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Case and Power Supply

I chose an Antec SLK-3700 since it is a well-built, solid, and cost-effective case.  For this upgrade, I went with the Antec SLK3700-BQE (the "Black Quiet Edition") because it offers four external 5.25" drive bays.  Three of these bays will be occupied by the four-drive RAID enclosure and the fourth will hold the DVD.

The case is essentially the same as their basic 3700, with a few extra tweaks. It's pitch black and employs several quiet features I like.  The hard drives mount perpendicular to the case on little slide-out trays with rubber grommets to keep drive vibration down. The rear fan is a large slow-turning 120mm unit that moves a good amount of air while making hardly any sound.  You can add another 120mm front fan to blow across the internal hard drive bays that I'll consider in the future if needed. The included 350-watt power supply is also sufficiently quiet. The system is not silent, but it's definitely hard to hear.

The case arrived in a shipping box that clunked and rattled suspiciously.  When I opened the box, I saw the case was appropriately wrapped in plastic and cushioned by foam blocks.  When I opened the case itself, I found the source of the noise.  The rear 120mm fan was not attached and had just been thrown inside the main case cavity to bounce around during shipment.  That was not appreciated, but the fan operated normally during its initial testing.  Also inside was a package of drive rails, screws to secure them, and an instruction manual.  The 3.5" drive cage is removable and uses a screw-less latch mechanism.  The front panel control cabling was already attached and each connector was clearly labeled.

The external drive bays in the upper part of the case are covered by a hinged plastic door.  Since the RAID enclosure will be behind this door and has its own 90mm fan, the door will need to be modified to allow air flow.  A short-term solution will be to remove it.  The air flow to the main case cavity enters through the lower portion of the bezel and passes through the removable air filter, across the 3.5" internal drive bays and into the main case cavity.  The full case features are here.

RAID Enclosure and Controller

The RAID enclosure mounts in three external 5.25" drive bays and holds four vertically mounted hard drives.  Each drive is attached to its removable tray using four standard screws provided with the enclosure.  Enclosure power is provided via two standard Molex connectors.  The enclosure provides all required connections to the drives.  The enclosure did not easily mount in my case.  The 5.25" external drive bays have the usual metal tabs stamped out of the side of the drive bay.  I had to bend these out of the way.  The RAID enclosure was a tight fit and barely cleared some motherboard capacitors, but it fit.

The controller comes with four one meter SATA cables.  It would have been convenient if they had come labeled 0-3 to match the controller and enclosure, but that was easily done before assembly.  An additional LED cable permits intelligent control of the enclosure LEDs.

The enclosure manual includes a table that translates the different nomenclature of the SATA connectors between controller, enclosure external, and enclosure internal labeling.  Why Adaptec cannot manage this without resorting to a table, and its potential confusion, is strange.  The controller manual also casually mentions that the card is also 32-bit/33MHz PCI slot compatible.  I did not see that anywhere on the Adaptec website or in the reviews.  This proves to be important later.

I thought I had the equipment and was ready to build my new server in the new cabinet.  Boy, was I wrong.

Posted on Tuesday, August 3, 2004 10:43 PM & Etc. | Back to top

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