Originally Posted by pclausen
If you are getting a 846 chassis, do yourself a favor and make sure you get one with the BPN-SAS2
-846EL1 expander backplane. This one supports 6TB drives at 6gbps and probably also larger drives when they become available. Such a chassis is not that much more expense than a TQ one. I don't see one on ebay right now, but they show up at regular intervals for under $300.
Definitely stay away from the BPN-SAS
-846EL1 expander backplanes. I had one of those back in the day (about 10 years ago now) and I had all kind of issues with it depending on which Raid or HBA controller I was using and/or the type of drives. Once I switched to SAS2 backplanes, all those issues went away completely.
The TQ backplanes are passive and require 24 individual SAS cables back to your HBA/Raid controller. I started out that way years ago and had this mess:
And after switching over to a SAS2 backplane, it went to this:
Granted, in the above image, I do have a SFF-8087 fanout cable going to a stack of 4 SSD drives I use for scratch, but that single metallic blue cable you see in the lower right is all that is needed to create a 24 Gbps link between the raid controller and the 24 disks in the chassis.
I currently have 3 846 chassis with the SAS2 backplane expanders, and a 826 and 216, all with SAS2 expanders as well, all had for under $300.
I don't recall which backplane I have in my server, but it's one of the passive ones that requires the 24 individual SATA cables. I totally gutted the 846 server case and installed my own power supply, motherboard, CPU, and memory as well as three 8-port Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller cards with the 0.21 version firmware. The server had to reside in a small room right next to my home theater so the original power supply had to go as well as the stock fans. I posted a build thread with lots of pics a while back in this thread if you want to search for it.
I've never had any problems with my backplane and the server has been rock solid from day one, although I have gone through 2 or 3 different motherboard setups until I could find one that worked with all three controllers and a cache drive. While having the single cable feed the backplane is nice and does simplify the installation, there's nothing wrong with your original configuration unless you constantly feel the need to have your hands inside the server case to muck about with it (BTW, nice cable management
). My server easily handles 4TB drives and I suspect it will work with even larger ones, but I have yet to maximize the capacity of the case (currently at 62TB and counting) so going with drives larger than 4TB isn't necessary at this stage.
I can easily stream full Blu-Ray rips to multiple TVs simultaneously so having the additional throughput of a SATA III controller is entirely moot. I can see the need if you're running a corporate server, but for most home users it is overkill. I suspect the vast majority of users here only need a server to store and stream their media.
I just looked back in the thread and found where my build discussions were posted. The first build starts around post 1286.
There are a couple other discussions I started regarding building a fan wall (post 1376)
and another using the hardware from my original unRAID server (post 1391).
I have since replaced that hardware with a different micro-ATX motherboard with an AMD A10 CPU. I no longer have the huge bundles of SATA cables but rather six thin SFF-8087 cable bundles between the controllers and the backplane so it doesn't look all that much different from yours with respect to cable management and clutter.
To be fair, I'm not criticizing your build as I really do like it. If I was building a new server from scratch then that's probably the way to go. The thing is, back when this thread started, the backplanes you mentioned were not available so we had to use what was on hand. I'm only mentioning it because you could get a really good deal on the older backplane models and still have a great server for home use.