Matx board "in" ITX case silliness

honegod

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I am currently running a 10700K on a strix z490-i "in" a lian-li pc-q33 itx case.
the Q33 has a horizontal motherboard
"in" gets quotes because I am running the case without the top, front, and side panels.
because I am running four 3.5" harddrives, using up all the sata sockets on the board, and they will NOT fit inside the case.

I have 5 more drives I want to plug in to this system.

I got a M.2 adapter that has 5 sata sockets to take care of this, but the strix board has a silly M.2 mounting scheme that makes using the card ... difficult.

it occurs to me that a Matx board will bolt onto the four Q33 mounting holes and only require a LITTLE cutting of the case in one spot.

leaving the 'bottom' pci slots hanging out unsupported.
I do not see a big problem with this, I am NOT going to be putting a 4090 into the bottom slot, there will not be a load on the unsupported span of motherboard.

a z590-M board will give me more memory capability, 4 sticks, a pci4 M.2 socket, and much happier use case for the M.2 to sata adapter.

is there a obvious silly thing I am missing that makes this a dumb thing to do ?
 

toast0

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If we ignore the al fresco case, I don't think hanging a couple empty slots off the end is a big deal. If you had substantial weight unsupported, that'd be different.

You might look for used cases on your local marketplaces and see if you can find something more appropriate. 9 3.5" drive will fit in a lot of older cases. And you might find a 'server tower' kind of case with front access caddies which is nice (even if you have to pull the electronics from the back and wire them up like a caveman cause the alignment isn't quite right like I did; still nicer to use caddies than to screw in all those drives from both side, IMHO)
 

honegod

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you can find something more appropriate
yes.
except, no.
more appropriate sure, but not... right.
I absolutely want my motherboard to be horizontal, it is a requirement.
I am big into aircoolers, and having that mass of copper and aluminium hanging from the side of the motherboard, trying to pry itself off the cpu is obscene.
I look at rack mount xU (x because even 4u is too short) but they are shaped wrong.
I like the shape of the Q33 and see it as the foundation of the computer that makes me happy when I look at it.
 

bwang

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If you are using the Q33 as a open air test bench anyway just go find a test bench style case, with an mATX board installed that case is no longer a case, it's just a piece of sheet metal with some support for your PCIe cards.
 

honegod

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that case is no longer a case, it's just a piece of sheet metal
yes.
except, I could put the top, front, and one side on right now.
leaving only the side, where the videocard is, off so the wad of sata power and data cables to the stack of drives can get there.

with a matx board in there I could cut the side panel in half and use the top half, with the cables coming out the hole where the bottom half isn't.

would 5.5 of the sides in place restore it to casehood in your eyes ?
 

honegod

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Where do you plan on putting 9 drives in a Q33?
since air cooling is a priority, I do not.
there is no way I can see to get the drives inside this case with any reasonable cooling.
I am building a harddrive housing to act as a nas only with the drives all plugged directly into motherboard sata instead of a separate computer using a network.
I like the idea of building it to sit below the Q33.
with the itx board the data cables could run right down the front, only requiring a hole in the bottom of the case to a hole in the top of the drive housing.
the matx board is longer and fills up that space at first glance, so the data cables could use the clearance at the unchanged "top" of the motherboard.
leaving the case sitting atop an aluminium box, with a motherboard sticking out the left side and missing the bottom half of that side cover.
 

bwang

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yes.
except, I could put the top, front, and one side on right now.
leaving only the side, where the videocard is, off so the wad of sata power and data cables to the stack of drives can get there.

with a matx board in there I could cut the side panel in half and use the top half, with the cables coming out the hole where the bottom half isn't.

would 5.5 of the sides in place restore it to casehood in your eyes ?
I...don't really understand why you would do this, but to each his own, I guess. There's almost certainly a way to get a computer with the styling and features you want, without having to cut holes in things, but we don't really know what you want so its hard to help.
 

honegod

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we don't really know what you want so its hard to help.
sorry, I am not great at balancing context with avoiding 'tldr'

this is a computer I have been working on since 2017, when I planned to use four 5tb 2.5" spinners in this case.
since then the capacity of 2.5" drives has not increased as far as I know.
so I started getting 3.5" drives. 14tb apiece is a worthwhile upgrade.
the only way to increase storage is to add drives to the system.
so I am looking to set up the system to handle as many drives as I eventually want.

{edit, I have the 9 drives on hand but no way to plug 5 of them in. the current drive housing design is for 12 drives, room for 3 "external" usb drives.}

the itx board has limits in this regard that the matx does not.
sort of like going from 2.5 to 3.5, it brings new challenges as the price for the benefits.

so, before I invest, and waste, effort in figuring out how, exactly, to make it happen I check here in case there is a really obvious thing I am missing that nullifies the notion.
like the 5tb limit on 2.5 or smaller drives.
 
