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 Post subject: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspensions?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:26 pm 
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Hi,

I'm planning on building a small server computer. Now I'm looking for an enclosure that match these requirements:

* Mini-ITX motherboard
* ATX PSU
* Can hold 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in some kind of suspensions, to dampen noise
* One 2.5" slot for an SSD
* Not mandatory: A slim or full height 5.25" slot for an optical drive

As I understand it, most HDD suspension solutions require mounting the 3.5" HDD in a 5.25" slot. Something like this:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/tichepc-hdd-vib-killer
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article8-page2.html

But I'm having trouble finding an enclosure that fits the requirements above. In particular, it's hard to find small Mini-ITX enclosures with 2 or more 5.25" slots. So now I just wonder:

1. Is there any enclosure that you think suits my needs that you can recommend?
2. Is there any other way of mounting the 3.5" HDDs in suspensions that does not require 5.25" slots? For example I know some enclosures have mounting strips that you attach to the HDD and then slide it into the slot. See e.g.:
http://www.pcper.com/image/view/22475?r ... de%2F56969
If you do not use those strips, perhaps there's room for using suspensions instead?

Any ideas and suggestions are welcome!


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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:56 pm 
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Well the problem that i see is you want ATX PSU on Mini ITX with 3.5 hdd suspended.

If you were to go with ATX size, i would just recommend the Antec SOLO II, has dual hdd suspension and 2.5 hdd on the wall if the case and was reviewed by SPCR Antec Solo II: The Legacy Lives On.

Now if mini ITX is mandatory, then you will have to do your own suspension, not that many cases to chose as the factor is not that common and the mounting is also not standard. My suggestion is look into Fractal Design Node 304, its a itx form factor and uses a standard size atx psu. There is a thread here that did a suspension with ssd and mechanical, i think you can get some ideas there, probably can fit a second hdd easily just gotta get creative, Fractal Design Node 304 HDD suspension. Another thread to get some ideas of the case is OCN [Official] Fractal Design Node 304 Owners Club.

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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:50 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:14 am 
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xan_user wrote:

It's a nice size, and it's something like that I'm looking for. But as far as I could see it only had one 5.25" slot, and the rest was 3.5" slots. Would it really be possibly to mount two or more 3.5" HDDs using suspensions in that enclosure?


Last edited by fjodor2000 on Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:00 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:46 am 
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Abula wrote:
Well the problem that i see is you want ATX PSU on Mini ITX with 3.5 hdd suspended.

If you were to go with ATX size, i would just recommend the Antec SOLO II, has dual hdd suspension and 2.5 hdd on the wall if the case and was reviewed by SPCR Antec Solo II: The Legacy Lives On.

Yes, Antec SOLO is a nice enclosure! I actually built one of my previous PCs using it. And I know from experience with it just how much its HDD suspensions can reduce the noise.

But in this case I think it's far too big. I'd like my server PC to be as small as possible while still fulfilling the requirements.
Abula wrote:
Now if mini ITX is mandatory, then you will have to do your own suspension, not that many cases to chose as the factor is not that common and the mounting is also not standard. My suggestion is look into Fractal Design Node 304, its a itx form factor and uses a standard size atx psu. There is a thread here that did a suspension with ssd and mechanical, i think you can get some ideas there, probably can fit a second hdd easily just gotta get creative, Fractal Design Node 304 HDD suspension. Another thread to get some ideas of the case is OCN [Official] Fractal Design Node 304 Owners Club.

The Fractal Design Node 304 might work with some custom modification like you suggested. Ideally I'd like to use 5.25" slots with some pre-fabricated suspensions like the ones I linked to though. Mostly because I think it's easier to get right (e.g. so that the HDD is properly aligned), and that I know it will be mounted properly. Or is that usually not a problem?

Finally, isn't it strange that there are so few enclosures matching the requirements I listed? I think what I'm asking for should be pretty much what most people want when building a small server computer. Or is there anything in my list of requirements that it considered unusual or undesirable? Maybe people don't know how much the noise can be dampened by having the 3.5" HDDs in 5.25" slots with suspensions, so they just look for enclosures with enough 3.5" slots to hold their HDDs? Or perhaps the manufacturers have not understood that there is a demand for this? If I was a manufacturer I'd make an enclosure like the one listed in the requirements above and deliver it together with HDD suspensions e.g. like http://www.silentpcreview.com/tichepc-hdd-vib-killer and then market it by how much it reduces the HDD noise. Looking at the lack of competition in this segment currently I think it should be a pretty easy sell.


