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Home server/Case guide

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A short list of cases to stuff your drives in. If you have any good recommendations post them in the /hsg/ thread or create an account and add it to the list you lazy fuck. Rackmount cases are also welcome. If you own, or have owned one of these cases feel free to write a short review about what you like and dislike about the case. I will try to add as much detail to the pros and cons list as possible, especially anything that would help people avoid unfortunate surprises.

Consumer cases

6 or Less Drives⠀

Image Name Number of 3.5in drive bays Number of 2.5 in drives bays Supported Form Factors Pros Cons
BitFenix Phenom Mini ITX.jpg
BitFenix Phenom Mini ITX 5+1 (use included adapter for 5.25 bay) 0 ITX
  • Compact
  • Surprisingly large storage capacity for size
  • Decent cable management for the size
  • Supports large expansion cards/gpus and cpu coolers
  • Harder to find (might be discontinued?)
  • Limited to ITX only
  • Pricey (over 200USD on newegg at time of writing) Try to find used
  • Limited expandability, only two expansion slots
Cooler Master Elite 110.jpg
Cooler Master Elite 110 3 1 ITX
  • Compact
  • Good airflow from the large intake fan
  • Good price (50USD)
  • Good build quality for the price
  • Limited storage
  • Limited expandability, only two expansion slots
  • Limited to ITX only
  • Cramped, wiring might be a pain
  • Limitations on expansion card length
  • PSU sticks out the back, might be annoying for some
Fractal Design Core 500.jpg
Fractal Design Core 500 3 3 ITX, DTX
  • Good price (50USD)
  • Shape allows for longer expansion cards than other SFF cases
  • Mini ITX, Mini DTX motherboard compatibility
  • Limited storage
  • Limited expandability, only two expansion slots
  • Limited to small form factor motherboards
  • Motherboards with SATA ports that are angled 90 degrees may conflict with installation
  • As large as the node 304, but supports less 3.5in drives
  • Wiring can be a bit difficult if you put an optical drive in the included 5.25in bay
Fractal Design Node 304.jpg
Fractal Design Node 304 6 0 ITX, Thin Mini ITX, DTX
  • Surprisingly large storage capacity for size
  • Shape allows for longer expansion cards than other SFF cases
  • Supports Three SFF form factors, ITX, thin ITX, DTX
  • Limited expandability, only two expansion slots
  • Limited to small form factor motherboards
  • Larger than most other ITX cases
Cooler Master N200.png
Cooler Master N200 3 4 mATX, ITX
  • Good price (40-50USD)
  • Reasonable wiring options
  • Limited storage
  • Very large compared to other options in this category
Chenbro SR301.jpg
Chenbro SR30169T3 4 2 Mini ITX
  • Looks absolutely sick
  • Very high end construction, just a scaled down version of what you'd expect from a rack mount vendor
  • Hot swap bays are legit, no chinky plastics or "tooless"
  • Autistic airflow route favours keeping drives cool over everything else (average 30C idle temp of 4x 10TB non-helium drives)
  • Expensive AF (100+ USD)
  • As supplied, there are holes at the top and backplane of the drive bays which creates a infinite loop of hot air (fixed with sticky tape)
  • Not suitable for >100W TDP chips
  • Extremely painful serviceability, you need to take the MB out to get the PSU out unless your cooler is under 35mm, the ducted 120mm fan is the last to go in first to come out and is held in with the worlds firmest plastic clip

