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Thread: NAS / Microserver Noise

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    bored out of my tiny mind malfunction's Avatar
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    NAS / Microserver Noise

    Just thought I'd post up a few bits in case anyone's interested, as I was thinking of replacing my NAS / microserver because of noise (after moving to 7,200 RPM drives). Bit of background first:

    • Over the years my personal tolerance for noisy PC kit has significantly reduced.
    • I work from home a lot and have far too much equipment (and general crap) stuffed into the box room / my 'study' - I've had various 'escape plans' over the years but I basically don't have the space or cash to do anything about it as yet (might convert the garage over one day) so said kit is very close to my ears.
    • My 'study' is next to my son's bedroom and I work out of hours on an infrequent basis - so the need to be quiet is far greater now than it used to be.


    ...which essentially means I need smaller and quieter kit than I used to use - no more full tower cases / Thermalright SK6 heatsinks with 7K RPM delta fans just for overclocking giggles.

    As per my reader review I've largely taken care of my main PC using various low speed fans and an NZXT Grid+ V2 fan controller and I've just completed the latest (and very likely final) round of 'mods' to my HP Microserver (an original N36L), which I've had for some time:

    While running 4 * 5,400 RPM drives:

    • I replaced the noisy 1u PSU with a Pico PSU (external brick, no fans) - which made a massive difference (I think I got one of the noisy ones - seemed to be two batches / manufacturers for the PSU).


    After switching to 2 * 7,200 RPM drives - which turned the HP microserver from quiet to Ann Summers buzzy (I moved to 7,200 RPM drives as I'm using the NAS to host VM disks):

    • I replaced the standard case feet with soft 'rubber' (silicone) feet - acoustifeet - which made a big difference, far larger than I'd guessed / hoped - though that's probably because my microserver sits on a wooden bookcase.
    • Replaced the standard fan with a quieter model* which helped a bit but not a lot (I might switch to a better / slower fan later).
    • Lined every possible internal surface, plus the back and bottom external surfaces, with sound deadening (heavy self adhesive 'rubber' - butyl - sheets) - this stuff: Silent Coat 2mm Sound Deadening - which has made a massive difference.


    *in the end the simplest solution appears to be to disconnect the 4th PWM wire - then it doesn't complain about a low speed fan and shut the bloody thing down - I hacked apart a fan Y splitter rather than move the pins on the fan plug itself.


    Temps seem OK so far, despite effectively reducing both ventilation and space in the case. While running a ZFS scrub ('disk scan') the HDD temps flat lined at 40 and 41 degrees C (CPU at 47). After the scrub the HDD temps are going down fairly slowly (currently 38 / 39) and the CPU temp has gone back down to 35 C quite quickly.

    It doesn't look the neatest - I just emptied the case out and cut and stuck the sound deadening everywhere I could reach without removing all the skin from my knuckles (will post a pic or two later) - but it seems to work. No buzzing from the case; I can hear the drives seek and the fan running but the overall noise - and more importantly the tone of the remaining noise - is far better than it was. As before, this only seemed to be a problem when I switched to the 7,200 RPM drives - as you'd expect there was a lot less audible vibration and reverberation with 5,400 RPM drives.

    Pics:

    It looks pretty normal and boring from the front:



    The back and bottom look messy but you can't see them so *shrug* (note the hot glued power input socket):




    Inside looks like a shiny space dog's dinner - note that (a) some of the cables are routed through or above where the PSU used to be and (b) the Pico PSU cables are routed with the front panel (USB) cables on the right hand side of the case.



    Drives and mobo removed to show that the sound deadening really is everywhere (even under the mobo):




    The 'hacked' 3 pin Y cable:

    • I removed one half of the Y
    • Shaved off one of the guiding lugs so I can connect it to the mobo
    • Opened up the socket so that I can connect any fan with the cables in the right place (nothing swapped on the fan itself)
    • Obviously it's really important to check you've got everything connected the right way before turning it on





    If you go down the Pico PSU route note that this cable clip snags every time you put the mobo back in (you can push it out the way but I forget every time until it catches...)

    Last edited by malfunction; 24-11-2015 at 03:51 PM.