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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:16 am 
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fjodor2000 wrote:
Finally, isn't it strange that there are so few enclosures matching the requirements I listed?
Well in reality there isnt a demand for what you are looking for. Very few poeple suspend their hdds, specially for a server, its much more common people looking for hotswaping and easier managing than complicating it with suspensions. Even my server is not suspended at all, not because i don't believe in it, i do, but in my case the server is where i cant hear it, i have it in another room and access it via network, including the management, the only reason i need to get near is for upgrading or swapping a filed drive. Now inside my own PC i do prefer mounting it, but at the same time i dont store much data, having the OS/Programs/Games on my SSD makes the hdd almost never used, so i just have 2.5 laptop 1tb for local storage (my music and movies, that i will use) and the rest are stored on my server. My suggestion is do the same, personally i do need a lot of storage for my iso/mkv, but if you only need 2-4 drives i would just go with Synology Diskstation and place it where you cant hear it.

Another case you should consider is BitFinix Prodigy, its mini ITX and it uses a standard ATX PSU, it can mount like 5 hdd on slots, but i bet with some light modding you could suspend them. I didn't suggested out if its size, it starts to get into the micro atx size, but sure is a nice case.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:54 pm 
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Yeah, I have a Prodigy, it's a good little case. One 5.25 drive bay, and a bunch of 3.5 bays. You can remove all the 3.5 bays too, so pulling those out and suspending a couple drives should be easy. It also has a couple 2.5 drive holders on one of the side panels, so it's easy to add one as a boot drive. I got an ITX board with a mini-sata slot and stuck a card in that, made it easy. One great thing about the Prodigy is that it gives you enough room to put a full size cpu cooler on it, I have a prolimatech megahalems on mine. You may not need one, but it's nice to be able to put a big cooler on one and use a really slow fan to make it super quiet. So yeah, it should work for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:15 am 
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Abula wrote:
fjodor2000 wrote:
Finally, isn't it strange that there are so few enclosures matching the requirements I listed?
Well in reality there isnt a demand for what you are looking for. Very few poeple suspend their hdds, specially for a server, its much more common people looking for hotswaping and easier managing than complicating it with suspensions. Even my server is not suspended at all, not because i don't believe in it, i do, but in my case the server is where i cant hear it, i have it in another room and access it via network, including the management, the only reason i need to get near is for upgrading or swapping a filed drive.
Well a lot of people don't have the possibility to place the server where noise does not matter.

Also, having 2-4 5.25" slots instead of 3.5" slots does not require that much extra space in the enclosure. And the noise reduction that can be achieved by mounting the HDDs in suspensions in those 5.25" slots is tremendous.
Abula wrote:
Now inside my own PC i do prefer mounting it, but at the same time i dont store much data, having the OS/Programs/Games on my SSD makes the hdd almost never used, so i just have 2.5 laptop 1tb for local storage (my music and movies, that i will use) and the rest are stored on my server. My suggestion is do the same, personally i do need a lot of storage for my iso/mkv, but if you only need 2-4 drives i would just go with Synology Diskstation and place it where you cant hear it.
Well I actually already a similar setup more or less. I have a 256 GB SSD in my desktop PC and store all bulk media content etc on a server. The problem is that my current server is too noisy and I have no place to store it where noise does not matter completely.
Abula wrote:
Another case you should consider is BitFinix Prodigy, its mini ITX and it uses a standard ATX PSU, it can mount like 5 hdd on slots, but i bet with some light modding you could suspend them. I didn't suggested out if its size, it starts to get into the micro atx size, but sure is a nice case.
Yes, that could be an option. But as you mentioned yourself, it's getting a little big compared to what I originally was looking for...


