Building a Mini-ITX NAS? Don’t buy a Silverstone DS380 case.

Edit: I made some changes which have dropped the temps to around 40 degrees at idle (haven’t tested at load yet). The case has potential, but I still think it’s slightly too cramped and the airflow is not good enough.

Here’s what I changed:

  • Rearranged the drives to leave a gap between each one, which basically limits the unit to 4 drives instead of 8
  • Inverted the PSU as per suggestion from Dan, so that it helps to draw air through the case. The default for the PSU is to draw air from outside and bypass the case.
  • Plugged the rear and side fans directly into the PSU molex connector, rather than through mainboard and rear of hard drive chassis

So I’m building a NAS (running Fedora Server) and thought that the Silverstone DS380 case looked great. It has 8 hot-swappable SATA bays, claims decent cooling with filters, neat form factor.

ds380-34

It requires an SFX PSU, but there are some that have enough juice on the 12v rail (although avoid the SilverStone SX500-LG, it’s slightly too long) so that it’s not a major problem (although I would prefer standard ATX).

So I got one to run low-power i3, C226 chipset mainboard and five HGST 3TB NAS drives. Unfortunately the cooling through the drives is pretty much non-existent. The two fans on the side draw air in but blow onto the hotswap chassis and nothing really draws air through it.

As a result, many of the drives run around 65 degrees Celsius at idle (tested overnight) which is already outside of the drives’ recommended temperature range of 0-60 degrees.

I’ve replaced the case with my second choice Fractal Design NODE 304 and the drives at idle all sit at around 35 degrees.

node

It has two smaller fans at the front to bring air directly over the drives and a larger one at the rear, with a manual L/M/H speed controller for all three on the rear of the case. As a bonus, it uses a standard ATX power supply and has plenty of room for it.

The only downside I’ve found so far is the lack of hot-swap, but my NAS isn’t mission-critical so that’s not a deal breaker for me.

Your mileage might vary, but I won’t buy the DS380 for a NAS again, unless it’s going to run full of SSDs or something (or I heavily mod the case). It’s OK for a small machine though without a bunch of disks (shame!) and that’s what I’ve re-purposed it for now.

-c

33 Responses to “Building a Mini-ITX NAS? Don’t buy a Silverstone DS380 case.”


  • I have one of the DS380 cases with 5 disks loaded in the hot swap bays. Mine doesn’t seem to have this heat problem, the disks sit around 35-40 degrees (and that’s when the air temperature is around 30 degrees!).

    There is a big rear fan which draws air outwards, plus I oriented the PSU so that it also exhausts air out of the top vent. I think the internals get decent airflow as a result.

    Was your DS380 not configured that way?

  • I’ll have to check. Are you running the two side fans off the hot-swap chassis and back fan off the mainboard?

  • I haven’t had heat related problems (only running five drives). However, the case is very, very cramped. I wouldn’t recommend buying it based on that alone.

  • Yeah, I’d agree. It has lots of potential, if it was just slightly larger and had better cooling.

    However, I re-arranged the drives to leave a gap between each one and also inverted the power supply so that it was also drawing air out of the case (instead of from outside which is the default) as per suggestion from Dan. This has reduced the temperatures to about 40 degrees at idle which is a huge improvement. I haven’t tested this under load, however.

  • Chris, try inserting a 5×10″ cardboard or stock paper barrier to force the intake air to blow directly over the drive cage. I had some HGST 7200RPM NAS drive that got HOT (45-48c) underload. Doing this ez mod fixed it. Temp down to 34-36C during load.

  • Put that on the side to stop the air bypassing the side of the cage? Got a photo? Thanks!

  • hello – I’ve been imagining if I might be able to put a PINE64 to good use around the home, and so far I’m predicting I’m going to need at least half a dozen of them! Sounds like a few fun weekends ahead…

    what bout the ability/opportunity to use a PINE64 to run a small NAS operating system (and connect it up
    to a few USB hard drives)? Or is this not a good use-case, perhaps because a SATA connection is needed?