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  3. #2
    Anthropomorphic Personification shaithis's Avatar
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    Re: NAS / Microserver Noise

    Thanks for this, its something I have been considering, especially after getting a couple of Lenovo workstations to use as servers and noticing these big-boy systems were noticeably quieter then the Microservers!

    I might just go for the PSU first, didn't realise that they would be replaceable!
    Main PC: Asus Rampage IV Extreme / 3960X@4.5GHz / Antec H1200 Pro / 32GB DDR3-1866 Quad Channel / Sapphire Fury X / Areca 1680 / 850W EVGA SuperNOVA Gold 2 / Corsair 600T / 2x Dell 3007 / 4 x 250GB SSD + 2 x 80GB SSD / 4 x 1TB HDD (RAID 10) / Windows 10 Pro, Yosemite & Ubuntu
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    bored out of my tiny mind malfunction's Avatar
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      • CPU:
      • Xeon X5670 (6 core LGA 1366) @ 4.4GHz
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    Re: NAS / Microserver Noise

    I had to use an extension cable - 1 x molex to 4 x molex - to power the drive cage, but other than that a Pico PSU works fine. I've had mine for ages (even before the microserver - I used to use it in a mini ITX HTPC). If memory serves I'm using a 120W Pico PSU with a 120W external brick - something like these:

    http://linitx.com/product/fsp-12v-10...5mm-jack/13459
    http://linitx.com/product/minibox-12...copsu120/10916

    You pretty much have to disassemble the whole thing to get the cables routed and I unplugged the extra cables from the Pico PSU itself (they aren't long enough to route through neatly by themselves - easier to fit an extension to the drive cage and just connect that to one cable on the Pico PSU). I just used hot glue to hold the input jack in place at the back of the case - in one of the (empty) PCI slots.
    Last edited by malfunction; 24-11-2015 at 02:47 PM.

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    Senior Member spacein_vader's Avatar
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    Re: NAS / Microserver Noise

    There's a detailed how to on changing the fan in the original microserver at the ever-brilliant Silent PC Review.

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    bored out of my tiny mind malfunction's Avatar
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    • malfunction's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte G1.Sniper (with daft heatsinks and annoying Killer NIC)
      • CPU:
      • Xeon X5670 (6 core LGA 1366) @ 4.4GHz
      • Memory:
      • 48GB DDR3 1600 (6 * 8GB)
      • Storage:
      • 1TB 840 Evo + 1TB 850 Evo
      • Graphics card(s):
      • 290X
      • PSU:
      • Antec True Power New 750W
      • Case:
      • Cooltek W2
      • Operating System:
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      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2715H

    Re: NAS / Microserver Noise

    Quote Originally Posted by spacein_vader View Post
    There's a detailed how to on changing the fan in the original microserver at the ever-brilliant Silent PC Review.
    Yes - I tried that first but found it rather fiddly. I found it easier to use a hacked Y splitter - plus I won't have to mess around again if I want to swap the fan out for another one.
    Last edited by malfunction; 24-11-2015 at 03:55 PM.

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    bored out of my tiny mind malfunction's Avatar
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    • malfunction's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte G1.Sniper (with daft heatsinks and annoying Killer NIC)
      • CPU:
      • Xeon X5670 (6 core LGA 1366) @ 4.4GHz
      • Memory:
      • 48GB DDR3 1600 (6 * 8GB)
      • Storage:
      • 1TB 840 Evo + 1TB 850 Evo
      • Graphics card(s):
      • 290X
      • PSU:
      • Antec True Power New 750W
      • Case:
      • Cooltek W2
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2715H

    Re: NAS / Microserver Noise

    Pics added. And yes, before anyone mentions it, I probably didn't need to slap on that much sound deadening as the idea of it is to add weight to stop vibrations / reverberation - i.e. it's the weight that does it, not the coverage - but I was enjoying myself.

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    Senior Member Spreadie's Avatar
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    Re: NAS / Microserver Noise

    Interesting - thanks for the post.

    I need to get around to changing the main fan on my Microserver. Thankfully, the PSU fan is very quiet on mine.
    Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes; after that, who cares?! He's a mile away and you've got his shoes!


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