I previously started a poll
asking for help and opinions regarding the purchase of a new case to move my HTPC hardware into. Thanks to the suggestions of everyone here at AVS, I was finally able to come to a decision and get the ball rolling on my new build.
For reference, here is a list of existing hardware, and the new components purchased.Existing Hardware:Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X48-DS4Processor: Intel Core2 Quad Q9450 (2.66 GHz)Heatsink: Thermaltake Ultra 120 Extreme + 120mm fan (HUGE)Graphics: GeForce 9800 GTX+Media Player: Plextor 6X Blu-ray DriveRAM: G.SKILL 8 GB (4 X 2 GB) DDR2 1066Boot Drive: WD VelociRaptor 300 GBRAID Controller: 3Ware 9650SE-4LPMLData Drives: WD RE4-GP (4 drives)PSU: Corsair 620W 80+OS: Windows 7 x64
Primary case: Silverstone LC13B
HSF: Scythe Big Shuriken 120mm
Case Fans: All stock fans replaced - 2 Noctua 80mm and 1 Noctua 92mm
RAID: Areca 1680ix-8 + BBU
SAS Adapter: SFF-8087 to SFF-8088 adapter, 2 ports
Cables: Two SFF-8087 to SFF-8087 cables - included with Areca cardDAS Enclosure
Case: Rosewill R901-P BK
PSU: Rosewill Green Series RG530-S12 530W 80 PLUS
Hot Swap Bays: SNT-SAC3141B 4-in-3 (x3)
SAS Adapters: One single port and one dual port SFF-8088 to SFF-8087 adapters
Cables: SFF-8087 to 7 pin SATA breakout cable x 2 (should have gotten 3, but won't need the 3rd one for awhile)
Case Fans: All stock fans replaced - Two Noctua 120mm for the case, and 3 Noctua 80mm for the hot swap bays
And finally, the pics:
Front panel open
HSF Installation - One word...painful. Had to remove the heatsinks from the motherboard first to make enough room for the Scythe mounting brackets. Sausage fingers don't help the situation any. The fan hangs over the first DIMM slot, so changing out the RAM would require taking the whole thing apart again.
HTPC Case finished - Needless to say, it's a tight fit with that GPU. Also, the 24 pin bracket on the motherboard for the PSU connection is right underneath the optical drive cage, which is another tight squeeze.
Hot swap bay fan replacement - Definitely not plug-n-play
DAS Enclosure finished
Rear of DAS Enclosure - Just a close-up of the 3 mini-SAS ports and cable head.
All in all, I've very pleased with the setup. With all the stock fans replaced, both cases together make very little mechanical noise at all. The only sound is a faint "swishing" of air movement, and that's from the DAS enclosure more than the HTPC case. Processor and GPU temps are where they should be, and the DAS enclosure is keeping my 2 TB RE4-GP drives at a cool 29 degrees C.
My only complaint with the Noctua replacement fans is speed control. Each fan, regardless of size, comes with an attachment that reduces the voltage depending on if you want more air flow or less noise. This makes changing settings a real pain if you plan to tweak, but not that big of a deal. A 3 setting switch would be a better solution, especially for the price.
Once I have my A/V rack build finished, the DAS enclosure will actually sit inside another room (it's a built-in rack) while the HTPC occupies a space in the rack so I can reach the BD drive without having to walk around the back.
I'm getting roughly 270 MB/sec read transfer rates with 9.5 ms access speeds to the external array, much snappier than my previous 3Ware card (which is also a great card, by the way). Very pleased with the Areca performance and compatibility. The web interface is slightly flaky on Win7 X64, but that's certainly not a deal breaker.