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Today I took delivery of the parts for the SAN build. I've started putting drives in trays and wiring the case itself, which I can tell is going to take a while. I expect putting drives in trays will take around an hour of time in total.

Almost immediately I realized I ordered an Extended ATX motherboard, but the case only supports Micro ATX, ATX, CEB, and EEB. Naturally, I also ordered 4x SFF-8087 cables for the HBA to Backplane connectivity. Each of these cables can handle 4 SAS/SATA lanes, which means I can run 16 out of my 24 drives. Oops. So, a new board and two more SFF-8087's are on their way tomorrow.


Here's the case unpacked from its double boxes. It's surprisingly light for how sturdy it feels! The manufacturer says it's around 40 lbs, but I would have pegged it somewhere in the low 30lbs range. All of the edges are rolled, so you don't get the stamped steel "case cut" issue that has plagued cases in the past.

Case unpacked


The front of the case holds 24 hot-swap disk trays. These feel pretty cheap when you pull them out and push them back in, with no satisfying click to let you know you've pushed the drive in far enough. This is really nitpicking, though, as you really don't want to push against the SATA/SAS interfaces very hard. And from the feel of things, the interface is more lilkely to break than the trays.

Case front


This is the motherboard I (wrongly) ordered. It's pretty beefy to say the least, with more than enough RAM slots for my needs. The plan for now is to keep the second CPU and RAM banks empty until more performance is needed.

Wrong (but nice) board


I got the CPU in the socket, and the RAM in the proper bank immediately. Since the CPU uses tripple-channel DDR3, DIMMs have to be installed in groups of 3. You'll notice I forgot to order a CPU heatsink and FAN assembly, which turned out to be fortunate since the board has to come out.

CPU and RAM mounted


This is when it dawned on me that something might be wrong. Everything was lining up great until I looked at the void where the power supplies will be. Damn!

Not looking good


Yep. That's not going to fit at all. Well, RMA for this board I guess.

Not going to work


Most people don't get to see what OEM packaging for hard drives looks like. When you're a system builder, you get them in bulk packs like this. The only thing I hate is unwrapping a ton of them, though. But I guess I'll have 24 anti-static bags after this is all done.

Hard Drives


I'm using Western Digital 1TB drives with TLER, which better support being in RAID arrays. Though I'm not building a traditional RAID array. These were cheaper than their Seagate counterparts and more readily available, so that made the decision pretty easy. The drives slip into their trays and can be screwed in from the side or the bottom. I've chosen to use the mounting holes on the bottom to keep from interfering with the sliding mechanism in the case.

1TB HDDs mounted


The half-way mark has been reached. These 12 drives account for more space than most of the people I know have used in total in their whole life. And I'm going to double it. Hopefully I can start benchmarking this thing next week to see how the HBA card performs with this many drives!

12 done, 12 to go


That's all for now. Tomorrow I should have the power supplies and all of the drives installed. Then it's a waiting game until Thursday when the new motherboard and CPU cooler should arrive. If everything continues as planned, Friday will be a great day at work!

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