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Hot!EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread

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pyrebuilder
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2020/12/24 11:49:50 (permalink)
Hello everyone!
 
So I've had an EVGA SR-X for a while now, I bought it on pre-order, held it unused for two years or so, finally finished the build, and used it as a personal rig for a while with one CPU.
 
During this period, I bought a server rack, put it in my house, and found an old Dell 2970 which I crammed full of RAM and ran ESXi on, hosting minecraft servers, discord & mobile game bots, and learning how to host and network, even without a static IP.
 
I upgraded my SR-X with 64 GB of RAM, two 8 core CPUs, and was rocking this setup (Attached image), beyond powerful for an occasional gamer and 3D designer.
 
Then, the Dell 2970 (as is the predictable case with an ancient server) started crashing. Power failure issues, overheating issues, etc. So I had a choice. Continue using a server as my personal PC for no reason, or get it in the rack ASAP.
 
So I drilled out all the rivets for the Rosewill case, mashed it down to 19" (I didn't realize 19" was from mounting hole to mounting hole on a rock, not the distance in between the mounting rails) riveted it back together, swapped out the reservoir for a bay one, and got it into the rack (Had to remove the side, and one of the rails to get it in there, it was a CHORE)
 
And it works. This beast functions well, and it hosts everything I need it to host without complaint. However, there are two big problems with it:
1. The radiator is crammed in there with bad ventilation, the machine can't be removed without an hour of disassembling the rack, and the case was simply not designed to be a server at all.
2. I can't remote manage the power/RAID/motherboard functions.
 
The second one, I dunno. Can't solder an iDRAC controller on there. But the first one? I've got a dremel, a pop rivet gun, a 3D printer, and I like planning out long term projects.
 
So I tore apart the Dell 2970, down to bare metal. I need to remove some rivets, and then it'll be an empty box with 17.5" by 26" of empty space inside. This is exactly wide enough for a power supply and the SR-X, I believe. So I'm going to design and slowly build a new 4U server chassis on the base of this 2U Dell POS server. That's the plan. My next post will contain the current machine's state image, and some sketches I've made of the potential new design.
 

 
--Pyrebuilder / Erica
She/Her please. Thanks.
 
 
 
 
post edited by pyrebuilder - 2021/01/07 11:56:14

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#1

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    rjohnson11
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2020/12/25 03:40:16 (permalink)
    Looking forward to this. 

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    pyrebuilder
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2020/12/25 09:06:09 (permalink)
    So, after I got so excited yesterday, I re-measured the Dell 2970 case. It's 16 5/8" wide, not 17". So this plan will require a little more fenangling!
     
    With the PSU overlapping the motherboard, however, and set back from the back of the case, I think I can make this work. Here's the current plan:
    Bezel and front design (first draft)

     
    Internal rough draft done in Sketchup because I am fastest with it, when producing actual 3D printed parts, I'll be using Blender. (Removed image for newer version below)

     
    For the internals, we have roughly half an inch overhang of the PSU aboveand over the motherboard, and I will have to modify the CPU1 left power distribution heatsink for the radiator to fit back there, most likely.
    In this design the Reservoir (white block with round bit) would be mounted to the side of the case with quick disconnects hanging precariously over the CPU0 socket. Also one big weakness is that it only has .01" between each HDD, to fit all 16 of them (WD drives are a full inch thick, Seagate would be thinner but I already own several WD ones) I might consider cutting it down to 14 3.5" drives, and 10 SSDs instead of 12, for better spacing and ventilation.
     
    Parts list to make this design work:
    Sheet metal parts - bridge over top of the 3.5" drives, sides to bring up to 4U, back panel, PSU mount, PSU inset, lid.
    3D printed front section parts - 16x 3.5" HDD trays, 32 3.5" track/dividers, 12x 2.5" SSD trays, 24x 2.5" track/dividers, Screen/button/IO panel, side latch attachments, Bezel
    3D printed body parts - 4x fan holders, radiator shroud/mount, cowls to direct air around reservoir and PSU
    Bolts - Long bolts to hold together HDD track sections, bolts for holding fan brackets/cowls/radiator mount down.
    Plugs - 2x 24 pin plug for RAID card LED connectors, 2x 12 pin plug for RAID screen/etc connectors, SATA plugs to mass-power and bulk plug 2.5" drives
    PCB - Custom make/order 3 PCB for linking 2.5" drives for power and plugs, possibly a PCB for LED connectivity
    Bits & Bobs - 28 green, 28 red mini LEDs. 2 normal sized LEDs, 2 buttons, 1 LED segmented screen
    Hardware - RAID card, 4x SSDs for primary VM RAID
     
