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Are You Looking For A Less Expensive Norco 4220 / 4224 Alternative? - Page 46

post #1351 of 2256
Yes and yes. You will have the option to purchase the configuration of your choice when you're notified that they have servers available. You can call them or send them an e-mail to get on the waiting list. Either method seems to work equally well.
post #1352 of 2256
Am I missing something ? Assuming your not interested in yesterday techlology that consumes tons of electricity and generates heat and noise - then what is the benefit here ?
post #1353 of 2256
The benefit is the ability to get a 24-bay server case with hotswap drive bays for a fraction of the original cost and cheaper than anything else on the market that's comparable (hence the title of the thread). The server hardware included is for those that want a turnkey server setup at minimal cost. It may be outdated and use a lot of energy, but it gets your foot in the door with minimal upfront costs. You can always replace the motherboard and other components as your budget permits. Most of us are already swapping out the power supplies for one that is both quieter and more energy efficient. I expect I'll be going with newer hardware in the very near future.
post #1354 of 2256
So can I ask what's the cost savings assuming your going with new hardware ...?

Is there a savings on just the case ? I'm confused. What's the total cost of a case only ?
post #1355 of 2256
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

So can I ask what's the cost savings assuming your going with new hardware ...?

Is there a savings on just the case ? I'm confused. What's the total cost of a case only ?

I believe the case alone costs anywhere between $1000-1200 (can be a lot more depending on where you buy it.) Internal hardware can add another $800-1400.
post #1356 of 2256
cool.gif <-- waits patiently
post #1357 of 2256
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

So can I ask what's the cost savings assuming your going with new hardware ...?

Is there a savings on just the case ? I'm confused. What's the total cost of a case only ?
There is a huge savings on all hardware involved. In my situation, I had an unRAID server based on an Antec Nine Hundred case with three internal Supermicro 5-in-3 SATA backplanes and a fourth one located external to the case. I wanted to upgrade to a larger case and this one suited my needs perfectly. I also had a 5th SATA backplane with no place to install it. I had been thinking about getting a Norco 24-bay rack, but this one is better and less expensive.

I'm thinking about installing my old unRAID hardware in the new case. I'll probably attach my Kill-o-Watt meter to the server and see how much power it's using before making a final decision. If it's not too bad I may just leave it be and use the hardware that came with it.

I've already sold all five of the 5-in-3 SATA backplanes on ebay for $65 each plus shipping so my total outlay for the new server plus shipping was only about $50. This fact was the tipping point to get approval from the wife to make the purchase. However, I have replaced the memory and CPU for an additional $55 as well as money spent on new fans, fan controller, and Norco fan wall. I suspect the final configuration will consist of three 120mm fans and the Norco fan wall with the two rear stock fans slowed down using a pair of Zalman FanMate controllers. At some point I'll probably see what I can do to replace them with larger fans that run quieter as well.
post #1358 of 2256
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff.lebowski View Post

tap tap tap

Waiting for my "Your server has shipped" email...

tongue.gif

Jeff,
Could your tell us when you requested to be on the wait list? I emailed them and was added to the list in February but am still waiting patiently to hear when a unit will be available for me. Just curious about how long you waited.

Thanks.

-0majestic1
post #1359 of 2256
The waiting period depends on how many others are ahead of you on the list as well as the quantity of servers TAMS is able to obtain in any given shipment. There's no way to know just how long it will take before you get notified that they are available. When they get enough to fill your order then you'll be notified. They only send out e-mails twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays so it may be another week after you've been notified to receive shipping confirmation with a tracking number.

You won't find this good of a deal elsewhere so just sit tight and be patient. Good things come to those who wait. wink.gif
post #1360 of 2256
Captain,

Are you sure those are the correct prices without shipping?

