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Hardware Thread, Swapping server case in Technical; One of the ongoing requests I've had from one school is to find a way to quieten their existing server ...
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    contink's Avatar
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    Swapping server case

    One of the ongoing requests I've had from one school is to find a way to quieten their existing server as noise levels at present are definitely a lot higher than is comfortable for most classes.

    All the obvious avenues have been investigated including finding a new location for it, replacing fans, etc... so I've taken a look at the only other alternative I can think of. ie: replacing the case itself.

    After a fair amount of research I've stumbled across the Antec P190 which isn't technically a server case but has all the necessary fans and compatibility for the Intel Server SE7501BR2 motherboard which is an extended ATX format.

    As far as I can see this case would probably do the job pretty well with plenty of cooling and alot of nice features like cable management behind the motherboard tray. The only thing it doesn't have is redundant power supplies (instead it has two PSU's that handle different functions: 1st for motherboard, CPU and VGA, 2nd for HD's).

    As something of a novice to server cases though I thought I'd ask for opinions on whether looks to be a good option. So far I'm pretty impressed.

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    Butuz's Avatar
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    Re: Swapping server case

    The server is in the classroom?!

    Servers are noisy because they need to be kept cool, and generally have faster, louder components.

    The antec is a good case though. Generally the bigger the fans the quieter they are for the same amount of air flow - so if your server has 4 x 120mm fans in it it will be alot quieter than a rack mount server with 8 x 40mm fans for example.

    Andrew

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    Re: Swapping server case

    Where exactly *is* the server at the moment?

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    Re: Swapping server case

    Server fans will be quieter in a cooler environment, they will be louder in a classroom as they have to work harder to keep components cool

    Are you sure there is nowhere else to put it? Havent you got a cupboard with a cabinet in it?

    A classroom is absolutly the last place I would put a server, for more reasons than just heat

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    Re: Swapping server case

    I was wondering exactly what's on this server myself, as data protection issues rear their ugly head at that point.

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    Re: Swapping server case

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    Where exactly *is* the server at the moment?
    At present the server is located under a desk in the IT lab so apologies for the confusion on the security/DP side of things. Bear in mind this is a primary school so there's no dedicated server room either.

    As to putting it in a cupboard, erm... no, that's a definite no... All the cupboards round here are not vented, couldn't really be modified as such and would result in heat build up and stressed server.

    Not to mention the fact that this school has asbestos in some places so new cabling is also a massive headache.

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    Re: Swapping server case

    When I used to do primary server installs, I always tried to locate the server in the head/admin office or the staff room. Is that possible?

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    contink's Avatar
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    Re: Swapping server case

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    When I used to do primary server installs, I always tried to locate the server in the head/admin office or the staff room. Is that possible?
    Well it's a bit of a catch 22...

    At the moment the server is too noisy and at one point started suggesting putting it in her room only to catch the steel eyed glint... so I rethought rather quickly.

    In fairness I wouldn't have it in the next room the way it sounds right now... I can't measure the thing's dB but it's so loud that whenever I've shut it off I've had people coming in from 2 rooms away saying that something is wrong/weird and then realising that it's quiet.

    The other part of the problem is that when the school was cabled they went for the old minimal "1 port per room" approach which leaves no spare sockets anywhere and there's no way I'm putting this thing on a little netgear switch to expand the sockets. Additional ports would be a headache (as noted above) and because the heads office is the other side of school.

    To be fair from a security standpoint the lab is located in the center of school so any break in would have to go through a lot of doors to get to it as opposed to a window smash and grab which would be possible if in the heads office.

    So, it's something of a trade off.

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    Re: Swapping server case

    Aside from the obvious security issues which other have mentioned, what is the main cause of the noise from the server? Is it actually the fans or is it the whirring of the HDDs, etc. If it is fans is it definately the fans on the outside of the case and not the processor fan?

    Some noise could be caused by rattling? I.e. fans go round causing chassy to vibrate slightly against the case. Have you tried cleaning the general build up of dust and muck out of the case?

    Was it this noisy from the start or only recently?

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    Re: Swapping server case

    > As something of a novice to server cases though I thought I'd ask for
    > opinions on whether looks to be a good option. So far I'm pretty
    > impressed.

    I'm very pleased with the Antec 900 case used for our backup server. It's a "gamer" case rather that a "server" case, which means you get frivolous blue glowing lights on the front rather than a serious-looking lockable front (yay! blinkenlights are back in fashion!). It has fans on the front, top, side, and back, most of which have adjustable speed controls (so you can adjust the amount of noise produced). This machine isn't actually all that quiet, but that's because we have 7 harddrives in it and are running the fans at full tilt. This case works exactly as desribed on the Antec website, so I guess the noise-reducing claims they make for the P190 should hold up, too.

    I find the fans suck up a fair bit of dust if the machine is in a dusty room (i.e. any room with grimy little /children/ in it). Don't know if it's possible to get dust filters to go over fan grills?

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    Re: Swapping server case

    Don't know if it's possible to get dust filters to go over fan grills?
    Go buy some womens tights, chop them up and stick them over the fan grills. Job done.

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    Re: Swapping server case

    > Go buy some womens tights, chop them up and stick them over the
    > fan grills. Job done.

    Excellent idea! I bet this would work for projector filters too...

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    Re: Swapping server case

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee_K_81
    Aside from the obvious security issues which other have mentioned, what is the main cause of the noise from the server? Is it actually the fans or is it the whirring of the HDDs, etc. If it is fans is it definately the fans on the outside of the case and not the processor fan?

    Some noise could be caused by rattling? I.e. fans go round causing chassy to vibrate slightly against the case. Have you tried cleaning the general build up of dust and muck out of the case?

    Was it this noisy from the start or only recently?
    It's always been this noisy.. To answer your other question though..

    The primary issue is that the case uses 80 and 90mm high volume, high speed fans which are pushing a tremendous amount of air through. Add that to some very long internal cabling and a relatively cheap case and you get a lot of noise.

    Hard drives aren't really heard above the air noise but doubtless it can't be helping.




    Overall, this topic has gone a bit all over the place with some "interesting" diversions, but unless I'm sorely mistaken it seems there's little issue with shifting to a new case or indeed the suggested choice of case.

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    Re: Swapping server case

    Different situation here, but similar with regard the noise. Our server room/IT office hosts our servers & was always very hot. I eventually convinced them that we needed air con, as I could hear the fans on the servers before I entered the building, if it hadn't been done the servers would have died. The poor IBM rack servers had got so hot that the fans stayed on full speed permanantly. Once the air con was installed the noise reduction was amazing.
    We used to have a hotswap dual PSU on our file server, but when this died & we got a new server, we didn't worry about it. It could have been a mistake, but we have had no problems so far.
    Are you sure that changing the case would solve the problem. Often CPU fans can make a lot of noise if they get dirty or the fan is failing, the same goes for system fans & these can be replaced fairly cheaply.

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    Re: Swapping server case

    Quote Originally Posted by contink
    Overall, this topic has gone a bit all over the place with some "interesting" diversions, but unless I'm sorely mistaken it seems there's little issue with shifting to a new case or indeed the suggested choice of case.
    One thing that hasn't come up, which I assume you've already taken into account - warranty issues... I'm assuming the server is no longer under warranty? If not I doubt very much that it will be after moving it to a new case yourself! Worth checking.

    Have you considered getting a properly cooled/silenced server cabinet to install it in under the desk instead?



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