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honegod

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you need something akin to an external NAS enclosure, but without anything complex
yes.
except that all the enclosures I see available are seriously inbred to achieve specific design goals that are NOT a priority of mine, while sadly lacking in areas that I value highly.

for instance, the drives I use are reported to be quite loud, but I used submarine stealth technology as a guide in devising the mounting method for my drives and I cannot hear them.
my mounts do not conform to industry standards and will fit in no standard enclosure, but I like them.
I have a 200mm Noctua, to replace the 140mm I currently use on the 4 drive setup, for when I move to the 12 drive array.

so the move to matx involves shattering industry design standards that I find uncompelling,
such as "thou shall have no motherboard sticking out the side of the case" .

an example of a silly mistake that might be involved is if the motherboard is DESIGNED to use the mounting pads as ground points and by having the extra matx mounts hanging freely in open air the board will not be grounded properly.
easily dealt with, but only if I know about it.
 

ND40oz

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If you're sticking drives all over the place and not in the chassis, start with this mATX case which has a horizontally mounted board and holds up to 7 3.5" drives: https://www.silverstonetek.com/en/product/info/server-nas/CS351/

Then get a LSI card with an 8088 external connectors, like a 9200-8e, so you only have to run a single cable to each of the chassis where you're putting the rest of your hard drives.

Then start sticking these on your desk as you add more drives: https://www.silverstonetek.com/en/product/info/storage/TS431S/
 

honegod

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8088 external connectors
very nice !!
the setup you describe does great at fulfilling big chunks of my vision within the limits imposed by conforming to industry standards.
I particularly like the 8088 single data wire business, that alone would clean up a LOT of cable clutter.

pro_20220329053854_5.jpg


my first thought, looking at this aspect of the CS351, is "pull the PSU and put it below the case so I can fit a beefy CPU air cooler,"
that is how my brain works, but I fear it would look petty for me to point out the mods I would want to do to make this case fit my vision.

the most superb 8088 solution looks like it needs serious computing at the drive enclosure to concentrate the data streams into the single wire, that requires a add in card in the main computer to translate what the computer at the drive end did.
the 9200-8e takes care of the computer end, a chunk of going Matx would be getting places to put such cards.
but having to run a second computer, in the drive box, is a yuuge drawback.

add in that the harddrive mounting, and cooling, in both enclosures is the crippled industry standard means I would STILL need to do major redesign to bring the new system up to MY specification.

arrogant, certainly. but it is my computer and I set the standards it must meet.
 

ND40oz

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but having to run a second computer, in the drive box, is a yuuge drawback.

There's no second computer needed, the 8088 connection is just split back out into 4 SATA/SAS connectors where ever you choose to store the drives. It's just a circuit board in the chassis doing the same thing breakout cables do but also proving power to the drives.
 

honegod

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doing the same thing breakout cables do

I have seen these style cables referred to, usually accompanied by stern warnings to beware of getting the 'wrong direction'.

so,if I got 3 four drives into one cables, 3 single connector cables, and 3 single to four sata cables.
I could plug into 12 sata drives, run 3 data cables to the computer, and plug them into breakout cables that would terminate into 12 sata plugs to plug into the 12 motherboard sata sockets ?

the power plugs are a separate issue.

that sounds too good to be true, I MUST be missing something.
 

toast0

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I have seen these style cables referred to, usually accompanied by stern warnings to beware of getting the 'wrong direction'.

so,if I got 3 four drives into one cables, 3 single connector cables, and 3 single to four sata cables.
I could plug into 12 sata drives, run 3 data cables to the computer, and plug them into breakout cables that would terminate into 12 sata plugs to plug into the 12 motherboard sata sockets ?

the power plugs are a separate issue.

that sounds too good to be true, I MUST be missing something.

Yeah that should work. Directionality is a big deal, but there's not much magic in the cables, there's 7 pins in SATA (4 data, 3 ground), and 26 pins in sff-8088 (16 data, 10 ground), so they skimped on 2 ground pins, but there's lots of options to make that work.
 

honegod

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are both forward and reverse breakout cables
fun !!

sata uses straight cables, sas uses crossover.
so using a string of 3 cables to connect sata to sata either all straight OR 1 straight and 2 crossovers should work.
the center cable decides, if it is straight the ends can be either, as long as both are the SAME.
if the center is a crossover, one end MUST be a crossover, the other end must be straight.

if that is a correct summery, translating 'crossover' and 'straight' into 'forward breakout' and 'reverse breakout' seems to be the key to getting a viable configuration.
 

