New Home Theater Project - Getting Started - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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Home Theater Computers > New Home Theater Project - Getting Started
assassin's Avatar assassin 09:34 AM 07-25-2013
Another poster defending what *he* does while ignoring others' preference. Nothing at all wrong with building small if that's your thing.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

trooper11's Avatar trooper11 01:03 PM 07-25-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I do not understand the motivation to spend extra on ITX to get less, then spend more to get additional features easily found on non ITX boards- only to have ugly wire mess and ugly bulky messy boxes wired to the back of it. If you could tolerate those- you might be served better with an ATX or Micro ATX case and build and having room inside a nice looking case for that stuff.

.........................


You can build a server in any chassis you want- locate it anyplace you want. Don't mess around with half-assed Msata connected crap




Ok I'm sorry, but you completely misunderstood my post. Read it again, I never said I was considering building a mini-itx pc to use a server and then connect external hard drive enclosures to it.


Let me say it again:

I am looking around my house for a proper place to put the server. I am still considering going the Norco path, but that will require some extra effort to make a place to put it. I don't have a rack currently, nor do I have any shelf space somewhere that is deep enough to accommodate it, so I have expanded my thinking to alternatives. Let me share some specific alternatives I am considering:


Option 1. Shorter rackmount case:

Chenbro 4U Compact Rack Mount (RM42300-F2)
-15" depth
-Can accommodate only five 3.5" drives out of the box, but there are also three 5.25'' bays that can be adapted to five more 3.5" drives. Then Chenbro sells a second 5.25"/3.5" hdd rack for this case that adds another six 3.5" bays. So right there you have a shorter rack mount case that can accommodate 16 drives.
-The case seems like a good option and I can replace its fans just the same as I would with the Norco


I am looking for any opinions on this case or suggesting alternative rackmount cases that are NO MORE than 18" in depth and can accommodate at least 15 drives



Option 2. Large, cube style case

LIAN LI PC-D8000
http://www.lian-li.com/en/dt_portfolio/pc-d8000/
-This is a very large cube style case which can hold twenty 3.5" drives and five 5.25" bays to hold more.
-The style of this case is very muted being in all black, which gives me the option to have this thing out in the open in certain rooms. For example, I have space in my theater room to place this case in a corner near my other components. Its look is a lot like my large subwoofer, so it can actually not look like an eye sore while still offering me the expansion of a Norco case
-The case comes with no fans, which is great since I want to put in my own, quiet fans
-It comes with wheels, so its even easier to adjust or move around



Option 3: Build a mATX/ATX sized server

-I haven't made specific case choices for this option, but the idea is that I build smaller pc. No, not ITX, but mATX or ATX. I would likely choose a htpc/desktop style case.
-This pc could hold a few drives, maybe 5-8, but the majority of my storage would be offered via an external hard drive enclosure. I have looked at several that could work over eSATA, USB3, or even miniSAS. I could get a couple 8 bay enclosures and still use flexraid to manage it all.


I agree that option 3 is the most inconvenient of the bunch, that's why its not high on my interest list, but I'm trying to get an idea what the alternatives are. Personally, I'm looking very hard at the Lian Li case, but I haven't picked anything.

I wanted to lay these out so that you guys could comment and offer any alternatives.
Dark_Slayer's Avatar Dark_Slayer 02:31 PM 07-25-2013
I don't know how space limited you are, but you can add a pretty large number of drives to ATX cases and keep the depth down to 20"

I was looking through the thread to see if you said there was a specific limit but it's riddled with long text posts full of pictures now smile.gif

A case like this or this will give you room to add at least two of these

You can get the norco 5 in 3 enclosures cheaper on ebay from time to time, or go way cheaper and get these. You lose 1 drive per enclosure but you get better cooling since all drive's get the airflow pushed rather than pulled
trooper11's Avatar trooper11 02:47 PM 07-25-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

I don't know how space limited you are, but you can add a pretty large number of drives to ATX cases and keep the depth down to 20"

I was looking through the thread to see if you said there was a specific limit but it's riddled with long text posts full of pictures now smile.gif

A case like this or this will give you room to add at least two of these

You can get the norco 5 in 3 enclosures cheaper on ebay from time to time, or go way cheaper and get these. You lose 1 drive per enclosure but you get better cooling since all drive's get the airflow pushed rather than pulled


Those are certainly good options, but in my situation, using a standard tower wouldn't work looks wise.

