FAO:Jessica!!!! And other folks can peek too! - 8HD, 1DVD & No kits! :p

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by UltraNEO*, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. UltraNEO* macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #1
    [​IMG]
    What appears on the desktop - incase you're wondering.

    [​IMG]
    Installing more than four large desktop drives in the MP without a drive kit. The bottom drives are actually sitting on very thin black fibreglass PCB (all copper been etched off), it's just there to prevent conductivity to the chassis. All in all, it does get a little warmer, typically about 45~52°C (unloaded/loaded).

    [​IMG]
    Side view..

    BTW: optical bay still has a optical disc drive in there.
              there's a 1TB 3.5" drive in Optical bay 2.
              ODD_SATA1 & 2 are still unused - future expansion with 2.5" drives.


    Seriously, Apple should consider making a LARGER TOWER :D 
    How about another four additional bays? It'll be really helpful!:D
     
  2. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a

    Angelo95210

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  3. 300D macrumors 65816

    300D

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  4. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #4
    I think you're crazy. I would have just gone with an external solution. :D
     
  5. UltraNEO* thread starter macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #5

    Maybe so.. but this solution works and it's been faultless.
     
  6. GoKyu macrumors 65816

    GoKyu

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  7. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #7
    I'm actually envious, but again I don't have space in my case like you do. My video card takes up half the space in the PCIe bay with the rest of my cards taking up the rest. I need my optical drive and I'm not about to start using 2.5" drives.
     
  8. UltraNEO* thread starter macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #8
    My optical drive is STILL there

    Well... WD just released a 2.5" 1TB notebook drive... but i wonder will it ever make it to a 7200rpm model.
     
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #9
    Interesting way to mount a pair of drives. What's in the 2nd optical bay?
    If it's empty, you could move them to it (use an old optical drive to gut for a metal plate and drill some holes to mount the drives). It will give you slot 1 back for another handy little toy (or a different one, if you move stuff around). :D

    And what happened with the ARC-1680ix24 you were going to switch to?
    You could stuff it in slot 2, the graphics card in slot 1, and have slot 3 open. Run the Areca for primary data, and the CalDigit for backups if you actually exceed what the Areca could run (24 direct connected, or up to 128 via SAS expanders). Of course you'd need to be made of $$$ for the expanders... :D :p

    Otherwise sell the CalDigit as planned, and help recover some of the cost of the Areca. ;)
     
  10. UltraNEO* thread starter macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #10
    Yeah, you can't put them in in another other way with my current connectors. Though with the correct right angled SATA connectors, I could slide without the sledges BUT finding a breakout cable with right angle SATA termination is kinda hard - I ain't seen them, have you?

    Oh. That's not empty... I'm actually thinking of moving the optical drive to an external housing, that space is more useful as a HD bay or two.

    Can't switch yet.. I don't think i can pull/replace the CalDigit for the Arc and not lose data, soooo... I need drives first.

    What expander you'd recommend?

    I thought about replacing all those 3.5" drive for the new 1Tb notebook drives from WD.
    Imagine how many I could install in the MP! :eek: Speed and reliability might be a it's major downfall :(
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #11
    They don't make RT angle breakout cables. But the existing cable can fit the optical bay. Others here on MR have done it. Maybe a bit tight, but they're not moving parts afterall... :p

    To me, moving the 2nd optical drive to an external enclosure is the best way to go. Inexpensive, and clean. Not as many externals lying around is a good thing. ;)

    You need the ARC-1680ix24 + the enterprise drives of your choice (off the HDD Compatibility List).

    If you want 1TB drives, use the WD1002FBYS (RE3 series, needs to be 03.00C05 firmware or later) or the ST31000340NS if you want to stay with Seagate (Note you need SN06 firmware or later). Firmware shouldn't be an issue now, even with the card. It's at 1.47 now (1.45 or later needed for both drives).

    The 2TB WD RE4-GP also works, but requires SATA-150 be used (green power drives are problematic with SATA-300 on SAS controllers).

    I avoid them if possible (in workstations), as they can get expensive. Most have to be obtained as part of the enclosure. Example. This one's not bad in terms of cost, as a simple 8 bay unit is $895 (so $1790 for a pair for the same drive count; no 16bay "dumb box" available from pc-pitstop). Adds $389 for the expander card.

    Areca sells them as an "add-on" to existing enclosures (cable connected, ARC-8020). Not sure on cost, as I've not priced them.

