Wiretap's Rackmount HTPC Build Log - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 10-04-2011, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello guys. Some of you may remember me from [H]ard|Forum. Old theater build: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1218672

I'm getting a new house soon, so I'm getting the new HTPC gear ready. I'm going to do a rackmount HTPC setup to centralize the computers in a rack. Basically I'd just run HDMI and USB to the main theater, bedroom, and a separate mancave with 3 TV's (HDMI splitter). The HTPC's would be controlled via Harmony remotes and USB wireless keyboards in each room. They are going to be in low power standby (S3) at all times unless woke up by the remote.

The HTPC's are going to be fed content from HDHomerun Prime CableCARD tuners, and my main WHS box (12TB+ of storage with over 1000 HD movies and 40 TV series). The recordings will auto copy over to the WHS box after they complete.

For starters, here's an obscure black and white teaser photo of my rackmount cases:

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post #2 of 26 Old 10-04-2011, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by w1retap View Post

Hello guys. Some of you may remember me from [H]ard|Forum. Old theater build:

I remember you from another forum/site

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post #3 of 26 Old 10-05-2011, 06:42 AM
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The name sounds familiar. Are you on OCN? Sweet idea btw. Let us know how it works out.
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post #4 of 26 Old 10-05-2011, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Pile-o-parts:

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post #5 of 26 Old 10-05-2011, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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The parts I have thus far (3 of each):











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post #6 of 26 Old 10-05-2011, 07:19 PM
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What case are you using?

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post #7 of 26 Old 10-05-2011, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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They are Rosewill RSV-R4000 rackmount cases. Newegg had them on sale for like $50ea shipped a while back.
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post #8 of 26 Old 10-05-2011, 08:02 PM
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how many hd can u put in this case?
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post #9 of 26 Old 10-06-2011, 03:23 AM - Thread Starter
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You can fit 8 3.5'' drives in them as-is, and 4 or 5 more with an extra 5.25'' drive holder. I'm only putting in a single SSD since all my content is on my server.
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post #10 of 26 Old 10-08-2011, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Put a few components in HTPC #1 today and did some wire management.



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post #11 of 26 Old 10-08-2011, 08:13 PM
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Hey w1retap, long time no see!! Looks like you're neck deep in another big project, can't wait to see how it turns out.

I notice no Z68 mobo with the SRT cache feature (?) But P67 is supposedly enabling it soon anyway.

Good luck with it and with your new home
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post #12 of 26 Old 10-08-2011, 09:58 PM
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No wonder Newegg ran out of the Galaxy 450 cards...you bought them all!

Where abouts in Michigan are you from? I am on the west side of the state.

Nice build so far, look forward to seeing more pics soon! I will be building my new i5 system next weekend, cant wait.
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post #13 of 26 Old 10-09-2011, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm from the downriver area south of Detroit.

Two of the Galaxy 450's I got from Microcenter for under $45ea after rebate.. the other one came from Newegg when they had the sale on them about 2 weeks ago.
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post #14 of 26 Old 10-09-2011, 11:53 AM
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What are the specs of your WHS? Can you share some pics as well?

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post #15 of 26 Old 10-09-2011, 01:41 PM
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I'm not trying to make your project more complicated, but have you considered NO drive in them? I am currently running a centralized server that has all the media and so forth on it. Then I have a couple of "book" sized PCs that boot entirely over Gb ethernet, mount their drives via iScsi and just work. I was using an SSD originally but decided this was far better. From power on, any client boots in about 30 seconds, though I usually just put it into S3. Not being satisfied with what was available, I ended up spinning my own control interface that goes between my URC gear and the USB on the PC.
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post #16 of 26 Old 10-09-2011, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scallica View Post

What are the specs of your WHS? Can you share some pics as well?

I am running a little low on space, so I'll need to order some more drives soon. The case has room for 19 drives as well since I modded it with more hard drive racks inside. I *might* move to a norco case soon though since I am going to have everything rackmounted.

AMD X2 4850e 45w
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wi-Fi
4x1GB Corsair XMS2 Pro DDR2-800
Asus 8400GS 256MB [Fanless]
Sans Digital 8-bay eSATA Enclosure
2x 750GB SATA2
8x 1TB SATA2
2x 2TB SATA2
Rocketfish Case (Lian-Li rebrand) modded to hold 19 HDDs
Zalman 850w Heatpipe Silent/Modular PSU
Windows Home Server PP3
Cyberpower 1500VA Battery Backup

As it currently sits:







Quote:
Originally Posted by aymanme View Post

I'm not trying to make your project more complicated, but have you considered NO drive in them? I am currently running a centralized server that has all the media and so forth on it. Then I have a couple of "book" sized PCs that boot entirely over Gb ethernet, mount their drives via iScsi and just work. I was using an SSD originally but decided this was far better. From power on, any client boots in about 30 seconds, though I usually just put it into S3. Not being satisfied with what was available, I ended up spinning my own control interface that goes between my URC gear and the USB on the PC.

I'm just going to do SSD's in each. I am doing what works with minimal lag.. pulling high resolution cover art and 3D coverflows can sometimes lag over an ethernet connection because it keeps having to request data from the server. With a SSD, it is cached locally and almost instantly appears. Also, I'm unsure how CableCARD recording would work -- sending CableCARD signals over ethernet to the HTPC for viewing, and then also recording back and transferring when finished recording.. it seems like it would have problems unless someone can confirm it works and let me know exactly how it is setup.