My initial goal was to use a rackmount case because I could stick it on a closet or cabinet shelf out of sight either in my theater room or elsewhere. That led me to the Norco case.

As I said above, if I decide not to say buy a rack to put somewhere like the garage or make more space elsewhere, I would need to find an alternative. If there is a good rackmount case that is not as deep as the Norco, it would work. If rackmount is out, then I was looking at various other cases.

The Lian Li case has the advantage of blending in great in my theater room. Those two cases you mentioned would work, but they would also stick out like sore thumbs as being pcs. A black, cube like style won't stand out nearly as much.
assassin's Avatar assassin 02:51 PM 07-25-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by trooper11 View Post

Those are certainly good options, but in my situation, using a standard tower wouldn't work looks wise.

My initial goal was to use a rackmount case because I could stick it on a closet or cabinet shelf out of sight either in my theater room or elsewhere. That led me to the Norco case.

As I said above, if I decide not to say buy a rack to put somewhere like the garage or make more space elsewhere, I would need to find an alternative. If there is a good rackmount case that is not as deep as the Norco, it would work. If rackmount is out, then I was looking at various other cases.

The Lian Li case has the advantage of blending in great in my theater room. Those two cases you mentioned would work, but they would also stick out like sore thumbs as being pcs. A black, cube like style won't stand out nearly as much.

I wouldn't suggest putting *any* server in your actual theater. Try as you might it is still going to be audible (especially during quiet scenes) with multiple hard drives and fans churning away. I would tuck it away in a closet or dark corner somewhere.
trooper11's Avatar trooper11 03:10 PM 07-25-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I wouldn't suggest putting *any* server in your actual theater. Try as you might it is still going to be audible (especially during quiet scenes) with multiple hard drives and fans churning away. I would tuck it away in a closet or dark corner somewhere.



Well that is true, hard to avoid that. I could put something in the closet that's in the theater room though. Unfortunately, that closet doesn't have deep enough shelves to accommodate the Norco case, but it does have room to wheel in that Lian Li case or a shorter rackmount case
assassin's Avatar assassin 03:17 PM 07-25-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by trooper11 View Post

Well that is true, hard to avoid that. I could put something in the closet that's in the theater room though. Unfortunately, that closet doesn't have deep enough shelves to accommodate the Norco case, but it does have room to wheel in that Lian Li case or a shorter rackmount case

I think the point that some of the other posters were trying to make is who cares what your server looks like if its going to be in the closet? After you set it up the only real time you might access it is with Remote Desktop Connection from a laptop or other PC. In that scenario pick the biggest case that fits the space and your needs regardless of whether its a tower, rack, etc.

Just something to consider. I know I had this same issue when I built my first server.
trooper11's Avatar trooper11 05:06 PM 07-25-2013
Yeah I guess so. I'll just pick whatever case fits. There is no lan run to that closet, so I'll need to figure out wiring.

I was kind of hoping I could put something in the large cabinet in the theater room that is near my lan connections, but they aren't deep enough for the Norco case. It looks like its not going to be a smooth build.
trooper11's Avatar trooper11 10:34 PM 07-25-2013
For clarification, is this the Highpoint Reverse Breakout cable that was being suggested to be used to go from 4 SATA ports to miniSAS in the Norco Case:

http://www.amazon.com/HighPoint-Internal-Mini-SAS-SFF8087-Int-MS-1M4S/dp/B001L9DU88/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1374813144&sr=1-1&keywords=Int-MS-1M4S


I cant find it explicitly said anywhere.
Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 07:01 AM 07-26-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I think the point that some of the other posters were trying to make is who cares what your server looks like if its going to be in the closet? After you set it up the only real time you might access it is with Remote Desktop Connection from a laptop or other PC. In that scenario pick the biggest case that fits the space and your needs regardless of whether its a tower, rack, etc.

