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Cheap case for massive number of hard drives?

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Hi everyone. I need to expand my storage server by adding more disks, and at this point I am stuck by one issue - cases. I need to find a new case to house a system with a lot of hard drives. I cannot find anything in the market that fits my needs

I need to find a solution that fits my requirements:
  • Supports ATX motherboard and power supply.
  • Must be a tower and not rackmount
  • Holds at least 12 3.5" HDDs (and preferably 16)
  • Holds at least 4 2.5" SSDs
  • Drives do not need to be hot-swappable.
  • Holds a 5.25" optical drive (preferable, but not mandatory)
  • Is one enclosure (preferable, but not mandatory)
I cannot find any cases with all of these features. I am looking to spend $50-$100, and aesthetics are a non-issue for me. I just want to be able to make sure my equipment is securely housed. If there is something used that I can buy, I am more than open to it.

I have also considered buying an external HDD case to use with my existing case, but I cannot find one that is inexpensive. Most of them are high priced because they have SAS or SATA expanders, which I do not need (I already have a 24 port expander). I also considered constructing something from scratch, but I do not have the tools to do anything but basic modifications of existing cases. I already have a 3 x 5.25" to 4 x 3.5" adapter, which I am using in my existing case.

Here are some pictures of my existing configuration of 8 HDDs, 4 SSDs, and 1 ODD in the case along with the system components. Since these pictures were taken I have managed to fit another HDD in it by moving the SSDs to the side of the case.

I appreciate your help in advance.



 

W1zzard

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Lian Li PC-D8000B is the only I can think of. And for its cost you could just buy a second case, hack it up, place next to your current case and route over the sata cables
 

theonedub

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If you put a little more money into it you could go with a Corsair 750D with (2) additional drive cages. Using this image from the TPU review and a little Paint:



You could fit additional drives in the 2 spare 5.25" bays with the third being used for your optical solution. The 4 slot SSD cage still fits behind the standard HDD cages, so you're set for your 2.5" space still.

I can't think of a case within the budget though :oops:
 
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It's more than you wanted to spend, but Sneeky has a Cooler Master Stacker combo in his for sale thread for 150 bones. It is big and gaudy, but it looks like it would fill your needs for drives, 12 3.5s and a buttload of 5.25s.

Edit
After looking at pics over at newegg, that big ugly stacker does seem just right.
 
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You definitely need a full tower case, some of the cases on newegg can fit as many as 12 internal 3.5 drives.
 

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Lian Li PC-D8000B is the only I can think of. And for its cost you could just buy a second case, hack it up, place next to your current case and route over the sata cables

This is a pretty good idea. Take a cheap case and fill it with drive slots and some fans. Like an external array you connect internally.

Good idea.
 
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Cosmos S has room for 10 HDD out of the box and plenty of room for much more, if you get 1 or 2 extra cages.
 
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Thanks so far for all the help. You all have convinced me that my budget is probably unreasonable if I want something pre-made or easy to modify.

I thought about W1zzard's idea of getting a second case or a cube case, in my situation I don't have enough floor space to support two cases side by side. I also need to occasionally transport the system, and if it's two cases it's a bit of an annoyance to disconnect them before transport. I could bolt both cases together and cut a hole in each side, but then the problem becomes that when a drive in the RAID fails and needs replacing, I have to disassemble the entire system in order to separate the two halves and access the drive.

I looked at some of the large cases suggested. The Fractal XL and the Corsair 750D look like they would work, and I am considering them. I just can't decide which to use. Both cases can hold 16 HDDs + 4 SSDs with the 4-in-3 adapter I already have, some extra 3.5" cages, and a 4 x 2.5" into 5.25" cage for the Fractal. The two issues I am trying to resolve are:

For the Fractal, I can't find any way to source a third drive cage for the Fractal XL. Does anyone know if these are even available for sale and what their prices are?
For the Corsair 750D, I looked at reviews and I cannot find out if SSDs are mountable in their brackets when HDDs are in their cages. All the reviews of the case have the SSD behind an unfilled drive cage. Does anyone know if you can use both at the same time?