    Existing hardware list:
    EVGA SR-X - 2x Xeon E5-2687W, 64GB ECC RAM running VMware ESXi 6.7 evaluation version
    Primary storage RAID - 10 2TB HDD (only 4 currently plugged in due to space limitations)
    Primary VM host RAID - 4 1TB SSDs
    extra drives - 500 GB SSD, 4x 500GB HDD raid as temp
    LSI MegaRaid which can't be managed without restarting the entire machine
    super cheap simple GPU
     
    Problems with this first draft that may require changes:
    Mounting for Radiator will be a huge pain and require motherboard modding. I may switch to only 2 fans on the Radiator, and squeeze the radiator in just in between the heatsink and the IO plug blocks.
    HDD spacing is poor
    Reservoir is just bad in general, it might be best to manufacture my own and use an old pump I have instead.
    I've never done this much sheet metal work and don't have the tools, I'll have to learn quickly and make it work.
    I've never designed a PCB even though I've done wiring, it would be easier to just plug these all in individually and deal with a mess of wires, but it wouldn't be the right way to do it. The "right" way to do it would be to have the RAID card plug from miniSAS plug to miniSAS plug directly, and have a PCB that has the miniSAS plugs, SATA plugs spaced properly for the hard drive trays, LED headers, and LED screen headers all built in. I'm thinking doing it halfway would be enough. Do all the power and Sata for the small drives would be enough. We shall see.
     
    Hope you all enjoy my planning stages!
    post edited by pyrebuilder - 2021/01/07 11:57:02

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    pyrebuilder
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2020/12/25 12:52:31 (permalink)
    After some additional designing, I've reached a new series of decisions:

    The reservoir will have to be a newly designed one, for the sake of airflow, and it'll go on top of a pump (teal) there will be 14 HDDs (orange) and 10 SSDs (blue)
    The radiator will need to be mounted with only two fans, and it'll be far enough over towards the wall, that the PCIe slots will need to be extended with ribbon cables to connect the RAID card and GPU, since right now it'll be very very close to covering all but one PCIe slot (Though the radiator here is a guess on the actual design, since the radiator is inside of a functioning server at the moment)
    The white pieces (and the entire back panel) are sheet metal pieces that will have to be manufactured.
    Now I need to decide if I want to mount the RAID card on the wall or somewhere else.
    post edited by pyrebuilder - 2021/01/07 11:57:22

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    pyrebuilder
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2020/12/28 17:03:45 (permalink)
    As promised, here's an image of what the server currently looks like:

    So, as you can see, it's a zip-tied together mess with poor airflow and barely any drive space.
     
    Now, I spent today disassembling the old Dell 2970 case, resulting in a clean slate:

     
    The back panel was a folded up section of the bottom, needing some dremel work, but now at least we have an empty box.
    I've ordered an HPTX motherboard tray, a low powered PSU, and the RAID card (I switched to a SATA III card with 16 ports that I think will work better) and when they arrive I can play jenga with the parts to see how they look.
    post edited by pyrebuilder - 2021/01/07 11:58:00

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    pyrebuilder
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2020/12/30 12:48:39 (permalink)

    I spent a good bit of time today learning how to design a PCB! So here is my first PCB ever.
    This would allow each SFF-8087 cable to be broken out into it's SATA ports, LED port, and I could expand as needed with each new SFF-8087 connector getting a new breakout. This also allows me to use the one piece SATA plug and mount them to the frame, then plug them into these breakout boards. I'm going to need to design the 3D printed rails and brackets very carefully to allow the HDDs to align properly, and I'll have to experiment with the LED leads, as currently there's no clear marking in the pinout as to which LED leads are to indicate activity for which drives.
     
    post edited by pyrebuilder - 2021/01/07 11:58:19

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    DEJ915
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2020/12/31 09:52:57 (permalink)
    The photos besides the first post don't seem to be showing for me.
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    Cool GTX
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2020/12/31 10:01:37 (permalink)
    DEJ915
    The photos besides the first post don't seem to be showing for me.




    seems to be locked/ restricted by google ?
     
