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sonic_agamemnon

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About sonic_agamemnon

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Portland, Oregon, USA
  • Interests
    Software engineering, digital content creation, photography, videography, post-production editing, music, guitar

OCC

  • Computer Specs
    Cooler Master Cosmos II Tower
    Enermax MaxRevo 1350W PSU
    MSI Big Bang-XPower II Intel LGA 2011 X79 Mainboard
    Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition Sandy Bridge-E 3.3GHz LGA 2011 CPU
    Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 6-Heatpipe CPU Heatsink
    Corsair Dominator GT 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3 SDRAM 1866Mhz (PC3 15000)
    XFX Double Dissapation Black Edition 2 x Radeon HD 7970 Video Cards in CrossFireX
    RAID-0 Boot Set: Samsung 830 Series SSD 2 x 512GB Solid State Drive Array (1TB)
    RAID-0 Data Set A: Western Digital RE4 2 x 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" 7200 RPM Hard Drive Array (4TB)
    RAID-0 Data Set B: Western Digital RE4 2 x 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" 7200 RPM Hard Drive Array (4TB)
    RAID-5 Archive Set: Western Digital Caviar Green 4 x 2TB 5400 RPM Drobo External Drive Array (6TB)
    2 x Pioneer BDR-207DBKS Blu-ray Burners

