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

54 thoughts on “Building a Mini-ITX NAS? Don’t buy a Silverstone DS380 case.

  1. From the manual, it seems you should plug both in ideally using different cables from the PSU:

    Guide to hard drive backplane
    1.There are one 4pin peripheral connector and three 15pin SATA connectors,
    please do not connect all of them from one single cable from the power
    supply. Please connect them with at least two cables directly from the
    power supply.
    2.Please connect case fans from the side panel to the backplane’s fan
    headers.
    3.The SATA/SAS connectors on the right side are the primary channel,
    please connect them first.
    4.The secondary SAS connectors on the left side are only needed by
    SAS drives. They are not mandatory if you don’t have sufficient enough
    SAS connectors from your SAS card.

  2. Hey Chris and other who get here after researching the SilverStone DS380 🙂

    I did find it hard to buy a reasonably priced motherboard with that many SATA connectors for all the 8 HDDs and 4 SSD drives.
    But it is possible to use a full-size HBA card.
    You can cut a little bit of the plastic which is on the 3rd bay from the top and a full-size PCI card fits perfectly.
    I advise for a card that has its connectors near the PCI slots going up and not a card where the connectors are placed at the end. Makes cabling easier and maybe just possible?

    That way you can put every cheap motherboard into this case and have a decent NAS in my opinion.

    If that sounded too cryptic, I have written the details with pictures down on my blog:
    https://www.ajfriesen.com/silverstone-ds380-mod/

    I also do not have that huge of a problem regarding drive temps. But I changed fans and 3D printed the bracket from Brian Moses as well. So very DIY.

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