6-10 Drives⠀

Image Name Number of 3.5in drive bays Number of 2.5 in drives bays Supported Form Factors Pros Cons
Fractal Design Node 804.jpg
Fractal Design Node 804 8 (10 if bottom 2 mounting points are used) 2 (4 if bottom 2 mounting points are used) mATX, ITX
  • Lots of storage options. 2 2.5in mounts (inside front panel), and 2 mounts for drives of either size (attached directly to bottom of case)
  • Separated design allows for dedicated airflow over drives
  • Reasonably expandable, 5 Full Height Expansion slots
  • No tie downs making wire management a bit difficult
  • Drive caddies require an adapter for drives which lack the middle mount hole, you can get these from Fractal Design via their support portal, buy them when they are in stock, or you can 3D Print your own
  • Cube shape might not work for some narrower spaces
  • Cable clearance on the second cage is questionable Use angled sata cables if possible and be careful with SAS to sata cables if using SAS drives
Lian Li Q26.jpg
Lian Li Q26 10 1 ITX
  • Compact
  • Lots of storage capacity for the size
  • Due to the form factor limitation, you will need an HBA
  • Cramped, wiring will be a pain
  • Heavy restrictions on expansion card and cpu cooler size
  • Limited expandability, only 2 expansion slots
  • Harder to find due to being discontinued
  • Limited to ITX only
Fractal Design Define R6.jpg
Fractal Design Define R6 11 (if all tray slots are used) 2 ATX, mATX, ITX
  • Plenty of expansion options
  • Good wire management options
  • Highly customizable storage layout
  • You need to purchase extra trays because it only comes with 6
  • You might need an HBA to support >8 drives
  • Pricy
  • Large
Antec P101 Silent.jpg
Antec P101 Silent 8 2 EATX, ATX, mATX, ITX
  • Plenty of airflow over the drives with three intake fans
  • Relatively cheap, (~100USD)
  • Supports a wide range of motherboards including E-ATX
  • Good wire management options
  • Plenty of expansion options
Cooler Master N400.jpg
Cooler Master N400 7+1 external 2 ATX, mATX, ITX
  • Cheap. Can be found for ~60USD or less used
  • Plenty of expansion options
  • Recessed motherboard mounting position might have issues with motherboards that have 90° sata ports or USB headers
  • PCI covers are break-off and can't be re-attached
  • Iffy cable management


More Than 10 drives⠀

  • A note on large storage arrays with 10+ drives. Most motherboards have less than 10 Sata ports. Once you start getting above 10 drives you will likely need to buy an HBA to support more drives than your motherboard is capable of handling. The recommended approach is to use a SAS HBA with SAS to Sata breakout cables. You can learn more about these on the Home server page.


Image Name Number of 3.5in drive bays Number of 2.5 in drives bays Supported Form Factors Pros Cons
Fractal Design Define 7.jpg
Fractal Design Define 7 14 (if all tray slots are used) 4 E-ATX(285 mm), ATX, mATX, ITX
  • Huge storage capacity
  • Highly customizable storage layout
  • Good wire management options
  • Supports a wide range of motherboard form factors
  • Doesn’t come with all of the HDD mounting brackets so you have to buy more to get the full capacity. (Comes with 6x3.5 type B trays, packs of 2 are ~$15 or you can 3d print them from here )
  • Large
  • Somewhat pricey. (sometimes goes on sale for < 100USD)
  • Lots of drives use a lot of electricity
Fractal Design Define 7 XL.jpg
Fractal Design Define 7 XL 18 (if all tray slots are used) 5 SSI CEB, SSI EEB, EE-ATX, E-ATX, ATX, mATX, ITX
  • Huge storage capacity
  • Tons of Expandability options
  • Highly customizable storage layout
  • Good wire management options
  • Supports a wide range of motherboard form factors
  • Doesn’t come with all of the HDD mounting brackets so you have to buy more to get the full capacity. (Comes with 6x3.5 type B trays, packs of 2 are ~$15 or you can 3d print them from here)
  • Large
  • Pricy, especially when factoring in extra brackets
  • Lots of drives use a lot of electricity
Corsair 750D.jpg
Corsair 750D 6 (12 with extra drive cages, 24 modded ) 4 XL ATX, E-ATX, ATX, mATX, ITX
  • Huge potential storage capacity
  • Supports a wide range of motherboards
  • Plenty of wire management options
  • Tons of Expandability options. 9 Full-Height Expansion Slots
  • Front three optical drive bays can be converted with an adapter for even more storage
  • You need to buy more cages to do so as it only comes with two
  • You will probably run into heat issues if going the modded route
  • More drive cages restricts motherboard and GPU size
  • Large
  • Lots of drives use a lot of electricity
Cooler Master CM Stacker 810.png
Cooler Master CM Stacker 810 (or any CM stacker case) 0 (up to 20 if modded, using 5.25 to 3.5 adapters) 0 XL ATX, E-ATX, ATX, mATX, ITX
  • Huge storage potential
  • Old as fuck so likely to be cheap
  • Crazy amount of 5.25 bays can be converted to 3.5in Hot Swap bays using adapters
  • Good adapters can be somewhat pricey
  • Harder to find
  • Lots of drives use a lot of electricity

