os4.jpg
Installing the cage with the OS drive.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...drives_os5.jpg
A rear shot of the cage installed. The back of the drive is almost even with the backplane. One nice feature of this particular model Raptor is that it contains both SATA and molex power adapters.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...s_storage1.jpg
The first two 1 TB Caviar Blacks to be installed. I've since ordered six more.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...s_storage2.jpg
Inserting the drive into the tray.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...s_storage3.jpg
Screwing the drive down. I went ahead and used all four. I haven't counted them, but I believe Norco provides enough screws to use four per drive tray.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco..._replaced1.jpg


http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco..._replaced2.jpg


http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco..._replaced3.jpg
Several shots of the fan assembly installed and its spatial relation to the OS and slimline drives, the motherboard, and PSU. It's not very clear, but in the last shot you can see how short a run it'll be from the PSU to the backplane molex cluster. There are cutouts below each fan for cable threading (see unboxing pics).



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...therboard6.jpg
Beginning to wire to the motherboard. I tried something fancy with the fans, but that didn't really work out (remember, this was a late night build).



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling2.jpg
ATTEMPT #1 at fully wiring everything. This turned out pretty disastrous. This is where I made the glaring errors mentioned in a subsequent post. I also didn't bother to bind any of the SATA cables together, so it wound-up looking like a spaghetti mess. Note, however, the extremely intelligent placement of the PSU relative to the molex cluster AND the motherboard connectors. This is part of what drove me away from the RPC-3116, since the PSU is positioned on the other side and would've required criss-crossing everything.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling3.jpg
The spaghetti mess in glorious close-up. Ugh!



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling4.jpg
A better shot of the fan assembly and backplane. Still not connected correctly, though. Learn from my mistakes!



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling5.jpg
Ah, now THIS is more like it. The back fans are now connected correctly and I'm attaching molexes and SATA leads in a bottom-to-top fashion.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling6.jpg
My ghetto attempt at multilane connectors. Hey, it worked!



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling7.jpg
Another shot highlighting the fan assembly and backplane. The unpopulated molexes will be used via the previously documented molex-to-SATA adapters from Cool Drives. I fear, though, that I'll have to remove the fan in order to accommodate the adapters.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling8.jpg
Everything ready to rock. The unused front wires jammed between the optical and OS cage are for NIC activity (two total).



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco.../completed.jpg
A fuzzy shot of the completed build, in a tower-like orientation. The two blue activity lights are lit as the 1 TB Caviars are being long formatted.



http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...screenshot.jpg
The Windows 7 disk management screen. The two Caviars are Disks 1 & 2 (14% and 13% formatted, respectively).


If there're any gripes I might have, it's with the cramped space between the fan assembly and the backplane. I think Norco needs to rethink that part of the design and provide a little more finger room. Even just a few millimeters further apart would help tremendously.

And that's it! I hope you enjoyed this pictorial odyssey. I think the 4020 is, generally speaking, well worth the almost $300 MSRP. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Now, go build one!
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post #4 of 253 Old 02-12-2009, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
[*]What are the best, most quietest 80mm fans to use as replacement units that still has a decent CFM rating? The default fans look like they could summon the dead.

Well, there's several, but honestly, once you have 5 of ANY 80mm fans on the mid plane and 2 on the back of the case + the power supply fan(s), it's not gonna be quiet, regardless of which fans you use. And with 20 HDDs in a case like this, you don't want to go too low on the CFM, to gain silence, as the HDDs may start getting hot, and get cooked. Fans are cheaper to replace than HDD.

Quote:
[*]Has anyone used any of the other accessories included inside the box? What do you do with them?

There is nothing special about the accesories included, these are fairly typical in a server case. They include:

- A CPU mounting plate for socket 775 motherboards (the squarish one)
- Two CPU mounting plates for socket 771 motherboards (the two rectangular ones)
- Rubber feet
- The little wrench, that you use to install/uninstall motherboard standoffs (they are screwed into the chassis bottom for most server cases)
- The cable guide
- Assortment of screws and standoffs. Use them as you see fit. Depending on your motherboard, you may need more or less (or different positions) standoffs. Hence the extra standoffs and the wrench).

Quote:
[*]If I wanted to use this build as my server/storage farm AND my main bedroom computer to play all the hottest games and whatnot and still map specific directories into one common pool for other in-home computers to access, is that possible?

Is it "possible"? Sure. Is it "practical"? Nope. With HDDs and fans going, this is gonna be loud, make no mistake. Forget putting this in a bedroom, think garage.