If so then the whole shabang is in 370 to 430 with shipping depending what you select for hardware.

smurf
post #1361 of 2256
Yes, the prices are correct. Considering that a Norco 4224 case without power supply, motherboard, CPU, memory, cables, and SATA controllers will cost you $399 plus shipping, it's a pretty sweet deal. You can't even touch an empty used Supermicro 4U case for what TAMS is asking. This is a full-blown commercial grade server for next to nothing. All you need to add is the hard drives and software to run it. If you want to replace the guts with your own hardware then you can certainly do so, but there's not much reason to do so if you don't have to. I've already got the makings of a complete server so for me it's just a matter of swapping out the Supermicro hardware for my existing server components. I'm not really all that motivated to replace everything inside the box, aside from the fan mods, because it's OK as is.

There's no reason to get anything other than the dual core CPU version so your base price will be $299 plus shipping. My total cost with shipping was about $384 from Utah to Maryland. TAMS wants another $50 for a 1.8GHz quad core CPU whereas I picked up a 2.7GHz quad core Opteron CPU for only $15 on ebay.
post #1362 of 2256
Just an FYI for those of you that are thinking about replacing the Supermicro motherboard with your own motherboard. The server has a 16-pin ribbon cable that connects between the motherboard and a small PC board on the left wall between the fan wall and the backplane. The PC board has a flat cable that connects it to the switch and indicator panel just below the left handle on the rack mount ear. If you want to use your own motherboard you'll need a breakout cable to replace the ribbon cable between the small PC board and the motherboard. It's a 16-conductor ribbon cable. Otherwise, you'll probably have to install your own power and reset switches and won't be able to view the status LEDs for power and HDD activity. The status LED for the fan and the NIC LEDs will likely not be used unless your replacement motherboard has these connections. Supermicro does have a breakout cable with the 16-pin connector on one end and the standard separate pin connectors on the other end so you can connect it to a different brand of motherboard. Here's one I found on ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/200848472385?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

I ordered one in the event that I do decide to replace the Supermicro board with my own hardware. I figure it's a whole lot easier than having to modify the case to add my own LEDs and switches (probably cheaper, too).
Edited by captain_video - 4/10/13 at 1:56pm
post #1363 of 2256
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

So can I ask what's the cost savings assuming your going with new hardware ...?

Is there a savings on just the case ? I'm confused. What's the total cost of a case only ?


The Supermicro 24 bay case retails new for around $1000.00. The build quality of the SM case is much better than the Norco case. The Norco just feels flimsy. Ive also read that Norco had issues with bad backpanes and fried hard drives. The benefits of the Norco are the 120mm fan wall and a ATX power supply with fit right in with out mods.
post #1364 of 2256
Server delivered. There was a four inch gash in the cardboard, but this is no average cardboard. Plus, TAMS encloses the server in custom sized near-rigid foam. It does not float around in the box during transport.

The build quality of the case is outstanding. Just amazing stuff.

My trays look to be in okay shape. I have a few dummies from other builds and I'll toss them in the unused slots. All 21 unused slots... rolleyes.gif

I'm going to take my time and make this a nice looking server. But I want to wait and show the wife how it looks and sounds as sold before I start ripping stuff out.

http://imgur.com/a/WeTj5#0
post #1365 of 2256
Quote:
Originally Posted by toohip View Post

The Supermicro 24 bay case retails new for around $1000.00. The build quality of the SM case is much better than the Norco case. The Norco just feels flimsy. Ive also read that Norco had issues with bad backpanes and fried hard drives. The benefits of the Norco are the 120mm fan wall and a ATX power supply with fit right in with out mods.
There's really not much modding required to replace the PSU except for removing the old PSUs, PSU enclosure, and distribution board. Anyone with a screwdriver can do it in less than 15 minutes. There's no need to knock out the guide pins or bend the tabs for the PSU case if you just place thick bumpers on the bottom of the new PSU to raise it above them. I slapped a wide Velcro strip on the back of the new PSU and stuck it to the side wall.

I plan on installing the Norco fan wall over the weekend so I'll post pics when I'm done. The case will need to be gutted to do this, although I can probably leave the motherboard installed with a bit of judicious shielding from metal shavings from the drilling process. A magnet works wonders for cleaning up this type of debris. It doesn't appear that it will be a difficult or time consuming task, but that remains to be seen.
post #1366 of 2256
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0majestic1 View Post

Jeff,
Could your tell us when you requested to be on the wait list? I emailed them and was added to the list in February but am still waiting patiently to hear when a unit will be available for me. Just curious about how long you waited.

