We are already familiar with the large number of cases from different series offered by SilverStone Technology. Despite the difference in size, equipment, design, and sometimes even significant design differences, they all have a common feature: they are meant for assembling personal computers (of course, in the broad sense of the term – from office to gaming).
But often there is a need for the creation of computer equipment with very specific configurations, which can hardly be attributed to the personal and to the cases for which special requirements are made. For example, network storage systems (NAS) are becoming more common not only for office or production, but also for home use, implying the use of 1-2 to 10 or more disk drives, most often with hot-swapping.
Of course, ready-made solutions are offered, including a certain set of hardware, and often preinstalled software, and in an assortment from the most modest ones , intended primarily for storing and distributing multimedia content, to much more universal and advanced ones . Often they are “semi-finished products”, in which you need to add the discs according to your choice, according to your choice, possibly – the processor and memory, as well as install the OS and the necessary programs.
But they also can not always arrange a specific consumer, who for one reason or another wishes to assemble the NAS himself, using the components and software completely selected by himself. In this case, the company SilverStone Technology offers a series of cases Case Storage .
We offer an introduction to one of the representatives of this series – SilverStone CS380 , which was introduced in October 2016. Currently, it is offered only with black color, which, traditionally for the company’s designation system, says the last letter in the model index: SST-CS380B. Some other cases of the series are also available in silver color, so it is possible to assume that for SilverStone CS380 there will be other color options.
The case is delivered in a well-designed box, on which are depicted photo-images of the exterior of the case and some of its nodes, as well as explanations in different language. The gross weight is relatively small – 8.3 kg, but the box is equipped with side slots for gripping hands.
By and large, nothing special in the layout of SilverStone CS380 is: it is quite a usual miditower, designed to install ATX motherboards and smaller ones. The power supply is located behind the bottom of the chassis, the storage bays are adjacent to the front plane. You can install two 5.25-inch devices with an output to the front panel.
The main feature of the case is a specific rack for HDD / SSD. For NAS, an important factor is the possibility of “hot swapping”, which means access to the disks from the outside, as well as the presence of a fast connection system. Both that, and another in this case is.
Disks measuring 3.5 “and 2.5” are installed on the slide, which are inserted longitudinally through the windows in the front panel. The skid can also be called a container – in any case, they have a full front part completely covering the corresponding opening. For locking, snaps are provided, and handles are easy to remove, pressing them releases these latches.
There are eight such seats, but instead of five-inch devices, you can put two more drives. Naturally, this will require the purchase of adapters, adapters, and “hot swap” for them will not. But still the maximum number of installed HDD or SSD is equal to ten.
However, such a disk compartment “eats” a considerable part of the depth of the case, restricting the choice of video cards by models with a length of no more than 26 cm, taking into account the additional power located at the end of the connector (apparently, the value indicated in the specification is 9.5 “or 24 cm. Presence of such a connector). True, for NAS, high-performance graphics cards with large dimensions are not the most necessary components.
With respect to CPU coolers it is said about a maximum height of 146 mm. Our measurement showed a distance of 172 mm from the base for the motherboard to the opposite sidewall, but from it you need to subtract the height of the rack for mounting the board (in this case 6 mm) and the thickness of the board itself with the processor installed. And for some types of coolers, which are not very large in cross-section, it is possible to add an additional 11-12 mm due to the stamp on the left side wall.
Let’s move on to the appearance.
Network devices are rarely put on public display, they are often restricted to access. Therefore, the exterior of the hull is very modest, its only decoration, not counting the manufacturer’s logo, is a vertical glossy strip on the front. The external part of plastic is also one – the front panel, all the other covers are made of metal, only their external sides are painted in black, and on the paint of the inner sides, as well as the bottom and other elements of the chassis, saved. And this is quite a reasonable saving: there are no windows in the side walls, so only the collector will see the inside of the case.
The front panel is equipped with a door opening from left to right to an angle of just over 90 °. It is impossible to rearrange the hinges to the other side, and we consider this a disadvantage in the description of conventional cases, but NAS is unlikely to be used as a workstation, so the lack of equal convenience when placed on the right or on the left of the operator is not a significant factor.
But the door is equipped with shock-absorbing stickers to reduce knocking when closing, as well as magnets that hold it in the closed position. In addition, the design of the door takes into account the specificity of the NAS: it is equipped with a lock to limit access to recoverable drives. Of course, the lock is not as in the bank’s store, open it without a key is not difficult, but still with the door closed to lock and just pull out the sled with the drives will not work.
There is one more “pest protection”: an additional pusher for the Power button is output to the outside of the door so that you can turn the NAS on and off without opening the door itself. But sometimes it can play a bad service, so on its inner side there is a blocker that will not allow you to press the button when the door is closed.
In the kit a small sachet with various fasteners and four disposable cable ties, a pair of keys for the lock, as well as a multilanguage description in the form of a little book.
The dimensions of the case are quite compact: 426 × 216 × 498 mm (H × W × D, including protruding elements), net weight is 7.1 kg.
