30 August 2016

In Win MS04 home server case

Out with the old
For some time I've been looking for a nice computer case to house my small homelab server. Finding a case that fits a mini-ITX motherboard, two 3,5" HDDs and a 2,5" SSD while omitting the PSU has been hard. So hard that I gave up. During my search I put the homeserver into a shoe box and for the past few months, the server has been running happily in it's bright red "case".

In with the new
One of the Dutch one-day offer sites offered an In Win MS04 with a 265W PSU with a 30% discount. I first came across this case when I was shopping for the SuperMicro Xeon-D based home server and thought it looked nice but a bit expensive. The discount and the fact that my colleagues were making fun of my makeshift bright red case made me decide to go for this offer. It arrived in a plain beige box with some tape and some foam to keep it save.

In case you don't know this case, here are some highlights:
  • 4 hot swap drive bays
  • Slim ODD bay
  • internal 2,5" HDD bay
  • mini-itx motherboard tray
  • 265W 80+ bronze PSU
  • 120mm PWM fan
  • one low profile PCI-E slot
  • power button with blue LED
The metal case is about as big as an HP Microserver Gen8 but fits a standard sized mini-itx motherboard. Hooray for choice!

Since I'm only replacing the case, the contents is still the old homelab management server. The removable motherboard tray made installing the motherboard a breeze. The screws for the motherboard were in a clearly labeled plastic bag. After installation of the motherboard, connecting all the wires for the frontpanel was easy. Only the front USB3.0 connector was a bit finicky since it required nimble fingers to get underneath the drive bays and push the connector to the board right-side up. 

Minor issue with the cabling: the Pico-PSU molex connector to feed power to the backplane is a very, very tight fit. There's not enough slack in the cable to unplug the molex. A motherboard with a 24pin connector on the "north-end" won't have this issue though. 
 I like the drive trays that allow you to mount both 3,5" and 2,5" drives in a caddy (not simultaneously). One houses a 2,5" SSD and two others house a 3,5" HDD each.

In the end I think it's a nice case that will serve it's purpose well. For now I'm not using the included PSU because my 80W Pico-PSU delivers enough power with greater efficiency. Maybe I'll use the included PSU when I upgrade to another motherboard or maybe I won't. 

Here you can see it humming along next to it's big brother. The 25W usage is just the management server running ESXi 6.0u2 and three VMs (VCSA, Xpenology and Server 2016).

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