Questions about using a SuperMicro server as a JBOD

I have an old SC846 server, it has pretty old and power hungry hardware. I want to convert it to a Jbod and use it with a HP Elitedesk 800 G4 SFF pc that I picked up for cheap, which has a newer cpu, because I think this will save power. Plan is to use unRaid, and so a direct JBOD connection is needed.

SM has an LSI 9223-8i card. Is this card suitable for use in the HP, will it fit etc? Will something like a 9205-414e work? or 9207-8e, 9207-414e? do these run hot and need extra cooling or fine as is?

for connecting, I will need a sff-8088 cable right? and something like this to connect to the backplane on the SM, and also the LSI card if it doesn’t have external ports?

what would you recommend that keeps cost minimal?

Do you have some pictures you can share?

There’s JBOD control boards that Supermicro make, but they are typically in the range of $50 - $100.

Why not just put NAS Killer 6.0 guts in it and call it a day?

I already have a newer pc to use as server, it has the i5-8500 which I see is recommended in your NAS Killer 6 guide too. It would cost a lot more to buy a mobo/cpu/psu etc and there’s no need if I just use it as a DAS.

I believe you mean the CSE-PTJBOD-CB1/2 boards right? The server already has the LSI 9223-8i HBA. I don’t know if this will fit in the HP case, whether it needs active cooling, and how best to connect it.

Why would you need anything other than a motherboard to transfer the HP’s hardware into the Supermicro?

To use the 846 for an NK6 only needs a motherboard; you could move the 8500 and RAM. If using a non-SM board you’d also want the SM front-panel breakout cable, or make your own with a bunch of dupont cables.

To use the 846 as a DAS, you’d still be running the 846’s PDB and PSUs to power the drives, plus the SFF. It would draw slightly more power than running just one NK6 system in the 846. You could either use your 8i HBA plus really long 8087-8087 cables, or get an 8e HBA and use 8088 cables. It also matters what kind of backplane the 846 has: EL1, A, or TQ.

why would I want to take the HP internals and move them? they are already in a pc designed for them, with its matching rear/front panel, ports, PSU etc. All I want to do is convert my SM to a DAS.

You’re very set on what you think is possible. I’m proposing a solution (which it seems you haven’t thought of).

@seanho has already elaborated above. Using it as a DAS seems a lot more complicated than what we are talking about.

We are not suggesting you move the HP’s motherboard, only its cpu and ram. You’d still need to buy an 1151-2 board. Consumer ones (listed in the build guide) are very affordable; SM less so after the guide’s release.

I see. However buying a new mobo and moving the HP’s cpu still leaves me with a non functioning pc (the HP G4) that is far more portable.

from what I see, DAS is an extremely common thing, and SM itself sell these server chassis configured as a DAS. SAS expanders are designed to control multiple ones of these right?

so e.g. if I have a separate server like the HP, connected via SAS cable to a DAS, I could then in future add another DAS, for expansion/backup, with another SAS cable.

I don’t know what NK6 system means, sorry. The backplane is a BPN-SAS2-846EL1.

@seanho has already elaborated above. Using it as a DAS seems a lot more complicated than what we are talking about.

I see 2 options being presented here -

  1. what you propose - buy a new consumer mobo, take HP’s cpu and ram, install it into SM chassis, make it work with its panels, PSU etc.

  2. move LSI HBA into HP, add a new mobo (CSE-PTJBOD-CB2) to SM, connect it to HP via sff-8087/8088 cable

The cost is probably the same assuming both mobo’s cost the same, the in #2 its already designed for that chassis. and #2 seems simpler to me, I honestly don’t see how #1 is a lot less complicated or easier?

In the scheme of things, it’s not worth hanging onto maintaining an Elitedesk SFF as a server when the server can be in a single chassis - the Supermicro

Not sure why portability is a consideration…

Plus, you can replace the CPU in the Elitedesk with a $10-$20 CPU down the road if you need it for something, such as a dedicated QSV transcoder.

I don’t know if the SM PSU will work with a different motherboard. All the projects I’ve seen are people taking out all the guts and replacing them with consumer pc parts, mobo cpu and psu.