Just something to consider. I know I had this same issue when I built my first server.


This is exactly what I was thinking.
StardogChampion's Avatar StardogChampion 12:16 PM 07-26-2013
If your shelves aren't deep enough, you can also just turn a tower case sideways. I know I never access the front of my server. I want to put my server up on a shelf and I've gone through basically the same permutations. I am going to end up with either a Lian-Li PC-Q25 or Fractal Design Node 304 sitting on the shelf sideways. I looked at rackmount but the money to get the rack, have it be deep enough, get a rackmount case, etc. is just too much money for me to spend on something that's in the basement. I got some crazy deals on the PC-Q25 and 304 recently and I'll use one for myself and the other for the next customer server project that comes along.
Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 10:31 AM 07-27-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by trooper11 View Post

Ok I'm sorry, but you completely misunderstood my post. Read it again, I never said I was considering building a mini-itx pc to use a server and then connect external hard drive enclosures to it.


Yup. I did. I thought exactly that is what you wanted to do. My skin cringed all over with that idea. I wanted to burn my whole house down to escape that horrible idea. It seemed like you wanted to build an ITX cube thing and run all this crap off the back with wires to run a NAS or USB box or whatever. It seemed like a total nightmare. I've been down that road and learned the error in such ways.

I'm also brain damaged about ITX. I can't for the life of me understand it. I've chalked that up to a personality thing and moved on. As soon as you take away the small, cute case look and the simple but fully functional aspect away from ITX it quickly loses it's flavor IMO. I see the constant mistake where people chose it for looks then realize they are limited in upgrade path, or expansion and end up hanging stuff off the back with wires like a NAS or USB drives to account for the mistake in ITX in the first place.
Quote:
I am looking around my house for a proper place to put the server. I am still considering going the Norco path, but that will require some extra effort to make a place to put it. I don't have a rack currently, nor do I have any shelf space somewhere that is deep enough to accommodate it, so I have expanded my thinking to alternatives. Let me share some specific alternatives I am considering:

Well you can put it sideways, or even up and down if your careful not to block the fans on the back (two bricks or 2x4 would do it)

Your certainly best off with a dedicated server, and dedicated client PC. No questions about it. An all in one build with wires and cards is just crap IMO.

You don't have to use a NORCO 4224 case. I used one, but I am not space restricted. You can easily build something that is smaller in a desktop tower case, or a less deep server style case. Or you can put the server up and down so the depth issue becomes the height of the machine. Seems easy enough. The face would be the top and your problem is solved.

I am not fully understanding your space restriction. Most I have seen locate the server in a closet, the basement, the garage or some other place that's out of the way. There has to be some place you can hide a server. It sounds like your better off building a desktop style tower which is going to have front hot swap but not be too deep.

Don't worry what you server looks like or how trick it looks. Most never see it, and most do not care. That is a rookie or noob mistake to worry about such things. Once you build it and never look at it you will wonder what were you thinking worrying about it. I did not buy a NORCO 4220 because it looks cool (it's ugly pig). I bought it because it's really functional. Any case can work for a server.

What features do you want or need? Hotswap ?
trooper11's Avatar trooper11 06:57 PM 07-27-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post


Your certainly best off with a dedicated server, and dedicated client PC. No questions about it. An all in one build with wires and cards is just crap IMO.



I never said I was going to build a single client/server system. My alternatives were all different ways to to build the server, not a client+server.

I agree that trying to mix both is silly and impractical at the large scale I'm looking to do.

