Finished installing everything and it couldn't have gone smoother. I spent most of the afternoon literally screwing my brains out. I had to transfer 20 drives from my old server drive trays to the new server trays. Fortunately, my old Supermicro 5-in-3 backplanes use the exact same tray screws as the new server so I just used the same screws to secure the drives to the new trays. I then had to install all of the new fans and the power supply. I attached extra large silicon bumpers on the bottom so the PSU would be high enough to clear the guide pins for the old PSU tray. I also did not have to do anything to the raised slots that secured the old PSU housing. As promised, here's some photos.
Here's the old server.
Here's the new server with the fan wall, fans, cables, and SATA controllers removed.
Here's the first controller wired up to the first vertical set of drives.
2nd vertical set of drives wired up.
Another angle showing a bit of cable management.
Third set of drives.
Same thing, different angle.
Final set of drives.
Again, different angle.
Fan wall reinstalled, but no fans yet.
Tested unRAID boot drive. So far, so good.
Fans installed on fan wall. Things getting a bit tight up front. Take note that I tried my best to keep the fans clear of the slots in the backplane to allow maximum airflow from the fans with minimal obstructions. I tied the cable bundles to the metal to keep them from changing position.
Another shot of the fan wall showing how little clearance there is.
Power supply installed. This is a Corsair modular PSU so I was able to connect the 4-pin Molex connectors to the backplanes and leave the PSU connector free until the PSU was in place. Having a modular PSU really helps keep the installation much cleaner.
Next step was to schlep the server case to it's permanent home in place of the old server. Using a screen printout of the previous unRAID configuration, I inserted each drive in the designated slot based on the numbering of the SATA ports on the backplane (i.e. parity drive or drive 0 went into slot 0, etc.). The actual drive designations were going to be new but I figured I could simply go into the unRAID GUI and assign the drives in their original designations. To my surprise, when I booted up the server and checked the GUI, unRAID automatically assigned the drives based on the configuration file and I was up and running without doing anything further.
I may have mentioned that one of my new fans was damaged in shipping so I only have four new fans to install. I daisy-chained them off the CPU fan connector to use the PWM function and also connected the single wire from each fan to an empty fan connector. I'm not sure if you need to do this for each fan since they're all connected together, but it probably can't hurt. In any case, I left one of the original rear case fans connected. That one single fan was so loud it drowned out all of the other case fans and CPU fan combined. No wonder everyone has been so adamant about replacing the fans. I can only imagine what this thing sounded like with all case fans plus the PSU fans running.
Although the server comes with all the SATA cables, If I had to do it over again from scratch I'd consider using shorter cables for the bays closest to the controller cards. It would make for an even tidier appearance and much easier cable management. When removing and installing the fan wall, a screwdriver with a magnetic tip is a must.
One thing I don't like is the power cable hanging out of the opening where the old PSUs once resided. I want to install a plate over the opening and install a switched IEC receptacle on the back panel.I've got tons of extra IEC power cables so it would be simple to make a short patch cable to go from the PSU to the receptacle. That would allow me to switch the PSU on or off without opening the server case. My main concern is that there may be sharp edges around the opening that could cut the power cord.
Update: I had originally connected two of the new fans to the two 4-pin CPU connectors and then daisy-chained the fan wall fans plus the CPU on one and the two rear fans on the other. I connected the plug with the single yellow wire from each fan to an open fan header. I kept getting a flashing red LED on the front of the server, indicating a fan failure. I also noticed that all of my drives were registering temps about 10 degrees C higher than they did with the old server. I reconfigured the fans so just the 4-pin connector from each fan is connected to a separate 3-pin header, just like the stock fans were. The fan failure LED has stopped flashing so that's one problem solved. With the drive temps being as hot as they are I'd prefer that the fans keep running full tilt as long as the server is on so the loss of PWM functionality doesn't bother me. I noticed that it was extremely warm in the area of the motherboard when I removed the case so I'm now leaning towards replacing the CPU HSF. I've got a Big Shuriken sitting on the shelf looking for a good home so it seems like the perfect candidate. OTOH, I also have a Zalman CNPS-9500 in the old server that I may use since it has a vertical fan that will be directly in line with the other fans, further aiding in a direct air flow through the case.Edited by captain_video - 3/24/13 at 5:48am