New Norco RPC-4220 Server Case pictures - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 167 Old 05-20-2009, 11:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I decided to upgrade my WHS box because I was running out of drive mounting locations. I currently have 9 drives totalling 9.5TB of storage and I've used nearly 8TB already. I use this as a media server and family storage array and really like the simplicity of the WHS for backups and folder duplication but I was just outgrowing the old tower case I was using. The RPC-4020 looked like a really nice solution but since I heard about the new case with the SFF-8087 and I wanted to guarantee future expansion I decided to go with the 3ware 9690SA-4I and a Chenbro CK-12803 expander board. The thought of reducing cable clutter with the multi-lane cables was definately another attraction. Well I was able to source the parts and received the case today. I won't be able to do the actual build until this weekend but I thought I'd throw up some pictures of the 4220 for anyone who was interested.

It came double boxed and nicely packed


The front looks a little different but it's mostly the new drive carriers


Here is one of the carriers open and pulled out slightly. You can also see the 2 LED "light pipes" along the right edge of the carriers.


This is the inside top of the drive rack area. You can see they have replaced the 3.5" cage on the top with a plate that is drilled for a 2.5" laptop drive mounting. I assume they are looking at SSD system drives here but I would rather have had the old cage myself.


The backside of the new fan assembly plate


The drive connection backplanes with the fan assembly removed. Very different as you would expect. The SFF-8087 connectors are on the right and the molex power connections are on the left.


I removed the top backplane and you can see the top side of the board a little better.


I was trying to get a shot of the drive connector and the LEDs mounted on the backplane but my camera is no good at macro photos.


Here is a shot looking through the drive carrier slots when empty. You can see that the LEDs line up with the light tubes built into the alignment rails of the carriers.


That's it for now. I'll post more pics as I go through the build.
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post #2 of 167 Old 05-20-2009, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry this took so long to get back. Here are some pics of the Fan Panel:








And here is the finished build:






As usual nothing goes the way you plan it when you do these kinds of things. I had originally planned to "move" my current server build into the new case but the first problem was the lack of a mounting position for my old PATA system drive. I figured I could still do the move by imaging the disc and loading it onto the new 2.5" drive. Of course I forgot that WHS is a server platform and my imaging software refuses to work on any server platform. They require that you purchase the expensive server version.

I decided to temporarily mount the old drive to see if I could perform the other difficult task of moving all my drives from the old SATA controllers to the new 3ware/Chenbro setup. I planned on adding a blank 1.5tb drive to the 3ware controller, then "ADD" it to the WHS and remove one of the drives that was on my 4 port Promise SATA controller. Of course that was a nightmare. Whenever the Promise controller was in the PCI slot I couldn't get transfer rates to go above a couple of megabytes per second on the 3ware. I worked on it for 2 days, moving the Promise card around to different PCI slots and trying different settings on the 3ware card but eventually gave up.

Needless to say I ended up doing a completely new install of WHS to the new 2.5" SATA drive and am now in the process of laboriously copying all of my files off of each disc. I hook up each to the motherboard SATA controller and manually copy files to the empty disc that has been initialized on the 3ware/Chenbro array (as individual discs - no RAID at all). Once I have an empty drive I move it to the 3ware Chenbro controller, initialize it and start on the next disk. This is probably going to take me 2 or 3 days to move all 8TB of my data onto the WHS storage pool.

Oh well, the best laid plans...

On a happier note the new 3ware/Chenbro system seems to be working great. The transfer speeds seem to be consistantly in the 60-70 megabyte per second range during these big transfers (mostly large iso images).

The new 4220 is a nice case. I did replace the screaming Delta fans with some bargain basement 27cfm fans I got in a 4 pack at FRY'S and even though the airflow is less the temps don't go above 40c even under this copying load. Of course I never expect to see a large number of drives under full load for any extended periods since this is a medai server and not a high demand data server so I think the new fans will be fine even when the case is full of drives. You can see from the pictures that I replace the rear 80mm fans also. They were a little loud and I wanted 3 wire fans to connect to the MB (the original are 2 wire with Molex connectors).

I initially had an issue with getting drives in the top row to seat and be recognized by the data connection but it turned out that it was an interference issue I created when I used some zip ties to secure some of the wiring. Zip ties in the stategically wrong place were causing the drives not seat all the way in. Once I removed the zip ties everything was fine.

