Ideal case for a Windows Home Server? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Any recommendations for the ideal case for a home-built Windows Home Server? Most discussion to date has been around the hardware (CPU/memory) specs -  although this message talks about case design: http://forums.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1219985&SiteID=50&PageID=1

    I've been running a readyNAS NV+ for a while now - and the best thing about it is the case design:

    • Very compact - only marginally larger than 4 disk drives.
    • LEDs on the front panel - one for each drive - can see disk health at a glance
    • Easy HDD insertion/removal from the front panel without unscrewing the case
    • Quiet-ish fan - good flow - keeps the drives cool.

    (The software aspects of readyNAS are a whole other topic - let's say it took 2 days to setup readyNAS and about 30 mins to setup WHS.)

    The "shuttle-style" case I'm using for the WHS trial is far from this ideal. Obviously this will not be an issue for ready-built WHS systems - no doubt OEMs will come up with some innovative designs. But for home builders - do you know of any suitable cases?

    These drive enclosures (posted by another forum member) look good - http://www.sonnettech.com/product/fusion500p.html

    However a separate enclosure for the disks is not ideal. What happens to WHS volume integrity if the external drives are unplugged? Also two boxes are messy compared to a one box solution.

    To get something of readyNAS form quality I suspect we would need a good ITX motherboard/case combination with at least 4 easily accessed drive bays.



    Thursday, March 8, 2007 6:25 AM

All replies

  • I believe you may be better off with this type of system, though it obviously takes up more room but it makes an integrated solution with easy of disk swapping.


    Friday, March 9, 2007 12:00 AM
  • I'm using a SilverStone SG01 Evolution case because of its small form factor and 2 external 5.25" drive bays.  It has two internal 3.5" drive bays which I have installed 300GB drives into.  One 5.25" bay has a DVD drive installed.  The other 5.25" drive bay I just installed a very nice (4) 2.5" drive SATAII backplane to accommodate future expansion.  I kinda skimped on a 170W power supply but its more than adequate.



    You may doubt the 2.5" choice but the way I figure it, 2.5" drives greater than 200GB will be common place in a year.  I haven't tried installing a 2.5" drives yet to see how well this works with WHS.

    Friday, March 9, 2007 1:41 AM
  • Both the Coolermaster tower and Silverstone compact cases look good - between them cover large and medium format setups.

    I'm interested in the Enhance technology 2.5" enclosure in particular - as you say perpendicular recording is about to increase the capacity of this format considerably. It should be possible to put together a compact WHS system using an ITX case with an external 5.25" drive bay and the Enhance 4x2.5" enclosure.

    For example, on the Silverstone site, I found this mini-ITX case: http://silverstonetek.com/products-lc05.htm : 1x 5.25" external plus 1x 3.5" internal. That makes for a 1x 3.5" + 4x 2.5" WHS.

    Does anyone know of an ITX case with 2 external 5.25" bays?

    On the internal drive slots - one big disanvantage of using these slots is the need to open the case to replace drives. Best to place the first "C" drive on the internal drive - as openning the case would only be one more step in the restore process. Do you think it's justified configuring the C drive on a 2 disk RAID 0 volume - so that a WHS rebuild is rarely ever needed? Or is this overkill?


    Friday, March 9, 2007 2:51 AM
  • billdickens, if you really want to push it that far with a mini-ITX case or a case with 1 x 5.25" external drive bay I would suggest using an external USB DVD drive to do the install.  Most modern BIOS allow bootup from an external USB DVD Drive.  If have desktop PC with an internal DVD drive, you could "borrow" it do the install as well......you'd obviously have to leave the case open to access the power & interface cables needed to hook it up.

    Friday, March 9, 2007 3:09 AM
  • I'm designing a case for a mini-ITX motherboard and the Enhance Technology backplane. The questions I have are:

    Does anyone know of a mini-ITX motherboard with 4 SATA connectors?

    What organization maintains the spec for the 5.25" drive bays?

    Sunday, March 11, 2007 1:31 AM
  • I think i am gonna use this case as my base.  It should work out well and fit under my 32" LCD TV/Monitor.


    Sunday, March 11, 2007 7:28 AM
  •  billdickens wrote:

    Does anyone know of an ITX case with 2 external 5.25" bays?

    The only case I know of is the Morex Venus 668 although it actually is a Flex-ATX case.

    Sunday, March 11, 2007 7:47 AM
  • Hello,

    I have bought new hardware and tried a new case : http://www.antec.com/uk/productDetails.php?ProdID=08009


    It is a antec nine hundred. Of course, it is quite big, but on the other hand you get plenty of space and silence !

    I'm really pleased with it.


    Sunday, March 11, 2007 10:50 AM