Thanks for the continued help.
 
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theonedub

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For the Corsair 750D, I looked at reviews and I cannot find out if SSDs are mountable in their brackets when HDDs are in their cages. All the reviews of the case have the SSD behind an unfilled drive cage. Does anyone know if you can use both at the same time?

Thanks for the continued help.

The SSD rack is actually on the backside of the case, so all locations should be available. I would definitely use right angle SATA cables and the appropriate SATA power cables to avoid any cable issues.



 
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See this link for info on Fractal spare parts*
* I haven't contacted them for such things so I'm not sure on pricing, etc..

https://support.fractal-design.com/...for-sale-such-as-additional-hdd-cages-or-side

I live in the US and it's disappointing that the US site doesn't even list the lower HDD cage that I would need. It must be in very short supply because even if I look in the German site it's backordered. I don't think it will be easy to find one.

The SSD rack is actually on the backside of the case, so all locations should be available. I would definitely use right angle SATA cables and the appropriate SATA power cables to avoid any cable issues.

EDIT: The cable issues I'm referring to deal with mounting a SSD behind a tray full of HDDs. Can I just mount the 3.5" drives in reverse so that the cables stick out the front? That way I don't have to spend $50 on new SFF-8087 cables and power cables.
 
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theonedub

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Im 80% sure you can put them in backwards, I think I did that once on my 650D that uses the same cage. I would try it right now on my 350D and 500R cages, but I can't find any 3.5" HDDs.
 
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I live in the US and it's disappointing that the US site doesn't even list the lower HDD cage that I would need. It must be in very short supply because even if I look in the German site it's backordered. I don't think it will be easy to find one.
.

Upper and lower cages may be the same with the exception of the plastic adapters added on the top/bottom- I can check the upper cage on mine to see if the attachment points are there to mount on the case floor...
 
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Thank you to both for your help.

Im 80% sure you can put them in backwards, I think I did that once on my 650D that uses the same cage. I would try it right now on my 350D and 500R cages, but I can't find any 3.5" HDDs.

Looking at the mounting points I don't think the drives can be reversed while still using the same pins. It looks like I would have to remove the pins and drill new holes to use screws.

Upper and lower cages may be the same with the exception of the plastic adapters added on the top/bottom- I can check the upper cage on mine to see if the attachment points are there to mount on the case floor...

I've been looking around and it seems the difference between the top cage and the bottom cage is that the top cage doesn't have a slot to mount another cage on top of it while the bottom cage does. In the 3rd position, I don't need a cage with the slots on top so maybe the top cage is the one I would want. I'm going to keep investigating.
 
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wow, that is a sweet deal. It currently has a 50% discount. Doesn't have 2.5" bays but I bet you could use industrial grade dual side tape to mount a pair of 3.5" to 2 2.5" adapters.
 

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wow, that is a sweet deal. It currently has a 50% discount. Doesn't have 2.5" bays but I bet you could use industrial grade dual side tape to mount a pair of 3.5" to 2 2.5" adapters.
Really, since they are SSDs, you can just use double sided tape or velcro to mount them pretty much anywhere. The case is rather large since it holds E-ATX motherboards, so there is going to be plenty of room in front of the motherboard if a standard ATX motherboard is used.
 
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I've been looking around and it seems the difference between the top cage and the bottom cage is that the top cage doesn't have a slot to mount another cage on top of it while the bottom cage does. In the 3rd position, I don't need a cage with the slots on top so maybe the top cage is the one I would want. I'm going to keep investigating.

I checked mine- the top cage will work but you would need to drill new holes and use longer screws. The 4x plastic disks on top, which are also on the bottom of the upper cage, can be used as spacers to raise the bottom up enough to clear the side of the case with the lower HDD tray. Also, the HDD mount to the bottoms of the HDD trays so they are reversible- I mount the drives in mine with the cables facing outward.
 