Thanks.

-0majestic1

A different Jeff, but I can field that question! Just got an email back from TAMS saying
Quote:
Hi Jeff
It should only be a couple more weeks! We have the servers here in our warehouse now and we are going through them and processing and testing them. I will send you out an email when they are ready!
thanks!
Andy
I was added to the waiting list February 12th. I'm just glad I didn't miss out on this deal even though I got in late. Can't wait.
post #1367 of 2256
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

I plan on installing the Norco fan wall over the weekend so I'll post pics when I'm done. The case will need to be gutted to do this, although I can probably leave the motherboard installed with a bit of judicious shielding from metal shavings from the drilling process. A magnet works wonders for cleaning up this type of debris. It doesn't appear that it will be a difficult or time consuming task, but that remains to be seen.

Do you have the same model as I do? Note the pics above. Mine already has a fan wall installed, but it's loaded with 80mm fans. The same as on the back wall, in fact.

Is there a major difference in cooling between high end 80mm fans and 120mm fans? If I tossed some Noctua super quiet models on the fan wall, maybe the cooling would be enough. What do you think?
post #1368 of 2256
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff.lebowski View Post

Do you have the same model as I do? Note the pics above. Mine already has a fan wall installed, but it's loaded with 80mm fans. The same as on the back wall, in fact.
I don't know which model you have because I can't access the site you linked to from my office PC. If it's a Supermicro case then it probably is. Look at the photos I posted a few pages back to see which one I have. It does have a fan wall, but as you noticed, it comes with 80mm fans that are extremely loud. If you take further notice, when you remove the power supplies you now have a gap on the side previously occupied by the PSUs. The PSUs filled in that gap and also provided additional cooling fans so there was an even air flow across the entire backplane. With the PSUs missing, the air flow is uneven and less than what it was originally. The replacement of the original fan wall with the Norco should provide better cooling and better air flow distribution across the backplane as well as making the server a bit quieter.
Quote:
Is there a major difference in cooling between high end 80mm fans and 120mm fans? If I tossed some Noctua super quiet models on the fan wall, maybe the cooling would be enough. What do you think?
80mm fans need to spin at a higher rpm to push the same volume of air, and even then they probably don't come close to a good 120mm fan in sheer volume. More rpm means more noise. If you look back over my posts on the last few pages you'll see what I've been talking about with regards to cooling and fan sizes. Servers need lots of air to keep cool. Quiet fans just don't cut it for server use, IMHO, unless you don't mind your drives running hotter than normal. Noctua fans are great if you want a quiet PC, but they're also expensive and don't cool as well under server conditions.
post #1369 of 2256
Thanks c_v!
post #1370 of 2256
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Just an FYI for those of you that are thinking about replacing the Supermicro motherboard with your own motherboard. The server has a 16-pin ribbon cable that connects between the motherboard and a small PC board on the left wall between the fan wall and the backplane. The PC board has a flat cable that connects it to the switch and indicator panel just below the left handle on the rack mount ear. If you want to use your own motherboard you'll need a breakout cable to replace the ribbon cable between the small PC board and the motherboard. It's a 16-conductor ribbon cable. Otherwise, you'll probably have to install your own power and reset switches and won't be able to view the status LEDs for power and HDD activity. The status LED for the fan and the NIC LEDs will likely not be used unless your replacement motherboard has these connections. Supermicro does have a breakout cable with the 16-pin connector on one end and the standard separate pin connectors on the other end so you can connect it to a different brand of motherboard. Here's one I found on ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/200848472385?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

I ordered one in the event that I do decide to replace the Supermicro board with my own hardware. I figure it's a whole lot easier than having to modify the case to add my own LEDs and switches (probably cheaper, too).