Nice pics btw.
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post #5 of 253 Old 02-12-2009, 09:24 PM
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The fans are rather loud in the Norco case so I've done a little searching and found two possible replacements. Considering drives run rather hot in this case a slight upgrade in cfms would be helpful. Both of these push a little more air over the built in fans if they run at their reported specs. Also they both should be quieter as well.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835150044

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811999107
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post #6 of 253 Old 02-13-2009, 05:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone View Post

- A CPU mounting plate for socket 775 motherboards (the squarish one)
- Two CPU mounting plates for socket 771 motherboards (the two rectangular ones)
- Rubber feet
- The little wrench, that you use to install/uninstall motherboard standoffs (they are screwed into the chassis bottom for most server cases)
- The cable guide
- Assortment of screws and standoffs. Use them as you see fit. Depending on your motherboard, you may need more or less (or different positions) standoffs. Hence the extra standoffs and the wrench).

Cool, thanks for the list. I'll have to add them to the writeup (with proper citation, of course).

(Y'know, I would never have ID'd that one doodad for a wrench.)

Quote:


Is it "possible"? Sure. Is it "practical"? Nope. With HDDs and fans going, this is gonna be loud, make no mistake. Forget putting this in a bedroom, think garage

That's kinda what I figured/was afraid of. I might just go ahead and get the fans havix mentioned. There really is no other place I can put this beast. Plus, I also need it to serve double-duty as my bedroom computer.

Making things quiet as much as possible is an issue, but I was more concerned about how to go about making this double-duty happen. Just install Vista or Win7 and go from there? The other two computers this will be serving both have Vista Ultimate installed. One is connected via a wired run and the other is wireless (802.11g/n).

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Nice pics btw.

Thanks!
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post #7 of 253 Old 02-13-2009, 07:43 AM
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Thanks for the very detailed visual breakdown. It's nice to really know what you are getting in to.

Does anyone know if these have a centermount bracket for use with 19" racks?
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post #8 of 253 Old 02-13-2009, 08:17 AM
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What type of electricity bill can one expect with one of these running 20 drives?
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post #9 of 253 Old 02-13-2009, 08:20 AM
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I don't know how much quieter 30dB is going to be. When you get 6 fans that are all 30dB together it turns out to be a good bit higher. Best bet may be to try and retrofit 3 120mm fans or something. More air but less noise and so on. I've been considering this but I put the server in the laundry room and I can't really hear it in the rest of my apartment.
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post #10 of 253 Old 02-13-2009, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_Galt View Post

What type of electricity bill can one expect with one of these running 20 drives?


From what I've seen not much of a difference. They don't really draw that much power. I think the 48TB array seen elsewhere on here was drawing close to 400 watts. So I imagine a 20 drive array to be a good bit less.
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post #11 of 253 Old 02-13-2009, 08:24 AM
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I wish they did not charge $75CDN shipping from newegg.ca.. that case ends up at $475CDN after shipping and handling.
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post #12 of 253 Old 02-13-2009, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougie085 View Post

From what I've seen not much of a difference. They don't really draw that much power. I think the 48TB array seen elsewhere on here was drawing close to 400 watts. So I imagine a 20 drive array to be a good bit less.

Really? I had heard someone on this board say that these can use close to $100/month in additional electricity. I would love to put one of these together but the extra expense had me a little skirred.
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post #13 of 253 Old 02-13-2009, 12:24 PM
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Can anyone confirm the power usage and such? I'm looking at building a media server with this case, 16 1-2 TB drives using unRaid.
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post #14 of 253 Old 02-13-2009, 01:26 PM
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What are you expecting to use to get more SATA ports?
What are you using as the OS?

Just curious. Maybe these questions will get answered in part 3.

Power usage - My 4 drive server will spin down the drives and it averages 55W.

Say the motherboard and other parts runs at about 100W. This could be low if you build a powerhouse so it could go up to 200W I guess.

WD 1T green drive draws 2.8W idle and 5.4W read/write. So, say you get 80% efficiency power supply that comes to 3.5W and 6.8W. So, if all drives are spinning they draw 70W and if all are reading/writing (say you built a big 20 drive raid array) then 136W. The WD green 1T drive is 0.4W standby which equates to about 5W for 20 drives in standby.

This would be 170-270W spinning and 236-336W reading/writing and 105-205W standby.

These numbers are likely a little low but it doesn't add up to much. But then, say your server draws on average 200W. This will be 144kWh. At say 20 cents per kWh this is $29 per month.

Expect any Seagate and any higher speed/enterprise targeted drive to draw more power than this.

Peter
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post #15 of 253 Old 02-13-2009, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VampyreGTX View Post

Can anyone confirm the power usage and such? I'm looking at building a media server with this case, 16 1-2 TB drives using unRaid.

Each drive burns about 8 watts max when being used on average. Startup power is much higher, but not relevant for this calculation. Take 21 (gotta count the system disk) x 8 = 168 watts. That's about as much as 2 lightbulbs you'd find in your kitchen.

