Sander Cohen 2

New System Specs

Just for reference:
SuperMicro SuperChassis 745BTQ-R1K28B-SQ
ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) Z390 Gaming Motherboard LGA1151
Intel i9-9900K CPU
G.SKILL TridentZ RGB Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 3200 (PC4 25600)
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO - CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan
EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 Black GAMING, 08G-P4-1071-KR, 8GB GDDR6, Dual HDB Fans
Sander Cohen 2


I'm up to 26 drives and running out of space. My poor Norco 4020 Chassis only holds 20, so I've been running 2 external USB drives and an ESATA Venus box that holds 4. The cabling inside of the Norco is a nightmare: a knot of 4 port-expanders plus 24 SATA cables are restricting airflow, reducing system and drive longevity. Plus, I ran out of drive letters two drives ago, and managing where to put what data time-consuming and annoying. I miss having "one big drive".

I avoided hardware RAID this time around, because it wants drives of all of the same size and doesn't support drive-spindown, which saves power, and reduces heat and noise. disParity has worked great as a simple software RAID solution, but is very slow when run across 26 drives on expanders, as one might expect.

So, how to move forward? Finding the answer turned-out to be more time-consuming, and mind-confusing, than expected.

After much research, internal dialog, annoying of friends, and weighing of pros/cons, I've come up with what I think is a workable and cost-effective solution.

I'm switching to Serial-Attached SCSI (SAS), now that I understand it better, and reducing those 24 cables to 1. I'll have to live with the risk of bitrot, thanks to Microsoft's inability to develop a new filesystem, and keep everything spinning at all times.

This involves the purchase of a new chassis that includes a backplane to minimize cabling. I've chosen the SuperMicro 846E16-R1200B, which has 24 drive bays runnable through a single SFF-8087 cable. My SATA 2 drive interfaces will only produce a 1.2GB/s maximum in this configuration, but that's perfectly livable for now.

The SAS controller I've chosen also has an external SFF-8088 connection, so adding a second 24-bay chassis (sans motherboard & CPU) will be trivial.

I will likely run two RAID-6 arrays consisting of 24-drives each. Since I don't write data often, that should prove reliable enough. *knocks wood* Plus, it makes it easier to downsize and migrate as 4TB drives become available.

So, my new system will consist of:
Chassis: SuperMicro 846E16-R1200B
CPU: Intel Core i7-980
Mobo: Asus Rampage III Extreme
RAM: 12GB Crucial DDR3
Controller: LSI MegaRAID SAS 9280-4i4e
Video: GeForce 470 (aging, but waiting for a new generation)
Drives: 26+ WD 2TB EURS (may not play nice in a RAID?)

All of which is sitting inside my new Silence Case Attenuation Enclosure

PS: After planning-out how to migrate my data to the new system, I've ordered 6 new drives, for a total of 32, resulting in a total of 5 "capacity expansions" (RAID rebuilds). I'll keep my old Norco running with 8 drives in a RAID-5 (using my old 3Ware controller) until those run out of space.

PPS: ZFS is still neat, but requires gobs of RAM to work efficiently with a 50+ TB array.
Sander Cohen 2

Seattle Center

Saturday was a spectacular Spring day!  We haven’t had many of those lately, so Lisa and I took the opportunity to enjoy some sunshine and take our friend Finn to see the Star Wars exhibit at Pacific Science Center!

The World Rhythm Festival was going on, so we ate hot dogs on the lawn while listening to them perform.  We then spent time marveling at the International Fountain, which is always a treat, especially on a warm day.

Before long we headed into the Science Center where we enjoyed ourselves playing with bugs and butterflies on display there before watching the IMAX film Born to be Wild in 3D, followed by even more fascinating science displays.

It was then time to see the Star Wars exhibits!  I really enjoyed seeing these artifacts of my childhood up close and took a lot of photos.  Below are some of them.  Enjoy!

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