SilverStone DS380 8-Bay Server/NAS Chassis

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AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 5~10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

  • SilverStone DS380 - Baseline
    — stock fans at 5V/540 RPM (15~16 dBA@1m)
    — stock fans at 7V/770 RPM (21~22 dBA@1m)
    — stock fans at 9V/950 RPM (27 dBA@1m)
    — stock fans at 12V/1200 RPM (34 dBA@1m)

FINAL THOUGHTS

For a SilverStone case, the DS380 is surprisingly utilitarian. It has some of the flourishes SilverStone is known for like the brush aluminum door and the easily accessible external dust filters, but on the inside, things are considerably more Spartan. The underlying idea was to create a case with an eight bay hot-swap drive cage in as small of a space as possible, but in doing so, they made some design compromises and neglected other areas.

The complete lack of cable management is notable for any case at the US$150 price-point, and this is magnified by how tight everything fits inside, especially with a bigger CPU cooler. The choice to limit power supplies to SFX models saves quite a bit of space, but keep in mind most SFX models are not modular, and you really only need four power connectors to power everything, leaving a few cables leftover and no place to tie them down. To make assembly easier, the drive cage is removable, but the primitive scheme they came up with to mount it makes it heavily prone to drive vibration. The system we assembled resonated quite strongly with just four drives and it could only get worse with additional storage. While it's hard to make any eight drive system quiet, it's practically impossible without any fan control. This absence is notable as SilverStone has included some method of reducing fan speed in most of their previous cases.

The intake fans themselves aren't very effective at keeping the hard drives cool either. It's probably a combination of the fans' side positioning, the restrictive drive cage, and all the cabling blocking airflow. The one thing it has going for it in the cooling department is the CPU cooler height limit, which is much higher than specified if you make the right hardware choices (a thin tower heatsink and a motherboard with the CPU socket far away from the expansion slot). SilverStone also included a long video card option if you're willing to sacrifice a drive bay, but we could have lived without this. We can't imagine there's a large subset of people using their 6~8 drive servers for games, and in any event the case's cooling isn't really conducive to that sort of thing.

Despite all its problems, merely existing is enough to make the DS380 a compelling case for DIYers looking for massive amounts of removable storage within reasonably small dimensions. It is somewhat louder and rougher around the edges compared to most SilverStone cases, but the primary functionality is sound and the DS380 the first to fill this small niche.

Our thanks to SilverStone for the DS380 case sample.

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Fractal Design Array Mini ITX NAS Case

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