Now, you have to count the CPU too, and LAN, and there is PSU inefficiency to consider. But I doubt it would be more than 300 watts all in on a continuous basis. But say it's 300 watts being superconservative.

Average price here in CA (which is really high) is about 11 cents/KWH, so again we do the math:

300 watts * 24 hrs/day * 30 days/month * 11 cents/KWH = $237/month. The disks alone would be only half of that, so that's about right.

My NAS server does about 180 watts on average. But then I have a Solar PV array that generates a ton of power so it pretty much cleans up the bill.
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post #16 of 253 Old 02-13-2009, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

Each drive burns about 8 watts max when being used on average. Startup power is much higher, but not relevant for this calculation. Take 21 (gotta count the system disk) x 8 = 168 watts. That's about as much as 2 lightbulbs you'd find in your kitchen.

Now, you have to count the CPU too, and LAN, and there is PSU inefficiency to consider. But I doubt it would be more than 300 watts all in on a continuous basis. But say it's 300 watts being superconservative.

Average price here in CA (which is really high) is about 11 cents/KWH, so again we do the math:

300 watts * 24 hrs/day * 30 days/month * 11 cents/KWH = $237/month. The disks alone would be only half of that, so that's about right.

My NAS server does about 180 watts on average. But then I have a Solar PV array that generates a ton of power so it pretty much cleans up the bill.

Er..you're off by a decimal point...it's $23.7 per month.....
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Er..you're off by a decimal point...it's $23.7 per month.....

I thought that was high... :-)
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post #18 of 253 Old 02-13-2009, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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What are you expecting to use to get more SATA ports?

Probably the (relatively) cheap Supermicro AOC-SAT2-MV8 that's gotten a lot of airplay in here. The Gigabyte motherboard has 8 ports onboard. That plus the Supermicro will yield 16 (8+8). In reality, that's only 14, as two will be consumed by the OS and optical drives. Before I get to 14 storage drives, though, I'm sure other solutions will've presented themselves. Maybe obtain a server-grade motherboard with PCI-X slots, skip buying a second AOC-SAT2-MV8, and get something with multilane connectors to reduce the cable clutter (which would be ideal).

Quote:


What are you using as the OS?

For now, Vista or Win7. I really don't know what else to install and still be able to use the enclosure as an all-purpose box. I can't take advantage of a fileserving-specific solution at this point.
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post #19 of 253 Old 02-14-2009, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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For those of you following, I transferred everything out of my old case into the Norco last night. It's working and I'm using it to type this post.

I made two rather stupid build errors (one that I corrected, the other that was just dumb):

o Halfway through, before attaching SATA and molexes to the backplane, I reinstalled the fan assembly (don't ask me why - it was late and I wasn't thinking straight). This was a COLOSSAL mistake, as there just isn't enough room between it and the backplane to effectively work. I should've just left the damn thing off until the very end, then completed the necessary cable threading. Ugh.

o I don't have twenty drives, only five to start (six counting the OS drive). With the fan assembly mounted, I began attaching the molexes and SATA cables from top-to-bottom. Sounds sensible and intuitive, right? Well, when you're in a situation where you don't already have all the drives (and ports) this baby can handle, you should actually work in reverse, from bottom-to-top. That way, as you add drives, you can gain access to the requisite connectors on the backplane, otherwise they'll be completely blocked by the cables that're already installed. It was one of those slap-in-the-head, "I coulda had a V8!" moments that didn't occur to me until AFTER I had connected everything (of course). I took a picture of this, along with the "corrected" arrangement.

Some other notes:

o It is, indeed, quite loud. Not run-screaming-outta-the-room loud, but it definitely gets you attention.

o Some people have complained about the blue activity lights not being very bright. They are dimmer than the green status ones, but not by much. I can clearly see when drives are being accessed.

o I forgot to mention this originally, but the top and bottom comes sheathed in tacky plastic. I don't know what others have done, but I removed it.

o I ran out of molexes. Even with the Silverstone 750, there wasn't nearly enough. I'm now five shy (four on the backplane + the optical). This has me perplexed. I could get some y-splitters, but the problem is one of clearance between the fan assembly and backplane. The optimum solution would be to find a PSU that has four power connectors (going into the PSU) at three molexes per wire instead of Silverstone's two, which would yield twelve connectors. Still one short (the fan assembly), but a splitter could handle the OS and optical drives, as there's not a clearance issue in that part of the chassis. The Silverstone does have a SATA wire with six ends, but that would require the use of these adapters which pjavan documented:

http://www.cooldrives.com/sa15poto4moa.html

I could get some of these, but there's still a clearance issue to consider. If the fan assembly was even just a few millimeters further away from the backplane, this wouldn't case me concern and the problem would be solved, but there is almost no room between the two. pjavan, are you reading this?

I'll be prep'ing the pics today.
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post #20 of 253 Old 02-16-2009, 12:07 AM
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I am really interested in your pics, as I am waiting for the shipment of my Norco 4020. Unfortunately all the Pic links are dead. Would you mind posting them to a site like http://www.imagebam.com ? The also allow zip upload so you could get the up all in once.

cheers,
Dominik
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post #21 of 253 Old 02-16-2009, 12:42 AM
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I have the 4020 populated with all 20 drives (+1 OS, +4 others in a haphazardly rigged external enclosure) and I only used 1 of the 2 molexes for each backplane and all my drives run fine.

For reference, I'm using the PCP&C PSU that many others on this site and others use (the red one, Silencer 750 Quad)
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post #22 of 253 Old 02-16-2009, 01:12 AM
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My blue LED's are rather bright actually....hmm
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post #23 of 253 Old 02-16-2009, 05:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Sorry for the pic link breakage. I'm in the process of separating the photos on my hosting site into separate directories (unboxing & build). I should be able to restore everything in the next few hours. All the pics are uploaded, it's just a matter of plugging in the links.
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post #24 of 253 Old 02-16-2009, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kangjin View Post

I have the 4020 populated with all 20 drives (+1 OS, +4 others in a haphazardly rigged external enclosure) and I only used 1 of the 2 molexes for each backplane and all my drives run fine.

Wow. Really? You don't experience any problems, even under load? Is the other molex just there for some sort of redundancy? If it's really not needed, that's wonderful news, but I just can't imagine one molex powering four drives simultaneously.
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post #25 of 253 Old 02-16-2009, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Initial unboxing pics have been restored. I also moved the optical drive pics to the build section. I should have the remaining photos posted by tonight.
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post #26 of 253 Old 02-16-2009, 08:21 PM
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FYI, I have seen 1 molex being used successfully to power about 8 or so drives before. It was a mod installing a bunch of SATA power connectors so they were spaced out on the wires for the drive spacing and then putting a molex at the end of the wiring for the power input.

Peter
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post #27 of 253 Old 02-17-2009, 05:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fleggett View Post

Initial unboxing pics have been restored. I also moved the optical drive pics to the build section. I should have the remaining photos posted by tonight.

Thanks!
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post #28 of 253 Old 02-17-2009, 01:06 PM
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Great summary. I'm in the process of planning a server build, and this might be just what I need.

I'm curious. As you add more and more drives, what are your plans for controlling them, and how do they connect them to the motherboard? It looks like the motherboard only has 6 SATA ports, which I'm assuming support basic RAID functions. Does the chassis have a built-in port multiplier that allows you to connect all of the drives to the MB, will you add some sort of add-on controller card...?

This will be my first major server build, so I'm pretty inexperienced with this type of equipment. I will be using an E-ATX dual-processor motherboard, which looks like is supported by this chassis. I was originally thinking about separating the massive file server from my main SBS 2008 server, but with a chassis like this, I think I may want to just combine them.

Thanks,
Chris

Edit: Sorry, I just saw part of my question posted and answered above. That's what I get for skimming too quickly! So just to be clear, if you go with the Supermicro AOC-SAT2-MV8, you will be using a software RAID? I'm assuming you will be using some sort of RAID setup with all of those drives...
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post #29 of 253 Old 02-17-2009, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
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All pics have now been posted. However, the system needs a bit more surgery. I'm still awaiting the molex-to-SATA adapters and plan to replace ALL the fans with quieter ones. That probably won't happen for another two weeks, though. I need to do some cost recovery, first.
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post #30 of 253 Old 02-17-2009, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by savaytse66 View Post

Great summary. I'm in the process of planning a server build, and this might be just what I need.

Using the 4020, or some other chassis? The 3116 is also worth investigating if you only need 16 drives and don't mind the weird spot they put the OS mount.

Quote:


I'm curious. As you add more and more drives, what are your plans for controlling them, and how do they connect them to the motherboard?

Right now, I'm just using the onboard ports. The Gigabyte has 8 total. It supports some manner of RAID, but I haven't investigated it. I hear motherboard-based hardware RAID is pretty crappy, anyway.

Quote:


Does the chassis have a built-in port multiplier that allows you to connect all of the drives to the MB, will you add some sort of add-on controller card...?

No, it appears the newest versions of the 4020 support only end-to-end SATA connections. I haven't seen any with the SAS backplanes.

Quote:


So just to be clear, if you go with the Supermicro AOC-SAT2-MV8, you will be using a software RAID? I'm assuming you will be using some sort of RAID setup with all of those drives...

No, no RAID here (at least, not yet). Just good old fashioned JBOD'ing until I can dedicate the 4020 to fileserving and build a true general-purpose box. I've still got a ways to go with this setup, as I'm atrocious at networking. Under XP, it was a simple matter of just sharing the root of any drive you wanted shared, but under Vista and Windows 7 it looks to be a helluva lot more complicated.
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