Ultimate Home Server Part 1 – Hardware


This might sound like a strange place to start but the case for your home server is one of the more important considerations. You’re going to want a case that is quiet, has good air flow and has enough hard disk bays for your requirements (I would say at least 3, allowing for a RAID5 configuration).

This actually limits the number of cases suitable for this project significantly. Most PC cases these days only have a maximum of two hard disk bays, which will severley limit how much data we can store. That being said there are plenty of cases that have more than three hard disk slots, these are my picks:

Antec P101 Silent

My personal choice for a build like this. It’s not the cheapest on this list (£90) but it is quiet, has a minimalist look and has space for up to eight hard disks inside, as well as a full-ATX motherboard and an optical drive. If you want a case that your system can grow into, this is a great choice.

It also has great airflow so your drives will stay nice and cool, even when moving around huge chunks of data, and its removable dust filters will prevent large amounts of dust building up inside.

Corsair Carbide Series 100R

It’s not as shiny as the P101, but the Corsair Carbide 100R is still a great case for a home server and comes in significantly cheaper than some other offerings (<£50).

You only have space for up to four hard disks, so expanding in future may be an issue, but you retain a full size ATX tray and space for an optical drive.

The 100R isn’t marketed as a quiet case, but the included fans aren’t too loud and you still get a reasonable amount of airflow over the hard disks.

If you’re looking for a budget option, this is a good case.

Fractal Design Define R5

The most expensive case on this list (>£100) and with good reason. Fractal are renowned for making sleek, quiet, high end cases and the R5 is no exception.

Like the P101 you get a whopping eight drive bays, along with support for optical drives and a full-ATX board. It’s also whisper quiet and in my view the best looking case on this list.

It ain’t cheap, but if money is no option it’s hard to find a better case.

BitFenix Prodigy

It’s a bit more out there, but the BitFenix Prodigy is still a fine case for a build like this, especially if you’re space-conscious.

The Prodigy can only squeeze in a Mini-ITX board, but it also has room for two SSDs and up to five hard disks, as well as an optical drive and full size PSU.

It still has adequate cooling thanks to front, back and top fan mounts, though it’s not as quiet as other cases listed here.

If you value space over expandability then the Prodigy is a much smaller offering than the other cases here.

3 thoughts on “Ultimate Home Server Part 1 – Hardware”

  1. Pingback: Ultimate Home server Part 2 – Operating System + Remote Access | Tech Made Easy

  2. I was looking to build a cheap & efficient server following your guide but according to pc part picker, the motherboard draws around 80w of power too.
    I’m wondering if I should just buy a cheaper old gen home server like a proliant.
    Any advice?

    1. In some circumstances the initial outlay from something like an older enterprise server is very attractive, but consider that said device may already have thousands of hours of use under its belt and that replacement parts would be more expensive as they tend to be bespoke. Additionally enterprise hardware tends to draw more power and be louder than the sort of build I’m proposing, but to each his own!

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