Building a pseudo HEDT system -which case with 6+ 3.5" bays?

Hii all,

Im going for a new virtualization rig - maybe KVM or maybe just Windows with VMware Workstation. Unfortunately the money doesnt grow on trees so i made the great, but less than i wanted, choice of am4 and a 3950x with 128gb ram. This PC is going to run a lot of throwaway VMs as I work as a technical project lead in the Windows world.

Its also going to be used for moderate gaming when time allows, but the main usage is storing all my stuff safely, providing plex to the family and building out test systems for fun and profit.

Eggs, Baskets - dont bother, this is what i can do right now

Im not interested in RGB or water cooling, in case that changes anything.

What do you guys recommend case wise, Im leaning towards the venerable 750D Airflow from Corsair, what would be a better choice?

Silverstone CS380 supports 8 drives. It ss somewhat limited in GPU length (240mm/9.5")

Phanteks Enthoo Pro M supports up to 8 drives, you will have to buy their HDD cages though.

Phanteks Enthoo Pro is another option if you want to go big.

Keep in mind the Silverstone also limits the CPU cooler selection.

Would Fractal Design Define XL R2 work for you? 8 3.5" bays and should have plenty of space for, well everything.

FTFY… Way better airflow… Although the requirements can also fit into Arc Mini R3, but then we move into mATX and that’s a dead zone overal…

But ARC models are already discontinued? Or are they? :thinking:

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I was able to physically fit 10 3.5" drives in the Fractal R6, though need to buy all the drive trays (also takes up a slot section where the 5.25" drive bay could go). Will need to buy extra drive trays though if you go that route and they are hit and miss for availability

It really comes down to styling choice as well. The larger Corsair cases (750d) would suit but are pricey for the feature set.

I would also recommend fractal. The define R2 XL is a slightly older design but has some useful options, like four 5.25" bays that you can use for a 5in3 hotswap cage as well as your internal drives, useful for test builds and backups. It is massive though.

The define r5 or r6 are more modern, has space for eight 3.5" drives and better radiator support for bigger AIOs. It’s also fairly cheap compared to the Corsair cases and way smaller than the R2.

Appreciate your point about being limited on funds and wanting one case but 6 hard drives drives in your prod system is becoming a less common use case. If you can separate bulk storage to a NAS and have a leaner prod system it gives you a lot more options for the future.

They are, to make room for more useless features like RGB and glass (hello fractal design, you should rename yourself to garbage design)…

Antec also has a few cases that can house quite a few 3.5" bays (eg. P100: 7, P101-Silent: 8), though I’ve never loaded the P100 up fully to see what the thermal performance would be

Find a used Supermicro Superchassis on Craigslist or eBay.

I bought a Phanteks and regret it greatly… It’s not a good case for mechanical storage, the drives once installed are too hard to service.

The Phanteks 719 has room for lots of drives. I’ve modified my drive layout, Could easily fit more than advertised with minimal effort. Can put more in place of the radiator, and can fit more above and below the current stack.

@Mazeframe Thanks for the heads up on the Enthoo Pro M - that looks worth considering, although seems like everything has an “add on cost” with Phanteks

@gordonthree Thanks for the info, I really like the look of some of the Phanteks cases, but they dont seem to be designed for my scenario

@FurryJackman thanks, Ive already got my NH-D15 waiting so that rules out the silverstone

Im going to have to kill off my old Cheiftec Matrix… oh how you have served me well ( )

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Thanks for the info, I really like the look of some of the Phanteks cases, but they dont seem to be designed for usability

The 750D is a pretty great case for that, I’d say, depending on how extensive you go with it.

I had to drill an extra hole into mine to get an eATX motherboard inside it, but there was adequate space so that was no problem.

There’s also plenty of depth for oversized heat sinks, PCI add on’s etc.

You can also fit more drives into the case behind the bezel, so 8 isn’t really the limit. I’ve got 12 in mine, but only 8 can be connected at any given time.

Something I’ve found with this (and probably any other similar case, like this one) is that it’s very difficult to get adequate cooling for the hard drives themselves no matter how many fan’s you put on it. You’ll really want to keep this in a room that’s always cool, in any way you can. Someplace like a dry basement, first floor, or second floor with a dedicated AC unit.

I don’t think this would be any different even if you went with a full rack, but I thought I’d mention it because I was surprised.

This case is full of mesh across the top and back, allowing heat to rise out naturally as well as anyone could want. There are also 4 very large fans built into the case, and 4 other substantial fans cooling other hardware in my own non functioning rig, and still the drives I’ve bought have noticeably slowed when put under moderate to high pressure.

If anyone’s had a similar or different experience with this or another case, I’d love to hear about it.

Well, they’re just not designed for mechanical hard drives, adding them seemed to be an afterthought for the designers. Actually, 2.5" drive support seems like an afterthought item too.

It has tons of options for air and water cooling, and it is very quiet and very heavy, but the way the hard drives are mounted makes me sad.

The drives are screwed into cages, these cages are very heavy and completely enclose the drives, making cooling hard. The cages then screw into the chassis, except for the four in the “basement”, which snap into holes in the bottom of the chassis. I’m not sure how you’d fit four in the basement either, unless you used a miniature power supply, or I guess custom cables?

Front side, visible through the glass panel:

Back side, hidden behind steel panel:

Wow, that’s lot different than mine. I don’t have a camera to show the differences, but the HD mounting is essentially all in the basement, open to fan air flow, and it’s still not enough to cool them down, lol.

In all fairness, though, I didn’t add any fans to the upper and lower portions of the case, which there is room for and would probably help.

Fractal define R4 and 5 have 8 3.5" bays.

Supermicro GS50 might be an option.
Supports up to 8 3.5" drives (6 in 3.5" trays, 2 per 5.25" bay).
The 2.5" mount can be removed (allowing for GPUs up to 400mm length)

Link to newegg

My current server sits in a Supermicro SC743TQ-865B-SQ, it’s a great chassis and they certainly were not kidding when calling it Whisper Quiet, my desktop is louder.

It is, however, quite a bit more expensive than the other options provided so far, being an actual server chassis with a hot-swap backplane and all that. Might be worth considering if you can get a good deal on it (or a similar one).

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