The Sleeper SAS DAS

Discussion in 'Modding Worklogs' started by DrFrag, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. DrFrag

    DrFrag Member

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    Sleeper a. Outwardly common looking item, that possesses something special or unique inside.
    SAS Serial Attached SCSI
    DAS Direct Attached Storage

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    Starting with a beige AOpen KF45a mid-tower case, circa 2001. Steel. Sun-yellowed front plastic. Intel Celeron sticker. Missing case badge. Absolutely perfect.

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    No audio or USB connectors.

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    250W ATX AOpen PSU. 8.0A on the +12V rail. Whoa there, tiger!

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    Rust damage in the base.

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    Found a beige floppy drive that doesn't work any more. And if it does, the Windows 98 boot disc that was in it probably doesn't. A beige DVD-RW, bricked by StarForce DRM and setting me forever on a crusade against intrusive DRM. But I won't be using the drives, just the front fascias of them.

    The PSU and drive cages are removed.

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    120mm fan hole marked for cutting with a Dremel.

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    Circle removed and then filed down.

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    I want another 120mm in the upper section, but the bay shields are too flimsy.

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    Solution: rivet a steel plate to the front. I cut a square from some random bit of steel I had lying nearby.

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    OH GODDAMMIT IT ALL TO HELL.

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    Bay shields cut out, steel plate rivetted in. Solid.

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    Second fan installed.

    To be continued...
     
  2. VirtualNinja

    VirtualNinja Member

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    Brilliant:D:thumbup:

    I am almost 100% sure I have that case in the garage. I'll confirm tomorrow
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  3. paulbagz

    paulbagz Member

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    Hahah hectic build :D

    -PB
     
  4. StreekG

    StreekG Member

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    I saw that speaker, then i imagined that speaker in the front of the case where the bottom fan is... Why not?? hehe

    Nice build so far looking good
     
  5. Hive

    Hive Member

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    needs more sas :thumbup:
     
  6. Annihilator69

    Annihilator69 Member

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    I love that case,

    It's actually my avatar picture. My first ghetto mod with spraycans. :p

    It's now a HTPC case for my dad.
     
  7. Turbine

    Turbine Member

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    Ohhh GODD, these knives maaaahn...I laughed way too hard at that. :thumbup::thumbup:
     
  8. pheonix991

    pheonix991 Member

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    This looks interesting.
     
  9. Holdenkicks

    Holdenkicks Member

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    looking forward to seeing whats next
     
  10. AfterBurner1

    AfterBurner1 Member

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    congrats on the front page....
    let me know if you need a hand.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    DrFrag

    DrFrag Member

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    Update:

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    Bought a selection of aluminium strips from Bunnings. Or as my nephew calls it, "The Man Shop". Only ended up using the three on the right.

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    I'm using the same drive bracket technique from my old Lian-Li PC-A70B mod, since I haven't come up with a better design.

    Notches are cut in the aluminium at 33mm intervals, which will leave a sizable 8mm gap between each drive.

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    Notches are filed down (thanks to the3coopers for the talc on metal file technique - it works great) and holes drilled and tapped to suit M3 standard fine thread case screws.

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    Fitting test for the drive columns. Four spare dead drives to make sure it lines up. Well, one of them is dead. The others are IDE, which is dead to me.

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    Thin neoprene rubber strips are stuck on the aluminium with ordinary double sided sticky tape. It sticks surprisingly well, I have some I stuck down years ago and it felt like it was glued on. The neoprene is to reduce vibration. I don't know how effective it is, but any bit should help.

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    Screw holes are cut in the neoprine (before it's stuck down) with a leather punch, and notches cut with a knife.

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    Final front structure installed. There is no back structure - the drive brackets screw directly into the motherboard backplane.

    A test fit revealed that it's impossible to remove the PSU once the structure is installed, so I've used a few screws in addition to mostly rivets. The PSU is 430W which is plenty for that many drives, but certain combinations of drive models could overload the 5V line on spin up, so I might need to replace it if it doesn't work.

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    Close up of left corner.

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    Close up of right corner.

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    Final drive racks complete and without drives. It's quite sturdy. Back strips of neoprene installed and holes drilled in the backplane. They were a pain to line up.

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    Installed the crappiest looking IO shield I could find. It's slightly rusty and predates onboard audio. Covered the unused expansion port slots, with a vented slot in the bottom for SAS expander airflow. Realised for the first time that the covers can be screwed down top and bottom, but the lower screws are a bit impractical.

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    Glued the DVD tray cover to its facia, and glued in the FDD eject button.

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    Taped down scrap wood to make sure the drive fronts sit flush.

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    Scrap wood to glue the fascias to their lower neighbours. I may move the DVD front to the top bay later, or I might leave the top blank for some retro missile switches in the event that the drives need manual staggered spinup.

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    Used builders filler to stick them in place. It's ugly, but I'm not going for any pretty case awards.

    Forgot to take a photo of the finished front, so I'll do that in the next update. Mostly just wiring to go.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  12. OP
    OP
    DrFrag

    DrFrag Member

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    [​IMG]

    Brackets left over from the last mod.

