My homelab consisted of the following equipment:
- .5u 24 port CAT6A patch panel
- 24 port Ubiquiti beta switch
- Unifi Pro Router
- Dell MD1200 DAS device
- Dell R710 server
The MD1200 was my weakest link when it came to noise, and with the location of the server rack being directly under my future son’s room, I had to quickly find a replacement. I looked to the homelab discord for recommendations on what my options were, along with posting to Reddit. One of the users on discord suggested I pick up a Supermicro chassis and put in some fan mods. This lead me to search craigslist where I found someone in Illinois selling a fully built and programmed Supermicro chassis with a JBOD setup. This was a replacement for the MD1200, and it gave me the ability to open up the chassis to throw quiet fans inside. I picked up some Noctua 80mm fans x 3 and drove out Saturday to meet the guy (4 hour round trip). When I got back I was amazed at how easily I swapped these two devices. I first started by opening up the Supermicro chassis and adding the Noctua fans.
After I had set the Super micro chassis in place I realized I made a mistake; I had forgotten to test if the fans actually spun up when I powered up the device. I set my hand over where the fan shroud should be and listened to verify that the fans were actually spinning. One thing to note for anyone who is going to do this is that the fan casing that comes stock doesn’t fit the Noctua fan, which is why I have it mounted on the side closer to the drives. When the new chassis is powered up, it’s next to silent. It’s quieter than every other device in the rack. The swap was super easy too. Just had to swap the drive trays from the md1200 to the new chassis and plug her in. No difference in configuration either. For anyone that is interested, the exact case I used is here. They have a newer case that has 5 fans, for additional airflow, however that would require replacing two more fans and have the added noise.