The design uses steel of very different thickness: from 0.5 mm for the back wall and the base of the system board to 0.7 mm for the side covers and 0.75 mm for some elements of the disk rack. Nevertheless, the relatively small dimensions of the body and the presence of stamped protrusions made its rigidity quite acceptable.
The legs are plastic, they do not have any damping inserts.
The control panel is located behind the door, near the right edge of the front panel and in the middle in height. The organs are arranged in a vertical row, listed from top to bottom: the Power button, the indicators are blue for inclusion and red for disk activity, the Reset button, two USB 3.0 ports separated by a pair of audio connectors. The listed organs are attached to the removable front panel.
The Power button is fairly large, but has some free play to prevent tripping from accidental touches. Access to the Reset is done through a hole with a small diameter: you can press this button only with a tool with a long and thin tip (for example, a paper clip).
As already mentioned, Power can be pressed and with the door closed – an additional rod is located on the mentioned glossy strip. Through this strip will be visible and indicators.
USB ports are located so that you can simultaneously connect to them wide devices, but do not forget about the presence of the door: if it is closed, then there is no access to these connectors.
It is necessary to tell about the system of fast disks connection.
For all eight seats, a common cross-board is used, on which the connectors to the discs are on the side facing the sled, and the SATA and SAS interface ports on the other, which, when connected to the appropriate controllers, will allow both of these types of disk drives to be used.
To apply voltages from the power supply unit, a pair of Molex-male connectors are used, and the instruction recommends connecting to them connectors that are not on one but on different loops exiting the PSU. Additional filtering of possible jamming is also envisaged: in the power circuits, a considerable number of electrolytic capacitors are installed on the board.
In addition, the cross-board is equipped with two three-pin connectors, to which both rack fans can be connected. True, there can be no question of controlling the speed of their rotation.
Finally, each slot for disks on the cross-board is equipped with a SMD-LED, and in the right sidewall of the slide there is a light guide that opens onto the front part. Thus, in addition to the general indicator of disk activity, which is noticeable even when the door is closed, there are also individual, for the observation of which the door should be opened.
There are many signs that the chassis of the other hull is taken as the basis for SilverStone CS380 – this is hinted at by the abundance of unused holes and the filter-closed ventilation slots in the bottom, implying the installation of not only a power supply unit, but also another fan, which in this configuration will be hampered Disk rack, and protruding to the left at the five-inch bay of the ears, completely useless for fixing the drives or some other needs for assembly, but quite suitable for installing screwless latches.
We were not too lazy to remove the disk rack, for which we had to work a lot with a screwdriver, and it turned out that it was attached to the bottom from the bottom, which was very suitable for mounting a 2.5-inch drive, which the stand would not do either.
But we do not see anything wrong with the use of the “common platform” for several buildings: this technique allows us to reduce the cost of both development and production, and ultimately make the retail price more attractive.
The worst is different: not all the edges are well-worked – you will hardly hurt about them, but the sensation when touching is not the most pleasant; As an example, you can give an opening for the power supply in the back wall or a latch for gripping when removing the left side cover on the end (interestingly, the right edge has a normal edge). In addition, there are several small holes with sharp protrusions, which can actually damage the arm.
Of course, this is also a sign of economy, but we can not welcome such a thing.
The standard equipment of the case includes three 120-millimeter fans of the company’s own production. All of them are without illumination and have a standard three-pin connector.
One of them is quite familiar: on the back wall, it draws air from the area of the processor. It can be replaced by a radiator of a liquid cooling system of the same dimension, and the existing mounting holes allow installation of an 80 mm model.
Two more fans are designed to serve the most important part of any NAS – disk subsystem. They are located on the left side wall of the disk rack and installed as pumping. The skid is also made taking into account the fact that the drive needs to be cooled both from above and from below.
But we could not penetrate the depth of the design idea in the realization of cooling in the rack: not only can the ventilation slots in the sidewalls of the rack not be very wide, so also half of the upper fan is covered by a plastic lining, whose practical role can only be guessed.
For airflow into the rack, the left side cover has a large area with openings, from the inside closed by a filter of a thin plastic sheet with small holes. Naturally, you can remove it for maintenance only with the lid.
Another filter we already mentioned: it closes the place of installation of the power supply and the “phantom” lower fan. The filter is made the same, but access to it is simpler: it is inserted from the outside, and you can extract it without opening the case. True, the plastic sheet is fastened with stamped protrusions, and from all directions, and the computer for extraction and especially for installing the filter will have to be strongly tilted, or even put on its side.
Of the additional ventilation holes, we mention the slots in the plugs of the expansion slots, as well as three rows of narrow slots on the front door. These slots do not have a filter, which is understandable: the air through them during the operation of the disk rack fans will not enter, but exit, penetrating through the gaps of the front parts of the drive rails.
On the back wall there is a pair of openings for the tubes of the system of SVO, they are closed by rubber plugs with cut-off petals.
