Custom Fileserver Case Ideas... ASmallAP

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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Custom Fileserver Case Ideas... ASmallAP

Post by klankymen » Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:25 am

I'd like to build a small fileserver, with windows network share, ftp, http and VNC access to it, which would run apache, serv-u, a jabber server and uTorrent, as well as possibly an email server.

The idea behind this is to have uTorrent running, while not disturbing my sleep, and at the same time having all my files accessible from anywhere in the house (WLAN), or anywhere in the world (UMTS or WiFi), and of course allow me to host various files for personal purposes.

Not that any of this is really relevant though, since I need help with the case here, not the software.

I would like it to be as small as humanly possible, and be able to hold a Mini-ITX board + 2 x 1TB sATA hard drives + 2.5" ATA-6 80GB drive. all the while preserving good enough airflow.

Here are my first few concepts.

The idea is to build the case out of 0.8mm aluminum, joined together by L-shapes.

Case 1: Cube with 2 compartments.
This is basically cube shaped (of course it's not really a cube, but a lot more cubic than most other cases) box with 2 compartments: hard drives on the bottom, and motherboard in the top compartment. A 120mm intake fan blows air over both of the compartments.
Image Image
Measurements are 20cm L x 18 cm W x 12cm H :arrow: 4.32 litres

Case 2: Cube.
This is basically just an improved (I think) version of Case 1. only the mobo is at the bottom, and the hdds are suspended over it.
Image Image
Same measurements.

Case 3: "HTPC shape".
This one is longer and not as tall, with the hard drives next to the motherboard. Due to the reduced hight, the 120mm fan is now a top intake, which makes the air flow down onto the motherboard, and then escape to the side over the hard drives.
Image Image Image Image
Measurements are 30cm L x 18cm W x 7.5cm H :arrow: 4.05 litres

Case 3.1: 80mm fans
A Variation on Case 3, with 2x80mm fans on the side of the motherboard opposite the hard drives. Haven't made a picture, the case would also have to be larger to allow for the fans.
Measurements would be 32cm L x 18cm W x 8cm H :arrow: 4.6 litres

So case 3 is infact a bit smaller, but not sure if it would work as well.

I'm up for more suggestions, but one constraint is that I would like to use either 80mm or 120mm yate loon fans - nothing smaller than that.

My plan has been to suspend the big drives in elastic, and have the small drive hardmounted to save space.

This would of course be running off of a Pico-PSU with an external power brick.

The reason I want to have a small drive as well as the big ones, is the big ones would store media (Movies, Pictures, Music, Backup) on them, and be setup to spin down after 20 minutes of inactivity. The small 80GB single platter pATA drive would have the OS on it, as well as the public ftp and http servers, and also have uTorrent running. It would of course spin constantly (ergo a pATA drive - to reduce power draw - not to mention I would need a sata-pata converter anyway, since my sata ports are used up by the big ones).

:arrow: So please, any ideas or suggestions you can make would be appreciated! Image

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Post by papakoo » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:16 am

I think the best option about cpu (most of the system needs) cooling is the case 3, but with 80mm it would be ok for HDD too.
Case 2 is able to be cool with only one 120mm, so less noise. Just the space between fan and cpu HS is something to test about.
Case one i'm affraid that has too little airflow for cpu and northbridge as only about 1/4 of the 120mm air is going to this department...

Nice work!

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Post by cansan » Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:14 am

I think 1 and 2 look the best, but they both look like they will let too much hard disk noise out. I think it may be good to build something a little bigger but with indirect air inlets/outlets.

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Post by papakoo » Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:19 pm

cansan wrote:I think 1 and 2 look the best, but they both look like they will let too much hard disk noise out. I think it may be good to build something a little bigger but with indirect air inlets/outlets.
When AAM is enabled seek noise is very very low. Many of last 1-2 years HDDs are really quiet. I have this moment one HDD WD2500 IDE 3.5'' with AAM enabled, on top of my desk for testing ( on air - suspended ) and i can hardly hear it 1 meter away (in a quiet room). Idle noise can be really low, depends on model! The HDDs are making most of the times ugly noises because of box amplified vibration and seek noise.

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Post by MoJo » Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:30 am

I've been looking for something like this for a while now too.

In Japan I found a shop selling "kit" cases, a bit like Mechano. You could buy HDD enclosures, mobo trays etc, and then build then into a case made out of metal rods and side panel covers. Totally custom. Not that cheap but would be an easy way to build something like this.

Otherwise, modding some kind of Shuttle case might work. The crappy thing about shuttle cases is the lack of fan mounts.

Jeff Cutsinger
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Post by Jeff Cutsinger » Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:42 am

What did you use to do your modelling? I'm designing a case (albeit with very different goals) and I'd like to get into CAD, but I have no prior experience. I tried BRL-CAD, but I couldn't for the life of me figure it out. The only alternative I found didn't even do 3d modelling.

As far as the case, I would go with model 1 or 2, except that, with model 2, I'd want the HDDs on the bottom, not the Mobo. I would think it would be more important to keep the HDDs cool than the Mobo, since data loss sucks. So if I did model 3, it would be with the fan over the hard drives.

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Post by FlorisNielssen » Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:19 pm

Looks like SketchUp (taken over by Google). Very easy to use.

I've got a good site by the way (click), with some hardware-components for SketchUp..

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