Living Legend

Supermicro unRAID System From MrRackables

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Below is my shameless plug for MrRackables.  I've seen too many poor experiences people have had with online resellers that I thought I'd share my positive one.

 

About 5 years ago I built my first unRAID system.  At that time, I was primarily focused on having a system to safely store and serve data, mostly media, to client devices in my household.  Over the years, as our community has grown leaps and bounds, between the community applications growth in dockers, as well as well as integrating virtual machines, I quickly found myself maxing out my Pentium G2120 & 4GB RAM’s limits.

 

I have spent countless hours on these boards, conversing with fellow forum members about the pros and cons of different hardware.  The dual Xeon E5-2670 processors seemed to be a popular choice.  While being an older CPU, these can still be had for relatively cheap and provide an insane amount of multi-tasking abilities for people who are really looking to push their server to the limits.

 

I have minimal experience with buying used equipment.  However, it seems like a must if you’re not trying to break the bank while attempting to make something that’s at a semi-commercial level for home consumer use.  I see plenty of threads pop up about different deals, where to get this or that, who to avoid, and so on.  Rather than go on anecdotal information, I decided to take action.  I took down the information from all of the top eBay server resellers and reached out.  I shared my story, explained that there are many of us on the forums outgrowing our current equipment, and expressed our interest in upgrading to a more robust solution.

 

The one company that stood out was MrRackables.  Their level of responsiveness was unparalleled among the resellers I was in contact with.  They quickly responded to my email inquiries, and were very helpful and explicit throughout the process.  They kept me informed on where things stood from pre purchase to delivery.

 

Their builds setup allows users to pick and choose parts, truly creating a custom system built to order.  For what you’re getting, the pricing is great. 

 

They had the CPUs I was looking for which got us off on the right foot.  Their bread and butter are the Supermicro systems which is great since I’ve always been a fan of their hardware.  They had choices from 1U-4U servers which could range from 4-24 hot swap drive bays.  They had a nice selection of motherboards allowing for quite a bit of flexibility in total DIMM slots and PCI slots depending on your needs.

 

When I was done researching my options, we came up with this system:

 

2U Supermicro 12 Bay Server

Supermicro X9DRI-LN4F Motherboard 

2x Intel Xeon E5-2670

64GB RAM (8x 8GB)

LSI 9211-4i HBA CARD

8x 3.5" Caddies

4x 2.5" adapters with 3.5" Caddies

Dual 1200W Power Supply

Rail kit

4x 1GBE Onboard NIC

Dedicated IPMI remote management port

 

The quote came in at $967.  I compared prices with other resellers, and could not find anything cheaper.  I could have considered buying each part independently to beat the price, but then I'd be dealing with  5+ sellers and 5x the risk that one of my components would be broken.  In this scenario, if I had any issues, I was confident that through the rapport I had built with them, that the issue would be quickly resolved.  I was sold.  I placed the order and we were on our way.

 

It took a couple days to build, was sent via UPS Ground, and was here in under a week, from CA to NY.

 

IMG_1206.thumb.JPG.9988ebb537562176213dbcfdb02648f5.JPG

 

The packaging thoroughly impressed me.  It was not loose in the box with some annoying packing popcorn to secure it.  It was tightly packed with styrofoam border and seemed very secure.

 

IMG_1224.thumb.JPG.5592d0f119d86613751fdbf9cdaea9ec.JPG

 

I took the system out of the box and placed it on my workbench.  Unfortunately I'm still looking for a server rack, so this beast will sit desktop for a few weeks until I have that figured out:

 

IMG_1953.thumb.JPG.bef6f35747d8d20b134ea4e32e65096d.JPG

 

 

I gave it it's first boot to test out the specs,  All components posted and matched the order.  So far so good!  I pulled the drives from my current unRAID setup and transferred them to the new system.  I realized that I did not have any type of adapter for my 2.5" SSD.  After contacting MrRackables, I had 4x adapters here 48 hours later.  It was great to see that even post-purchase, a company was still quick to respond and work with their customers to resolve any issues.  I booted up, and my oh my, what a sight to see!