Overall I'm very happy with the case. The mini SAS 8087 connectors really keep the cable clutter down and allows the smaller fans to provide a good airflow through the case. I do wish Norco would make a fan plate version for 120mm fans. It seems like it would be easy and inexpensive to sell one as a seperate option and it would really make a lot of us DIY types much happier with the case. I will mention it to my contact at Norco and see what he says.
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post #3 of 167 Old 05-20-2009, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
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post #4 of 167 Old 05-20-2009, 11:46 PM
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Nice!

Where did you purchase the case from, and how much was it, if you don't mind?
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post #5 of 167 Old 05-21-2009, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I used my company connections to get one straight from Norco. I'm actually using it to do some product testing but then I get to pay the cost and keep it for my system at home. I really can't tell you what I paid for it but the guy at Norco told me they will retail for an MSRP of around $350
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post #6 of 167 Old 05-21-2009, 08:57 AM
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Could you post more picts of the fan wall? I would like to see how easy it is to mod for bigger, quieter fans. Looks like it'd be easier than the old 4020 case. Thanks!
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post #7 of 167 Old 05-21-2009, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I'll take a few more shots of the fan plate tonight. Was there anything specific you wanted? It still has a power board feeding all the fans from one molex power connector but it's now mounted at the bottom of the panel (parallel to the case bottom) on the folded foot of the plate. The plate iself has 2 screws on each side at the top and three that screw in through the bottom of the case.
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post #8 of 167 Old 05-21-2009, 02:17 PM
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Hmmm. Definitely some good things (the SFF-8087 connectors alone are a godsend), but they ditched the 3.5" OS cage for a 2.5" mounting plate? Huh? I know SSDs are gaining momentum, but good old platters are still the way to go (for the time being, at least).

The redesigned fan assembly looks a lot better.

They still went with those stupid membrane buttons. Blech. There's a mod in and of itself just waiting to happen.

How are the drive trays? Do they take any wiggling to get in and out?

Are they still using the same Deltas?

Good luck with the build!
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post #9 of 167 Old 05-22-2009, 05:23 AM
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I would say the new fan assembly is worse - it will be far harder to mask off the open areas than before, and it also looks like the top row of drives will receive very little airflow due to the fans being right at the bottom.

Overall, I think the case is an improvement (having never actually seen either in person). But the changes seem odd - why force someone to use a 2.5" drive, when with the old 3.5" mount you could have easily used an adapter to mount a smaller drive? On the plus side, it does look like a new fan divider could be made pretty easily to hold 3x120mm fans to drop noise but improve cooling.
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post #10 of 167 Old 05-22-2009, 05:29 AM
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Is it possible to use reverse SFF cables to feed to Supermicro's AOC-SAT2-MV8 expansion cards?

Can't wait to see your build!
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post #11 of 167 Old 05-22-2009, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_beast666 View Post

I would say the new fan assembly is worse - it will be far harder to mask off the open areas than before, and it also looks like the top row of drives will receive very little airflow due to the fans being right at the bottom.

My thoughts exactly. Why not use 4 120mm fans placed in the middle of each column of drives... Anyway, other than that, it seems great. I'll be getting one sooner or later.
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post #12 of 167 Old 05-22-2009, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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The case is now available for purchase direct from Norco at:

http://www.ipcdirect.net/servlet/Detail?no=202

I did a little work on it last night and so far the build quality is very good. I agree about the strange configuration of the fans and the loss of the 3.5" drive cage. These seem like odd decisions. On the brighter side the new drive carriers seem much better than the old ones. They are easy to remove and replace and seem to align the drives to the mating connectors with no problems.

One of the reasons I got this case is because my company wanted to evaluate the configuration and build quality for possible use in a future product. So far the evaluation is positive. The application is for a low cost storage server that will usually be housed in a rack room so the noise issue with the fans is not a concern. Of course for my purposes I'd like to get it as quiet as possible while still keeping temps low. After the company finishes the eval I'll see about fan mods if the noise is a problem (I haven't turned it on yet so we have no idea what the levels will be).

I'll be using a mixture of old parts and new for testing. Due to the mounting change I had to purchase a 2.5" drive to use as my system drive. It means a little more work when I try to transfer my WHS install from the old 3.5" drive.

