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N54L replacement for more RAM and CPU Power


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I've been slowly taking down my home lab and have finally got it down to one N54L with a P222 running 4 2TB Drives in RAID5 and soon 4 1TB SSDs in RAID 5.  However, I'm looking to go to something with a bit more RAM (currently 16GB) as I run ESX and mess with VMs.  32GB seems sensible 64GB would be nice.


I was looking at Avoton in a Silverstone DS380.  





I will probably replace the P222 with a P420.  Or I could run a 8087/8088 cable through the back.   I'd like to find a neat SFF8087 to 2-SFF8087 Lanes or more.  I don't know what it is I am looking for though.  The other option was to go up to MircoATX and use a Silverstone SG02 and use either 6bay or 4 bay 5.25 to 2.5 drive bays.  I would then swap out the 2TB drives for 2.5 drives:






My main requirements are low standby power but enough power to transcode bluray on the fly.  Previously I had a DL320e v2 but I need more disk capacity and 2.5" SAS drives don't come very large.  It was running a Xeon E3-1240v3 and 32GB of ECC.  Actually I still have it so it could be used to raid (sic) the CPU and memory from.  So in a small case and efficient PSU how about;




Still have a couple of EX490s with 4GB RAM and the Q9550S and Q8400S on board but not enough RAM - any idea where the best place to offload these for good money would be? I don't think eBay will have the right people looking,




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Never been a big fan of Shuttle. Don't hate them or anything; just thought they were overpriced for what you get, and not as small as they would have you believe.

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I want something with low electrical power consumption.  Initial cost is not too much of an issue right now.  If I switch my my drives to all 2.5's then this opens up some of the 1U chassis that have 8 2.5" bays.  I guess I can replace the P222 with a P420.  I might even be able to move over to pure SSD arrays.  The other option was to move to microatx cube case that has 2 5.25 bays and use the 4 in 1 SATA bays I detailed above.  I was rather hoping to find from other forum users a configuration that may be suitable for me.

Edited by albal
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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay so in the end I took a good hard look at my VMs and what I do and the biggest gain would be moving to SSD.  So with some shuffling of disks I now have 4 Samsung EVOs in a RAID 5 array using the P222 under VMware :-)




The P222 has an external port.  I found on ebay a SFF 8088 to 4 SATA fanout cable (the 8087 is the internal version) and coupled this with a StarTech 4x 2.5" Bay in the 5.25 Optical port.  There is just enough room and cable length to run the SFF cable under the ODD bay along the top of the pci-express RAID card and out the back through the door that covers the retaining screws for the pci-express card on the chassis.  I might do some photos later that will show this.




It has nice blue/purple LEDs - I'm thinking of swapping out the N54L Green LEDs with blue to match :-/


Currently copying over my 2.1TB VM which always takes an age under self hosted datastores on ESX so I won't be able to put this through it's paces until tomorrow evening but with the PVSCSI drivers and EVOs in RAID5 I'm hoping to break into big figures.  I guess I'm quite lucky with shrinking down my lab I had this to spare.  Currently the disk array is worth 10 times more than the N54L itself.

Edited by albal
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