 

image.thumb.png.a0859b70e906da9dd20269f3560f68c0.png

 

This system is ready to roll.  I have slowly begun to roll out different VM instances, like Windows 10 & Ubuntu.  I have added Zoneminder docker for surveillance.  I can worry-free run multiple transcoding streams concurrently on Plex.  I have installed video cards to the PCI slots without issue.  This system handles it, and still has an incredible amount of room for growth.

 

For the price and the ongoing support, I am super stoked about working with MrRackables.  They have my full endorsement for anyone still looking for their own custom server to run unRAID.  If anyone has any questions, I'd contact their Director of Sales, Justin.  He was the one I dealt with from MrRackables and I can vouch for the quality he provided. This is his email.  mr@itrecyclenow.com 

 

DISCLAIMER: I did receive a few small perks, like a few free drive trays and free shipping after mentioning to MrRackables I was doing this review.  With that said, I do not work for them, or receive any type of residual on future sales.  I'm simply supporting a company which I had a great experience with in a field where many have had issues.  If they were to ask how you heard of them, tell them anything you'd like as again, I receive no compensation for my ongoing support.

Edited by Living Legend
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9 hours ago, Living Legend said:

Below is my shameless plug for MrRackables.

Are you receiving compensation in any form for this post? If so, it is in everyone's best interest if you disclose.

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19 minutes ago, jonathanm said:

Are you receiving compensation in any form for this post? If so, it is in everyone's best interest if you disclose.

 

But where's the fun that?

 

Also, if anyone wants to send me free/greatly reduced stuff, I'll put a link to your web store in my sig, make a post 2x as long as this about how great you are, and name my pet turtle after your company. That's true ROI you can't get anywhere else. 

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9 hours ago, jonathanm said:

Are you receiving compensation in any form for this post? If so, it is in everyone's best interest if you disclose.

 

Fair enough. While it was essentially negligible, I'm all for full disclosure.  


I received a few additional hot swap bays, and free shipping.

 

As mentioned, I went to them, they weren't looking for me.  And being a part of this community, seeing the issues others have with used equipment, I decided I was going to document my unboxing and setup, and let others know my thoughts.  I let MrRackables know this, and that was what they offered to me.

 

The review was honest and unbiased.  As mentioned, even though I fully recommend them, we didn't go without the minor hiccup of something being missing in the original shipment.  And along with that, if someone is willing to put in the time to find individual pieces on forums and message boards and piece their system together, they will certainly save money.

 

But with that said, of all the companies I spoke with, these guys were good.  Prompt, courteous, and a quality product.

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You cannot go wrong with supermicro chassis IMO, they are nothing but top quality and so well built they remind me of how Compaq used to build their servers back in the late 90's, like tanks (am I dating myself?) Good choice and may you have many happy years together!

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14 hours ago, ashman70 said:

You cannot go wrong with supermicro chassis IMO, they are nothing but top quality and so well built they remind me of how Compaq used to build their servers back in the late 90's, like tanks (am I dating myself?) Good choice and may you have many happy years together!

 

So far so good.  The thing is a tank!  Still pondering how to effectively house it since it's my only network device of full depth.  Any suggestions?

 

And I added a disclaimer to the initial post.  I mentioned that I have no ongoing relationship with this company, besides my support as a satisfied customer in a field where many are left frustrated.  I receive no type of residual on potential sales brought on by this thread, so if a "how did you hear about us" is asked, telling them anything you like will net the same result for me, which is nothing more than support for a good company.

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I was lucky enough to find a half rack from Startech.com so I would look around on craigslist and eBay for that sort of thing, its perfect.

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14 minutes ago, ashman70 said:

I was lucky enough to find a half rack from Startech.com so I would look around on craigslist and eBay for that sort of thing, its perfect.

 

What defines a half rack?  Is it under a certain number, like 20U?

 

The limiting factor I seem to be facing is the depth as the system is over 2 feet deep.

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Well I was using the term loosely, a full rack is 42U so technically a half rack would be half of that or 21U mine is about 15U.

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6 minutes ago, Living Legend said:

 

What defines a half rack?  Is it under a certain number, like 20U?

 

The limiting factor I seem to be facing is the depth as the system is over 2 feet deep.

Startech has a large selection of racks that would accommodate your server- https://www.startech.com/m/Server-Management/Racks/?filter_UHEIGHT_RANGE=12-26U&filter_EXTDEPTH_RANGE=Greater+Than+24+in.+(610mm).

