Please Recommend a Case with 8x SATA Hotswap Bays
November 30, 2012 6:56 PM   Subscribe

Any recommendations for a case with 8x SATA hotswap bays? I've currently got a $80 Mini-ITX Lian Li case that holds six drives internally. It's a pain to work with and I could use space for more drives. FWIW, it's a media server with a mdadm RAID 6 array that also does on-site backups for three computers, downloads and light database work. Right now I'm looking at the $400 SuperMicro CSE-743TQ-865B. (Bonus Question: Mini-ITX motherboards are supposed to be compatible with ATX cases, so I should be able to move my motherboard into this case, right?)
posted by Brian Puccio to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
At the risk of not answering your intended question, have you considered an external SATA enclosure?

I picked up a pair of 5x for $60(ish) each about a year ago, and they work wonderfully. I use one on my home NAS and one as its backup. Definitely hot-swappable, though that depends more on your drives, motherboard, and OS than on the physical enclosure of course.

And yeah, you can put a mini-ITX motherboard in an ATX case. You may have an issue with having the right power connectors, but if use you the stock PSU from any case, you deserve what you get. ;)

Also, again at the risk of not answering your intended question (really, I mean this well, and suspect we have similar usages in mind - I even own an 8 external bay Lian Li case I bought years ago for this purpose) - Each physical drive increases your risk of data loss. When you can get 2TB drives for under a hundred bucks each, throw away those 300-500GB drives and upgrade! Though of course, if you actually need 24TB of storage, I retract all of the above and can only say - Have you considered Lego? :)
posted by pla at 7:23 PM on November 30, 2012

at the risk of also not answering the question, and introducing an additional point of failure, you can use any regular case and just get a pile of *internal* sata hotswap enclosures. You could stick three of those 5in3s into this randomly selected case or any like it for a total of 15 sata hotswap slots. Or you could use 3in2s or other combinations of enclosures.

This is cheaper than that expensive case. But has a slightly higher rate of failure, as the enclosures themselves could fail.
posted by yeoz at 11:51 PM on November 30, 2012

Response by poster: Don't mean to threadsit, but ...

pla, by external enclosures, do you mean something like this five bay SATA external enclsoure (but cheaper)? I'm worried that speeds over USB won't be great and I'll just have to put this on top of the current case (which sadly vents partially out the top). Plus at $250 each, two of them would cost more than the Supermicro case, of which I've found a cheaper version, only $300. And I'd be able to sell the PSU it came with on eBay.

Yes, I'm using 2 TB drives. (I'd love to migrate to 4 TB drives, but they're just too expensive right now. However, when they're cheaper, having hotswap bats will make it so much easier. Swap drive out, rebuilt array, swap drive out, rebuild array,etc.)

Right now I've got five drives in the array (plus a separate boot drive). I'm aware that more drives increases the change of failure. However, with eight hotswap bays, I can have a seven drive array with one hot spare. I'm willing to take my changes that two drives out of seven do not fail simultaneously. And if they do, well, that's what backups are for.

yeoz, I thought about getting a regular case that had at least six bays and two five to three adapters. I'd pass on that case in particular since it seems to want airflow out the sides and I'm not able to provide the case with that, just airflow in the front and out the top and/or back. By the time I get a case and two five to three adapters, I'm already at the price point of the cheaper Supermicro case I've found, which also has four fans behind the hard drives to pull air through.

Thank you both for your help.
posted by Brian Puccio at 7:23 AM on December 1, 2012

having hotswap bats will make it so much easier
Here ya go 8-p

Seriously, though, and ehm, not to threadjack:
I'm using a similar setup and I'm curious as to how you deal with 8 drives + boot drive on a mini-ITX mainboard? What motherboard/processor/SATA controller do you use?
posted by Thug at 10:14 AM on December 1, 2012

Response by poster: Hah!

For almost two years, I've been using a GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard with a Rosewill RC-218 PCI Express SATA II Controller Card w/ 4 internal SATA Ports. Which is why 8 hotswap bays would be ideal. If one of the seven fails, the eighth can take its place.
posted by Brian Puccio at 11:12 AM on December 1, 2012

I don't know specific cases to recommend, but supermicro is great. (Oh, and I see you want a tower case -- well, supermicro's still great. I was thinking of stuff like this though!)
posted by mendel at 2:47 PM on December 1, 2012

Response by poster: That would be nice, mendel, but it needs to sit on my desk.
posted by Brian Puccio at 10:56 PM on December 1, 2012

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