Picking a Case for a Home server

I am trying to pick a case for my home server upgrade.

System Specs

  • AMD Ryzen 9 5900X or Ryzen 7 5800X (haven’t decided yet)
  • ASUS ProArt B550 Motherboard OR ASUS Strix B550-XE (depending on availability but layout is the same so shouldn’t matter which one I end up with)
  • Nvidia GT210 (for display output)
  • Intel Arc A750 Limited Edition
  • Seasonic Focus GX 850 (Old version, not ATX3.0)

Storage devices (excluding M.2):

  • 2x 3.5’ 7200RPM HDD
  • 2x 2.5’ SSD

I haven’t chosen a cooler. Maybe going to slap on a ID Cooling SE-224-XT I have lying around but that Noctua passive cooler also looks like a legit option.

The following aspects are important for this build:

Acoustic Performance

The machine is going to sit in a bedroom. While I understand that at full load it is going to make some noise, I would like it to be near silent at idle with drives spinning. The vibration from HDDs can’t cause the whole case to vibrate with it. (cough cough FSP) I’m not against swapping the stock fans with high quality ones (Not Noctua but maybe something cheaper)


Yes I know I got an ATX board. However I would still like the case to be as compact as possible so that it doesn’t take up as much space.


The system shouldn’t throttle or sound like it is going to take off under a full system stress test with normal ambient temperatures (<30C)

However, the ambient temperatures for this place can get quite high when no one is home and the AC isn’t running during the summer, around 40C. In this case I don’t mind it ramping up its fans as long as the system doesn’t cook itself to death.

Current Candidates

These are my current picks but I’m open to other suggestions as long as it isn’t from FSP because their build quality and design with cases is bad in general

Fractal Define 7 Compact

This looks like a promising option, though I’m a bit concerned about its thermals since it’s more geared towards noise deadening than airflow.

Fractal Meshify 2 Compact

I’m a bit concerned about noise at idle but this might be quieter than the define 7 compact under high load.

A liquid cooler over air cooled will typically not result in lower noise due to its ability to transfer heat at a steady rate. Most of the time you should not even hear the fans.

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My NZXT Kraken 360 pump is noisy (rattling noise) even after trying different orientations inside LianLi O11Dynamic. It seems I am not the only one with rattling noise issues with water pumps. I am still debating what to use on my 14700k build that is about to start. I heard good things about Thermalright Peerless Assassin but still debating.

I am using Fractal Torrent case for my EPYC Server build with Arctic Freezer 4U cooler and very happy with that case and cooler. It is quite when running 5 VMS on ProxMox. That setup is going into a 4U case soon but for air-cooling, Torrent is one of the best cases out there as per Gamers Nexus as well. But case felt bit too big for my taste. May be Torrent Compact is good but few reviews says, cabling space is not enough in that case. Meshify 2 is also good case I believe.

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Got the Torrent as my daily driver. And the amount of airflow you can push out is staggering. But also is very silent if you run the fans at 20-30% thanks to large 180mm and 120mm fans. So it’s very flexible for all kinds of builds. But it’s quite the brick and certainly not your ITX homeserver choice.

Downside with the Torrent: Lack of 2.5" and 3.5" mounting options. 2x 2.5" SATA SSD are fine, but don’t count on being able to cool U.2/3. The case is designed to run first and foremost on M.2.

The Torrent is great, but it sucks for storage.

Only got two cases that might be of interest.

Either go with the Sliger Cerberus X:

Or, if you are okay with fiddling a little to get the hardware to work, SFFTime N-ATX:

Otherwise, since you are stuck with an ATX board and 2xGPU, it is almost impossible to go lower than 30 liters for a case. If you could nuke the GT210 by going for a Ryzen 7 5700G or even better, an AM5 system, then I could possibly suggest a few other models.

To add onto this point on the Torrent not being fantastic for storage:

Recently there has been a trend of using high airflow cases for silent builds (as opposed to cases with thick panels and noise insulation). The theory is based on the fact that noise is mostly driven by fans. More airflow and large 180mm+ fans means very low fan speeds and thus lower noise. I haven’t tested in detail myself but I’d suspect this theory holds true except for NAS systems.

HDDs create noise with a different sound profile than fans and I noise that with high airflow cases, the HDD noise is far more noticeable, even though fan noise is reduced.

For any build with HDDs, I would prefer a well isolated case such as the Define series. I have a Define 7XL, it has 6 HDDs inside and is not noticeably loud when sitting next to my desk.

Guess why I got that case :slight_smile:

Storage is not only HDDs. There is also no mouting options for 2.5" SATA and NVMe. Well there are two mounts on the backside next to all the cables, but you can’t cool NVMe there. May work for SATA.
1-2 5.25" bays or internal mounts (I like the BeQuiet cases for their internal drive cages)

Nice! I really like the look of it- it makes me want to have another system just for the case…. I don’t really have a justifiable use case though haha

Totally agree. I can see why it doesn’t have tons of 3.5 drives- they need their product portfolio to be diverse and the Define is great for 3.5 drives.

That’s a real bummer on the lack of mounting locations for 2.5 drive. I would think many people building a system around this case would want the option for a handful of 2.5 drives. Especially given the focus on cooling when the 2.5 form factor cools easier than the M2 form factor.

Regardless, it’s a very sleek case!

You could probably do sth with 3D printed parts…I will just tape my 2.5" drive to the bottom fans ( the 120mm at the front of the case doesn’t blow towards GPU and has “space” for 2x2.5" with the most excellent cooling ever.