As ashman70 pointed out though, waiting and watching eBay/Craigslist could save you a lot of money. I got a 42U APC rack for less than $100US off of eBay.

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I have to say I have gotten a few servers from them as well.

 

The only issue I have is they are a weebit slow to ship. They say its build time.

But just my 2 cents.

Great customer service though.

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How is the noise on this unit? I am considering one that will be near my main desk. 

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My own experience with the same vendor is positive. I've purchased a few 4U Supermicro chassis from them, all with 24 hot swap bays and rack rails and SAS backplanes and PSUs included.  One time they sent me the wrong outer rails to go with the chassis rails. I couldn't figure out what was happening but I couldn't get the chassis into the rack rails.  I contacted them and they said to send a photo. After I did they responded quickly to apologize for sending mismatched rails to me.  They sent the correct ones quickly with no extra charges to me.

 

So +1 for good experiences with them.  (I unfortunately haven't received any freebies - but I agree they are reputable sellers!)

 

 

 

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On 6/7/2017 at 3:57 PM, ice pube said:

How is the noise on this unit? I am considering one that will be near my main desk. 

 

I think you'll have a tough time finding many rackmount units with this power that are quiet.  It's near my main desk, and I work next to it with no issue, but that's not to say it's not noisy.  

 

It's not a loud, raspy, thunderous sound, but rather a soft drone.  I don't mind it at all.  Fans are currently running a hair under 2500 RPM.  Again, I think "noisy" is more of a subjective thing.  If you go in expecting it to be louder than your desktop PC, then it shouldn't disappoint.  It's not shake your house loud, but it's also designed for cooling efficiency rather than silent computing.  Not that I advise, but you could also modify and change out the fans to something a bit less robust.  Just be sure to keep on eye on temps.

 

Also, I can always tell when a friend is viewing my Plex, because the fans will always kick into a higher gear xD

Edited by Living Legend

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Posted (edited)

So I recently purchased a server + drives from MrRackables (aka unixsurpluscom on eBay) and wanted to share my experience.  I bought this 24 Bay SuperMicro, along with 8 6TB refurbished drives.  I decided to purchase it based on this post and after I called the # on their website and asked a few questions.  Not only was the guy super friendly but also helpful.

 

After I completed the purchased I realized it came w/ 3 LSI cards, and I had just finished reading how they need to be flashed into IT mode.  I don't like flashing cards and would prefer to avoid it.  I sent them an email and they said they would take care of it for me, no problem.  I'd also like to thank Living Legend for responding to my PM asking about his experience w/ the cards and the server he purchased.

 

The server showed up 3 days ahead of schedule (most likely because they're in California and I'm in WA), on a Friday when it was scheduled to show up Monday.  I'm sure most of you can relate, when you get a project like this showing up RIGHT before a weekend it's pretty exciting lol.  Right out of the box everything worked flawless.  I had unRAID up and running in a matter of minutes (had my USB prepped).  Then came the 1.5 day wait for unRAID parity sync.  

 

The ONLY issue I had through the entire process was the server shipped with no rails as advertised.  I sent another email, they had a few question to make sure I for sure didn't receive the rail, after I answered those they said they will ship them out.  All email responses were VERY quick and painless.

 

I am not affiliated with MrRackables in any way, nor was I compensated in any way to make this post.  I just value customer service above all else, so much so I felt I owed it to them to post my pleasant experience here.

Edited by physikal

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I just received my 12-bay Xeon server from MrRackables. Good customer service experience, and they responded to a question I had promptly. Server arrived on time, well-packed and free of obvious issues. I would take note of the following, however:

  • Make sure you research every component of the server to be sure it is compatible with Unraid. The raid controller I got was not compatible and now I am waiting for a new card, with fingers crossed that it will work.
  • Unit arrived without basic power cables - you will need your own
  • Make sure you have a monitor that can accept the old-school VGA connection. I had to buy a cheap mini display for the initial server bios config.
  • Full-depth rack mount servers are big . Make sure you have a very deep cabinet or shelf
  • These servers are noisy. At idle, it is tolerable in the same room. Bootup sounds like a hair dryer on full blast, not exaggerating.

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