Chassis Upgrade Recommendations

Hey all. I’m looking for some recommendations for a new chassis. My current hardware is below, and I am in an old gaming mid-size tower right now that is starting to get a little cramped. I would like to have a hot-swap, or easily swappable drive bay tower that can support my system, and possible upgrades when I finally move to a better server class mobo/cpu. I would also like some expansion space for at least 2-4 additional drives, but I dont mind if I have to put these in 5.25 bays. I don’t have a large budget and would like to stay under $300.

Current Hardware:
6x HITACHI Deskstar 2TB 7200RPM
ASRock Micro ATX DDR3 1333 LGA 1150 Motherboards H97M PRO4
CPU: Intel(R) Core™ i5-4790k CPU @ 4.0GHz (4 cores/8 thread)
GPU: GTX1080 (pending install)
PSU: Corsair 750W (suspect this PSU is dying)

So I found a CSE747 server at work that has been decommissioned. Is this a good option?

If noise is not an issue.

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How bad is it?

If it’s free, give it a go

It is… actually getting it fully populated with all hardware except HDD. It sits in my living room though. Would there be options for making it quieter?

“Quiet” and “rack-mount chassis” aren’t all that compatible. Rack chassis are designed to fit the greatest amount of stuff possible into the smallest space possible. Keeping that cool requires airflow, which requires relatively high static pressure, which means fan noise that’s usually unacceptable in a living room or bedroom. My CSE847 system was barely tolerable in a closet with the door shut, but then it overheated in a hurry.

I was instead going to recommend a tower system, something like the Dell T430. It tops out at 8 3.5" bays, but they are hot-swap, it’s server-grade gear from top to bottom, and I’d expect it’s considerably quieter than anything rack-mounted. It will likely be more than $300, but you’d be buying a complete system, not just a chassis.

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The CSE platform I am referring to is actually a tower chassis. Looks something like this.


As I said, if it’s free, it’s probably worth trying it.

You may be able to improve its noise characteristics too. I managed to de-noisify a Norco 24 bay 4U chassis.

3x 5.25” bay would support another 5 3.5” bays btw.



I powered it on before I removed the HDD. It didnt sound this bad after it booted up. lol. It was loud as F*** during the boot cycle.

That’s what I get for going from memory about Supermicro’s part numbers. I don’t know even so that it will be “quiet,” but probably quieter than a rack chassis would be.

That’s pretty common–once all the system management comes online things often quiet down a bit. One of my network switches just about deafened me when I first powered it on.

As bad as 2x 80mm and 4x 92mm fans would get. My suggestion is to replace them with noctua ones, likely quieter but also less capable.

Those small devils like to scream a lot… don’t give them a chance. Imagine being asleep and then your system loses power… and regains it a few minutes later; if you have a spouse, buy and UPS to save your marriage.


I’m sure some quieter fans would do fine when all I’m doing is plex transcoding and surveillance footage processing.

NF-A8 PWM and NF-A9 PWM but don’t let @dan know :shushing_face:

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CPU and GPU will be fine with Noctuas, but keep an eye on the HDDs. Tightly stacked the way they are in that case, the need proper airflow.

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I get notified of the post, but my name is in a spoiler. Cute.

Yes, of course I know of Noctua fans, but the problem is what you yourself say–they’re almost certainly less-capable than what’s in the chassis already. And the mobo can already ramp the fans up and down as required–so even if Noctuas could move the air that’s needed, in the places it’s needed, at the pressure that’s needed, it’s far from certain they’d be significantly quieter than the fans that are already there while doing that.

Buy a UPS, period–sudden loss of power isn’t good for any computer, even if ZFS is more resilient to it than most filesystems.


Maybe I just put this loud ass server in my garage. Its climate controlled… but can get kinda dusty from the woodworking

Yes, but use their industrial versions, if possible, as they are just as quiet at the same RPM but have higher top end speed, and thus more capacity.

Upsize the fans in the mid fan wall if you want.

I was under the impression that you were gutting the server to replicate your current hardware… or are you going to use it as is?

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You’re correctly assume that that was the impression I gave. The option to use the cse747 was not in my head when I was making the original post. But seeing the hardware that’s available in this thing it seems like a good idea to go ahead and use the super micro motherboard and dual CPUs that are in this case already. I think all I would have to do is transfer over my OS and my pool drives and I would be good to go with the new chassis and components