The side walls are fixed by the usual system of grooves and combs for such cases, but are fixed by pairs of captive screws with rolling heads. We have already talked about sufficient rigidity, and when installing these covers there are no special distortions that prevent them from immediately putting them in place.
But the front panel is not so customary: there are no plastic latches, they are replaced by three screws each side. But you will hardly have to remove it, even the plugs of the five-inch slots can be removed without this – just put your hand in and release the side retainers from the inside. The plugs in the front plane of the chassis, which in this case would have to be broken, no, the devices in these slots are fastened with screws to the right and to the left.
Racks for mounting the system board assembler will have to be put yourself, to facilitate the process in the kit there is an adapter for a hexagon for a Phillips screwdriver.
The cutout at the base of the motherboard will allow installing and removing CPU coolers without removing the board itself. The hole for its I / O ports does not have a stub to be broken out, and all seven slots for expansion cards have reusable plugs fixed with screws with heads for a crosshead screwdriver.
Drives of both dimensions in the sled are fastened with screws – 3.5-inch side, and 2.5-inch bottom. There are no damping inserts.
If desired, the sled in the rack can be fixed with a screwdriver through the hole in its right wall. Of course, you’ll have to forget about the “hot replacement”, but sometimes you need to turn off the free ejection of drives for security reasons, especially given the rather primitive door lock.
The power supply unit is screwed directly to the rear wall, without any adapter frames. There are guides that help to position it correctly during installation, and with shock-absorbing stickers. The BP can be arranged with the fan downward, so that the air can be sucked through the filtered holes in the bottom and upwards.
Limitations for the length of the installed BP in the specification are not specified, in fact, the space for it taking into account the output wires is the same as for the video cards: about 26 cm.
Various cables, including interface cables, can be laid on the right, behind the base of the motherboard, for this, due to the small width of the housing, it was necessary to make a stamped ledge and on the right side cover. In the base itself, there are several holes of different sizes, through which cables and wires can be laid, fixing them with screeds from the kit to the existing ears. There are no stubs in these holes.
Connection of external connectors to the motherboard is made by shielded cables with monolithic connectors, for audio there is only HD Audio.
Noise measurement is carried out in accordance with our method using a sound level meter Octave 110A-Eco in a soundproof room, with a typical noise level of 20 dBA. During the measurement, all the electrical appliances in the room are turned off.
To regulate the supply voltage used in a standalone fan-controlled converter.
Performance casing cooling system varies depending on the fan power supply voltage in a relatively wide range, indicating that the use of fans with an average productivity. Subjectively this parameter allows to evaluate the noise level that is in the range from 21.5 to 35 dB at the location of the microphone in the near field sound level meter at a distance of 0.35 meters from the front panel and a power voltage from the fan 5 up to 12 V.
Typically, voltage regulation range 7-11 The noise varies from low (25.5 dBA) to medium (33.5 dB) level with respect to the typical values for premises in the daytime.
At greater distances from the user’s body and placing it, for example, on the floor under the table, the noise can be described as very low when the fans at minimum speed, and when working at the maximum – as reduced to dwelling in the daytime.
The quality of fans subjectively no major complaints – neaerodinamicheskogo origin of the sounds they are subtle and do not attract the attention.
The main claim to the cooling system is the lack of adjustability nominal rotation speed of all fan complete, as the controller in the housing is not installed, and the search cost to three power connectors DC fans would be very difficult.
It’s not like someone really optimizes aerodynamics inside the housing with the possibility of installing a large number of hard drives running in the heavy-duty operation, as a basket mounted fans with sickle-shaped blades, while effectively blowing the basket with wheels are better fans with high static pressure, which are trapezoidal blade. For the same reasons, it would be possible to set the size and fans 80 or 92 mm. Location fans on the basket drives also difficult to recognize the best: they create flow across the body, which then strikes the blank wall on the opposite side, which is obviously not conducive to improving the cooling of anything. With the cooling of the housing can be suitable for archival storage, with infrequent use of disks, but to collect it an array of High-Loaded, probably not worth it.
The recommended price SilverStone CS380 is about € 121.
Case SilverStone CS380 is specific product with a very limited use: based on it can be collected or the NAS, or multi-plate workstation with hot-swappable drives, which, in fact, too, will the data storage system.
Moreover, high computing power, such a computer would not be different: it simply does not allow the construction of housing provided by the possibility of the ventilation system. And to equip it with modern high-performance graphics cards will not work yet due to lack of space.
But it is not said as a reproach: there is a great variety of buildings, just very different performance designed for personal computers, but among them is difficult to find a model where you can organize a “hot swap” for eight SATA / SAS-ROM drive. And mentions us budget nature of construction and equipment – is not always negative: to pay for all sorts of delights prepared every consumer.
Another thing is that, even in cases of budget production standards should be at a height, even in small things: the presence of sharp edges is not allowed in the design. And the method of cooling the most important site of any NAS – disk rack – are not organized in the best way: to the sled to drive in this regard no complaints, and the fans are installed it is quite logical, but they create air flow will largely overlap rack walls.