Today I get another Supermicro SC846 4U Chassis for my Homelab.

Two months ago, one my friend wanted a dual-CPU motherboard for an old workstation setup and asking for my opinion. I replied if you need a second-hand server board it’s better to buy a barebone with a chassis to avoid repaired parts. So we bought a chassis with a Supermicro X9DRI-LN4F+ motherboard delivery to my friend’s place, and he keeps the motherboard, and I take the chassis. The system arrived in one week, but I was not going to take my chassis due to Coronavirus.

Finally today I clean up some space on my rack and pick up this 20kg metal box from my friend’s storage.

This chassis is a Supermicro SC846 4U chassis OEM for Inspur – Chinese server manufacture, as the I bought this server in China. Besides there are several Chinese stickers on the outside of the box and Supermicro logo is replaced with Inspur logo on right server handle, there are no different to any Supermicro chassis. There are Supermicro marker and part number everywhere inside.

The first look is the chassis is in excellent conditions. The top of HDD cage, chassis door and chassis handle was protected by original plastic film, all surface is shine without rust or dust. Beside of reasonable marks, there is one visible dent on top of HDD cage.

The recent model of CSE-846 may come with three Nidec 7000 rpm fan (FAN-0127L4) with 72.5 CFM and 53.5 dBA in the middle and two Sanyo Denki 6700 rpm fan (FAN-0125L4) with 59.6 CFM and 47 dBA at the exhaust, but my configuration have five Sanyo San Ace 80 6700 rpm fans. Those fans are very loud at any configurable speed and not suitable in any home office environment, so I will replace them with much quieter Noctua fans.

My chassis comes with a SAS846EL1 backplane, which is a very old SAS 1 backplane with only 12Gbit/s (4 lines x 3 Gbit/s) uplink to the controller, which will be probably replaced by direct plane or SAS 2 plane. I have summarised all backplane for SC846 chassis in this post.

Drive Tray
There are 24 Gen 5.5 hot-swap 3.5 hard drive trays (MCP-220-00075-0B) come with this chassis. As always Supermicro drive tray is ugly, I don’t like the wave design, and the small tray handle makes it difficult to pull drive out. The Gen 6.5 tray (MCP-220-00094-0B) has a much better look and handle design, but cost a fortune (RRP US$ 887.76) to replace all of my 72 trays and additional time to screw all the hard drives.

On the other hand, compared to most HP and DELL tray, most of Supermicro drive tray has much large hole, allow more airflow to go through the hard drive. Also, all of them includes plastic dummy hard drive, which allows airflow to go through the hard drive and preventing airflow bypass from the empty drive bay.

Lucky the chassis includes an internal drive tray (MCP-220-84603-0N), it is expensive (cost US$ 29.99 brand new), and very hard to find in China.

Power Supply
Chassis support redundant power supply, but only one 900W power supply (PWS-902-1R) come with the package, it’s load and not 80 Plus certified. All of my chassis come with this type of PSU, but I replace with much quieter 920W PSU with SQ (PWS-920P-SQ).

On Rack
Installed with 4U Rail Kit (MCP-290-00057-0N) on the rack. The Supermicro rail looks thin, but very well made, easy to install (no tool or stupid cage nuts required). It’s a ball-bearing rail, I can easily pull a full load server all the way out.

Finally, looks great with other servers. I left 1U between server for better cooling, and avoid a collision when I pull out the server.