Help with moving to a rack setup

Hi all,

I currently have a mess of wires and components all over my desk. I’d like to get something like an 15-20U rack and get everything organized. I could really use some help on things I need to consider. I was looking at a rack like this:

I have a desktop PC that I would like to move into either a 2 or 3 RU case. I would also like to add a Plex transcoder server ideally in 1 RU box. I have 2 NAS devices that I would like to put on a shelf. I also have a KVM and switch that would go on a shelf. Lastly, I have 2 laptops that I would like to put on a shelf where they will be “docked” for power and KVM hookup.

A couple questions I have:

  • I’ve looked at a couple rack mount cases. Are there rails I need to buy as well to get them mounted?
  • Any advice on low cost cases? Ones you would suggest (or I should avoid)
  • Any overall flaws in my approach?

Any feedback would be much appreciated!

the rack that you have linked makes me a bit nervous personally. not sure how sturdy it is. IMO, i’d go with a navepoint or startech rack. they need cage nuts(included) and that makes things easier.

most rackmount cases don’t come with rails. depending on the case they are fairly cheap. or you can get a navepoint rail but they are fixed and so they don’t slide out like the istar or supermicro rails. which is super convenient if you need to replace something in the case. i’d suggest either a rosewill case( swap out their included fans for artic pst pwm fans) or a supermicro case. depending on the size of the supermicro, you can get them at affordable prices. i’ve got a 2u SM with 6 hdd bays that i picked up for $120 shipped. another choice would be the rosewill l4500 or their 4u, 8bay case(forget the name). either one of those will run $100-$150 shipped. chenbro cases will for but their internal layout seems off/not usefull. same for some of the istar cases.

if your desktop has a regular size gpu you’ll need a 3u case, 4u would be better. you can go 2u if there is no gpu. rosewill has a 2u for about $70 and uses standard atx psu. overall i think you’ve got it set. my only “issue” is the rack but i don’t know anything about the one you linked so take that with a grain of salt.

Thanks for the input. I just looked at the Navepoint racks and they have an 18U enclosed rack that would definitely be better than the one I was looking at. Do you happen to know a model you could recommend that would be the right size?

I have a low profile GeoForce GT1030 PCI card in the PC, but sounds like going with 3RU would be a safe bet in case I want to add a better card in later. I was looking at both the Rosewill and the iStar cases. I’ll take a look at the super micro cases. Thanks for the pointers on the rails. I can see that the sliding rails could be really nice.

That rack has only 20" rack depth; you’ll want at least 26", preferably 28-30". In general, wall-mountable racks are for networking gear rather than servers.

StarTech 25U:
L4500: [Official] Rosewill RSV-L4500 Owner's Thread
TC-RAIL-26 rails: Rack Mounting the Rosewill RSV-L4500

SM are fine, too; dive into SQ PSUs that match the PDB. 846 is expensive again now. GPUs can fit in 2U if the case is designed for it, using risers. But the L4500 is cheap and versatile.


i agree on the gear that seanho listed. open racks are better because of the space that they offer. plus the startech is depth adjustable.

size of the case or size of the rack? 3u would be minimun for a build with a gpu(upgradability) but i’d say look at the 4u cases. 2u would be for something with built in graphics or a low profile like your 1030. but if you ever want to upgrade the gpu you’d need a new case. supermicro 2u cases are the only thing reasonably priced right now. the 4u 24+ bay cases are way too expensive($300+/sh).

kind of a side note, if you have and plan to only use flash media drives aka ssd/nvme drives, look at the gpu mining cases from rosewill. i got one of their 4u mining cases for $54 shipped. the only drives i have in it are 3 ssd so the fact it doesn’t have drive bays isn’t a problem for the machines use case.

I highly recommend the Startech 25U as well.

I’m still haven’t pulled the trigger of buying a rack yet, but have been doing some more looking. How about this one:

Since it’s going to be in my home office, having it enclosed would be better aesthetically (and make my wife happier). It looks like its 600mm deep so should be able to accommodate a 3u server chassis. And at 18 should have enough space to fit all my kit into it.


Nope, it’s too short. IMO get a real server rack like the Startech 25U, not a network equipment rack.

3U is the height not the depth.

I meant that 600mm ~ 23.6in deep should be deep enough for most server chassis regardless or height. For example, I was looking at something like this that seems likeemphasized text it would fit:

Is that right, or am I missing something?

Also, I’m thinking an enclosed rack would be an easier sell with the wife.

That chassis does not represent “most servers”. Enclosed is fine for networking and AV equipement, not so much for servers. There’s not enough airflow.

The Rosewill RSV-L4500 is 25" deep, not including mounting hardware, space for running cables, etc. And that’s a mid-size chassis.

That makes sense. I don’t think I’m need anything quite so large. My main chassis will be for a Plex server that I’ll prob put in a 2u chassis with a microATX board, an SSD, and prob 1-2 large drives. The other is my existing PC that I’’ll prob put in a 3u chasis. Very little comments in that one. Just and SSD and GPU card. The rest of the rack will be 2 drawers for laptops, and a couple shelves for some home networking gear.

The StarTech racks are adjustable, and can be quite compact. The 12U or 25U would be ideal.

I would really prefer an enclosed cabinet. I looked at startech and found this model: 18U Server Rack Cabinet 2-30in w/Casters - Server-Racks

I looks pretty cool, but it’s like 2-3x more expensive to get 30” depth vs 23.6” depth.

What benefit does the enclosed cabinet provide exactly? If you keep the open one tidy, I don’t really see much of a difference.

I think it will have less of techie vibe, and my wife will complain less. lol!