Okay, finally found the time to sit down and share my experience with the PC-Q25 ... waiting for a RAID rebuild
I have been using a PC-Q25 for my WHS 2011 build for apx. 6 months now. It took over WHS duty from a Lian Li PC-Q08 which I was pretty satisfied with.
My main issues with using the PC-Q08 were these:
- Motherboard affixed to side panel - makes installation / maintenance etc. a real hassle
- Hard drive fitting and removal not exactly quick or easy (lots of screwdriver action)
- Flimsy hard drive cage construction (as described in detail in SPCR's review)
- Lots of screws to remove in order to gain access to drives (6 screws on side panel)
I ran the PC-Q25 with a Supermicro X7SPA-HF motherboard (Atom server board with 6 SATA ports), an additional 2-port SATA controller and 7 x 2TB drives + a slimline optical (5.25" bay fitted with a Lian Li EX-553 module which allows slimline optical + 3.5" HD). Standard 350W ATX PSU (BeQuiet). With judicious use of damping materials (CaseKing KingMod) throughout the case, it was plenty quiet for my use (only the occasional seek noise was audible, sitting on a shelf 1 meter from my desk in my office.
The promise of having tool-less access to the hard drives drew me to migrate the system to the PC-Q25 - and honestly it has been a bit of a mixed blessing:
- Easy access to hard drives (5 hot-swap bays)
- Able to fit 7 x 3,5" + 1 x 2,5" (which is what I currently have fitted)
- Slightly smaller in size than the PC-Q08
- Drive cage seems more robust than the PC-Q08 version
- Decent cooling for hard drives with relatively low noise
- Best "drives to cubic feet" ratio I've seen so far
- Motherboard mounting tray is not part of the side panel
- No hard drive activity LED
- Dimensions (mainly width) make it hard to fit noise damping materials
- Click-on side panels very
prone to vibration
Now, don't get me wrong, I really like the PC-Q25. However, I will probably be replacing it sometime in the near future, because although it is pretty low-noise by now, the vibration problem with the side panels is driving me nuts. It emits a sort of pulsating hum, and due to the width of the case I cannot fit damping materials to silence the vibration. The "pop-on" side panels are really nice from a maintenance perspective, but they simply do not hold on well enough to allow any form of compression when damping material is fitted. The PC-Q08, although a hassle to work with due to all the screws, allowed for proper damping of the panels.
That's it for now, might upload some pictures later...