  • I think you really need some sata to make it useful.

  • Hi Chris,

    I’m having similar temperature issues with my build (DS380 with Asrock C2750D4I and 8x6TB WD Red Pro drives).

    Did you ever figure out how to make the case any better?

    R.

  • One of the best things I did was to run all three fans directly off a 12v molex connector and not off the mainboard or backplane of the SATA housing unit. You should also keep the case lid on to help it pull the air through. I also spaced out my drives so that there was a gap between each one. Even so it’s not great, but better than it was and mostly useable. I’m not sure what you can do if you have more than 4 or 5 drives – you probably need to replace the 120mm fans with ones that provide better airflow like maybe these:

    https://www.pccasegear.com/products/27626/be-quiet-silent-wings-2-120mm-pwm-fan

    https://www.pccasegear.com/products/6223/noctua-nf-p12-120mm-fan

  • The key is a good 120mm fan on extraction duties. I have a Noctua Industrial 3000RPM pwm fan doing this, silent most of the time, but if heat starts, it gets the job done.

  • Agreed. I have been looking at the Noctua and Be Silent! non-PWM fans. Given you said it automatically kicks in, I assume that you’re running the PWM version? How are you powering it, because I found I was better off going directly from 12v rather than through the mainboard. That’s why I was going to go for the manual version.

  • PWM straight into the motherboard and letting the motherboard decide.

  • Interesting, thanks I’ll check it out.

  • i have this case and had with busy drives hit the 60°C mark (8x 4TB Toshiba 7200rpm). idle ~40-45°, busy 50-60°C. real bad cage/airflow design.
    put in some cardboard to direct the airflow of the 2 fans on the side through the cage and voila: now idle 30-35 / busy 34-37 (after 10 min copy from disk to disk)

    cpu temps will rise since the airflow is not going sideways over the cpu anymore.
    see picture where cardboard is located:
    http://i.imgur.com/YIGlW4q.jpg

    also heard people drilling more holes in the cage and removing the plastic for the pcie card to let more air vent through the hdd-cage.

  • Nice, thanks! It would be really good if Silverstone listened to this though and released a fixed version – people shouldn’t have to fix up their poor design like this. Out of the box, the case really isn’t suitable for that it’s advertising.

  • For NAS that sit e.g. in a basement or closet where sound is less of an issue, you should really consider some Orion Fans or similar industrial type fans. They have a whole product line of fans specially designed for high static pressure operations, perfect for forcing air through filters and cramped drive cages. You can get most of them either for 110AC power(!) OR various DC levels, and you can get filters and filter cages etc. The bigger high static pressure fans are NOT silent, but holy shait they move air at pressures that other fans cannot touch.

    Not sure I can embed links here, but orionfans has a decent webpage for their products, just look for high static pressure.
    http://orionfans.com/products/high-static-pressure

    There are many places you can order them, such as Mouser.com.

  • Thanks. Unfortunately it sits next to me on the desktop, so I’ve looking at some silent fan options that still move lots of air like maybe Noctua.

  • Hi Chris, check out my build with this case at https://pcpartpicker.com/b/KyGfrH.

    I have 4 HDD in there at the moment with the typical layout, no gaps (from bottom to top), and the temperatures do get pretty hot as well–42deg C average (idle) with upwards of 54deg C. These are WD green/blue, so they do they get hot. But for my WL drive, it’s a lot cooler at the range of 35deg C and 50deg C tops. Might pick up a UNAS-800 in the future and see how it performs compare to this case.

  • Nice. One of the things that helped a lot was turning the PSU around so that it was drawing the air through the case (instead of bypassing it). Good luck with the case!

  • Thanks, Chris. When you say “drawing air through the case”, that means all my fans are pushing air inside. Where would it exhaust in this case? Wouldn’t that build up heat?

  • By drawing a through, I mean you have fans at the front which suck air into the case from outside, and fans at the back which blow the air from the inside to the outside. Thus, air is drawn through the case from outside the front, through the case and out the back.

    The PSU is designed to bypass the case. You are meant to put the PSU in upside-down, so that it does not draw air from inside the case, but from outside it. If you look, there are holes on the top of the case and the intake side of the PSU sits up against this so that the fan draws air from directly outside, through the PSU and out the back of the PSU. If you turn the PSU up the other way so that the intake is inside the case, the fan will draw air from inside the case and then out through the PSU.

    This will help your machine to draw air through the case at the cost of the PSU drawing slightly warmer air through it.

  • That makes more sense now. It appears my configuration is already like that. Two 120mm side-fans blowing into the drive cage; One 120mm fan blowing out to the rear; and the PSU is blowing upwards and outside of the chassis. I am thinking about doing an extra mod for extra measures, which will include drilling large holes (or many small holes) on the drive cage (fan side) for the air to enter the cage. Just in case here are my current temps (at a kind of idle stage).

    http://i.imgur.com/Zx9YkDz.png

  • Also, might want to check out this new CS280: http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=668&area=en

    Maybe Silverstone is listening to us consumers…

  • Yikes, wish I can edit my post. Looks like the CS280 is for 2.5″ drives. :/

  • Hehe, all good. Thanks for the link all the same! 🙂

  • I built a FreeNAS box with a DS380 and 8 x WD Red Pro 6TB drives and am finding it impossible to keep the drives cool.

    When I first built it, the drives got stupidly hot (> 70C) so I got better fans and set them full-speed all the time, and also did the cardboard case mod. This improved things, but the drives still run hot, particularly the ones in the middle.

    Sample disk temperatures:

    ada8: 41
    ada7: 44
    ada5: 43
    ada4: 43
    ada3: 49
    ada2: 51
    ada1: 49
    ada0: 45

    I’m currently shopping for a case with better airflow.

    R.

  • i have same case… very difficult to install 10GbE card
    very regret to having this case.

  • I have yet to find one 8-bay that has the look and built of the DS380. Two alternatives are U-NAS NSC-800 and Norco ITX-S8, but they have their own problems as well. If not, full rack servers are the way to go.

  • So I took an hour and drilled holes (40 pinky-size) through the drive cage on the double-fan side. Very bad idea. Not only does it weakens the structure of the drive cage a little more, there is no benefit that I can tell. The holes I drilled are blocked by the side of the plastic HDD brackets, so air is pretty much hitting a wall still. Also the holes made it more difficult to swap HDDs because the creases hit the plastic HDD brackets. TL;DR, do not drill holes.

    A working solution is the cardboard method as done here, http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=31967.msg364791#msg364791. The idea is to direct the airflow straight to the drive cage using a cardboard as a wall, as air tries to escape through gap between the double-fans and drive cage.

    I have 5 HDD in there, a mix of WL, and WD RED, GREEN, BLUE drives. the temps were 43-47C on idle, 51C at max use. The GREEN and BLUE drives are the main source of the heat. With the mod, I was able to bring them down to 39-44C on idle. This is with the double-fans using the Noctua low-noise adapters. I think I can bring down the temps by taking out the low-noise adapters, but it will be noisier.

  • Apparently replacing the grill is the biggest improvement for decreasing the drive temps:

    – [DIY NAS: 2017 Edition – Brian’s Blog](https://blog.brianmoses.net/2017/03/diy-nas-2017-edition.html)

  • I use this Case and have no Temp issue.

    I use only 5400 RPM Drives. If you use High Professional with 7200 RPM my Temps would exceed +40°C.

    My 5400 RPM have idle Temp of 28-29°C on 22°C Roomtemp. On usage the Drives get arround 31-33°C. The Airflow is pretty OK for this kind of Drives. I use the WD RED None PRO with 5400 RPM.

    In my other Server I use the WD Red PRO with 7200 RPM they have 40°C on idle or use I don’t get them any cooler cause of the high RPM!

  • Cool, fully populated with 8 drives?

    -c

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