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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:10 am 
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fjodor2000 wrote:
Also, having 2-4 5.25" slots instead of 3.5" slots does not require that much extra space in the enclosure. And the noise reduction that can be achieved by mounting the HDDs in suspensions in those 5.25" slots is tremendous.
While you are right in terms of space, there is not much demand for 5.25 slots on mini itx enclosures, hell not even on micro and atx, we are moving away from optical drives, thus the main need of this slots. But in mini itx most want as small as possible and 5.25 slots are just too big for this purpose, and main reason you dont see them.

A case that you should look into is LIAN LI PC-Q25B (atm there is a sale $20 off until 9/26), while it doesnt have any 5.25 slots, its small, fits a standard atx psu and a mini itx motherboard, whats good about it its that had a good space for hdds, given that by default its for rails, i think with some modding suspend 2 or more hdds.

Image

Slightly bigger there is also the option of the LIAN LI PC-Q08B similar to the Q25, but it has a 5.25 slot, but if you get a 140mm PSU (like Seasonic G360) there is enough room (my guess) to suspend hdds with some modding like adding some rails. Here is a pic for you to get some idea if you think is feasible,

Image

Another case for mini itx that might also adapt with some modding and its cheap so might be worth a shot to see if you can builld what you want is APEX MI-008, was reviewed by SPCR Apex MI-008: A Cheap Quiet mini-ITX Case?, while it uses a form factor PSU, SPCR find it decent, but in time if it you dont find it good enough you could move into picoPSU-160-XT + 192W Adapter Power Kit (or lesser unit depending on the build). There is an interesting thread that he suspends one hdd on it, AM2 mini-ITX Linux server

Image

Maybe with some modding you could suspend another (maybe two, but i doubt it).

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:19 am 
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Abula wrote:
fjodor2000 wrote:
Also, having 2-4 5.25" slots instead of 3.5" slots does not require that much extra space in the enclosure. And the noise reduction that can be achieved by mounting the HDDs in suspensions in those 5.25" slots is tremendous.
While you are right in terms of space, there is not much demand for 5.25 slots on mini itx enclosures, hell not even on micro and atx, we are moving away from optical drives, thus the main need of this slots. But in mini itx most want as small as possible and 5.25 slots are just too big for this purpose, and main reason you dont see them.

Well, that is correct if you do not take noise dampening into consideration. ;)

As I mentioned the point of having internal 5.25" slots instead of 3.5" slots would in this case be to enable suspension of HDDs, drastically lowering the noise. Also, the size difference between 5.25" and 3.5" is actually not that big if you only have 2-4 slots or so.

Sure, you're correct that it's probably more common for people not take noise dampening into consideration and just mount the HDDs in 3.5" slots as usual. But as also has been shown in this thread, there are lots of such enclosures already available on the market, but few if any small Mini-ITX enclosures with several 5.25" slots.

So if you're a manufacturer you'll be up against a heavy competition if you just make yet another enclosure with 3.5" slots. However if you'd produce an enclosure with several internal 5.25" slots and market it clearly with the intention of enabling suspension of 3.5" HDDs to lower noise, then I think it could be a winner. Sure, the market segment may be smaller, but the competition would be much less, so the sum of those factors could very well be that you'll sell more enclosures than if you would sell just another enclosure like all the ones already on the market.


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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 6:20 am 
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fjodor2000 wrote:
As I mentioned the point of having internal 5.25" slots instead of 3.5" slots would in this case be to enable suspension of HDDs, drastically lowering the noise. Also, the size difference between 5.25" and 3.5" is actually not that big if you only have 2-4 slots or so.

Sure, you're correct that it's probably more common for people not take noise dampening into consideration and just mount the HDDs in 3.5" slots as usual. But as also has been shown in this thread, there are lots of such enclosures already available on the market, but few if any small Mini-ITX enclosures with several 5.25" slots.

So if you're a manufacturer you'll be up against a heavy competition if you just make yet another enclosure with 3.5" slots. However if you'd produce an enclosure with several internal 5.25" slots and market it clearly with the intention of enabling suspension of 3.5" HDDs to lower noise, then I think it could be a winner. Sure, the market segment may be smaller, but the competition would be much less, so the sum of those factors could very well be that you'll sell more enclosures than if you would sell just another enclosure like all the ones already on the market.
If what you posted was true, then we would have fully ATX with prebuild suspension systems for a lot of hdds, the fact is there is very little demand, whats done here by forum members is adapt their suspensions to cases that do come with a lot 5.25 hdds, but it was never the intention of manufactures to do it for us.

