Heffa

SFF Silverstone DS380 Build

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My old server was five years old and started getting hard drive warnings, rather than replace the drives I figured I'd go for a completely new build. I wanted to keep the new build small as the old one fits in my IKEA unit under the TV. After looking at a couple of cases I went for the Silverstone DS380 as I liked the hot swap bays and it would fit. I was aware of a design flaw inherent in the case but there is an easy work around as you'll see below. I've written this up all in one go so the issues I mention in the updates have already been resolved. Here are the specs:

 

OS at time of building: 6.3.1

CPU: Intel® Xeon® CPU E3-1231 v3 @ 3.40GHz

Motherboard: ASRock - E3C226D2I

RAM: 16GB (2x 8GB) Crucial Server Memory, DDR3 PC3-12800 ECC

Case: Silverstone DS380

Drive Cage(s): Built in 8 bay hot swap

Power Supply: 300W Silverstone ST30SF Strider SFX

SATA Expansion Card(s): None

Cables: 15cm Akasa Super Slim SATA III, Akasa PWM fan splitter

Fans: 120mm Noctua NF-S12B REDUX PWM x 3

 

Parity Drive: 4TB WD Red

Data Drives: 4TB WD Red x 3

Cache Drive: 120GB Kingston SSD Now V300

Total Drive Capacity: 8 x 3.5", 4 x 2.5"

 

Primary Use: Plex Media Server, backup storage

Likes: Very quiet, cool, low power usage

Dislikes: Cooling design flaw

Add Ons Used: Plex Media Server, pre_clear plugin, unassigned devices

Future Plans: More dockers, Time Machine backup

 

Boot (peak): 98W

Idle (avg): 30W

Active (avg): 47W

Light use (avg): 35W

 

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Update 1

  • The build went smoothly, although the case is tricky to work with. It's very small and there is no room for any cable management. If you ever use the same case be sure to read the manual as it well tell you the best order to install components in.
  • I'm using a SanDisk Fit USB plugged into a front usb port, its small enough to allow the door to be closed.
  • I ordered short (15cm) thin SATA cables hoping to cut down on excessive cables however they were just a bit too short and I was only able to connect 4/6 ports, 25cm cables would have been perfect.
  • The PSU is great as the fan only spins up when its under heavy load which so far is never.
  • The motherboard does not have enough fan headers for all three fans but the hard drive caddy has two headers on it. Unfortunately this means the fans run at full speed all the time.
  • The USB3 cables from the front header are annoyingly inflexible and long, curling them up was the best way to deal with them.

The Design Flaw

There is a known problem with this case; due to the design of the hard drive bay the to fans adjacent two it provide insufficient cooling. Idle temperatures for drives hover around 32C and during parity check one reached 46C! The issue is that there is little space for air to flow through to the drives (you can see the slots in the third picture), this only gets worse the more drives you use. To fix this you need to prevent the air from flowing anywhere but through the slots. I cut a piece of cardboard and slotted it between the two fans and the metal that raises the motherboard. Doing this results in over a 10C drop in temperatures. Checking parity again maxed out at 33C, a huge improvement.

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Update 2

  • Ordered three Noctua fans, another hard drive, and a fan splitter.
  • Now all the fans are hooked up to the motherboard the case is almost inaudible.

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Nice build.  The DS380 is indeed a very nice case and, as you know, blocking the air "leakage" path for the drive cooling fans is simple to do => it's unfortunate that it's necessary, but several folks on this forum have done the same thing with anything from cardboard to custom-fit plastic parts.    A shame Silverstone didn't just design it right  :)

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Very nice build, and similar to what I was looking at.  Question for you any recommendations about SATA expansion?  Looks like you have 6 onboard that MB and the case can theoretically support 8.

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The DS380 stock drive bay fan setup is actually worse than no fans at all.

