Computer case that can hold lots of hard drives

July 13th, 2014

I’ve been looking for a while for a not-silly-expensive, normal-ish computer case that can hold lots of hard drives.

I’m building a home NAS, and want the flexibility to fill it with lots of hard disk drives. Normal decent home computer cases can hold about 5 hard drives (3.5″ bays), plus 3-4 CD drives (5.25″ bays). I just want lots of room for HDD, so looking for a case with lots of 3.5″ bays.

Here’s a write-up of my findings, in case it’s of use to anyone else…

You can also get HDD enclosures that fit in the 5.25″ bays, but hold HDD instead:

  • 4-in-3 adapter for about £30 puts 4 HDD in 3 5.25″ bays (4-in-3), with a big 120mm fan cooling them. (It’s a faff to change the drives around with these, but the cooling is good)
  • 5-in-3 adapter for about £28 puts 5 HDD in 3 5.25″ bays (5-in-3), also with a big 120mm fan cooling them.
  • Fancier ones (costing ~£120+) are hot swappable, and provide better cable management etc.

It was surprisingly hard to find many cheap options, but my hunt has lead me to the following.

  • Antec 1900 (about £170) has 12 3.5″ bays, plus 3 5.25″ bays, so could hold up to 17 HDD, with a 5-in-3 enclosure. It’s a huge case – 700mm tall
  • Antec 1200 (about £120) has 12 5.25″ bays and zero 3.5″, but comes with 3 3-in-3 5.25″ to 3.5″ adapters. This one is great if you want to start with decent capacity (9 HDD), but also the option to scale up to 20 in the future (for about £120). Still big – 650mm tall
  • Antec Nine Hundred Two (about £75) is similar to the 1200, but has 9 5.25″ bays, and adapters for 6 bays come in the box. Could hold up to 15 drives (with 3 5-in-3 adapters, totalling about £85 extra) – normal sized at <500mm tall
  • Fractal Design ARC XL and Fractal Design Define XL (£100 or £85) are similar to each other. Both have 8 3.5″ bays, plus 4 5.25″ bays, so could hold up to 13 HDD. Not too big – 570/560mm tall

Playing and making movies

June 17th, 2014

Oscar and Daddy playing and making disaster movies

Jurassic Safari

June 16th, 2014

Today, Oscar and Daddy made a Jurassic Safari with Brio and a tub of dinosaurs. This silly video is the result.

NHS Midwives recommending homeopathy?!

June 13th, 2014

I’m pretty shocked that the midwife at Lister Hospital recommended Arnica Tablets. Caroline sent me off to get some, and I came back with a £7.50 tub of sugar pills, labelled “Homeopathic medicinal product without approved therapeutic indications”.

After looking into it, it turns out Arnica is a poisonous plant, and the only arnica tablets you can get are homeopathic (if they actually contained any arnica they’d be poisonous!)

And it looks like lots of healthcare professionals recommend them!

Welcome Home, Joshua

June 11th, 2014

We’re home! And having a mini party with Nan-Nan, Pops, Gi-Gi, Verity, Sarah & Shuan.

Oscar & Joshua Bonding

June 10th, 2014

Oscar has a cuddle with Joshua

Oscar; meet Joshua

June 10th, 2014

Oscar and Joshua bonding. Oscar’s excited to have a little brother. We have no idea how he understands what’s going on, when he doesn’t even speak the same language as us!

Joshua Micheal Russell

June 10th, 2014

Joshua Micheal Russell was born at 0710, 10th June 2014. He weighed a rather hefty 3.97kg (8lb 12). This time, the labour was over pretty quickly! Again, Caroline skipped all the build up, and was fully-dilated when we got to the hospital, and from there the delivery went fairly smoothly. It was tough on Caroline though, because she was low on iron, fluids and sleep before even starting the birth! So she spent one night in hospital recovering.

Thanks everyone for moral support, prayers and well-wishing.

Especially big thanks to Nan-Nan, for already being at our house to look after Oscar! He had lots of fun with walks and ice cream, waiting to meet his baby brother.

Exploring Scott’s Grotto

June 7th, 2014

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Upgrading firmware on Samsung Spinpoint drives – HD203WI and HD204UI

May 27th, 2014

I have 4 of these drives, and they mostly just didn’t work when I installed them in a new computer. Turns out the firmware they shipped with is broken (on some AMD chips, and Intel Haswell chipsets), but there’s an upgrade available from Seagate (who own Samsung’s HDD division).

However I had a fair bit of fun getting the firmware installed, so here’s how I managed to do it. Hopefully this’ll help someone! Read the rest of this entry »