    IIRC, Condre Storage can add expanders to the Promise enclosures they sell (or some of the others). I'm not sure if they'll sell the cards without an enclosure though. I've dealt with them in the past, and were rather decent to work with. They know their gear, and won't push something you don't need.

    They can probably be had if you wanted to DIY an enclosure from other sources though (likely a direct order from China). You might also want to note, 8/12/16 drive expanders are more common, but there's others too, such as a 36 drive unit (Condre carries the 12 drive boards only, but it's the same company making them). You can also look at Rancho.

    There are 2.5" enterprise drives available, even SAS models. The operational cost is easier to handle in large scale operations, as you can fit many more drives in the existing racks. There are also 2.5" drive enclosures available as well.

    They're not as fast as their 3.5" counterparts, but you can mitigate that with more of them. It will cost more though. You'd have to run the math to see which is the less expensive way to go.
     
  12. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #12
    So the two 1TB drives sitting there, are they mounted onto anything?
    I am very very impressed. I think this is a great solution. You say it's faultless so far?

    And thanks for the pics, I couldn't think of where these drives were. That's pretty cool of you.
     
  13. UltraNEO* thread starter macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #13
    Dude, if you count all the drives in the system, you might realise I've already used all the connectors on the breakout cable:rolleyes:

    Wooo Hold ya horses there a moment cowboy;) I didn't say there's an optical drive in the second bay, I said it's another 1TB drive. It's actually the standalone System drive with Leopard 10.5.6 on - ProTools 8 LE ain't Snowy compatible yet.. :rolleyes: STUPID DIGI!:D

    The HD in the second optical bay is a Seagate, so are the two sitting in the expansion bays. Everything else are Western Digital.

    Oh.. I'll avoid those then.

    What? I just spent a ton of money on the interface, now I need to spend more money for an expender card? Do I really need them?

    Hmm.. Yeah, that's the next thing I was gonna ask you. How hard would it be to build an suitable expander, one with built-in PSU, active cooling and Mini-SAS backplane. Are all the parts readily available?

    See this is the problem i'm face with here.

    If I go with enterprise level 2.5" drives, even though I can build a bigger, more complicated array, each of the actual drive capacity will be much smaller!! But i've seen some really nice housing for them, compact enough to build a 20 drive array within the Optical drive space... though I'd need to workout the cooling system and the wiring will be a problem, even if i choose slim cables. Then there's the issue with the PSU.

    DIY expansion bay might be the way forward here.. What you think? Suggestions?
     
  14. UltraNEO* thread starter macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #14
    The drives ain't physical mounted to anything, other than a sheet of 2mm non-conductive fiberglass board, plus there's a little section behind the drives, protecting the logic board from a possible short.The length of the expansion bay is just enough to accommodate, provided I used right angle SATA power plugs. However, I can cram in another drive if i rotate them 90° but then I'd need right angle data connectors too and according to Nano, they don't make them on a breakout cable. Shame on them!

    Thanks, took a little tweaking to get it to fit.. lol
    I say faultless, as the entire system hasn't yet over heated.. Though the front fans have been ramped up to 1170rpm and I can see this becoming an issue for another user where quietness is a requirement. Then gain it isn't terribly loud, I can still hear those Seagate's seeking.

    Ah.. Well.. I don't wanna disappoint you too much, if you look at the photos, the system was still running... the smear of green lighting under the top board is the LED's on the back of the CalDigit card.
     
  15. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    UK
    #15
    I just found another option to mount 4 additional drives in the PCI bay.
    DX4

    With this you can now have 16 drives (4 3,5", 12 2,5") in your Pro. The only problem I see is, where to get the power for all those drives.
     
  16. UltraNEO* thread starter macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #16
    That's rather cool.. but I reckon they should make one for 2.5" drives (ops it's compatible).
    Hmm.. should be able to mount twelve or possibly sixteen of them in the expansion bay space alone and another eight in the optical bays (needs tweaking)

    As for power, well there's nothing a little DIY can't solve.
    Ain't you heard of a soldering iron and heat shrink? :rolleyes:
     
  17. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #17
    UltraNEO, how are you powering all the additional drives? Also, have you noticed any additional fan noise due to the heat generated by all the drives?

    BTW, awesome setup!
     
  18. UltraNEO* thread starter macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #18
    They're all powered of the internal PSU :D
     

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  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #19
    I was referring to the cable, not the port count used up or not. But I'm counting 3 (1 in the 2nd optical bay, 2 in the PCIe slot chamber). What's the 4th connector attached to? One of the HDD bays?

