Anniversary 2.0 First Time Build Feedback

Hi guys, I’m new here so please let me know if I’m posting in the wrong place.

So my current server (used for Plex - Lenovo H50-50) just had a motherboard failure, so I figure it is time for me to build one myself. I’m not super familiar with this hardware (especially the server-grade stuff), so I was hoping I could solicit some feedback from you guys. I’ve based my build off of Hey_Danny’s Mid-Range Full Tower (Anniversary 2.0), but have a handful of questions.

I currently have 5 total (4-12TB) drives that I want to shuck and have inside the case.


  • 2x Xeon E5-2650 V2 2.6GHz - 9957 passmark - $110 (ebay)
  • 2x Xeon E5-2650 V3 2.3GHz - 11787 passmark - $150 (ebay)

CPU Cooler

  • 2x Arctic Freezer 12 - $52 (amazon)


  • X9DR3-LN4F+ - $110 (ebay)
  • X9DRL-IF - $185 (ebay)
  • X9DRH-7F - $150 (ebay)


  • Rosewill RSV-L4500
    ** Can’t find one of these anywhere?
  • Phanteks Enthoo Pro - $150 (amazon)
    ** Can this be found cheaper?
  • Antec Three Hundred Two - $90 (amazon)
    ** Is this compatible with either of the MOBO’s?


  • 4x Samsung PC3-8500R 16GB - $132 (amazon)
    ** Is There a cheaper option for this?
  • 1x (4x16GB) PC3-8500R 4Rx4 DDR3 ECC - $99 (ebay)


  • EVGA 650 BQ - $80 (amazon)
  • Cooler Master 500 Bronze - $65 (amazon)

Thermal Paste

  • Gelid GC Extreme - $15 (amazon)


  • Arctic P12 5 Pack - $28 (amazon)

Storage (SAS/SATA)

  • LSI SAS9201-8i PCIe x8 6Gbps - $29 (ebay)
    ** If no onboard SAS

SAS Cables

  • 2-pack SAS->SATA breakout - $14 (amazon)

Kapton Tape

  • RETERMIT Heat Tape - $4 (amazon)

Other Questions

  • Do I need an ESD mat/strap?
  • Can I just drop my SSD with Windows 10 installed in the new machine and it will work?
  • Would this RAM work for those MOBO’s?
  • Is there anything else I need for this build? Power cables etc?

This all totals $649-$839. Some of the items were quite a bit more expensive than they were listed in the guide so I was hoping I could maybe find some alternatives.
Looking forward to hearing from some folks that actually know what they’re doing.
Thank you!

I assume the motherboard you list as “X9DR3-LNF+” is meant to be “X9DR3-LN4F+”. That being the case, you want to be sure you get revision 1.2 in order to be able to use v2 cpu’s.

Both motherboards you list are square ILM. The Arctic Freezer 12’s will only work if you ultimately go with a motherboard that is square ILM, so keep that in mind as you narrow your selection.

If you choose a motherboard with onboard SAS (SAS2208; SAS2208/SAS2308), then you do not need the LSI SAS 9201-8i. Two onbaord SAS connectors will get you 8 drives, or with a SAS expander they could net 24 drives. The C606 chipset allows for 14 SATA ports. The *LNF4 board has 6 SATA and 8 SAS via C606. I read that the *LNF4 board with C606 cannot be flashed into IT mode. Someone else with more experience with that will certainly chime in.

I would recommend looking at SM X9DRH-7F. It has SAS2208 which can be cross flashed to SAS2308. All the PCI-E are 3.0. This is the board I use and have been super happy with its performance.

You’re right, I’ll fix that real quick. Looking like the X9DRL-IF is a better option anyways since the rev 2 LN4F is pretty expensive.

I will definitely keep your feedback in regard to square ILM in mind though, thanks.

Okay so looking at the SM X9DRH-7F, it looks like a really good option. And it would eliminate the need for a SAS ->SATA expander which is nice. I guess I have 2 questions about this board then… what is the benefit of flashing to SAS2308? And does it fit with the rest of my build? It seems like it does just wanted to verify.

The SAS2208 on the X9DRH-7F is hardware RAID, but the good thing is it can be cross flashed quite easily to SAS2308 IT mode to pass through to software based storage systems like unRAID or FreeNAS for examples. And, yes, this board fits well with your overall build. I didn’t comment about your case options because I’ve not used them. And I already discussed with you about some of your other parts, such as RAM.

Art of Server did a video about it:

Also, there is a guide on how to cross flash in this forum:

Thank you for your detailed response. I’ve sent you a message regarding some additional (noob) questions I had on flashing that MOBO.

In the meantime, if there is any other input on the choice of case, PSU, missing parts, shucking, or answers to my other questions, I would be very appreciative.

Thanks again folks

I’m not being critical, but there’s no reason to PM something that could be useful to others in the future… stuff like that is worth having in the open.

By the way, while the X9DRH-7F is a nice board, it’s also narrow ILM. This means the Arctic Freezer 12 will not fit on it. I used the Supermicro SNK-P0050AP4, which work for both square and narrow ILM 2011 boards. And for what it’s worth, I find the stock fans on these coolers to be low noise enough that I wouldn’t upgrade the fans in them.

My apologies, just didn’t want to clog up the thread with questions that I presumed to be common knowledge around these parts. In summary…

I was asking the difference between SAS2208 and SAS2308 and the different scenarios that would require flashing.
His response…
“The only way you wouldn’t cross flash the SAS 2208 to SAS 2308 IT mode, is if you were going to use true hardware RAID. But hardware RAID is another animal. You’re going to run Windows 10, so you would need to cross flash to SAS 2308 IT mode to make hard drives you connect to them available (pass through) to the Windows 10 OS for it to manage.”

Hopefully this provides some insight for others, that like me, didn’t know the difference.

Based on what you’ve said, it seems to meet my needs. I don’t really know the benefits of narrow vs square ILM other than requiring a different CPU cooler, so as long as the boards and coolers are comparable (and the price point is right), I’m on board with it (no pun intended).

@JDM_WAAAT, do you have any feedback on my proposed build? Would love to hear what you have to say as well.

Basically narrow ILM is used to push “stuff” on the board closer to the cpu’s. I suspect it’s to get more stuff on the boards without increasing the overall size of the board. I’m sure there’s a much better answer from someone more knowledgeable.

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One other question that I think I already have the answer to but want to make sure…

If I currently only have 5-6 drives and I choose a MOBO with 8 SATA ports, I don’t even need to worry about onboard SAS, SAS->SATA breakouts, or the SAS PCIe card?

I’m wondering the same thing about having enough SATA ports on MOBO and if SAS is necessary or still recommended.

SAS is nice because you can use SAS/SATA drives and add an expander if you want later. It really just depends on how many drives you have though.