Motherboard - and old Asus A8R32-MVP that I had lying around. It has the second PCIe 8x slot that I need for the storage controller
CPU - Athlon X2 64 4200 that was on the motherboard
RAM - 2gb of PC3200
Video - a GIGABYTE GV-R455D3-512I Radeon HD 4550
Storage controller - 3ware 9690SA-4I-SGL
SAS Expander - Chenbro CK12803
Reverse (4 SATA controller ports to 1 SFF-8087) breakout cable - benjamin.r - this reverse breakout cable is what you would need to go to the Supermicro controllers http://www.nowdirect.com/exec/partIn...5M&categoryid=
SFF-8087 to SFF-8087 cables http://www.nowdirect.com/exec/partIn...6M&categoryid=
Cosair 650 power supply
A mix of eight different 1tb and 1.5tb SATA drives (Seagate, Maxtor and WD)
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post #13 of 167 Old 05-23-2009, 01:08 PM
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Am very interested in the progress you make. Held off on the 4020 when I heard this was coming out. Would like to get going on a storage server within next couple of monahts.. the NAS unit is filling up.

Thanks for taking the time to post the details.

egg
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post #14 of 167 Old 05-23-2009, 10:31 PM
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FWIW, I wish they would just put a 6th row of disk slots across the top and put a 2.5" mount point on one of the sides back in the motherboard area. That's how I run my RPC-4020 - I pulled all the mounting hardware off the top and have 4 drives just sitting bare on that shelf instead. Lets me use all 24 ports on my raid controller.

Who really needs a permanent DVD or floppy drive on a server like this anyway? Just use an external DVD hanging off a USB port if you need to install software from media - otherwise thumb-drives and the network should suffice for just about anything.

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post #15 of 167 Old 05-25-2009, 10:36 PM
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If anyone is thinking of dumping their 4020 for this case and wants to sell it (looking for it relatively cheap), PM me..

As for my thoughts on it, I like it, other than the fan assembly.. any 4U+ case should have 120mm internal fans.

-Tim

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post #16 of 167 Old 05-26-2009, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Finished the hardware build. Still moving files but I placed a few pics and some info in the second post. Let me know if you have any questions.
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post #17 of 167 Old 05-26-2009, 11:15 AM
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I don't mean to be picky, but rather than posting a link to your oversized (1600x1200) pictures, why don't you resize them to 1024x768 (max allowable size) and upload them. When I opened this thread, it took forever to load and the pictures are too big by a factor of 4 for my widescreen laptop (1280x800). I don't know if it makes everyone as crazy as me, but, personally, I can't stand scrolling around the thread because of oversized images.

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post #18 of 167 Old 05-26-2009, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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No problem. I resized everything to 1024x768
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post #19 of 167 Old 05-26-2009, 11:52 AM
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A man after my own heart- i'm glad other people realize the convenience of sticking a cheap little 2.5" SATA drive in these cases as the boot drive-- just keep an acronis image of it on hand and forget the need for mirroring that drive, since the config likely doesn't change very often.
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post #20 of 167 Old 05-26-2009, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryW View Post

FWIW, I wish they would just put a 6th row of disk slots across the top and put a 2.5" mount point on one of the sides back in the motherboard area. That's how I run my RPC-4020 - I pulled all the mounting hardware off the top and have 4 drives just sitting bare on that shelf instead. Lets me use all 24 ports on my raid controller.

well Norco is about to release a 24-bay that does just that.
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post #21 of 167 Old 05-26-2009, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I was going to try imaging it to an external USB drive after I get everything set up. I assume that I can use the CD bootable version of Acronis True Image so I won't have to buy a server version to back up a single 2.5" drive!
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post #22 of 167 Old 05-26-2009, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odditory View Post

well Norco is about to release a 24-bay that does just that.

Where did you read that? When I google "Norco 24 bay" the top hit is your post from today referencing the 24 bay Norco.

I'd like to do a build with a 24 port RAID card with SAS connectors, so a 24 bay Norco 4220 would be ideal. Been eyeing the Norco stuff for some time and the NAS unit is filling up.. not sure how much longer I can wait hehe... would like to have an idea of how soon such a product might be available.

Thanks in advance for any info you can provide.

Cheers,
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post #23 of 167 Old 06-02-2009, 02:59 PM
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definitely will get the 24 bay case, but only if it has 120mm fans with quieter/better airflow. my 20 bay works fine for now.

my Areca 24 port car wants more though
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post #24 of 167 Old 06-04-2009, 12:42 PM
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That middle fan board design has to be one of the worst I've ever seen! With all of the backflow possible around the sides you'd end up with a lot of noise, a lot of internal turbulence, and almost no draw of cold air through the drive cage! Most of the air pushed through the fans would just circle back around for another trip. Norco needs to fire one of their engineers...