 

For those that are reading - I would like you to know that is NOT my experience. I tested finless as has been suggested (both with a skirt and without) and the temps without fans under high  I/O load were out of control. Without fans there is just no airflow in the case at all least of all over the drives.

 

With the stock fans (as mine are now - I used the aftermarket fans I bought for another rig) are what my tests are based on (with skirt). No issue at all.

 

I say this also as I am sat here on my couch on a 41'C ambient temp day in Melbourne AUS at my desk in shorts and no aircon (the aircon is blasting the living room right now so I can cool down later) and I am writing to the array a big multi hour job (50% through) and the drives (with fans running) are sitting at 36'C to 37'C.

 

I do not in any way mean to suggest the previous poster has not experienced high temperatures but to suggest temperatures are higher in this case without fans over the fans that come with the case has not been my experience nor the experience of others I have spoken to on this forum with this case.

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Agree ... I was going to comment on that as well.    The only real issue with the airflow is that a lot of air can bypass the drive cage => and the very simple skirt you added (which many others have copied) completely eliminates that issue, and keeps the drive temps very nicely controlled.

 

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Note that in the setup you describe in that post you are NOT running with "...  no fans at all ..."  => you've blocked all intake paths except the front, and have a fan pulling air through the drives from the front.    While this may indeed work a bit better than using the side fans with the leakage that the base design allows around the drive cages, it's no better than simply fixing that leakage with a baffle like Daniel did => and then you don't need to keep the front door open (or remove it).    One of the attractions of the DS380 is the really clean look with the front door closed ... if you don't mind losing that, then what you've done works fine => but it's decidedly NOT "no fans at all."  :)

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Any idea on the dimensions of the skirt?  My temps during preclear were insanely high, to the point where I took off the side panel and am running a box fan on it to keep it cool.

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Any idea on the dimensions of the skirt?  My temps during preclear were insanely high, to the point where I took off the side panel and am running a box fan on it to keep it cool.

 

My Backup Server is open at the moment as the PSU failed and am waiting for my supplier to test and replace. I'll take it out and measure it for you some time today.

 

Current time of posting: 1:36pm Australian Eastern.

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Any idea on the dimensions of the skirt?  My temps during preclear were insanely high, to the point where I took off the side panel and am running a box fan on it to keep it cool.

 

My Backup Server is open at the moment as the PSU failed and am waiting for my supplier to test and replace. I'll take it out and measure it for you some time today.

 

Current time of posting: 1:36pm Australian Eastern.

 

Sod it, decided not to procrastinate and just do it now for you. Not that I wanted to put off cleaning and taking the trash out or anything ... ;)

 

Here goes:

 

Length:275mm

Width: 57mm

Material: Any cardboard but I advise a thicker piece so it has some rigidity.

 

This size piece should fit nicely in the gap between the motherboard and the fans. The drive cage presses slightly on top of the piece keeping it in place. That being said I also added a small piece of tape on each side just to make sure it stays where I want it to. It's a bit of a pain to get to if you're not opening up the case for any other reason!

 

As for fitting (you can read my more detailed posts, but to summarise) remember the idea here is to place the skirt between the fans and the motherboard with the idea being to restrict air going into the main part of the case (in the first instance) and just being evacuated BUT "forcing" it over the drives  FIRST and increasing the exposure of the drives to the air by creating a little compartment of sorts where the fans are installed so the air can ONLY go over the drives before it goes into the main part of the case where the motherboard is and then out of the back of the case via the rear exhaust fan.

 

Hope this helps. Let me know if I can be of any more help.

 

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Thanks so much!  Your build really inspired me :) I've found a problem with my fan array, it seems like one of the fans isn't getting the power from the splitter so I need to figure that one out.  So I'm going to have to take the darn thing apart (again!!!) anyway.

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@danioj is it 57mm from the case or from the fan edge?

 

I'm thinking of creating a cardboard tunnel that fits over the fans so I can route wires round the fans without them blocking airflow (there looks to be space above and beneath the fans, so this might give me a bit of extra room to hide cables.

