New build, looking for opinions

Hi there,

I’ve been a ZFS user sometime since 2014 or so and now i think it’s time for me to start looking at a new system.

Current system:
Chassis: Supermicro SC826 (2U chassis with x12 drivebays)
CPU: x2 Xeon E5-2670
Ram: 64G ECC ram
Boot Pool: x2 USB devices in mirror pool
Storage Pool: x12 4TB drives in a RAIDZ2 pool
NIC: Chelsio T520 CR
LSI HBA in ITmode

I am looking at a usable storage between 180-200TB ish.
I’d also like to build a decent SSD pool for VM storage for Proxmox. I am very open to suggestions here in terms of hardware but as this is going to be run at my home noise factor is something i’d be happy to reduce if possible.

As I see it i have 2 choices,

  • Either get a Fractal Design R7 XL that according to LTT can fit around 20 drives.
  • Get a 3U or 4U Supermicro case and try and replace the fans for slightly less noise.

As stated above, i am very open to suggestions.

Some years ago I built a 24 bay system in a Norco case, and managed to get it to be quite quiet.

It’s still going strong btw :slight_smile:

(But now it has more memory, more ssds and an E5-2699A v4)

Now, if I was to do it again, I’d probably just use a Supermicro case.

And I’d still be recommending a 4U 24 bay case, but make sure you get the expander backplane!

Btw, your current system would still be fine to run scale, but you want to upgrade to non USB thumb stick boot drives.

Yeah, I am thinking to buy Satadom or a n2 PCIE card and migrate to scale.

But what about the noise levels on that chassis?, i haven’t really replaced stock fans with Noctua fans before.

Is it feasible to assume that having a mirrored SSS pool with 2-4 SSDs to run VM storage over 10G?, i haven’t looked into record size much. I’ll have to research oroxmox abit on what’s optimal

According to the technical truth[1], the best kind of truth, it can handle 18 3.5’’ drives… in various positions, some of which less ideal. Also, you will have to buy the additional cages since only 6 come with the case.

I would suggest a HDD upgrade though; do note that if you plan for VM storage you likely want to have a SLOG as well.

Finally, why would you mirror your boot drives? Either use one or follow this method.

  1. Fractal Design R7 XL user manual, page 10. ↩︎

Well in that case the only option I have is to get a Supermicro case and then switch out the fans?

I am looking at fort VM storage to use something like Intel S3610 4-6 in mirrors and something like an Optane 900P as a SLOG

The fractal case sounds less desirable now but I do not know how I am going to deal with the noise level of the SM one at home

Why would you say so? With 18x 16TB HDDs in two 9-wide RAIDZ2 VDEVs you get over 200TB of usable space.
If you want to put them only in the prime positions (the huge column in the manual) you can get 13 drives: a single 12-wide RAIDZ2 VDEV with a hotspare gives you around 141TB of usable space.

Since the thread got carried over to here I’ll repost the link.
It’s been a while since I watched it.

1 Like

It is generally not recommended to put quiet fans in rackmount chassis because these really require high pressure (and high noise) fans.
A Define 7 XL will be quite painful to setup and cool properly: Lots of wires, expensive extra trays, fiddly trays.

You are facing hard questions about acceptable noise, required storage and the number of drives (less spinners = less noise). Sub-question: Is it required to host both the HDD storage pool and the SSD VM pool in the same case?

Here are a few alternatives.

  • ENTHOO PRO II SERVER EDITION: up to 10 3.5’’ HDD slots (additional cages required), a few 2.5’’ slots, a single 5.25’’ slot and a TON of space for PCIe devices.[1]
  • JONSBO D500: up to 10 or 11 (not clear) 3.5’’ HDD slots (additional trays required?) with a single 5.25’’ slot.[2]
  • JONSBO T59: up to 12 3.5’’ HDD slots and two 5.25’’ slots, with a lot of space for PCIe devices.[3]
  • FRACTAL NODE 804: up to 10 3.5’’ drives and two 2.5’’ drives.[4]

  1. ↩︎

  2. and ↩︎

  3. ↩︎

  4. ↩︎

1 Like

Nice list. (I realise I miss the geographic indication in profiles, to give adequate reagional advice if possible).
The D500 does not really appear able to cool a stack of 10-11 HDDs with just two fans, which is just as good if it does require buying additional trays.
The T59 looks it could do the job, at least with respect to drive cooling, but I cannot find it on Jonsbo’s site.

The Nanoxia Deep Silence 6 looks like another candidate.


It can mount up to 3x 120mm fans in the front panel, or 2x 140mm. Suboptimal.

Yup, neither could I… the Jonsbo’s site is meh, I suppose it’s an old model.

This is amazing, will be my future case when I scale-up my NAS this winter.

One thing about the 4U Supermicro is that it is easy to change the fan wall to one using 120mm or 140mm fans.

I built the following, and just attached it to the metal with 3M Dual Lock:

I just pulled out the original fan wall and put this in place. It probably wouldn’t be good in a case that moved around a lot, but in one that is fixed in place, it’s fine.

These are 2500rpm fans (Iceberg Thermal IceGALE Xtra 140mm PWM) and have decent static pressure and flow. Unless you are trying to use passive CPU cooling, they are more than enough.

And run a fan control script

If you read my norco build, I plugged holes in my fan wall which also helped.

LOL. That JonsBo T59 is a spitting image of my Lian Li A76, except it doesn’t have the front door, nor removable side covers. It’s as if someone made a cheap copy. Ironically, I removed the front door (useless) so my Lian Li looks a lot more like the T59 than the A76 did when I got it. Also, I wonder if the copying extends to making the Lian Li backplanes for hot-swapping compatible with this design.

Lol, that might be while we can’t seem to find it in JONSBO’s webstie.
@Stux do you happen to have a link for you build thread?

#2 :wink:

If following my journey, worth realizing I swapped to Noctua Industrial fans later for more available oomph

Damn, totally missed it. Could you elaborate a little about the Noctua’s change (or maybe is it already in the old thread)?

Under extreme simulated load, the noctuas didn’t quite have enough cooling power. Their industrial versions spin at twice the rpm at 100%. Thus have more head room, but at the same RPM they make the same noise as the regular ones.

Basically for a a quiet cooling project you probably want the static pressure noctua industrials, in the largest size that will fit. At least when you’re trying to suck or push air through constrictions, like a block of disks.

The other key is to ensure air can’t bypass the fans, ie if you’re sucking through the disk block, and the fans can instead suck air from behind them… they will


So, I can’t provide first hand advise on if it’s practical to quieten a super micro 4U chassis.

But the larger the chassis the more amenable. I’d go for 4U not 2U

And if I were to do it again, I’d just get a Supermicro 4U case and try quieten it, like nabsltd

Which reminds me:

JRO has done some work on making his Supermicro chassis quiet.