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    Drives fitted, with a few slots spare.

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    Back of the PC.

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    Wiring up the custom SATA power. Four drives per cable.

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    Front of the case. Fake drives. Could perhaps do with some sun yellowing.

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    All wiring done. Could have done with shorter SAS-SATA breakout cables, but I used what I had. The PSU handles simultaneous startup with ease.

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    Another view.

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    Case closed. It hooks up to my PC with a single external SAS cable, and a total bandwidth of 1.2GB/s. Can be turned on while the Windows is running, but I'm not sure yet how to dismount it safely without shutting down the main PC.

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    Windows ran out of drive letters, but I managed to assign stuff to A and B drive. I'll need to sort out a different mounting system.
     
  13. gloonk

    gloonk Member

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    Respect dude. Great work :thumbup:
     
  14. BeStRaFe

    BeStRaFe Member

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    I think it's time you invest in a raid setup :D
     
  15. tiro_uspsss

    tiro_uspsss Member

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    nice work! :thumbup: :)
     
  16. pheonix991

    pheonix991 Member

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    That looks crazy.

    At this point a raid controller wouldn't be "Nice to have", it's kinda required.
     
  17. AgB deano

    AgB deano Member

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    Any thoughts to take it further and fill the IO ports and run cables behind a desk?

    I'm surprised that you didn't utilise the 80mm fan slots at the back. Those drives would radiate a fair bit of heat and your intake is quite impeded.

    Agreed. You've invested quite a bit of cash into the drives but it is a micromanagement nightmare. At the very least, you could create a software drive pool (as seen in the new win8) for ease of use and better space utilisation.
     
  18. kooliez

    kooliez Member

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    Epic! Total cost?

    Did you buy the drives specifically for the build or was it designed around drives you already had? I'd love to do something similar with fibre channel drives.

    I have a couple of old cases and a bunch of metalwork tools.
    Thanks for the idea!!!!
     
  19. OP
    OP
    DrFrag

    DrFrag Member

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    I've tried using RAID and it ended up being another layer of things that can go wrong. I don't need redundancy and I don't want to use entire drives just for parity.

    I'm not sure what you mean. It only needs a power cable and a SAS cable, and they're already running behind my desk. Theoretically I could make a dozen of these and chain them together, but I can't see that happening.

    There's no space left in the case for a mITX or anything.

    Those are 60mm slots. I wanted input fans only to cause positive pressure in the case. This should cause it to vent everywhere it can, including the bottom PCIE vent slot and push air across the SAS expander.

    Turns out the case barely gets warm. There's good airflow in through the bottom of the front panel if I let it overhang the desk a bit.

    I have the DAS drives mapped to a folder now, so drive letters aren't a problem. On the plus side, I can get the total file size from a single folder's properies. On the downside, I can't see free space easily and Supercopier doesn't seem to like junctions. (Edit: looks like Supercopier can handle junctions, but doesn't perform a move if the source and destination have the same drive letter)

    There's a 3rd party app that turn bunches of drives into virtual pools, mirroring the folder structure and putting files on whatever drive has the most free space. If the app or OS dies, all the data is intact without special tools needed. I can't remember what the app is called, but I might switch to that if the micromanagement becomes a problem.

    Case - already had this. You can probably get them free. I've seen wrecker's yards with mountains of them.
    Chenbro CK13601 - already had this from my Norco. If I'd had to buy one, it would have been a $358 CK22803 from HBOutlet.
    LSI SAS 9200-8e HBA - $200 new (ebay)
    Mini-SAS 4x SFF-8088 to 8088 cable 100cm - $15 (ebay). Scorptec have these for $99. AusPCMarket $136. Protip: never buy SAS cables from Australia.
    SAS-SATA breakout cables - already had them.
    Seasonic S12II 430W PSU - $78 (PCCaseGear) - Incredibly quiet. I thought it was broken at first.
    Aluminium - $28.90 (Bunnings)
    2x120mm case fans - $4ea (MSY) - These are shit. So noisy. They sound like good fans that are years old and you throw them away because they've become noisy.
    Neoprene - $5.50 (Clarke Rubber)
    Other bits like SATA power connectors and screws I already had.

    All up about $335.

    I already had the drives. I'd been using them in my Norco, but I never really got the hang of PC-BSD so I ended up leaving my server turned off most of the time. Seemed a waste. So I was after a more desktoppy case that was cheap and portable and that I would actually turn on. Bulk storage has become more of a hobby to me than overclocking, so that was already my interest.


    I forgot some construction notes...

    The power button is wired directly into the ATX-24 connector. I knew I could turn the PSU on by shorting the green wire with a black wire. What I didn't realise is that I would need to maintain that closed state. Modern power buttons don't do that. Fortunately, I had an old standard turbo button I could replace it with. I also wired in the front power LED (with a resistor) to the 5V line next to the case fans. Could do with a carry strap and one or two tweaks down the line.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  20. BeStRaFe

    BeStRaFe Member

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    fine, if you going to run out of drive letters the next trick is that you can mount a "drive" inside a folder in windows.

    it;s a cheaty way of getting around the drive letter limit
     

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