Putting together an "HL16"

Hello fellow datahoarders!
My current NAS features an array of 8x 3.5’’ drives. Ideally I’d like my next NAS to host a total of 16 drives so I can have another 8x, but with the HL15, I’m one shy of this goal.

I don’t mind getting creative-- I was thinking about sacrificing some of the PCI slots and mounting the drive against the left side of the case but I don’t have a good way to take any of these measurements.

  • Does this case physically have room for a 16th drive anywhere?
  • Is there a free cable off the Corsair 750e for powering it?
  • Any issues with connecting to a 16th drive off the HBA?

Thanks everyone!

Assuming you are talking about the full build.

  • Does this case physically have room for a 16th drive anywhere?
    Yes, above the CPU. People are mainly mounting 2.5" SSD drives there, but you could probably devise a 3.5" HDD bracket mount. There are four screw holes on the back mesh over the I/O plate not present on the pre-production unit/image.

  • Is there a free cable off the Corsair 750e for powering it?
    The RM750e is a modular supply and you get the extra cables not used for the build which include SATA power. Whether the PSU has enough headroom to actually power the 16th drive probably depends on the specific drives you are using and their amperage draw. You might have to upgrade the PSU, but would probably be ok.

  • Any issues with connecting to a 16th drive off the HBA?
    For the full build the X11SPI-NCTPF motherboard is the HBA. It has two SFF-8087 and two SFF-8643 connectors that are connected to the 15-drive HDD backplane. You can’t easily use the 16th SATA channel from those connections. There are two other SATA connectors on the motherboard, though, so you could plug the 16th drive into one of those.

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Ziptie it to the PSU if that fits.

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Really appreciate the responses, thanks for this.
Behind the CPU isn’t a bad idea, bit worried about heat getting blasted at the drive in that location from the CPU, especially if I put a fan on it.

Ziptied to the PSU might work too.

I’m thinking a third option actually-- a PCI bracket mount like this
https://www.amazon.com/Drive-Holder-Mounting-Bracket-Adapter/dp/B0BZ1D7CN2/

Maybe with some foam under the drive for extra stability? I’m sure that single screw that connects the holder to the rear of the case can’t be enough to keep everything stable.

Another question while I’m here-- if I decide to build this out, will this chassis have major issues with a mATX motherboard rather than an ATX? I see a comment in the FAQ about eATX motherboards but nothing about mATX

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The PCI bracket should work. There is about 2 inches above the top of the PCI screw area and the bracket requires 1 inch. If you will use the case horizontally/racked, I doubt you would need extra support. If you will use the case vertically you might. The cutout in the HL15 case to catch the tab at the bottom of the PCI backplate isn’t very deep. I’d be more worried about the drive moving side-to-side in the case than it falling onto the motherboard. I think it will make two PCIe spaces unavailable, unless perhaps there is enough space on the right hand side under the power button.

There isn’t enough space to put a 3.5" drive between the PSU and the lid.

Micro ATX is fine. It has standoffs for that and of course is smaller than ATX. The eATX issue is that the motherboard area is only slightly bigger than an ATX board, so a few boards that are just, say, 3/4" or something larger than ATX will fit, but things like the Supermicro eATX boards that are 12x13 inches won’t.

If you are just buying the case or case/psu and bringing your own motherboard then I don’t understand your question about the HBA. You will need to provide your own HBA. It will need to support 16 SATA channels to the backplane (you effectively lose one) and you’ll connect the 16th drive to a SATA port on the motherboard.