I spent a good chunk of 2023 overhauling my home datacenter, which involved migrating from an assortment of consumer-grade equipment to what one might consider "real" enterprise gear, albeit a few generations behind the state-of-the-art.
This entire upgrade project followed the "if it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing" philosophy, and before the first sever builds were even completed, they had outgrown the 12 drive bays that the selected chassis offered.
I intended to populate all 12 of the 3.5 inch drive bays to create a
zpool for bulk data storage in both of these machines. This didn't leave any convenient way to physically mount additional drives, such as a boot volume or
SLOG device said
zpool. Not only that, I wanted to use mirrored SSDs for each of these devices, making for a total of four 2.5 inch drives in need of a home.
Some variants of the CSE-826 have a bracket in the rear that can accept two 2.5 inch drives. If mine had such a feature, I may have reconsidered this plan, but no such luck with my eBay finds.
I noticed that these models did have two motherboard mounting studs that were unused by my SuperMicro X10 E-ATX boards. It seemed this narrow space could fit all four SSDs in two rows, with a little bit of room to spare.
Many SuperMicro cases do not use traditional #6-32 standoffs with a screw stud on one end, and tapped hole on the other.
Instead, they use a standoff with two female threads: one thread mates with a stud permanently attached to the chassis, the other mates with a common #6-32 screw that fixes the motherboard. These are a specialty SuperMicro part,
MCP-110-00070-0N, and are apparently difficult to find.1
My chassis came with some spare SuperMicro standoffs that I could use, so the following bracket is designed with them in mind.
I came up with a 3D-printable bracket to fit in this space and use the standoff locations typically used to mount a larger motherboard.
Four 2.5 inch drives are first attached to the bottom of the bracket, lengthwise on one side, then the bracket is mounted using the proprietary standoffs and #6-32 screws. Counterbores on the bottom of the bracket accept the drives' screws and the standoffs.
Bill of Materials
|Screw, M3 x 0.25 inch||SCREWM3||8|
StarTech.com part numbers are given as an example only. These are common PC case fasteners and can be sourced from pretty much anywhere.
|Type||Filename + Description||Date||Size||SHA256|
STEP 3D Model
SSD bracket 3D model; STEP format
STL 3D Model
SSD bracket 3D model; STL format
Credit for the 2.5 inch drive model I used in the OnShape assembly goes to Printables.com user @rhodelabs, which they made available for use under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license. These 3D models of the bracket are made available under the same license.
|Type||Name + Description|
SuperMicro CSE-826 SSD bracket model and assembly
I'm pretty happy with how this turned out, taking advantage of otherwise unused mounting points in the chassis.
Originally I was considering methods of mounting 2.5 inch drives in unused expansion slots in the chassis, such as this half-height bracket, but there isn't enough clearance for them a motherboard is installed.
I was somewhat concerned about how hot the SSDs would get, given they're right next to the power supplies. Additionally, to reduce acoustic noise I'm not using the stock shroud or fan wall, so that part of the case seemed likely to be a hotspot. This hasn't been an issue, though, with the drives' temperatures staying below 40°C at idle.
"where can i find motherboard standoffs for Supermicro chassis?". ServeTheHome Forums. 2018-11-13. Retrieved October 2023. (Wayback Machine) ↩