Rack cases

While rack mount cases are designed to be used on a rack, some opt to use them without one. Consider Lack Rack for a cheap way to mount your server. Disk shelves are for hard drives only. Only use them if you already have a main server that has an external SAS HBA.

Make sure you check the depth of your rack before buying anything, some rack mount servers are incredibly long and might not fit a small 17” deep rack.

1U⠀

None at the moment

2U⠀

Image Name Number of 3.5in drive bays Number of 2.5 in drives bays Supported Form Factors Pros Cons
Supermicro SuperChassis 826.jpg
Supermicro SuperChassis 826 (several SKUs) 12 (24 Disk Shelf) 2 (Some SKUs. Rear Hotswap bays) ATX, E-ATX, EE-ATX (Depends on SKU)
  • Some SKUs support SAS and Sata drives
  • Convenient Hotswap bays
  • Two high quality redundant 1U power supplies
  • Great build quality
  • Some SKUs only support proprietary motherboards. Check the website
  • Restrictions on expansion card height. Expansion slots are all half height
  • Restrictions on CPU cooler height
  • Huge and heavy
  • Lots of drives use a lot of electricity
  • Expensive
  • Small fans are loud, especially at heavy loads

3U⠀

Image Name Number of 3.5in drive bays Number of 2.5 in drives bays Supported Form Factors Pros Cons
Norco-3216.jpg
Norco-3216 16 2 EEB, CEB, ATX mATX, ITX
  • Huge capacity
  • Support SAS and Sata
  • Convenient Hotswap bays
  • Supports a wide range of motherboards
  • Only supports one standard ATX PSU
  • Huge and heavy
  • Lots of drives use a lot of electricity

4U⠀

Image Name Number of 3.5in drive bays Number of 2.5 in drives bays Supported Form Factors Pros Cons
Rosewill RSV-L4500.jpg
Rosewill RSV-L4500 15 0 E-ATX ATX
  • Huge capacity
  • Cheap
  • Large 120mm intake fans means it will be quieter than most servers
  • No backplane or hotswapping
  • Only supports one standard ATX PSU
  • Huge and heavy
  • Lots of drives use a lot of electricity
  • Build quality may vary
Netapp DS4246-DS4243.jpg
Netapp DS4246/DS4243 24 0 n/a
  • Huge capacity
  • Support SAS and Sata
  • Convenient Hotswap bays
  • DISK SHELF ONLY
  • Huge and heavy
  • Lots of drives use a lot of electricity
Supermicro SuperChassis 846.jpg
Supermicro SuperChassis 846 24 2 EE-ATX, E-ATX, ATX (Depends on SKU)
  • Huge capacity
  • Support SAS and Sata
  • Convenient Hotswap bays
  • Two high quality redundant 1U power supplies
  • Some models support separate battery backup modules
  • Great build quality
  • 7-13 full height expansion slots (Depends on SKU)
  • Can be modded for more quiet operation
  • Huge and heavy
  • Lots of drives use a lot of electricity
  • Expensive
HSG CASE codegen.jpg
Codegen 600mm 4U Rackmount Server Case, 8 (up to 13 with 5 bay 5.25 adapter) 0 E-ATX/ATX
  • Cheap
  • Removable Air Filter
  • Compact for being 600mm deep
  • Can purchase rail kits cheap and easily(£35)
  • 3x5.25 slots, Can be populated with 3.5in adapter for more storage
  • Single ATX PSU
  • Ugly interior, not great finish
  • Big lip on back panel. Can be annoying to remove RJ45 jacks if orientated on your mobo in a certain way

Other

See also

Home server