The only case that i know that comes with suspensions prebuild is the Solo II, Antec could easily done a bigger version or server style, but they didnt... simply because they dont think there is a big market for suspending hdds. I own a Solo II and i do think its great and helps a lot with hdd noise, but at the same time i do believe that for someone that its looking for quiet setup, should try to avoid having so many hdds on a thier PC regardless of the size. That said, i feel its much easier just to move all the heavy storage into a NAS they can be placed almost anywhere where you can run a network cable and have electricity. Personally i dont bother to suspend my hdds on server as its placed where it doesnt bother me, the only reason that i do persue silent components on my main PC is with in the reach that it does bother me, but for this i do sacrifice higher temps and performance.

Overall i do understand your point, but this is up to the manufacturers to see it your way, and somewhat doubt it will happen. We are starting to move to flash even for storage, given that were are not there yet for the mass public, is something that will happen in time, we are just at the begging on the transition, mechancial hdds will remain with us for a long time but more in the servers and nas environments and less in the personal pcs.

Hope you find what you are looking for your mini ITX project.

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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:32 am 
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Well, I already commented on the suggestion to move HDDs from the desktop PC to a server, and I have already done that so I only have an SSD in my desktop PC. The problem is that not everybody can place their server where noise does not matter, hence the need to reduce noise by suspending the HDDs in the server.

Also, I think you are underestimating the market potential of a small Mini-ITX enclosure with 2-4 5.25" slots that come pre-fitted with a suspension such as this, if marketed correctly. But it seems like you will not change your mind on that. Let's hope some enclosure manufacturer does though. ;)

Anyway, what I currently have in mind is to use a Moorex 6600 that xan_user suggested. It only has one 5.25" slot though, so I intend to put one primary suspended HDD in that. Then I'll have a secondary HDD in a 3.5" slot that only is awoken once a week in order to backup the primary HDD to it, then it does back to sleep again. And the OS will be on an SSD.

I originally intended to have a RAID 1 setup with two 5.25" slots with suspended 3.5" HDDs. But there are some advantages to a setup like the one I now intend to use, like that it will enable rolling back to the state that the data was in earlier in time. This is something that would not be possible with a RAID 1 setup.


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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:48 am 
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What strikes me here is the fact that you want a small case but at the same time the case should be big enough to suspend more than one HDD.

Aren't those two goals exactly opposite of each other?

So i find it not very surprising that no one comes up with a case that beats the laws of physics and incorporates some extra dimensional storage room to suspend your HDDs in. Scotty, beam my HDDs back...


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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:12 am 
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Pappnaas wrote:
What strikes me here is the fact that you want a small case but at the same time the case should be big enough to suspend more than one HDD.

Aren't those two goals exactly opposite of each other?

So i find it not very surprising that no one comes up with a case that beats the laws of physics and incorporates some extra dimensional storage room to suspend your HDDs in. Scotty, beam my HDDs back...

Of course 5.25" slots will take up a bit more space than 3.5" slots. I've never claimed anything else. But that does not mean the enclosure has to become excessively much bigger.

5.25" slots will not occupy that much more space than 3.5" slots if you only will have 2-4 slots. So they can definitely fit in a rather small Mini-ITX enclosure if designed properly. For example several of the enclosures listed above could have been fitted with 5.25" slots without increasing their size by much. Some could perhaps have one or two slots less than currently, and keep the size apart from that.

As a similar example, many manufacturers have space for one or two full length PCIe GFX cards in their small Mini-ITX enclosures. That for sure makes them much bigger than e.g. having two 5.25" slots instead of 3.5" slots.

So sorry, no laws of physics need to be broken!


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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:21 am 
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You're of course right about the laws of physics.

But the point i wanted to make has been taken. I think that all case makers seem to see no market for such a type of case. I'd be in your boat if we'd be talking mATX (and no, there are just a few cases buyable where you are able to suspend HDDs regardless of mainboard size).