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  1. Another requirements change is forcing a motherboard replacement and a graphics card switch as well. The server is morphing into a server/workstation hybrid, since a need for occasional modeling, rendering and video editing has been added. Therefore, the small Radeon passive video card will not hack it, so a TBD workstation adapter (probably from the Quadro family) will replace it. Also, the SuperMicro server motherboard does not provide a full 16x PCIE slot, so it will be exchanged for the ASUS Z9PA-D8 mainboard with a Pike RAID adapter.
  2. It is a good thing the HAF XB is basically a test bench, because requirements and hardware keep changing even before the server has been deployed! Due to an increase in expected scope/workload, both Xeon E5-2620 processors have been returned for an even bigger punch: two Xeon E5-2670 2.6GHz processors with 3.3GHz Turbo Boost and 20MB L3 Cache. The number of developers is expected to increase from two to four later this year, a fifth VM needs to be spun up to support a CPU-intensive search engine (Solr), and the server has also been nominated for initial load-testing and baseline benchmark duty. An increase in both thread count and clock rate was deemed appropriate to maintain good performance. Compared to the E5-2620, the E5-2670 provides eight cores instead of six. The 2670 also clocks at 2.6GHz instead of 2GHz, with a temporary boost up to 3.3GHz instead of 2.5GHz. The 2670 also provides 5GB of additional L3 cache, 20MB instead of 15MB. However, the 2670 does consume more power, 115W instead of 95W.
  3. Although clearances between both Arctic Freezers and the memory slots are good, there is not enough wiggle room to replace every stick of DDR3 memory with the CPU heat-pipes mounted, especially the two slots nearest each CPU socket. Unfortunately, both coolers had to be removed in order to install all eight sticks of 8GB Samsung memory. This also required removal of the prior Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound, cleaning all the surfaces and repeating the mounting process after installing all 64GB of server memory.
  4. My primary area of concern with this smaller HAF XB foot print are temperature levels, especially in the bottom chamber. The top chamber is designed very well, especially for air cooling, and I expect good results with high-performance Noctua case fans all around. However, the lower area is very cramped and the only active exhaust comes from two 80mm fans. At least they are positioned directly in the path of the internal drive cage. I wouldn't be as concerned if the drives were SSDs; I've never used these Seagate hybrid drives before, so I'm not sure how hot they will run. I did check the power requirements, and the Seagate drives actually draw about the same power as pure SSDs and definitely less power than regular disk drives.
  5. One of the finest aspects of the HAF XB is its flexibility and total accessibility, a direct byproduct of its test-bench design origin. Need to remove the top or both sides? No problem. Need to remove the motherboard? No problem. On the other hand, after gaining quick access to the guts a nasty reminder just how cramped the quarters are becomes the main impression. Space it tight, making cable management even tougher than normal. In order to cleanly install all four Seagate hybrid drives, the Enermax power supply was nudged halfway out for better clearance and easier access behind the 2.5" drive cage: Thankfully, cable management in the lower compartment is complete at this point; hopefully, both 80mm Noctua fans will perform well and provide sufficient airflow in the bottom chamber:
  6. I thought those cards generate both 3.0s and 2.0s? But in order to utilise the 3.0s, you'd need to connect a separate USB 3.0 header onto the board (those that comes with cases these days) I selected these cards because all ports are active, both external ports and the 20-pin internal connection. One internal connection supports the HAF XB case USB 3 inputs on the front panel, and the other connection is for the multi-card reader in the upper-front 5.25" bay. One downside to this board is the need for extra power (4-pin) to drive all the external/internal connections, but I'd rather deal with that than some other USB 3 adapters which force you to decided whether to use the external or internal connections, since both cannot be active at the same time.
  7. The slowest boat from China has finally arrived with two USB v3 PCIE adapters that provide a total of 4 external ports and two 20-pin internal jacks to satisfy all on-board USB 3 requirements. Unfortunately, the SuperMicro mainboard only provides USB v2 ports.
  8. 64GB of replacement DRAM arrived today: eight sticks of Samsung 8GB DDR3 1600 MHz ECC Registered Server Memory (M393B1K70DH0-CK0). The two Kingston 16GB DRAM modules were exchanged for this Samsung memory, since the Kingston sticks were not on the SuperMicro compatibility list. Also, further investigation indicated the Xeon 2600 series memory controller operates at maximum bandwidth only when four channels are populated. Moreover, moving from 32GB to 64GB allows each UNIX VM more room for larger JVM heaps, and should allow all four VMs to remain alive and responsive even while video tasks are running as well.
  9. Why do peoople do this? Not trying to pick on you but I see a lot of people do this when displaying new parts for their build. quoted from wikipedia Why? Because they don't know (like me) the shipping bag is so very dangerous....
  10. WIth the work it sounds like you will be doing, you do not want to lose any data. With six drives, the chances of one failing are high. Not to mention you will be putting them in a RAID 0 configuration, which effectively doubles the chances of data loss from drive failure. Data is backed-up to remote storage over the network overnight, meaning the main risk will be loosing a day's worth of work if a drive fails prior to the nightly back-up. This is an acceptable trade-off for me, since this is a local development sandbox server (not production). I'd rather have the speed and accept the risk. It would be great if there was room and budget for a much larger box with lots of mirrored drives and less need for frequent network back-ups, but such is not the case...
  11. The HAF XB case has been disassembled, including the removal of both stock fans in front; all five Noctua case fans were installed thereafter. The motherboard tray was removed next and the SuperMicro mainboard was mounted. Two of eight motherboard mount points did not align with available, pre-drilled holes on the Cooler Master tray, so a trusty Dremel was deployed to drill out both missing holes. Installing the Xeon processors was a snap thanks to a very clean LGA 2011 socket design. The "Artic Squeeze Play" worked according to plan, with both heat sinks in perfect back-to-back alignment. Clearances are good between the cooler and the top of each server DRAM module. Stock Artic Freezer fans were replaced with Noctua Focused Flow hardware, offering better cooling performance and higher top-end CFM numbers at an equivalent noise level. I am very eager to see how the push-pull configuration performs under load. The Samsung 840 SSDs were installed in the front 3.5" bays, ready to be configured in a RAID-0 boot configuration. The LG BluRay burner and AFT All-in-one media reader were also installed in the front 5.25" bays, completing all front-side setup work.
  12. After a rather extended delivery process, the Seagate hardware has finally arrived. It will be fun stuffing the entire internal HAF XB drive cage with 3TB of relatively quick RAID-0 storage. However, the two USB3 adapters must be on a slow boat from China (literally), since they are both sitting in San Francisco still, obviously mired in a US Postal twilight zone... A number of factors led to a rather "momentous" decision, and the numbers provided by this StorageReview.com analysis swayed me away from my habit of relying on traditional WD RE4 disks for data RAID sets: http://www.storagereview.com/seagate...t_750gb_review 1. Cost Effective Storage Pricing has dropped for the Momentus which is available now for $120 with 750GB of capacity, providing a huge cost-per-gigabyte advantage over SSD hardware. 2. Higher Capacity The latest Momentus drive offers 50 percent more capacity over its prior version, 750GB, and 50 percent more storage than most SSDs today-- unless your budget allows for $3K to purchase a 1GB SSD. 3. Good Performance Scaling two Seagate Momentus 750GB XTs in RAID-0 just about doubles its single-drive performance, delivering nearly 240 MB/s of sequential read throughput. This matches the sequential performance I see using WD RE4 in RAID-0, although neither drive is anywhere near the 980 MB/s capability of two Samsung SSDs in RAID-0. 4. Low Power Power consumption is lower than most SSDs and traditional disk drives, peaking at 3.7 watts during sequential reads, compared to 9+ watts for the WD RE4 2TB drive and 4.3 watts for the Samsung 840 SSD. 5. Small Size The Momentus is a 2.5" drive, an important factor in smaller cases like the Cooler Master HAF XB, which only ships with an internal 2.5" drive cage, thereby eliminating all larger 3.5" drives. Using four Momentus XT disks maximizes limited internal capacity, providing 3TB of cage storage. 6. Nice Warranty Seagate is offering a 5-year warranty, something rather rare in the SSD marketplace. Another advantage of the hybrid design is whenever the high-density 8GB flash chip eventually does decide to fail, the Momentus remains operational as a traditional 7K RPM hard drive, unlike SSD hardware that degrades and ultimately fails altogether.
  13. Why? It's simple: space is limited, andI need to maximize thread strength while minimizing floor space. There are only two SSDs configured in a 500GB boot array whichI don't think amounts to having too many SSDs. The Momentus disks from Seagate are hybrid drives with the bulk of the capacity provided by two traditional disk platters, with 8GB of flash to cache the most frequently accessed files. I really don't consider these disks to be SSDs and its performance lies somewhere between an SSD and a typical 7K RPM SATA disk drive. Regarding the HAF XB case and storage capacity, there are eight bays in total: two 3.5" bays, two 5.25" bays and four internal 2.5" bays, and that offers plenty of storage capacity in my opinion, at least for my purposes-- 4TB.
  14. You're absolutely right: 16GB wouldn't be enough for sure, but my original spec was 32GB, 2 sticks of Kingston 16GB server memory. However, even 32GB is pushing it if I need to have all four UNIX VMs running and the Adobe capture/encoding tasks running as well. Moreover, after reviewing the Sandy Bridge architecture, I realized the latest Xeon memory controller needs all four channels populated to attain maximum bandwidth, so I returned both Kingston 16GB sticks and decided to fully populate all eight channels with 8GB Samsung server memory sticks for 64GB total available memory. Thread/CPU saturation should be encountered before available memory presents an issue, even when every VM and video task is running simultaneously.
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