AHHHHH my savior, I replaced my guts with an ASUS board and just have a spare power button hanging outside the case. Hopefully that breakout cable is the solution thanks.
post #1371 of 2256
Check yours and make sure it's the same one. Check the link in the first post of this thread to the Supermicro web page for a link to the manual. It may be in the 2nd post for the AIC chassis, but one of them will get you there. The Supermicro chassis manual has two different breakout cables listed in Appendix A. One is for a 20-pin cable and the other is a 16-pin cable. Mine had the 16-pin version so I just ran a search on ebay for the part number and got a hit. I believe I also found the 20-pin version listed.
Edited by captain_video - 4/12/13 at 5:19am
post #1372 of 2256
Quote:
Originally Posted by toohip View Post

The Supermicro 24 bay case retails new for around $1000.00. The build quality of the SM case is much better than the Norco case. The Norco just feels flimsy. Ive also read that Norco had issues with bad backpanes and fried hard drives. The benefits of the Norco are the 120mm fan wall and a ATX power supply with fit right in with out mods.

FWIW, we use Supermicro SuperServer storage cases for all of our bulk storage. We've been doing so for about 4 years now. Their main use at this time is our backups, and data archiving and replication. We have about 15 of them now across 4 datacenters with a approximately 720TB of total storage capacity. The only thing we've had fail in those 4 years is drives. The SM cases, motherboards, backplanes, power supplies etc... are ROCK SOLID.

We've been so impressed with them that we're planning on using their Fat Twin series for our ESX servers. We can cut server costs in half doing this. The drawback is we lose the 4 hour support that we have with HP, but the savings will allow us to keep a cold spare ready to go in case of host failure. Host profiles are a bucket of awesome.
post #1373 of 2256
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xeriser View Post

A different Jeff, but I can field that question! Just got an email back from TAMS saying
I was added to the waiting list February 12th. I'm just glad I didn't miss out on this deal even though I got in late. Can't wait.

I asked Andy add my name to the list on Feb-11 and got back email

Hi William
We have received the servers into our warehouse we just need time to process and test them to have them ready for shipment. I should hopefully be emailing you the details about mid April!
Thanks so much!
Andy
post #1374 of 2256
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubboxster View Post

I asked Andy add my name to the list on Feb-11 and got back email

Hi William
We have received the servers into our warehouse we just need time to process and test them to have them ready for shipment. I should hopefully be emailing you the details about mid April!
Thanks so much!
Andy

I had called to have my name added sometime last month, so it may be awhile until I get the email, possibly sometime next month so we'll see!
post #1375 of 2256
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xeriser View Post

A different Jeff, but I can field that question! Just got an email back from TAMS saying

"Hi Jeff
It should only be a couple more weeks! We have the servers here in our warehouse now and we are going through them and processing and testing them. I will send you out an email when they are ready!
thanks!
Andy"

I was added to the waiting list February 12th. I'm just glad I didn't miss out on this deal even though I got in late. Can't wait.

Thanks Jeff. I was also added to the list (confirmed by Andy) on February 12th, but haven't seen any email about availability yet.
Just my luck that I would be number 101 on the list and they would only get 100 in stock... Such is life.

-0majestic1
post #1376 of 2256
OK, I spent a good part of the day installing the Norco fan wall so here's some pics with a bit of narrative describing what's in them. Note that my point of reference for left vs. right is with respect to viewing the server case from the front. It's going to be a bit confusing since it's mostly going to be the reverse of what you're actually seeing in the photos so keep this in mind (I actually do know my left from my right wink.gif).

Here's the location of the small circuit board that connects the cable from the motherboard to the front panel controls and indicators. Sorry about the blurred image. This is where you plug in the breakout cable if you want to use a non-server motherboard. I removed the chassis intrusion switch at the top of the left side as it was in the way and held in place by two screws.



With the original fan wall removed there's a small post that was one of the mounting points for the original PSU interface board bracket. You'll see where this comes into play in a short while.