    What am I missing (keep in mind, I'm bouncing back and forth W/ DoFoT9 ATM in another one over RAID...)? :p

    Still easy enough to move. As it's a 2.5", it might be moved elsewhere internally. You were certainly creative enough witht the pair in the PCIe slot area. ;)

    Is there enough room perhaps to zip tie it to the bottom of one of the HDD locations (maybe a bit of PCB sandwiched between the drives to avoid shorts between case/board or board/board)?
    I can't tell how much space is actually available between the bottom of one of those drives and the circuits on the CalDigit. It might even be easier with the Areca once you get it all in hand and the data transferred.

    The Seagate couldn't be used on the Areca. They won't work with AS drives (consumer models), but as it's attached to the logic board, it won't matter.

    Which WD's in hand? RE3's?
    (SO many posts, it's hard to recall exactly what everyone has). :eek:

    No, you don't need them. Not unless you're wanting to use it with more than 28 drives (24 internal + 4 external). The SFF-8088 port on the back is nice. :D

    But if you do need to go with a higher drive count, it's possible. It just adds to the cost of the enclosures. It's sort of like a PM chip, but quite a bit more complicated. They don't install in the system, but in the enclosure itself. It's cost effective for large drive counts, as it cuts down on the cards.

    It's doable, but the parts aren't as easy to find as you might hope. You need a "dumb box" (usually includes the PSU). The other odds and ends are available at pc-pitstop (adapter brackets, cables). The expander board is going to be the harder part to locate.

    Direct contact with manufacturers (i.e. check Alibaba.com) may be an option. I just don't know what the minimum orders would be like for the various companies (i.e. $1k? or closer to $10k?).

    Building a "dumb box" is easy.

    1. Choose your case (computer case will work if you wish) & backplanes to get the drive quantity you need (good backplanes will have fans in them, and alarm temp settings too). You can add a fan or two in the case if you wish. Just note, the smaller fans (i.e. 40 - 80mm units are typically noisy as hell). If you need quiet, go for the largest possible, and be prepared to swap them for quieter models (i.e. avoid 25 & 40mm units like the plague IMO; especially the 40's). 80 or 120mm (there are a rare few) can be easily swapped, and not too terrible in terms of cost. (Most enclosures are noisy, no matter if it's a rackmount or pedestal unit).

    I'm presuming you need a quiet environment to preserve your sanity at the very least. :D

    2. Select a standard PSU (~200W / 4 drives, using staggered spin-up; it helps reduce the load <startup draw>, and why the stock units are low). Please note, if you want a redundant PSU, those are expensive. They have their place, but the MP's not a redundant system, so it doesn't make as much sense to do it. You could quit within the 500 - 600W range though (say a 16+ drive enclosure), as the staggered spin up occurs in groups of 4 drives.

    Just jump the black and green wires to make a computer PSU to function. Nice and simple. :)

    3. You need the appropriate SATA cables (go as short as possible) + SATA-> SFF-8088 (or SFF-8470 MultiLane if you preffer). The SFF-8088's have latches (no screws to deal with like the ML connectors, and work well). They're also capable of higher bandwidths as well. They are more expensive though.

    ML->SATA bracket You can attach it to a PCI bracket or some tooling to a computer case.

    SFF-8088 ->SATA bracket Same installation as the above unit.

    Either will work with SAS or SATA drives. Again, keep the wiring to a minimum length, as the spec for passive signals for SATA is 1.0m, and the external SFF-8088 -> SFF-8088 cable is 1.0m. It's critical, as you could end up with drop outs. SAS can go to 8.0m due to it's much higher signal voltages.

    They're simple, but they do work (less to go wrong too, such as I2C or SPI monitor boards).

    4. Assemble the "Pile-O-Parts". :D :p

    5. Test it heavily to verify stability prior to trusting your important data to it.

    I've no idea what you can get things for locally, but it's quite possible to do it. Just run the numbers to see if it's justifiable compared to what you can get pre-made.

    There are inexpensive units out there (perhaps butt-ugly, but work). I've no idea if appearance rates on your priorities. But "pretty" will cost you more for the case/enclosure, no matter which way you go. It's harder to hide it with SATA too, given the cable length restrictions.

    BTW, are you after pedestal, or rackmount enclosures?
     
  20. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #20
    oi! dont bring me into this! ;)

    this is an incredible setup! i would love to be able to do this :D
     
  21. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #21
    Too late. Tag, you're it. :p
     

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