But most people would accept that using 3.5" HDDs for storage requires a minimum sized case. If you could live with 2.5" HDDs, most problems would dissolve and a suspension of 2.5" HDDs isn't necessary for most people noisewise, but since you seem to need the size of 3.5" HDDs, this option seems not possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:54 am 
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The requirement is this: Minimum sized Mini-ITX enclosure that still fits at least two internal 5.25" slots (and the rest of the stuff needed for the computer of course ;) ). And no, I don't think it will be much bigger than many of the enclosures listed above. It could probably even be made smaller than several of the larger ones, e.g. if space for large PCIe GFX cards or some of the 3.5" slots are removed.

Also, a perhaps even better solution for the enclosure manufacturers would be this:

Do not use 5.25" internal slots, but instead custom sized mountings for suspensions and 3.5" HDDs. I.e. they may only have to be 4.25" wide or something like that. The reason is that you do not need all the space between a 5.25" slot and a 3.5" HDD to suspend the HDD. So then you could most likely have quite a lot of suspended 3.5" HDDs without them taking up very much space in the enclosure. It is not much different compared to several existing enclosures that use e.g. custom sized rails for mounting 3.5" HDDs.

See there, now I nearly broke the laws of physics anyway! 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:54 pm 
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http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=303 ?
http://www.fractal-design.com/home/prod ... 000-usb-30 ?
Why does size matter so much to you (for a server)?

fjodor2000 wrote:
As a similar example, many manufacturers have space for one or two full length PCIe GFX cards in their small Mini-ITX enclosures.

Got an example?
Quote:
That for sure makes them much bigger than e.g. having two 5.25" slots instead of 3.5" slots.

Apparently there's more demand for long videocard support than there is for 5.25" bays...
Most often people are asking for less 5.25" bays, not more.


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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:04 pm 
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Getting a bit off topic eh? I think the discussion is getting a bit theoretical. Whether the demand exist or not, the bottom line is that there is not many ITX cases with 2x 5.25 drive slots.

----------------------------------------------------------------

If you are interested enough and willing to shell out $550-ish, there's the *legendary* Abee Acubic T20R http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1701580. It is a bit larger than most ITX enclosures, but fits your requirement.

The case is only normally available in Japan. Unfortunately, Abee did not see enough demand to make a 2nd production run for the case. Luckily, a few limited editions had been released lately.

If you live in the US, you can get this case by going through a US Agent for a Chinese ebay-like website http://www.yoybuy.com/en/product/search ... bic%20T20R

--------------------------------------------------------------


Quote:
Do not use 5.25" internal slots, but instead custom sized mountings for suspensions and 3.5" HDDs. I.e. they may only have to be 4.25" wide or something like that. The reason is that you do not need all the space between a 5.25" slot and a 3.5" HDD to suspend the HDD. So then you could most likely have quite a lot of suspended 3.5" HDDs without them taking up very much space in the enclosure. It is not much different compared to several existing enclosures that use e.g. custom sized rails for mounting 3.5" HDDs.


Maybe you can try a kick-starter. Be careful though, you probably do need more space for proper suspension. Else, 1) the hard drive will hit the case / other drives, 2) the suspension is not lax enough to effectively dampen vibration. I have tried such a trick in a fractal case, by removing the sleds from the hard drive bay. The results were disappointing.


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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:14 pm 
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fjodor2000 wrote:
2. Is there any other way of mounting the 3.5" HDDs in suspensions that does not require 5.25" slots? For example I know some enclosures have mounting strips that you attach to the HDD and then slide it into the slot. See e.g.:
http://www.pcper.com/image/view/22475?r ... de%2F56969
If you do not use those strips, perhaps there's room for using suspensions instead?



See http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=103 ... tcount=232

YMMV, worked for him, didn't work for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Mini-ITX enclosure for 2 or more 3.5" HDDs in suspension
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:51 pm 
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Posts: 1756
Location: Guatemala
In case you are still looking, check the upcoming case, Lian Li PC-Q35 Mini-ITX PC Chassis, it should fit all your requirements,

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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