Here's a shot of the Norco fan wall indicating where the threaded mounting holes are located along the perimeter. There are ten holes, but I'm only going to use eight of them. As a word of caution, the backside of the fan wall that the fan is mounted on in the photo has very sharp edges around the openings. You could slice up your fingers severely if you're not careful when handling the fan wall. Don't insert your fingers in any of the openings unless you really enjoy pain and a lot of blood. eek.gif



This was a test fit of the Norco fan wall with a single 120mm fan installed. If you look at the arrow you'll notice that the bottom edge of the fan extends just slightly below the knee wall where the original fan wall was mounted. I was hoping I could mount the fan wall in front of the knee wall and have the fans mount on the back side, giving me more clearance between the backplane and the fans. Unfortunately, this is not the case here. However, this will actually work out to my advantage.



Here's a shot of the Norco fan wall positioned so that the fans mount on the side facing the backplane and not the interior of the case. You'll notice the small post at the lower left that I mentioned earlier. With the Norco fan wall placed directly in front of the knee wall it fits exactly between the left side of the case and the pin, leaving a slight gap between the Norco wall and the right side. This also works out in our favor as you will see.



Here's a shot of the upper right corner of the fan wall. You'll notice that it fits neatly between the upper edges of the server case at the top without requiring any modifications.



Due to the gap on the right side, I was able to use a pair of motherboard standoffs to bridge the gap and provide a solid mounting point on the right side. They were exactly the right length to fill the gap and have the same 6-32 threads as the Norco fan wall.



Here's a shot of the Norco wall positioned in the case showing the two standoffs on the right side. The arrow on the left side shows the location of the fan wall mounting hole that wasn't used on either side. There was not enough room to fit my drill between the knee wall and drill the hole for the mounting screws so I left them out. There are four screws across the bottom and two along each side so the fan wall is held securely in place without needing them.



This shot shows the location of all mounting screws after they have been installed. All of the screws are 6-32 x 1/2" flathead Philips. I used the two screws from the intrusion switch mount to secure the two standoffs to the case.

One quick note about drilling the holes. I positioned the fan wall and used the thin end of a Sharpie marker to trace the holes on the interior of the case, except for the ones on the right side where there was the large gap. For that I used a mechanical pencil with the lead extended far enough to bridge the gap between the fan wall and leave a mark on the side panel. I located the holes using a center punch and then drilled the holes using a bit slightly larger than the diameter of the screw. Some of the holes were slightly off so I attached the fan wall with a couple of screws and then marked the holes that were slightly off. I then removed the fan wall and widened the holes using a small round file. I countersunk the holes from the outside using a much larger diameter bit, but being extremely careful not to remove too much material which could end up opening the hole such that it would be larger than the screw head. This also served to debur the holes as they all had sharp edges after being drilled.

When you drill, drill slowly so as not to throw metal shavings about. The metal shavings can be safely removed using a magnet placed inside a plastic sandwich bag. I used a telescoping pickup magnet that I got from Harbor Freight for $0.99, but any small magnet will do, even a refrigerator magnet. I placed the magnet inside the plastic bag and then moved it over the area I just drilled. The shavings stick to the plastic bag and are held there by the magnet. Just hold the magnet and the plastic bag over a trash can and slowly peel the plastic bag away from the magnet. The metal shavings will just drop off into the trash can and you won't have to deal with picking the shavings directly off the magnet.



Here's a shot of the fan wall with all fans installed and SATA cables reconnected to the backplane. The front panel cable and fan cables have also been connected. You'll note the absence of the CPU fan in this photo. The Zalman cooler I was using is quite tall, making the fan wall installation more trouble than it needed to be. I had to insert the fan wall near the back of the case at an angle to fit it in between the edges of the case and then work it towards the front of the case and then tilt it downward into position. When installing the SATA cables I had to thread them all through the fan wall openings and connect them to the backplane with the fan wall sitting further back towards the rear of the case so as to allow enough clearance to make all of the backplane connections. This was nearly impossible with the CPU cooler installed so I pulled it.

There are two sets of openings on the fan wall for feeding cables through to the backplane. With the Norco fan wall installed normally, the two holes along the outside edge were on the right side and the other two holes were between the left fan and the center fan. By reversing the fan wall so that it faced the rear, the two outer slots were now on the same side as the SATA controllers. The gap between the fan wall and the right side of the case also allowed me to thread the power supply cables through that side, although they had to be positioned there prior to installing the mounting hardware for the fan wall.