honegod

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looks right

External-Mini-SAS-SFF-8088-Female-to-4-SATA-Reverse-Cable-3-768x768.jpg


6 of these, and three 8088 straight cables should do the job.
 

honegod

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since those adapters do not plug into a pcie slot, they could be integrated into a support structure below the dangly bit of the matx board, solving a big part of the 'dangly bit' objection.
 

honegod

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example of silly mistake, putting the breakout cable below the motherboard with all the sata plugs on top of the motherboard.

it looked good for keeping the pci slots open, but routing 12 sata cables around the oversize motherboard is ugly.
over the pci slots at the top of the back of the case, lets them all run along the top of the case until each is directly above its sata socket, a single 90° down bend, as clean as it gets.

to do that right, each of the 12 sata cables needs to be cut to the specific length required, like hard tube watercooling.
 

honegod

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trying to achieve understanding led me here

https://www.servethehome.com/sas-sa...8088-8470-8482-8484-single-device-connectors/


Stux September 13, 2017 At 11:54 pm
“can you take a 8087 to 4-sata cable, connect it to the motherboard. Use a 8087 to 8088 adapter to get external, 8088 to 8088 cable, then 8088 to 8087 in a drive cage, and another 8087 to 4-sata to get to the drives? Is it that easy?

Old post, but when using SATA across these cables you have to be aware of cable length limitations. SATA has a maximum length of 100cm, and each of the conversions will burn, say, 10cm of that.
If you were using SAS instead, and just SATA HDs, then the SATA length limitation only applies to the run between the final SAS device (HBA/Expander/etc) and the final SATA hd.
Also, 8087 -> 4x 7pin SATA cables come in two variants, forward and reverse breakout. One fans out from an SFF-8087 connector (say an HBA), a forward breakout cable, and the other concentrates, say from a motherboard to an SFF-8087 passive backplane (reverse breakout)

the length concerns do not seem problematic, the drive cage sits right next to the computer, so the shortest available cables would most likely be plenty long enough.

the forward and reverse definitions do nothing to help with identifying crossover or straight.
 

ND40oz

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You use a reverse breakout cable to come from your 4 motherboard sata ports to the 8087 connector. Then when you're going to the sata ports in your drive cage, you use a forward breakout cable.
 

honegod

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You use a
since a reverse, or a forward, cable is straight while the other is a crossover, as I understand it,
requiring that the two ends have both flavors implies that the 8088 single cable is a crossover.

is my understanding correct ?
if the crossover thing is the actual case what difference could there be in having either flavor breakout on either end ?
as long as the total of the cables has the right pins getting the right signal at the ends of the chain ?
 

ND40oz

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A reverse breakout cable combines the 4 sata into one 8087 or 8088 to come from the motherboard ports. A forward breakout cable splits an 8087 or 8088 into 4 sata connectors to go to your drives.
 

honegod

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no.

I do not get this.

I understand the point to be that the sas sockets are wired differently regarding the transmit and receive pins, where the sata sockets are wired the same. hence the crossover and straight cable silliness.

neither the plugs nor the wires care which direction the signals go, the only thing that counts is that the pins at each end are connected correctly.

note, please, that my definite statements, as above, are expressions of what I THINK is true, with context of WHY I believe them to be true, submitted for your valued criticism and correction.

given the above I see no reason at all for the correct cable array to NOT work installed in either direction.

this is with me looking ONLY at sata systems, sas is different and I have not given it consideration.
 
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ND40oz

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Because you're using SAS cables and potentially SAS backplanes, it's better to follow the SAS rules even though you're using SATA drives which are compatible with SAS connections. If you want to ignore them and just try stuff until it works, then you can do that as well but there may be some misconfigs depending on exactly what equipment is being used and where it is used.
 

honegod

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misconfigs depending on
Yes.

depending on my ignorance.
this depends entirely on what wires are connected to what pins, that is all I see as a variable.

the config I am looking at:

harddrive - sata to 8088 - 8088 - 8088 to sata - motherboard .

sas has nothing to do with my setup, it is the fact that the connectors can be used for sas by other people that causes this confusion.

I am forming the opinion that a 8088 cable should be reversable, with a sata style pinout.
that would let the things it plugs into do the sas rearrangement and just transparently pass the signal along.
I have yet to read anything that actually says ANYTHING on this subject.

I am thinking that I should be looking for 'source and target' descriptors rather than 'forward and reverse' for the breakout end cables.
the forward and reverse distinction seems to be a purely sas thing that does not apply to sata systems.

"SAS to SATA breakout cables of the Forward vs Reverse types."
 
