There aren’t a lot of articles out there on this problem, since I think it’s pretty specific. But hopefully this will help someone else out.
I recently purchased a new LSI MegaRAID 9361-8i RAID controller for a new server. It’s not going to really utilize the 9361-8i to any of its real potential, but I wanted a card that would be fast, reliable, and last for a long time. I thought the 9361-8i was going to be that, but then after installing it and booting up the system… I happened to notice that the heatsink was getting REALLY warm.
After about 10-15m of idle boot time, in the BIOS, with almost no disk activity, the heatsink was up to almost 54°C (130°F), and after a bit of use, I got a measurement of 83°C (181°F)… After noticing the heatsink temperatures, I checked the temps in the controller firmware, it was about 73°C (163°F).
That’s way too warm for my comfort level.
The specs say it can work with a maximum ambient temperature of the controller card of 55°C (131°F)… That’s not a max CPU or heatsink temperature. But, my guess is, the CPU wont like being that warm.
After doing a little more research I found that the card requires around 200 Liner Feet Per Minute (LFPM) of airflow… This is something that I would have liked to have seen in BIG BOLD LETTERS on the top of the spec sheet. But alas, the only place I’ve seen it is in random communications around the internet and from tech support.
Now to figure out how to fix the problem…
After thinking about it a bit, and bouncing a few ideas around… I decided to seriously update the airflow in my case by adding a fan to blow directly over the card. Fortunately the case I’m using (Fractal Design R5) has a side vent that will take up to a 140mm fan, which will blow directly on the card.
I ordered a high powered Noctua NF-A14 iPPC-3000 PWM fan. This fan can move 269.3 m3/h, that is a ton of air as far as PC fans go. This is also a PWM fan (4-pin), and you will want to make sure you connect it to something that supports PWM so you can adjust it. If it’s at full power, it sounds like a swamp boat! In reality, I would probably suggest going with something a little more silent and a little less “industrial”.
Once I got the fan all mounted up, and cranked it all on, temps dropped significantly. From 73°C to around 53°C (127°F).
I’m currently running the fan at about 45% power, I may ratchet it down a little bit to try and cut down the noise, as long as the temperatures stay level. This will require some playing around and if I am able to get things stable I may swap out the fan for something a little more silent, but at this point, this fan gives me a lot of range depending on the environment, etc.
I’ve also read a few things here and there about people finding small water blocks that will fit on similar cards to liquid cool them. This would be ideal, but at this point, I don’t have the rest of the parts that would be necessary to even attempt this. But at some point, I may investigate this further. Or if this is something you have accomplished, let me know!
Hopefully this will help someone out who’s also looking to use the LSI MegaRAID 9361-8i controller in a non-server environment.