Anniversary-ish: Build Help and What else do I need?

I’m hoping I can get some build help when I need it but right now I am still in the purchase stage and looking for advice.

The point of this box is to be an all in one home lab. A NAS with a ton of storage, a docker host (plex, Tautuli, etc), a virtualization host for testing and engineering solutions for my work, an onprem cloud (email, nextcloud etc) with remote access, and a backup target for our laptops and mobile devices.

So, after a lot of lurking I am finally ready to start building. Im really attracted to the hardware in the Anniversary build but just my luck it seems I missed the boat on the Gigabyte GA-7PESH2. I was considering the 12 bay Anniversary special but then I decided 12 bays wasnt enough of an upgrade from my current 8 bay so instead I went big, no HUGE, and bought this SuperMicro 848A-R1K62B w/ X9QRi-F+ 24x LFF Server with 4x E5-4617 6 core 2.9 GHZ.

This barebones server doesnt include a RAID card only the integrated SATA controller and I am nervous if this is a problem do to the lack of ports. Although, I know I dont need a HW RAID card with UnRaid or Freenas, I am leaning towards Unraid but havent decided. I could even end up doing Proxmox with a large ZFS pool or even ESXi with local “vSAN” and everything else virtualized on top.

I have 8 SATA drives that I plan to repurpose from my current QNAP and I plan to buy more drives now inorder to have space to transfer all my QNAP data to. I am attracted to the $ per TB of these 4TB HGST SAS drives but I believe I will need this HP Expander card and some SFF-8087 to SFF-8482 breakout cables right? I am flying without any instructions because of the system I chose so Id be grateful for any advice on this you can give me. Thanks!

**This build is going in a closet in the basement. I am not really concerned about the noise generated by this machine but I am concerned about airflow and temperature. So at this time I think I will just play any cooling upgrades by ear until after I get it built initially.

The motherboard has 2 SAS ports onboard, which in itself is not enough to connect to the backplane (it has 6x8087 connectors) but you could use a SAS expander. Or you can get 3xLSI HBA, your choice. You do not need breakout cables for this setup, only 8087 cables.

Thanks JDM. I just wanted to confirm what I needed before I bought the wrong stuff. I assume if I get the SAS expander card I want the 6 Gb version over the 3 Gb? And you’re saying I just need 6x 8087 cables to connect both 8x SATA drives and 8x SAS drives?

Nope, just the regular 3Gbps SAS expanders are more than plenty for your setup.

Here’s one for $12 OBO.

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Thanks again, I have ordered what you linked. One day when you get the time please explain to me how the 3Gbps SAS expander wont be a bottleneck for the 6Gbps drives. Im sure youre right I am just missing something.

Because maximum read speed of a hard drive is about 175MB/s, or 1400Mbps, aka 1.4Gbps.

Just because the interface speed says 6Gbps doesn’t mean that it will reach that!

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consider me schooled. Thanks for your help again with this

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Many of my goodies were received yesterday! I have enough to start building and I popped off the case lid and immediately I have a question.

The board has these SATA cables running to the drive bays but I have only ordered the 8087 cables to connect the HP expander card to the drive bays. Dont I need two cables that are 8087 on one end and SATA connection on the other to connect the HP expander to the motherboard here?


Here are more pics of the machine if you need for reference.

You have an 846A chassis, which is direct passthrough to the drives. Basically, you can use reverse breakout cables, SAS HBA… basically anything that terminates in 8087.

I would recommend using a LSI HBA + SAS expander to connect all of the front 8087 ports with 8087 cables.

It says its an 848A, which is probably identical. So you recommend an LSI card like this? I am assuming I can use two of the 8087 cables to connect this LSI card to my HP expander card. Then the LSI card doesnt connect to the motherboard via cable only through the PCI bus?

848A means it’s the most recent generation, yeah. I’m not familiar with the 9200-8i, I would recommend checking out one of the 3 that are recommended in the NK 4.0 guide. Correct, it connects through the bus, and then 2 cables will connect from your LSI to the SAS expander. Then from the expander to the backplane.

Thanks again JDM. I ordered this card using the NK 4.0 link. It will be here in a few days then I can finish the build. When it comes in I assume I will need to flash it to IT mode but some of the ebay product comments say its not required. Not a big deal regardless.

Just an update, all my parts and disks are here but my LSI card has a low profile bracket and can not currently install :frowning: . I tried microcenter this morning but no luck they dont have anything that will work. It seems like they are only good for building a “gaming PC” these days…

I guess I will have to order a standard profile bracket off ebay and wait

Remove the bracket so you can install the card, just be careful with it. It should sit in the slot nicely, just be careful not to pull it out.

Here’s the full height bracket.

I just wanted to say thanks again. I almost got this thing all built just waiting on some more memory so I can use all the processors. I went ahead and installed unraid and I am very happy with it (for example I love that I can manage VM’s with virtmanager from my laptop).


I’m back :laughing:. So I got 34x sticks of 4GB ECC DDR3 memory for my build. I of course placed it in the server filling every memory bank with glee.

When I booted the system I was greeted with a “system initializing b7” error. I googled it and found several memory related suggestions to solve that error such as reseating the memory around CPU 1. So I reseated all the memory for CPU 1 and 2, when I did I ejected much of it and swapped them inadvertently. When I booted it up again I received “system initializing b0”. I thought well that’s strange and I reseated all the memory in all the slots individually but put them all back in the same banks. When I boot up I still get the “system initializing b0” error.

I suspect this is telling me that at least one stick of memory if damaged or dirty or of course not seated. Does anyone know how to isolate and tell which one? I’ve looked through the MB manual for this error code with no luck

Test them four at a time :slight_smile:

Ok so that one empty DIMM there on CPU2, no matter what memory I put in it I get the B0 error when I boot. I have even moved other memory from working slots to it and still it fails with B0. If I leave it empty and start filling CPU3 or 4 I get a BA error. It seems I must fill that slot. Any ideas or am I calling “the server store” to get an RMA?

Do you see any damage on that slot in particular? If you move the processors does the memory issue move?

so, I emptied all the ram from the board and I ended up doing this the slow way. I put 4 dimms in at a time and ran an hour long memtest86 single pass. I washed rinsed and repeated, isolated the ones that wouldnt even boot and I slowly went through about half of them over the last couple of weeks in my spare time. I’m still getting some ECC errors but I plan to do a long memtest and hopefully try to isolate the other bad sticks.

Turns out free memory aint so free.

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