And for today's update.. installed the processor and fan, and ran the rest of the power wires. All I have left to do is add the SSD and fans, yet to be purchased. Probably going with some 64GB SSD's and Coolermaster blue LED fans.

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post #17 of 26 Old 10-22-2011, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Received my fans today.. just some generic 3-pin blue LED fans from Xoxide. Two 80mm fans and two 120mm fans per case. Keeping in mind the HTPC's are going to be rackmounted, I'm not worried about noise.. but to my surprise they are pretty quiet and move a lot of air. The overall noise of the computer with dynamic fan control setup in the BIOS/UEFI is just above a whisper.





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post #18 of 26 Old 03-06-2012, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIlCH_efUlo

^--- Video of the HTPC. I added a nMEDIAPC LCD screen. Everything is all setup and working great. I just have to build up the other two so they look the same. All the parts are ready and waiting to be built, I just have to find the time, then image the SSD to the others.

Final specs:

Rosewill RSV-R4000 4U Rackmount Case
Corsair CX430 V2 Power Supply
MSI P67A-G43 B2 Motherboard
Intel i3 2100 Processor
Rosewill RCX-ZAIO-92 92mm CPU Cooler
2x2GB PNY DDR3-1600 Memory
Galaxy GTS 450 GC Graphics Card
Corsair 60GB Force SATA III SSD
nMEDIAPC Blue Pro LCD
2x 120mm Blue LED Fans (Front)
2x 80mm Blue LED Fans (Rear)

New house is being built, so this thread will probably go inactive for a while, then I'll update it once everything is installed in the rack.
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post #19 of 26 Old 03-06-2012, 05:06 PM
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I used that same rosewill case for my main HTPC also! Got a great price on it.
What mods did you do to the rocketfish? I have one sitting empty in the office.
I also have that sans digital enclosure....weird....and I'm from michigan....lol
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post #20 of 26 Old 03-06-2012, 05:26 PM
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Have you thought about running an extra cat5/6 to a location (hidden) for a power/reset switches and power LED for a simple diagnostic? I had 3 htpc's stacked in my laundry room and they saved me a few trips up and down the stairs and made phone calls from the lady easier.
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post #21 of 26 Old 03-06-2012, 05:50 PM
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Shoot, looks as though that case is deactivated. Was hoping for something inexpensive that could do 8-12 drives. The Norco 24 is nice, but like 6 times the cost

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post #22 of 26 Old 03-06-2012, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTinkerer View Post

Have you thought about running an extra cat5/6 to a location (hidden) for a power/reset switches and power LED for a simple diagnostic? I had 3 htpc's stacked in my laundry room and they saved me a few trips up and down the stairs and made phone calls from the lady easier.

I can just use PC Monitor on my Android phone to startup/shutdown and check the status of the HTPC's and my server from anywhere. =)

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Originally Posted by impmonkey View Post

I used that same rosewill case for my main HTPC also! Got a great price on it.
What mods did you do to the rocketfish? I have one sitting empty in the office.
I also have that sans digital enclosure....weird....and I'm from michigan....lol

I stacked hard drive cages in the front facing the rear, so now you can hold 9 hard drives in the bottom, plus two of the 5-in-3 hot swaps in the 5.25'' bays for a total of 19 hard drives. I just used a nibbler to cut out some of the motherboard tray to make sliding the hard drives in/out from the backside of the case easy. It was probably a 30 minute mod. Notice how I also had to cut out the 3.5'' tray, but left some of it intact so I could still have the bay covers in the front.



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post #23 of 26 Old 03-06-2012, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w1retap View Post


I can just use PC Monitor on my Android phone to startup/shutdown and check the status of the HTPC's and my server from anywhere. =)

Thanks for the tip checking it out.
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post #24 of 26 Old 03-06-2012, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by stm69 View Post

Shoot, looks as though that case is deactivated. Was hoping for something inexpensive that could do 8-12 drives. The Norco 24 is nice, but like 6 times the cost

Check out the Norco RPC-450. It is essentially the same case.
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post #25 of 26 Old 03-07-2012, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w1retap View Post

Check out the Norco RPC-450. It is essentially the same case.

Thanks for the tip - looks like an interesting option @~$100 shipped. I'm sitting here counting up the number of drives I am thinking about putting in, and I have 4 X 1.5 TB, 5 X 2 TB, + 1 o/s drive. Already, that would be only 3-4 "slots" free in the 450, depending on cd-rom. The 450 also doesn't have any fancy stuff like SAS/backplane.

What are you all's thoughts on the Norco 4020, 4220, and 4224? Any good SAS cards to recommend? Would be doing whs/flexraid or windows 8 storage spaces as I have a few non-TLER green drives so hardware RAID is not really something I want to muck with. Max of 3 HD streams in terms of read, if possible would like to record video (hdhomerun prime) streams but I understand it stutters if writing + reading at same time using software RAID.

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post #26 of 26 Old 09-19-2012, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Got the rackmount cabinet shipped in. It's from Pro Audio Stash, linked below. 22U, 32in depth.
http://proaudiostash.com/product/19-inch-racking/rack-mount-enclosures/server-rack-enclosures/19-server-rack-enclosure-glass-door/11114.shtml

rack_initial.jpg

Picked up another Belkin PF60 to power everything.

IMG_2531.jpg

IMG_2534.jpg

Using a gigabit 24 port Zyxel switch for the HTPC network.

And so far I mounted a few things in the rack.

rack001.jpg

rack002.jpg
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