Quote:
You don't have to use a NORCO 4224 case. I used one, but I am not space restricted. You can easily build something that is smaller in a desktop tower case, or a less deep server style case. Or you can put the server up and down so the depth issue becomes the height of the machine. Seems easy enough. The face would be the top and your problem is solved.

Well I did post a shorter rackmount case, but no one has commented on it. I was hoping someone had used such a case and could give their opinion on it.
Quote:
I am not fully understanding your space restriction. Most I have seen locate the server in a closet, the basement, the garage or some other place that's out of the way. There has to be some place you can hide a server. It sounds like your better off building a desktop style tower which is going to have front hot swap but not be too deep.

The reality is that a tower case will not work. In order to accomodate 20+ 3.5" drives, I would have to go with a very tall tower case. In fact, I haven't yet seen a tower case that can go up to twenty 3.5" drives and beyond.

So in order to hit that number, my only choices are a rackmount case or a large cube style case like the LIAN LI PC-D8000.

its not like I dont have a garage or other closets, etc, its just that they will require more work to accomodate a rackmount case like the Norco. That work includes running dedicated lan lines out to them. The places I do have lan run dont have the space for a Norco case. But they could fit a shorter rackmount case as I've mentioned a couple times. Maybe I have no choice but to look into running lan to say the garage or something, but I'm weighing my options.

Quote:
Don't worry what you server looks like or how trick it looks. Most never see it, and most do not care. That is a rookie or noob mistake to worry about such things. Once you build it and never look at it you will wonder what were you thinking worrying about it. I did not buy a NORCO 4220 because it looks cool (it's ugly pig). I bought it because it's really functional. Any case can work for a server.

Your right, I shouldnt buy for looks, but are you saying that my ideas for alternatives are not really functional? For example, the Lian Li case is no more expensive than the Norco case and it can work in different spaces more effectively than a rackmount case. It just happens to also have a all black, muted style that I happen to like. It's looks are not what drew my attention.
Quote:
What features do you want or need? Hotswap ?

Hotswap would be great, but not required.

I'd prefer space for at least twenty 3.5" drives

I can't really think of any other must have features. Of course I'd like something that I can replace the fans if needed like the Norco case.
Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 08:38 PM 07-27-2013
I don't have any experience with those alternative cases you listed which is the only reason I did not comment on them. I am assuming others are in the same boat as me. I think Assassin uses a desktop style Antec last I remember, and a few of the other guys have Norco like me.

I just don't have anything to add about those tongue.gif

They seem like great cases by clicking your links wink.gif
trooper11's Avatar trooper11 08:56 PM 07-27-2013
Yeah, unfortunately it seems like everyone building these things go with the Norco.

Honestly, I wish I had a spot with lan access that could accomodate the case. Then I can use all the knowledge I got from reading through your thread and other such threads. I mean you guys basically made a blueprint for a great server.

I'm going to look around the spaces available in the house and think on this more.

This might be a silly question, but does the Norco case allow you to remove the handles and metal flaps that jut out on the front of the case? I ask becuase having the option of laying it on its side might work, but not with the metal flaps sticking out.
Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 09:42 PM 07-27-2013
The front handles can be removed with two screws that hold them in. biggrin.gif
renethx's Avatar renethx 02:39 AM 07-28-2013
Use this 5-in-3 cage that fits 3 x 5.25" bay, it's only $9.



For example,

Chenbro RM42300 --> 15 bays
Antec 900 --> 15 bays
Antec 1200 --> 20 bays
trooper11's Avatar trooper11 09:04 AM 07-28-2013
That's a great deal on a 5-in-3 cage, thanks for sharing that renethx.


I had been looking at 5-3 cages that were hotswappable, but those ranges from $80-$90 a piece. This is significantly cheaper, as long as I dont mind losing hotswap ability and the convenience in cabling that it provides.
Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 02:04 PM 07-28-2013
Can't you put a Norco so the front is the top ?
trooper11's Avatar trooper11 10:01 PM 07-28-2013
You mean stand it up on on its end?


