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Thread: A case/enclosure for the HomeServer - need suggestions

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  1. #1
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    Question A case/enclosure for the HomeServer - need suggestions

    Hi,

    I was just wondering if anyone has a good suggestion to a case to use for a home server? There are lots of excellent server cases out there, but most of them are way too big, quite noisy and definitely not suited for me.

    I want a case which should be as small as possible, have at least room for 7 hdd's, and should be possible to keep fairly quiet. No GFX card is needed, the only extension-card I will (possibly) use is a s-ata controller card.

    Ideally the case would be a micro-atx case with 4 internal (possibly 3 internal, 1 external) 3,5" drives, two 5,25" external drive-bays (which may be fitted with one of these: http://www.chieftec.com/sst2131.html), to allow up to 7 hdd's. And it should only have quiet 120mm fans. I have been looking quite a lot, with no succes. The Antec Mini P180 looked promising, until I realized how big it really is!

    I have a limited amount of space available, thus the smaller the case is the better. The case will also be located fairly close to where I will be, thus it should be as quiet as possible. And my entire storage need will be able to fit in 6 1TB disks. When they are full (some time in 2011?) I will just buy a new case with new disks (most likely 3TB on each disk), transfer everything from the old server to the new, and sell the old one (after a proper disk-nuke). Thus I can live happily with a small-ish case. (The HP Home Server is a bit too small (only possible with two (or three disks?)), and underpowered (I plan on running zfs, thus dual-core with lots of RAM is a must-have for good performance), otherwise it would be perfect.)
    Last edited by bell; 10-22-2008 at 11:37 AM.

  2. #2
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    If you'd said size no object, I could come up with loads of options. That's a lot of hard drives to fit in a small case. I do think you might have some heat problems with that setup. However, I'd say that something like and Antec Sonata II would be worth a look. It might be too big however. And alternative would be to consider a IcyDock [1] enclosure, as that will allow a lot more HDDs in a smaller space.

    [1] - http://www.icydock.com/home.htm

  3. #3
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    If I am going to go with a mid-size tower, I think I would choose the Antec Sonata Plus 500 (I'm a sucker for Antec-cases). I already own an Antec Sonata, which I've always been happy with.

    IcyDock did have some nice enclosures with space for 4 hdd's, but they are eSata and/or USB only.

    I can't see that 7 hdd's (one a 2,5") would generate more heat than a "medium" GFX card? I think I have heard approx. 10W pr HDD, which would indicate at the most 70W. The chieftec internal enclosure I indicated comes with a (replaceable) fan. Two 120mm chassie fans including the chieftec fan ought to be enough. Thus a decent SFF enclosure should be able to handle 7 hdds.

    But I've never tested that many hdd's in a SFF, so I really don't know what I'm talking about

  4. #4
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    I've never put that many disks in a small case either. However, I did read a paper a while back, done by google on drive failure. They didn't find any correlations between temperature failure, iirc. And they were using a rather large sample base .

    This was the sort of thing I meant:

    http://www.it247.com/Product/774-SAT...rverHardDrives

    Or this:

    http://www.icydock.com/product/images/mb674spf_kit.jpg

    Which doesn't need esata, as I'm sure you just plug in the 4 connectors.

  5. #5
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    Ah, I see, it's basically the same functionality as the chieftec one I mentioned. Most likely a bit quieter, since I've never experienced chieftec as being focused on noise (or lack of it).

    That is what I have in mind to convert two 5,25" drive-bays to three 3,5" drive-bays. (I don't need an internal dvd-rom). So what i need is a case with 4 (internal) 3,5" drivebays and two 5,25" external drivebays.

  6. #6
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    If your looking for a 3-bay solution (I know your not but I thought I would mention this anyways) and don't mind giving up hot swap, I can't help but recommend this solution, deadly quiet and great airflow with it's 120mm fan which is easily replaced if failed. (I replaced mine just to get rid of the led lighting.) http://www.coolermaster.com/products...ate=65&id=2542

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    If your looking for a 3-bay solution (I know your not but I thought I would mention this anyways) and don't mind giving up hot swap, I can't help but recommend this solution, deadly quiet and great airflow with it's 120mm fan which is easily replaced if failed. (I replaced mine just to get rid of the led lighting.) http://www.coolermaster.com/products...ate=65&id=2542
    If I end up with a case with 3 bays, I might as well choose that one, thanks for the tip I'm all for cool and quiet I don't need the hot-swap, it's more a nice-to-have feature.

  8. #8
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    There are quite a few hard drive cage enclosures out there. I use a hot swap one as my server is hidden under my desk, so I need to get at the disks easily in case of failure.

    If you can (and want too), post a write up on here, I'd be interested to see how you squeeze it all in and what the temps are like. I take it you're using 7 1tb drives in a RAID array? RAID 5?

  9. #9
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    ATM I'm just using separate disks, which I'm not happy with. I want to use solaris and zfs, with a storage pool in the beginning consisting of 3 (1-1,5TB) drives, most likely using RAID-Z. I don't know too much about zfs ATM, but I'm slowly reading myself up on the subject

    When (if ever?) I'm done, I will do a write up with what hw I used, and the pros and cons of said hardware. Unfortunately, I don't have too much time to spare for fun projects like this, so this may take a while
    Last edited by bell; 10-28-2008 at 05:25 PM.

  10. #10
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    Solaris and ZFS? You are brave. I'm currently trying to shoehorn my mythtv onto a xen VM however, so I can hardly speak.

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