how to use supermicro backplane

Hello community,

I am looking into a rack mount server chassis for some hard drives and am stuck on some basic questions.

I landed on a 2U chassis with a 12 drive capacity on ebay: Supermicro CSE-826BE16-R920LPB 2U Server Chassis 2x920W 12x 3.5" BPN-SAS2-826EL1 | eBay

It comes with a SAS backplane: BPN-SAS2-826EL1

My questions are:

  • can I attach SATA drives to this? i’ve seen elsewhere SAS and SATA intermixed
  • how do i connect the backplane to a computer? is this with an HBA pcie card or something else?


Yes to both.
Buy a SAS HBA, connect it to your backplane.

Drives connected to backplane can be SAS or SATA

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Thank you so much for the response; super valuable info!

Are you prepared for the noise of the supermicro server?

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That’s a great question, probably not, lol! I’m guessing the noise is coming from the fans behind the drive caddies? Does the noise come from the type of fan that can be swapped out with quieter ones?

I’ve also been looking around at other chassis available and some come with dual-CPU motherboards that look attractive on the surface, until I do some quick electricity cost calculation based on the CPUs TDP :dizzy_face:

I was primarily looking to understand whether SAS backplanes support SATA drives and how the backplane then connects to a machine. @faultline answered that and I can now look at what’s available with that perspective.

That said, yes, noise is a big consideration, thank you for pointing it out!

I have another dumb question about the HBA. I’m looking at [Official] Recommended SAS2 HBA (internal & external) and see it specifies Num. Drives for each of the cards. It appears the backplane supplies a single SFF-8087 plug out to the HBA, but there are 12 drive bays. Would I be able to connect the backplane to the LSI 9211-4i since I only need one SFF connector or does the HBA need to support 12 drives (for example LSI 9201-16i)?

Thank you again!

I’d say keep the 8 or 16 lane options unless you have a very specific need.

HBAs are one of those things that can travel among builds with ease. So buying something that can move into a bigger case (or backplane) without impacting performance isn’t a terrible idea

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Agreed on future proofing, thanks.

But technically speaking, sounds like the LSI 9211-4i would support all 12 drives connected to the backplane. I’m learning a lot today :nerd_face:

Thanks so much @faultline !

Not future proofing. Just not limiting further expansion options for things like a DAS later down the line

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The noise in a 826 is both from the 3x 80x38mm 9krpm fanwall and from the 40x28mm 15krpm fan in each PSU. For the fanwall, Arctic P8 or inline resistor / fan controller are options, but watch temps (especially on CPU, onboard NIC, and PCIe cards) as the case relies on a hefty amount of static pressure. For the PSUs, swap for 920SQ about $50 each; you only need one.

TDP is about cooling under max load, not average power draw.


Awesome info, thank you, @seanho! TIL about static pressure; awesome.

Also, thanks for the TDP clarification :+1:t4: