Built myself a Vail Mini Server
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Author:  Comp1962 [ Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Built myself a Vail Mini Server

Recently I purchased a CFI mini ITX enclosure that I thought was cool. Check it out => ... 483b26fa93

It 3" longer, 1.5" Shorter and 2.5" wider then an MSS.

Here is the configuration I chose:
- Zotec GeForce 6100-ITX
- AMD BE2300 CPU - Had it so I used it
- Thermaltake Low Profile CPU Cooler - Need somethng better but this one fit.
Actually its a piece of junk - it will not latch down properly so I had to use a cable tie to hold the latch down
- P/N: CL-P0503 - While it works ok and fits it comming out
- 2 x 1TB Hitachi DeskStars
- 1 320GB WD Blue - System Drive
- Asus DVD Drive
- 4GB 2x2GB DDR2-6400 Crucial low profile - Board can accomodate 8 GB RAM
- 2 eSATA PCIe Card - the one that comes with the Sans Digital Port Multipliers

I installed VAIL to resume my testing as I had brought one of my EX470's into work for my convience and to show the non-believers what a WHS could do. I originally wanted to test VAIL out there but I really needed something to backup the clients at work that I knew would work for the long term.

I needed my test server to work on my projects so I built me this server just to test Vail with. I like the fact it had drive trays so I populated it with the Hitachi's which were on sale at Microcenter. CFI also has a 4 bay version and they are sold by the people on the eBay Link I provided earlier.

After its all assembled it looks like I packed 15 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound box but I did manage to run the cables in a neat and tidy mannor. Cable ties come in handy for that. I will take some pics between now and the week end of the internals.

Author:  yakuza [ Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Built myself a Vail Mini Server

That's an interesting case, how's the noise level, and would it be suitable as an HTPC?

Author:  Comp1962 [ Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Built myself a Vail Mini Server

Its fairly quiet. Yes you can hear the fans but its not an annoying sound. If I compair it to the stock fans on the EX470 say running at 1800 RPM the noise level is about the same. Sitting accross the room you have to work hard to hear the fans. I listend to a Home Server Show Pod Cast and I am bout 3' from that Mini Server and I could not hear the fans over the pod cast and I was not blasting the pod cast at all so any fan noise present is easily canceled out. I know for some any fan noise is annoying.

Fans can easily be changed out. I will tell you the case does have good air flow through it I can feel air being pulled and pushed all around the case and for me thats more desirable.

The only thing I find about the case that I do not like is the front door being made of plastic. The rest of the case is perfect, very solid constuction. The cabinet covers are not finger print magnets hand have a very nice texture to them. The side covers are very smooth when removing and inserting they are very smooth yet firm when in place.

When fully populated the entire case weighs in about 15 pounds but picking it up its natural to want to grab it from the botton of the PSU and Front Door and the Front Door is where its weakest. The drive trays are simple and work well and the tray handles do a good job helping you seat the drives into the back plane.

All in all I am happy with the case. I just wish CFI paid more attention to the front door construction and not used plastic much the same as they did with the TR4M-B, that and its a major finger print magnet.

Here are some pictures I took of the assembled unit:

File comment: Size Comparison to an EX470
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File comment: Front View
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File comment: Back View
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100_0643.JPG [ 1.98 MiB | Viewed 8194 times ]

File comment: Drive Back Plane
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File comment: Right Side View - Internals
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File comment: Side View Left - Internals
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File comment: PSU and Rear Fans
100_0655.JPG [ 1.59 MiB | Viewed 8194 times ]

File comment: Back Plane - Connections
100_0652.JPG [ 1.38 MiB | Viewed 8194 times ]

As you can see with everything installed its a tight fit making cable management abit difficult. Next time I am out I will be picking up some shorter SATA Cables to help neating things up but under the drives is plenty of room to tuck and hide the extra power connections not being used.

The only thing you really need to pay attention to is the availability of space for a good CPU Cooler. While I used Low Profile DIMMS you can use full size no problem but I chose low profile to provide some extra space for a wider CPU Cooler which could very well go over or come close the the DIMMS when I change out the CPU Coolor Assy Later.

Other then that for a low end build I am quite pleased with how the unit is performing. My next build will be a more powerful unit for an HTPC but first I need to upgrade my AV stuff in the living room.

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