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16-plus terabyte small form factor PC

Computers & Mobile Workshop

Will Urbina built a 16+ TB computer inside of a SFF case (the mobo is a Quanmax Industrial KEEX-2030 Atom 3.5″). I found the two-part video both fascinating and a tad over-long. I do love watching fabrication vids like this, especially when it involves tools and processes with which I’m unfamiliar. This was a sponsored vid, by NewEgg, Crucial, and others. Maybe Rigid too, as most of the main tools in his shop are Rigid.

Black Dwarf

18 thoughts on “16-plus terabyte small form factor PC

  1. Alan Parekh says:

    What a nice video, the camera work is fantastic and a cool looking end result. I was cringing when the grinder sparks were hitting the drives though, I was just imagining all the small metal pieces that were finding their way behind the circuit board just waiting to introduce future gremlins.

  2. Simon says:

    Nice! I was going to comment on MIG welding with drives in place until I realised they were dead drives just for fabbing with. I would cringe about the sparks going on the VW in the background. Having worked on cars and had hot sparks melt into the glass I know how annoying that can be!

  3. japroach says:

    Comment about ridgid on youtube: “TTI is the company that manufactures ridgid tools who I noted as a sponsor. Their terms required me to use the tools for something awesome.”


  4. phm says:

    I get the feeling that Will is a “shoot from the hip” kind of guy. Truly unique work.

  5. mikeiver says:

    I saw the TTI commercial. LOL

    The guy really worked them for some stuff. Personally I prefer Milwaukee tools to the Rigid stuff. By the way, Milwaukee is also a TTI brand as well.

    I have to ask how he plans to cool that mess of drives in that tight a stack. The sparks were nice but I would bet you all that the drives were not those that were “Donated” to the build and were instead just old form factors for the mock up.

    Gets the gears spinning though on what you can get a company to throw at you. I will have to ruminate on that for a bit.

    1. japroach says:

      What his plan appeared to be: he put air vents on the bottom of the case, the fan blows out. This way, cool air comes up into the case, travels up between the hard drives, then out.

      and yes, they were old HDDs as simon already pointed out.

  6. Norman says:

    Watched this several times. Agree with the comments made so far and I assumed that these were dead drives anyway.
    What I’m still puzzled about though is just how were these drives connected to the motherboard?
    Suppose I wanted to use these in a non-RAID configuration?
    RAID (any form of RAID) does carry risks which are never written about, several of these result in data loss with no chance of re-building, there are better options involving multi backup which is easily transferred to another computer. Been using this method for many years.
    Has it’s downsides also, but best for my purposes.
    Might be obvious to someone, but I can’t for the life of me see or find any connection details and I have looked at the motherboard used, manufacturers information on this board is very sketchy, it’s also pricey. All the rest is obviously all mechanical forming and undoubted skill.

    What am I missing – no guesses please – what did he do to connect?

  7. mikeiver says:

    Well, power is easy and you can buy IDC style power connectors and cable to make a power strip to connect directly to a ribbon bus.

    Since the unit doesn’t have 8 SATA connectors there are a couple of options. The first is a SATA port multiplier. One in and four out. Since the board has a pair of ports this will work just fine.

    Second option is to use a basic 8 port RAID card with a 4X PCIe interface.

    The video I watched was shy on details. I suspect that it won’t be an elegant solution. The build seemed more of a kludge to me than anything. Then again I come from a metal fabrication background so it is not that bad for a garage hack.

    I know you didn’t want guessing but… I figure an informed guess is better than no info at all. Take it or leave it, YMMV.


  8. Gareth Branwyn says:

    The details of the build can be found on the Black Dwarf link in the post. He used a HighPoint Rocket RAID 2680 8 Port Sata/SAS controller.

    And those were dummy drives during the case construction, so no HDDs were harmed in the making of this video.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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