 

Normally I don't think this would be possible due to the USB3 header on the front, but I have already removed that anyway.

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@Heffa:

 

This is the perfect thread as I've stumbled upon nearly the exact same config out of coincidence.

I'm building my first UnRaid box, upgrading from a HP Proliant N40L running Windows server + DrivePool.  That box has been running for a year with no problems (except 1 failed HD), but it doesn't have enough horsepower to transcode video when I'm traveling.  All our in-house devices (Roku 3 and Raspberry Pi 2 running Rasplex) all do DirectPlay.

 

This thread is super helpful because of the smaller items like advice in SATA cable length (25cm vs 15cm). 

 

One important, but small, question is what fan splitter did you get?  Did you just need to get a 1-to-2 splitter or more than that?

I'm looking at this one: http://www.amazon.com/SilverStone-Technology-Sleeved-Splitter-CPF01/dp/B00B46XKKQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457409769&sr=8-1&keywords=4+pin+fan+splitter

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I am actually doing a test run on my new DS380 build, I managed to snag the case used (but in fantastic condition) for $100. I have put in the piece of cardboard but with the case closed up the HD temps were creeping up to 40 and 42 degrees C, so I have ordered two Corsair 120mm fans to replace the Silverstone ones, these corsair fans run at 1500RPM which should be fast enough. Also, to reduce cable clutter I am thinking of ordering 8" SATA cables, does anyone thing those should be long enough to go from the mother board to the backplane? I am using the Asrock H97M-ITX/ac motherboard and the way its oriented in the case the SATA ports are just to the right of the backplane.

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... I am thinking of ordering 8" SATA cables, does anyone thing those should be long enough to go from the mother board to the backplane?

 

Not sure whether 8" is the correct length or not -- I'd measure carefully before ordering.    These guys sell cables in about any length you'd need -- 4", 6", 8", 10", 12", 14", 16", 18", 20", 22", 24", etc.    http://www.cpustuff.com/right-angle-to-straight-sata-cable/

 

... they also sell hard-to-find left-hand cables, which can be very useful if the orientation of your SATA ports requires them to use angled connectors (also in a variety of lengths).  http://www.cpustuff.com/left-angle-to-straight-sata-cable/

 

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I bought a bunch of 8" cables at my local store today, turns out I can use almost half of them, I can return the ones I didn't open. 10" or 12" would probably be fine for the rest of the ports, but the next size up my store sells is 18" so I am thinking about folding them and tie wrapping them.

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I bought a bunch of 8" cables at my local store today, turns out I can use almost half of them, I can return the ones I didn't open. 10" or 12" would probably be fine for the rest of the ports, but the next size up my store sells is 18" so I am thinking about folding them and tie wrapping them.

 

All mine are 10" from an ASRock C2550D4I. Any longer and it would start to look messy!

 

I agree, 8" would be fine for probably 3/4 of the ports (using the board I mention).

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...  thinking about folding them and tie wrapping them.

 

It'd be far neater to simply have the correct lengths.    I'd buy a few 10" and 12" cables from cpustuff => if you're not sure which you need, just buy several of each ... never hurts to have a few spare cables handy  :)

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Thanks, I was able to use three of the 6" cables and then had to use two longer ones. I decided to stat out with five drives for now giving me 19TB to work with. I replaced all three 120mm fans in the case with Corsair fans, two SP 120mm and one Corsair AF 120mm. So far UnRaid reports the drive temps at 35, 36, 36, 36, and 37 celsius, I am hoping they stay there and no increase. Hopefully on idle they should drop by as much as 10 degrees, I guess one can be hopeful.

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Drive temps have increased and now seem to be holding at 36, 39, 38, 39, 39 degrees celsius. I will really be disappointed if they hit 40 or higher. Not sure what else I can do to increase cooling in this case, I am already using the piece of card board 'trick'.

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