Both the SM and HP come with IPMI and remote kvm built in. I find this a very valuable feature. I’d lose this with the suggested approach. I don’t lose this with using it as a DAS, since a DAS doesn’t need it (there’s actually a CB3 JBOD board that does have it, but it costs more).

Again, I don’t see how its better or easier to combine. and what about possibility of expansion later by adding a 2nd DAS?

HP Elitedesk 800 G4 SFF has no IPMI or remote kvm
SM chassis as DAS wouldn’t either.

I meant Intel vPro which is like a poor mans IPMI isn’t it? its better than nothing.

You know more about this stuff than I do I’m sure.

anyway, ipmi or not is not the main deciding factor here. I’ve mentioned my other concerns but it seems they are not considered relevant.

It’s wise to be wary of prebuilt servers like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Cisco UCS, etc., as the chassis are usually designed only to work with specific motherboards. SuperMicro is a favorite amongst homelabbers precisely because many (not all) of their motherboards are mATX, ATX, or SSI-EEB and fit in regular tower cases, and many (not all) of their chassis accommodate standard form-factor motherboards.

Your 846 is one such chassis. Its PDB has a standard 24-pin ATX cable plus 2x 4+4-pin EPS, and usually another 4-pin CPU power cable, and sometimes a few 6+2-pin PCIe power cables.

If you need more than 24 bays, the 846 EL1 backplane has an 8087 port for you to daisy-chain to a DAS, or you could add another HBA with external ports.

As for IPMI, Intel AMT is a poor substitute and is tricky to get working. If IPMI is a must-have and you want to stay with 1151-2, then X11SCH or SCZ, or E3C246D4U2 for about $300.

It is ultimately your choice, and you have the necessary parts list for using the SFF with 846 as DAS. We’ve addressed your concerns and provided our recommendation based on our experience.

Thank you. I’m trying to understand SAS expanders/bandwidth etc. Can someone help me with these qns -

my card is 9223-8i, it is flashed to 9211-8i IT mode firmware. can one 8087 cable connected from an HBA to the backplane control all 24 drives? at what speeds? I believe a single sff-8087 cable has 4 lanes of SAS2, so a bandwidth of 24Gbps?

or do I need more than one sff-8087 cable? I will be using this with unRaid, I don’t know if it ever uses all the bandwidth of the disks, but I guess its better to future proof.

when do home users need SAS3?

this is just what I googled, its all very confusing if someone could point to a nice post explaining it all it would be great.

pic of my SM server. There are 2 cables going from LSI card to backplane, does that mean 2 are needed for full bandwidth?

Yes, since the EL1 backplane has a SAS expander in it, you only need a single 8087 cable to provide data for all 24 drives. Yes, dual-link (using two cables in parallelfrom the HBA to the backplane) will increase bandwidth when all drives are in use simultaneously. With Unraid, this only makes a difference with things like parity scrub or turbo write.

If you choose to put an NK6 in the 846 as we’ve been recommending, you may reuse the 9211 and the 8087 cables.

If you choose to use your SFF as the main system with the 846 as DAS, you could use extra-long 8087-8087 cables (a pair, if you like) from the 9211 in the SFF, snaking out through the second PCIe opening, over to the 846 DAS, in through another PCIe opening in the back, and forward to the backplane. Alternatively, you could buy an 8e HBA with external ports (8088), get one or two 8088-8088 cables, then a $20 dual 8088-8087 adapter bracket to put in the DAS, then use your existing dual 8087-8087 cables between the adapter bracket and the backplane. Or some combination of the two approaches. Either way, you’d need to budget for cabling. As mentioned in your STH thread, cooling is also an issue with any HBA in the SFF; add a small fan pointing at the heatsink and tap into the 12v line from the SATA power connector.

As for SAS3, it’d isn’t needed for home NASes using spinners. It is useful for SAS3 SSDs, or very large zfs arrays of spinners (and even then, multiple and/or -16e SAS2 HBAs may suffice). Having said that, Inspur OEM LSI 3008 HBAs (2x 8643) have been $17 for several months now.

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