Two easy solutions:

1. Replace/modify the fan board to pretty much seal the space between the drive cage and the rest of the case. Seal the holes in the sides so that the only intake is through the drive cage. If you care about noise this mod should use fewer/larger/slower fans.

2. Even with (1), you still have a pressure gradient problem to deal with. You can't pull more air through the front section than you exhaust through the back section. The fan mod creates a positive pressure situation in the back section of the case. You only have two 80mm fans, the PSU fan, and a few holes to vent. You're not going to get any more airflow though the front until you figure out more ways to get air out the back! You may be able to mod the case to vent the top-rear with additional fans.

3. If you do (2) and seal up all the holes where air can enter except through the drive cage you may not need the middle fans at all.
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post #25 of 167 Old 06-04-2009, 01:10 PM
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Instead of #3 above, the alternative is to do a good job of sealing the mid-plane and remove all the fans and slot covers from the back. You should have plenty of fresh air coming in over the drives push out hot air generated by the cpu etc.

- Mike
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post #26 of 167 Old 06-05-2009, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miimura View Post

Instead of #3 above, the alternative is to do a good job of sealing the mid-plane and remove all the fans and slot covers from the back. You should have plenty of fresh air coming in over the drives push out hot air generated by the cpu etc.

- Mike

True, that may be good enough. But you are still using fans to push air into the rear compartment - to push air into a positive pressure environment. That is very inefficient and ineffective. Perhaps modding the mid-plane to seal it up and replace the fans with blowers?

Fans are much better suited to pull air out. That is why taking out the mid-plane and getting better fans / larger fans / more fans at the rear would be more effective. You'd get much better cooling with lower overall noise. The only difficulty is that Norco put so many holes in the back of this case that sealing them all up would be a royal pain. You really want to make sure that most of the intake air comes through the drive cage.
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post #27 of 167 Old 06-05-2009, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglover View Post

True, that may be good enough. But you are still using fans to push air into the rear compartment - to push air into a positive pressure environment. That is very inefficient and ineffective. Perhaps modding the mid-plane to seal it up and replace the fans with blowers?

Fans are much better suited to pull air out. That is why taking out the mid-plane and getting better fans / larger fans / more fans at the rear would be more effective. You'd get much better cooling with lower overall noise. The only difficulty is that Norco put so many holes in the back of this case that sealing them all up would be a royal pain. You really want to make sure that most of the intake air comes through the drive cage.

My point is that any fan should installed so that there is a minimum amount of recirculation. IMHO, sealing all openings in the mid-plane that are not fans is mandatory for the Norco cases to work properly. I agree that you should reduce the pressure buildup in the rear portion of the case. That's why I suggested removing the rear fans and slot covers. The mid-plane fans should be moving a lot more air than the rear fans can anyway - you might as well get them out of the way.

- Mike
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post #28 of 167 Old 06-05-2009, 05:10 PM
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Hello,

I just received one of these cases (Newegg $349) and intend to build it this weekend. I have a question however. I can see that the connectors are mini SAS. My motherboard has 4 SATA connectors. I am guessing I need a PCI card to allow me to connect my drives.

So, my question is, please could you recommend a card for my WHS to connect my motherboard to the miniSAS.

Do I even need a card, or am I mistaken - can i buy a cable that goes from SATA to mini SAS?

This build is to replace my existing WHS, so the plan was to use as many drives as possible in the front. Did you install your main C: drive as a separate disk and attach as SATA?

I kind of know what I am doing with all this, but have not come across SAS before, so my questions may appear to be those of a novice, but I do know what I am doing.

Any help/guidance much appreciated

Jon
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post #29 of 167 Old 06-05-2009, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
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nojstevens - you don't need a card to connect the motherboard SATA connectors to the SFF-8087 connectors you can use one of these cables:

Reverse (4 SATA controller ports to 1 SFF-8087) breakout cable
http://www.nowdirect.com/exec/partIn...5M&categoryid=[/url]

Keep in mind that each SATA port only connects to 1 drive so this cable only gives you 4 connections (one row of drives at the front of the case) for additional drives beyound what you motherboard can support you will need an add-in card of some kind. There are quite a few to chose from so you'll have to do some research to figure out which one is best for your situation. This thread is an excellent place to start:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...storage+server

Good luck!
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post #30 of 167 Old 06-05-2009, 07:50 PM
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xuniman,

Great - thanks for the tip - i was worried I needed a $300 card to even get started.

Jon
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