    I like to use Imgur as a free photo host
     
      Just remember to  "right click" - on the photo in your Host site  & "copy image location" ... then use the posting tool --> Insert/ Edit Image (kind of looks like a picture frame)

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    pyrebuilder
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2020/12/31 11:57:09 (permalink)
    Sorry about that, I was using google drive and trying to make it fully available, I'll edit everything to attach photos instead of embed.
     
    edit - I've attached all but one of the images, so they should be visible as attachments now. Thank you for letting me know, DEJ915, and Cool GTX I'll look into Imgur, thank you.
    post edited by pyrebuilder - 2020/12/31 12:05:16

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    rjohnson11
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/01/07 11:33:49 (permalink)
    I can't see the photos

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    pyrebuilder
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/01/07 11:59:25 (permalink)
    *Insert the unholy screeching of frustration when I am forced to use Imgur no matter what I do*
    Ok, made an Imgur account, walked an hour to get cell signal, activated it, uploaded images, and added them to the posts.
     
    Pleaaaase tell me you can see them now?

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    pyrebuilder
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/01/09 07:54:07 (permalink)
    Here's the latest news!
    I got my PCBs from JLCPCB, they look beautiful and were affordable, I can't actually solder connectors to them until I get those connectors (naturally) but I'm hoping those come in soon.

     
    Also, I got a few more pars! The RAID card (Areca ARC-1264IL-16) two PCI-e x16 extensions, a motherboard tray (that I cut short on one side to fit), and a PSU (not for this build) that I can use to measure the placement, which isn't looking the best. I may need to rearrange things to fit the PSU in there, we will see. It's a little taller than the 4u size, once the mobo tray is in there. I'll likely need to either put the PSU only a fraction of an inch above the mobo, or turn it sideways, which will reduce space for the radiator.
     

     
    My next step will be designing the HDD tray/faceplate pieces, hard drive brackets and tracks, and any metal pieces within those areas.

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    pyrebuilder
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/01/11 10:56:28 (permalink)

    I soldered two of these by hand (no reflow oven) and will test them before I solder the other three.
     
    In addition, I've been struggling with the layout of the interior, and I think I've found my solution, to make sure there is adequate spacing for the motherboard, power supply, and other components.'

    With this layout, the radiator would be before the motherboard, with airflow pulling the heat out the back over the top of the motherboard.
    This would also increase PCI-e card capacity to 4, two vertical direct into the motherboard, and two on extension cables laid down under the fans.
    I've also taken the time to make the pretty front design in 3D!
     

    I really really should switch to using Blender, but I'm so much more experienced with Sketchup, and I can import the file to Blender later to refine.
    There would be a main bezel with a lock on the right side, and then a bezel section behind that which holds a filter into the bezel, to pre-filter the air.
    I've designed a first draft of the 2.5" drive bracket, but need to design an enclosure before I can print and test the fit/durability of both.
    I'm also considering removing the LCD from the design, leaving just the USB and LED/buttons, and adding 5 more 2.5" drives to the design. Even if they aren't filled currently, that would allow for expansion later on.

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    pyrebuilder
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/06/24 12:34:18 (permalink)
    Alright, so it's been a while!
    In the interim, I've acquired a Dell R540, an MD3200i datastore, and I've come to the conclusion that this beast doesn't need to have hard drives in it. Maybe some SSDs, but I want to try and fit it into a 2u case, which completely changes the game I'm playing.
     
     
    My current 2 issues are:
    The PSU is half an inch too tall
    The bottom of the case is covered in mounting holes and slots.
     
    Current things to do:
    See if mounting mobo directly to case is possible.
    Disassemble PSU to see if I can make it function while open.
    Find a solution to seal all the holes in the bottom of the case.
    Redo the 3d model as 2u and redesign the front of the case, so I can 3D print parts.
    post edited by pyrebuilder - 2021/06/24 12:45:54

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    pyrebuilder
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/06/24 14:28:24 (permalink)
    Okay, so after some work, the power supply will be just fine with the case off, I can modify it to fit pretty easily and make a small cover to shield it and direct airflow. The back part of it with the AC plug also comes off, and I know how to make an extension to the wire that connects it to the rest of the PSU, so I'll use the backplate from the PSU for part of the back of the case.
     
    The radiator fits well, but now I have a new sticking point. The pump/reservoir combo is just barely too large for the lid to fit onto the case. So I have a few options on how to handle this, I could cut into the case quite a bit to make it fit, or I could shave down the top and bottom of the reservoir to make it fit properly. I'll debate this, but most likely go with the second option, to maintain case integrity.
     