Here's a shot showing the clearance between the fans and the backplane. There's actually more room since the fans are about half the thickness of the original 80mm fans.



Here's a shot of the power supply showing the stick-on bumpers and the Velcro used to attach it to the case. The bumpers raise the PSU high enough to clear the pins for the original PSU enclosure and the tabs in the chassis.



Here's a shot of everything installed back in the case.



The system's been up and running for a couple of hours now and the drive temps are higher than I was hoping for, but the server is much quieter than before. The two rear fans are original 80mm units that have Zalman FanMate controllers connected. With the two rear fans turned as low as they can go using the controllers, they still drown out the 120mm fans. I'll take a closer look at the drive temps later as well as consider other options for the rear fans.

One final note: With the fans being mounted on the front of the fan wall instead of behind it as they normally would, the fan blades are exposed and and cables that come in contact with then could get nicked or cut. I've ordered a set of fan guards to install on the front of the fans, but if you're careful with your cable management and tie them out of the way it probably won't be an issue. Still, it's one thing to consider if you decide to go with the Norco fan wall. I was able to order a set of three fan guards from Newegg for less than $5 with free shipping so it's not going to add that much to the cost.
Edited by captain_video - 4/12/13 at 6:46pm
post #1377 of 2256
Another excellent post/tutorial. What were your disk temps, and what are they now?
post #1378 of 2256
Check back a few pages and you'll see screen shots from my unRAID web GUI that shows the drive temps with my various configurations (it's in post #1305). I will post an updated one with the current drive temps sometime this weekend.
Edited by captain_video - 4/13/13 at 4:55am
post #1379 of 2256
Here's a screen shot of the latest temps with the Norco fan wall and three bgears 120mm case fans installed:



For comparison, here's the screen shot of the server with the stock fans running about half speed:



The drive temps with the Norco fan wall and bgears fans are about the same or 1-2 degrees hotter than the stock fans running slower using a fan controller. However, the stock fans are definitely much louder than the 120mm fans. The way I see it, you have several options:

1. Run the stock fans using a fan controller. You'll still get decent drive temps with reduced noise. This is the cheaper of the available options. Basic 5-6 channel fan controllers run about $20-40, but there are more advanced models with LCD touch displays that will run you much more. I would recommend getting some 3-pin extension cables for the front fans so you can set the controller on top of the server chassis. You'll also need a PSU 4-pin Molex power extension cable or a spare PSU power cable that will reach the controller

2. Install the Norco fan wall with high output 120mm fans like the bgears fans. You get roughly the same cooling as the stock fans running at reduced speed, but at a much lower noise level. Total cost for the upgrade, including fans and fan guards (Newegg) and the Norco fan wall ($15 on ebay) is about $50 including shipping. You can get higher output 120mm fans, but they'll cost you much more and will likely negate any noise reduction you were hoping to achieve.

3. You can replace the stock fans with quieter 80mm fans, but they will definitely result in higher drive temps on the order of about 10 degrees C on average.

Honestly, I expected the drive temps with the Norco fan wall and 120mm fans to be better than the stock fans running at a slower speed. I also expected to see the temps more evenly distributed due to better air flow. I suspect that once I replace the older 750GB drives with newer models the overall temps may drop slightly since the 750GB drives tend to run hotter than the rest.

I still plan to do something with the rear fans, but I just haven't decided on a solution yet. I may just replace them with 92mm fans. I had thought about using a 120mm to 80mm adapter, but everything I've read about them says they just create a bottleneck with respect to air flow so it negates any benefit you might see from using a larger fan. I wouldn't mind using a single 120mm fan in place of the dual 80mm fans, but that may require some surgery on the case, which I'd rather avoid so as to keep the original integrity intact as much as possible. In the meantime, I'll be looking for other rear fan solutions and I'll post something when I come up with a possible upgrade.
Edited by captain_video - 4/14/13 at 7:40am
post #1380 of 2256
I threw the values into Excel and the average is 29.05° (Norco) and 28.6° (stock fans).
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