The designers at Fractal Design have done a great job in designing a case that suits the storage bereft down to the ground. This is a Mini ITX (and Mini DTX) compatible case with enough room inside to hold a whopping six 3.5in mechanical hard disk drives and a single SSD. With current street prices of 2TB hard disk drives hovering around the $100 mark, populating this thing with hefty hard drives and coming away with a 12TB NAS.
However, it uses an SFX power supply (a smaller version of an ATX PSU), which is included in one model. We’d recommend getting the one from Fractal, as its powerful enough for a NAS setup and after-market SFX PSUs.
This case also lacks an optical drive (or any 5.25in) slot. You will need to install the OS via a USB optical drive or USB stick, or via dangling an optical drive out of the side of the case during the setup. There’s also no front mounted audio, or USB, or reset button, just the power switch. In context, that’s really not a bad thing, as data should really be coming in and out of a NAS via the network, and nobody is pretending this case is a desktop system.
Moreover, we found installing the motherboard meant the factory installed PSU needed to be removed, and then it took an extra pair of hands to get it back in without dumping it on to the motherboard. The drives fit in to the case nicely. The single large fan at the front of the case was effective and silent, but the dust filter in front of it requires the hard drive cage and the fan enclosure to be removed and cleaned. That’s a little invasive for what should be preventative maintenance on a system that only comes with one intake fan.
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