    The motherboard fits, of course, as will the HBA card and GPU, looking good so far!

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    Blitzzwar
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/07/12 20:42:03 (permalink)
    Damn! That case is huge. 
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    rjohnson11
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/08/10 02:46:02 (permalink)
    Any further updates or pictures?

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    pyrebuilder
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/08/12 12:49:51 (permalink)
    Here we gooooooo
    Thank you, rjohnson, for checking in with me and motivating me to make a post, sometimes life drags us down hehehe
    So! Here are the images of me crafting the back-end enclosure. It's heat-moldable hard plastic which I used a wood-burning tool to cut and bend.



    So as you can see I have my new radiator, new reservoir (used an old pump for it) and it's progress!!!!
    Next part of the process:
    I will be cutting holes in the black plastic, fitting the power, IO, and PCI slots to it.
    I also may buy another PCI extension cable, so the GPU could be mounted elsewhere, and the two PCI slots could be for the Datastore HBA and an ethernet card to give myself some more ports!
    Then, after that I will be trimming the black plastic with aluminum channel, which will strengthen it and also make it look pretty!
    The black plastic I will be cutting back on the top once I know where the top cover will slide on it, and probably adding hinges as well, so that it's less obstructive and can be swung up for maintenance.
    To attach the motherboard tray to the case, I'm planning on using rivets from underneath to secure the black plastic to the case, then epoxying or otherwise securing mounting standoffs to the black plastic. All of this is to prevent the many holes in the standard case from letting air leak out.
    Also, I'm thinking about paying someone to laser-cut and etch the airflow cover out of clear acrylic I have on hand, then lighting it with good ol RGB to give it a gamer feel to honor EVGA.
    The back of the case, if it ends up not having enough airflow opportunities, will have more holes or sections of mesh added to the hinged part of the black back-cover.
    The power supply will be shielded with mesh, and the cable management for the power cables may require that I make custom length cables at some point, which I've done before.
     
    The front assembly, power button, USB, bezel, etc will all need to be designed in Blender and 3D printed in sections by myself, to make sure everything fits properly.
     
    The end server will only have a couple SSDs in it, which will be mounted internally, since it's primarily a compute server with a datastore, but the datastore doesn't have SSDs in it. (Unless someone wants to toss me $500 for an MD1220 extension and $1000 for three 2TB Dell official SSDs lol)
     
    But for now, progress is being made!
     
    Edit: I can't think of a better way to mount the radiator than double sided super strong sticky tape. Every other option I can think of would involve screws through the bottom of the case and a carefully crafted bracket. Any thoughts?

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    Cool GTX
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/08/12 12:53:58 (permalink)
    nice update

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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/08/13 02:14:00 (permalink)
    You're a bit of a mad scientist type, eh?
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    pyrebuilder
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/08/13 10:31:52 (permalink)
    Hah! Yes, yes I really am!
    Update:
    Last night I played around with the top cover and the black plastic and how they fit together.
    It's uuuhhhh not optimal.
    So I'm probably going to be redesigning it a bit, either removing the top surface of the black plastic and extending the back of the lid, or some other solution.

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    pyrebuilder
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/08/20 14:09:04 (permalink)
    So I removed the top flap for now, and here's my plan for the back end layout. May change but I managed to fit a fan in there for additional airflow, though it may just be mesh instead depending on everything's fit.
    The GPU is going to be on a longer ribbon cable, back in the middle of the case with an HDMI extension. The two PCI slots will be taken up with an ethernet port module and an HBA for the datastore.
     



    I've ordered the HDMI extension and the ribbon PCIe cable, and I'm thinking about reshaping the backend by using aluminum angle as connective edging and instead of having split sheets that reduce the structural strength of the backend.
    This would mean that the bending and heat-shaping of the sheets was a waste of time, but it's always better to do it right than to be overly invested in old work, and refuse to improve.

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    XrayMan
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/08/21 00:52:33 (permalink)
     
    Getting there.   

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    #23
    rjohnson11
    EVGA Forum Moderator
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/08/21 01:38:37 (permalink)
    Looking quite interesting so far.

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    #24
    mjmonckton
    New Member
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    Re: EVGA SR-X server rebuild build thread 2021/09/11 19:00:05 (permalink)
    thats busy!

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