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I appreciate your help, but the hard disk cages are too expensive. Either way I would need to spend $100-$130 on bay adapters on top of the ~$100 for those cases putting the budget at or over $200.

If astetics aren't an issue, why does it need to be a tower?

$99 buys you a decent rackmount case with 15 3.5" bays. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147164

You can set it up on its side like it is a tower if you want. It even looks like you can remove the flanges and handled if you want, it looks like they are only held on my a few screws.

That's a nice thought. The only reason I specified tower is because I wanted it too be vertical; I didn't realize a rackmount case could feasibly be turned sideways I'm going to keep that in consideration. The only detraction is the inability to use an optical drive, but that isn't a make or break issue.

I checked mine- the top cage will work but you would need to drill new holes and use longer screws. The 4x plastic disks on top, which are also on the bottom of the upper cage, can be used as spacers to raise the bottom up enough to clear the side of the case with the lower HDD tray. Also, the HDD mount to the bottoms of the HDD trays so they are reversible- I mount the drives in mine with the cables facing outward.

I came across these two images of modifications. Is that what these people did? Also, do you know if power supply cable length is an issue with this case (particularly for the main ATX cable)? I want to buy a new supply for this server anyway as a preventative measure (my current one is a 9 year old Silverstone and it's still working but I don't know for how much longer). Which supply are you using for your case and does it have an issue with cable lengths?



 
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silverstone rv 03 can fit like 11? 3.5 hdd... 5 behind mobo and six inside... and not so expensive....
 
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System Name My Fortress/Julia (WCG)/Trish (WCG)/Ella (WCG)/Junior (WCG)/4P (WCG)/Kreij (WCG)/Trish02 (WCG)
Processor Ryzen 1700X/Ryzen 1700X/Ryzen 1700/Ryzen 1600X/Ryzen 1800X/Opteron 6168x4/FX-8350/Ryzen 1800X
Motherboard X370 Taichi/A320 Pro-VHL/B350 M/B350 M/AB350 K4/SuperMicro 4P/ASUS 990X/ Asrock X370 mITX
Cooling NH-D14/SNH-U14S/Scythe Mugen5/Scythe Mugen 5/NH-U14S/CM 212+ (x4)/Xig DK Nighthawk/Scythe Mugen 5
Memory 16GB GSkill TridentZ-3200 (1700X), 16GB GSkill FlareX-2400 (1800X),... various...., 4P- 16x1GB
Video Card(s) RX 580/HD 7770/HD 4670/GTX 1080/8400GS/onboard/GTX 1080/HD 7870
Storage WD 500GB SSD/Seagate 2TB SSHD, .... misc...
Display(s) Dual Dell Ultrasharp U2414H
Case Silverstone FT01B/Corsair 230T/Versa H15/Silverstone FT05/Define R4/custom/Tt P3 open/Define XL r2
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Power Supply Corsair HX850/CS650M/Focus Gold 650/EVGA P2 850/HX 650/X Gold 1050/M12 II 750/X Gold 750
Mouse Logitech G300s
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Software Win 10 Pro (Fortress), Win 10 Pro (Ella02), Ubuntu for everything else
Benchmark Scores Why sit on the Bench when you can get in the game and Crunch!!!
It looks like they just moved their existing bottom HDD rack over to the 2nd position.

This is mine just after I built it (only 1x 7770 in there atm/3x in this pic):


PSU is a Seasonic X-750 Gold- case is fairly tall so you may need a cable extension for the mobo 8pin (ran mine along the front of the board for convenience).... all of the other cables were not an issue.
 

rtwjunkie

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I think with a little modification the Fractal XL is the way to go. It's a sweet case! I almost got it for my server case upgrade unitl deciding on the define R4. Norton "sold" me on it! :D
 
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