Given the ambitions with the disk setup, my current Lian-Li PC-A77 with 17 disks and 2 BR burners internally will be too small. I need something that will house around 28 HDD’s, 2 BR burners, 4 SSD’s and a multicard reader for ingest from CF and SD cards.
With the huge number of disks in such a system, I want to have hot-swappable bays, so it is easy to exchange failed disks. Normal big towers will not do because they are simply not big enough, so this means further investigation. But it also raises another question: cooling. Air, water or even more extreme, nitrogen? I’ll come back to that later.
I found a case that easily meets my requirements, albeit at a price. And it can be tailored to my specific needs. And most importantly, it will fit under my desk, even on casters and casters are a necessity for such a large case. It beats working in the cramped space under the desk for maintenance, upgrades or disk replacement. Enlarging the case with a pedestal or going for a larger model would not fit, so they were out.
When I tell you the details, your initial reaction will be: ‘He’s crazy to even consider such a case’. Well, that may be the case in this case, but OTOH a case like this is like a tripod system. It can easliy outlive several generations of systems, giving an expected life span of more than 10 years. You never need to get another case. The same with a good tripod, it can easily run in $ 3K to $ 5K+ figures, but it is a ‘life-time’ investment. Almost certain case choice: CaseLabs MAGNUM TH10
I want to have the capability to use up to 4 SSD’s, so this Addonics_SSD_bay seems to fit the bill, taking only a single 5.25″ bay. For the hot-swappable HDD cages I will opt for 3 Chenbro_Hot_Swappable_bay units, since the TH10 does not fit any more.
Why the Chenbro drive cage and not the Supermicro CSE-M35TQ? They are similar, 5 hot-swappable disks in a 3 bay housing and have the same functionality. The things that steered me towards the Chenbro is that it includes two USB connections on the front of the cage, the drive cages on the PSU side are compatible with Chenbro backplanes, so I have only one kind of backplanes in this system. Last, there are rumors that the Supermicro included fan is pretty loud.