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honegod

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it occurs to me that with the sas plugs having 2 different pinouts, one end should be the same as a sata socket pinout.
so one or the other, forward or reverse, should be pure sata since the sas plug has the same pinout on that end and requires no modification.
 

travm

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an example of a silly mistake that might be involved is if the motherboard is DESIGNED to use the mounting pads as ground points and by having the extra matx mounts hanging freely in open air the board will not be grounded properly.
easily dealt with, but only if I know about it.
Relax, the PSU is bonded to the case, and grounding will go through the cables. No motherboard would rely on a case mount for grounding. They might be connected to ground, but again only for bonding purposes. The ground path is through the PSU, to the wall. Not having any of the mount holes bonded to the case will make no difference, everything is still grounded just fine.
 

lopoetve

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Honestly the easier answer here is either an external thunderbolt JBOD or an external SAS JBOD and a SAS card with external ports. Not sure why you'd try to do it like you are - I just upgraded (well, bought the parts to) my TR Plex box so that it could take a Titan Ridge TB card for this exact purpose - long term, it'll get external expansion shelves.
 

travm

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yes.
a silly concern used as an example, inspired by the mounting holes being surrounded by what look like really good grounding exposed copper.
Understood. They are likely connected to ground, but they aren't "grounding". They serve a purpose known as bonding. It's similar, but not the same as grounding. It's to keep everything on the ground plane at the same potential, and is used in everything from cars airplanes to power plants.
 

Outlaw85

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https://www.newegg.com/black-cooler-master-centurion-590-atx-mid-tower/p/N82E16811119152

What about a case that supports what you are looking to do? You can lay most cases on their side to have the horizontal layout you prefer. Something like this, you are pretty much only limited by your motherboard connections. I had a similar plan as you for this case. Load up the front of it with hot swap drive bays and put it on a rack shelf. Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see what air cooler you are using that wouldn't allow some of the cases to be used.

Load the front with something like these (examples only)
cache drives in 2.5"
https://www.amazon.com/ICY-DOCK-Backplane-Comparable-Tray-less/dp/B00V5JHOXQ/ref=asc_df_B00V5JHOXQ
and the rest of the bays filled out with this
https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-Aluminum-Trayless-Mobile-Backplane/dp/B00HS23QZO/ref=pd_lpo_3

If you don't need hot-swap but want it to still look nice. I just used the internal caddy that came with it (4 bays) and added another 3 bay caddy
https://www.amazon.com/EverCool-Dual-Drive-Triple-Cooling/dp/B0032UUGF4
 

honegod

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I didn't see what air cooler you are using that wouldn't allow some of the cases to be used

I have a NH-U14S running now, with a Peerless Assassin 120 SE waiting to replace it, both of which are pretty tall for a case that puts the PSU above the CPU.

the main problem is the harddrives, I want about 13mm of clearance between each of the drives for proper airflow volume using quiet fans, NO case has this sort of clearance in its mounting solution, requiring me to fabricate my own.
 

Outlaw85

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I have a NH-U14S running now, with a Peerless Assassin 120 SE waiting to replace it, both of which are pretty tall for a case that puts the PSU above the CPU.

the main problem is the harddrives, I want about 13mm of clearance between each of the drives for proper airflow volume using quiet fans, NO case has this sort of clearance in its mounting solution, requiring me to fabricate my own.

Ohh. I might have to get me one too :) Reviews plus price is an easy win over the stock cooler i'm using now.

I just measured from the motherboard tray, it's about 177-178mm from tray to side panel. From one of the chips (not cpu) I measured about 165mm from the board to the case side. It would be a close fit. The front of the case would lend itself for some fabrication. There are 9x5.25 bays that you could do a 1:1 with 3.5 hdd's that will give you your 13mm spacing. The bracket I have (cooler master I think) is just that. but it doesn't allow for much airflow between the drives. Here's a few pic's for reference.

20221209_171152.jpg20221209_171216.jpg20221209_171424.jpg20221209_171436.jpg
 

honegod

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There are 9x5.25 bays that you could do a 1:1 with 3.5 hdd's that will give you your 13mm spacing.
yes.
I like how the 5.25 gives room for my rubber mounting setup at the "sides", too.
noted.
thank you for the new, useful, viewpoint.

a ATX with the PSU beside it is much too wide though, the same problem I have with the rackmount cases.
 

Outlaw85

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yes.
I like how the 5.25 gives room for my rubber mounting setup at the "sides", too.
noted.
thank you for the new, useful, viewpoint.

a ATX with the PSU beside it is much too wide though, the same problem I have with the rackmount cases.

Fair enough. I thought the width was ok (misread the rackmount part wrong). I can relate to space savings though. My last case was a fractal 304. I'm still considering downsizing the new system into something similar.
Are looks a concern? What about something more custom with extruded aluminum? You could put panels on it as well if desired or run it open like the test bench ones.
1670633806975.png
 
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