I'm currently looking into having ethernet run to a few locations in my house. If that is feasible without too much effort, I may yet turn to the Norco build and put it on a smallish rack out in the garage. I just need to get network access out there. If that falls through, its back to a shorter rack or the cube case.
Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 12:18 PM 07-31-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by trooper11 View Post

You mean stand it up on on its end?


I'm currently looking into having ethernet run to a few locations in my house. If that is feasible without too much effort, I may yet turn to the Norco build and put it on a smallish rack out in the garage. I just need to get network access out there. If that falls through, its back to a shorter rack or the cube case.

Running a Cat6 is so easy. I could do it with one arm. I'm PRO at snaking wires, I guess I have just done so much of it that I am numb to the whole thing. I would not let that stop you- it's a totally solvable problem to run cat 6 to where you need to go.

That said,

Yes- Stand it up on it's end so the front is the top and the back is the bottom. It would be tall- but not too deep at all. Two small 2x4's is all you need to allow the air flow. The fans are inset into the back so you don't want it totally flat on the floor. One 2x4 on each side should suffice- once filled with drives these suckers are quite heavy and gravity should hold it in place just fine. I have set mine down on the back (as the bottom) with the handles pointing up when moving it around many times.
Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 04:13 PM 08-08-2013
OK OP- we want an update ! mad.gif
trooper11's Avatar trooper11 08:45 AM 08-10-2013
I hope to have an update this weekend. I got a little side tracked, but I'm eager to get this thing going.
Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 04:58 PM 08-20-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by trooper11 View Post

I hope to have an update this weekend. I got a little side tracked, but I'm eager to get this thing going.

I guess you got really sidetracked... lol
trooper11's Avatar trooper11 12:47 PM 08-22-2013
Yeah, unfortunately I had to delay making any purchases. I will be running my own Ethernet though, so that will be nice.

I'll update things here once I can actually start buying some hardware.
politby's Avatar politby 12:26 AM 08-23-2013
Just to chime in a little bit as you have not purchased the hardware yet.

With a larger number of hard drives, I definitely recommend you go with hotswap trays. Not because you necessarily are going to do a lot of hot swapping, but drives do tend to fill up and/or go bad. Opening up a case with 20 fixed-mount, carefully cable managed drives for replacement or troubleshooting is a nightmare.


I am not so sure about vertically mounting the Norco case because that will work against its intended airflow from front to back. But maybe it will work if the closet is well ventilated.
trooper11's Avatar trooper11 10:01 AM 08-23-2013
Yeah that's a good point. I would definitely prefer hotswap bays.

I also would prefer to use the Norco case and store it in a rack in our unfinished basement. I may end up doing that since its the ideal setup for a server. Its out of the way so sound doesn't really matter, its in a cool place, and it doesn't offer any size restrictions. I'll be running Ethernet soon, so I'm going to run at least one line to the basement along with lines to the home theater room.
Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 10:12 AM 08-23-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by trooper11 View Post

Yeah that's a good point. I would definitely prefer hotswap bays.

I also would prefer to use the Norco case and store it in a rack in our unfinished basement. I may end up doing that since its the ideal setup for a server. Its out of the way so sound doesn't really matter, its in a cool place, and it doesn't offer any size restrictions. I'll be running Ethernet soon, so I'm going to run at least one line to the basement along with lines to the home theater room.

I just put a post in my server thread talking about how I spent 4 pages picking out and perfecting my upgraded hardware choices, ordered it, and put it all together and posted pictures in my thread. Then about 3 posts later I decided I wanted to upgrade the case to the Norco 4220 and tore the whole thing apart tongue.gif

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1438027/planning-to-rebuild-and-upgrade-my-30tb-whs-flexraid-media-server-information-requested/1300_100#post_23660545

Sometimes it's better to do things right the first time. And sometimes it's good to do things twice when you realize you shoulda, coulda, woulda....
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