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 Post subject: micro-ATX cases - SFF ( <10L)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:25 am 
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I'm looking for a tiny and minimalistic server case which can hold a µATX motherboard. Unfortunately mini-ITX is not an option because of a lack of finding server-grade motherboard which hold 4 DIMM slots on mini-ITX (except for Intel Avoton, which even at 8-core has too low performance for me).

PSU-wise I'd prefer to use an external notebook adapter + a DC-DC unit such as the picoPSU inside the case. Fanless is not a requirement, in fact, I'd rather have a fan-cooled setup as I prefer to keep the motherboard components somewhat cool with some small (but near-silent) forced airflow.

So far I've come up with the following results, and my observations:

Silverstone LC19S-R
Nice design, however at 9.2 L it contains a lot of unused and wasted internal space. It's also a tad expensive. Also includes a 1 full-height card expansion slot, which is very appreciated.

Streacom ST-FC5WS EVO
Beautiful case, 1 half/full height card expansion slot.
Con: horrendously expensive, probably due to passive CPU heatsink technology. I'm not sure if it contains enough air vents for sufficient intake of cool air when combined with a single 80mm or 92mm fan.
Also, at 8.5 litres, I feel there's still room for improvement. I'm sure the heatsinks for the fanless CPU cooling add up to the volume.

HD-Plex H5.S
Looks rather similar to the Streacom, and equally expensive. Is there some connection between these two companies?

iStarUSA S-0212-DT
Rather ugly front, but at 4.9 L, iStarUSA deserves some credit; however, motherboards are limited to 245*200mm to fit in this tiny volume.
Not clear if it is still in production (out of stock on newegg).

Does anyone have other recommendations, or comments on the list of observations?

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 Post subject: Re: micro-ATX cases - SFF ( <10L)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:11 am 
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Chenbro PC719 + Sea Sonic SS-300TGW + Scythe Big Shuriken. An inexpensive combination with room for four low profile cards.
There aren't many CPU coolers that fit in the Silverstone LC19. If you want a powerful server that runs at high loads I wouldn't recommend it.
Streacom and HDPlex are top notch for silence passive CPU cooling and passive PSU, they come at a price. How silent do you want the system to be and how much do you want to spend?

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 Post subject: Re: micro-ATX cases - SFF ( <10L)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:07 am 
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boost wrote:
Chenbro PC719 + Sea Sonic SS-300TGW + Scythe Big Shuriken. An inexpensive combination with room for four low profile cards.


Nice find: nonetheless it has 1 drive bay and 60mm fans, does that suffice?

To the OP: don't you need some disk space on a server? In case, where do you want to place the drives in 10L or less? IMVHO it seems rather unpractical staying below a 15-20lt volume.
At any rate, here there's another small mATX enclosure: Cooler Master Elite 100.

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 Post subject: Re: micro-ATX cases - SFF ( <10L)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:16 am 
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First of all, maybe I should clarify that I currently own a mini-tower with plenty of empty drive bays that I could use, but I wish to find something way more compact. There's no set budget, but cheaper = better, unless convincing reasons exist to go with a more expensive option.

quest_for_silence wrote:
boost wrote:
Chenbro PC719 + Sea Sonic SS-300TGW + Scythe Big Shuriken. An inexpensive combination with room for four low profile cards.


Nice find: nonetheless it has 1 drive bay and 60mm fans, does that suffice?

To the OP: don't you need some disk space on a server? In case, where do you want to place the drives in 10L or less? IMVHO it seems rather unpractical staying below a 15-20lt volume.
At any rate, here there's another small mATX enclosure: Cooler Master Elite 100.


Both the suggested cases do match the size limitations.

However, my problem with both the Chenbro PC719 and the Cooler Master Elite 100 chassis is that they expect an integrated PSU with (small) fan. I'm deliberately trying to go the fanless PSU route, requiring only a large single fan for silently cooling both the CPU and generating airflow to cool the motherboard components inside the case. My envisioned server hardware uses less than 60W under load, so I don't need big PSU setups. A 90 or 120W brick with pico-PSU would suffice. I guess the 'fan-cooled' in my thread starter post is rather confusing; I meant to say that I don't require a fanless-CPU cooling setup, and would like to add a single fan to the system anyway (as to increase motherboard component lifetime). This fan could easily double as CPU cooler within the TDP I'm looking at (low-power Xeon chips).

The Elite 100 was actually on my original list, but like the iStarUSA S-0212-DT, it's currently out of stock on both newegg as well as amazon, making me doubt whether it's still in production.

I don't need to put any drives inside the server except for a small OS SSD. Storage is mounted over the network from an iSCSI target. All I need is room for a 2.5" SSD, and preferrably a single card expension slot for adding a NIC if needed.

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 Post subject: Re: micro-ATX cases - SFF ( <10L)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:12 pm 
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The Sea Sonic SS-300TGW is semi fanless up ~100 the fan will stay off and it's 80+ gold certified. The Chenbro 719 should be tall enough for the Big Shuriken so it's fan can double as the single system fan.

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 Post subject: Re: micro-ATX cases - SFF ( <10L)
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:29 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2003 10:28 am
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boost wrote:
The Sea Sonic SS-300TGW is semi fanless up ~100 the fan will stay off and it's 80+ gold certified. The Chenbro 719 should be tall enough for the Big Shuriken so it's fan can double as the single system fan.


That sounds reasonable.

However, an external AC-DC brick still has my preference, as it would avoid some heat build-up inside the server case. Another reason for going the external router is that some brands like Supermicro are releasing more and more motherboard with integrated DC-DC. I'm also not too keen on using some non-common formfactor for PSU, giving potential headaches when needing to replace a unit.

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