Building a Hyperion Home Lab: Choosing Your Chassis and Power Supply

Before we get started, here’s the entire series in case you need to look back (or ahead):

We’re slowly nearing the exciting completion of our new Hyperion Home Lab!  Now that we have all of the key components (besides storage), we need something to power our lab and a place for it to call home.  Cases are all about where you plan to put the system and what’s going in it.  Power supplies, and making sure that you make a quality choice is far more important.  I’ve made sure that I’ve only selected power supplies that I would trust in my own systems.

Desktop High Budget

Because all of our desktop options utilize Micro-ATX form-factor motherboards, this entire section is interchangeable.  For our high budget option, I’ve selected the Fractile Design Define Mini.  This is a great case with good airflow and a great layout in general.  It also has excellent expandability for a Micro-ATX case with six (6) 3.5″ hard drive bays (SSD compatible) and two (2) external 5.25″ bays.  This case is also compatible with Mini-ITX motherboards should you have a tiny server you would like to fit in there.  At $69.99, this case is really a great deal.  If I had a Micro-ATX system to build, this is the case I would go with.

For our power supply, I’ve chosen the SeaSonic S12G S12G-550.  Perhaps among the worst-named components out there, this is a very solid power supply that produces 550 Watts and carries an 80 PLUS Gold certification.  This basically means that it is insanely efficient.  At $79.99, it actually costs more than our case choice.  But as a I mentioned, power supplies are far more important from a quality perspective.  I have several SeaSonic power supplies and I’ve always had great luck with them.

Desktop Medium Budget

For our medium option, we’ll cut the budget down to $47.99 with the Cooler Master N200.  This is another case with a great layout and airflow design.  It has a giant intake fan along with space for two (2) 3.5″ hard drives and two (2) 2.5″ hard drives.  It also has two (2) external 5.25″ bays for additional expansion.  Like the prior choice, it also supports Mini-ITX.  If you need a few more hard drives, you may want to go with the slightly higher priced Fractile Design case, but outside of that, it is definitely a solid choice for any of our budgets.

For our power supply, we’re going to stick with the SeaSonic S12G, and we’ll just leave it at that…

Desktop Low Budget

For the absolute cheapest option, check out the Rosewill FBM-01.  At $29.99, it definitely has cost going for it.  It has two (2) internal 3.5″ hard drive bays, two (2) external 5.25″ bays, and one (1) internal 3.5″ hard drive bays.  This is about as traditional of a design as you will find.  But…it gets the job done at a low cost and provides some expansion options.

For our power supply, this is where things get a little more interesting.  I did a lot of research and found that the EVGA 100-W1-0430-KR is a great low cost option that is pretty high quality.  It’s not perfect, but is at least trustworthy.  It can be found for $39.99 along with a $20 rebate.  It’s hard to beat for effectively $19.99.

Server High Budget

Once you get to servers…things again change.  Our top two options use rather large motherboards, so let’s move on from Micro-ATX and into the land of Extended-ATX and EEB.  For our high budget option, we’re going all rack.  I’ve chosen a case that I’ve used for many years, the Norco RPC-4224.  This supports 24 hot-swap 3.5″ bays that are 2.5″ compatible out of the box.  Each row of four drives connects with an SFF-8087 connector which allows for great flexibility in how the 24 drives can be connected.

When we talk about power supplies, we have to remember that this is a home lab.  For that reason, I went with a consumer power supply for this option.  The SeaSonic G-750 SSR-750RM is a 750 Watt power supply with dual 8-pin CPU connectors.  This is specifically important for our server options with dual CPU’s.  It is also an 80 PLUS Gold certified power supply which brings along with it excellent efficiency.

Server Medium Budget

As we move down the budget scale towards our medium option, I’ve chosen to given a couple of choice for the chassis.  Our first option is also a great choice for our high budget option if you want to stay away from rackmounted equipment.  The Phanteks Enthoo Pro is the case that a colleague of mine used his build that prompted me to publish this series.  He wanted a regular case that would fit a giant motherboard and provide plenty of expansion.  At $94.99 and with six (6) 3.5″ bays, one (1) 2.5″ bay, and three (3) external 5.25″ bays, you can load this thing up with drives and a giant motherboard.  It has an excellent layout and great airflow.

For our second option, we go back to the rack.  This time we go with a much lower cost Norco option, the RPC-470.  This is a great 4U rackmount option that has a lot of expansion for the cost.  At $86.99, this case supports ten (10) 3.5″ bays and three (3) 5.25″ external bays.  If you don’t really care about hot-swap bays and you want to go rackmount, this is the case to go with.

For our power supply…let’s just stick with SeaSonic G-750.

Server Low Budget

We’ll go back to a desktop favorite for our low budget server.  Because we chose a Micro-ATX board, we can again go with any of our desktop options.  Our choice is the Cooler Master N200.

And for the power supply, we’ll go back to the desktop options to the SeaSonic S12G.

Tiny Server

The tiny server gives us a whole host of options given the Mini-ITX form factor.  First, we’ll look at the Supermicro CSE-721TQ-250B.  With a name like that, who wouldn’t choose it?  This case is specifically designed for the Xeon D platform.  It’s compact, comes with a matched high-efficiency 250 Watt power supply, and is reasonably priced at $159.99.  It has four (4) hot swap 3.5″ bays and two (2) stationary 2.5″ bays.  This lines up nicely with our six ports of SATA3 on our Tiny Server choice of motherboard.  And, again, this chassis comes with a power supply, so we can stop there.  Of course, the first two options in our desktop section would also do the trick, as they support Micro-ATX.

And here are our options in a nice pair of tables:


Desktop HighFractal Design Define Mini$95.99Link
Desktop MediumCooler Master N200$46.99Link
Desktop LowRosewill FBM-01$27.99Link
Server HighNORCO RPC-4224$429.99Link
Server Medium Option 1Phanteks PH-ES614PC_BK$94.99Link
Server Medium Option 2NORCO RPC-470$86.99Link
Server LowCooler Master N200$46.99Link
Tiny ServerSupermicro CSE-721TQ-250B$159.99Link

Power Supplies

OptionPower SupplyPriceLink
Desktop HighSeaSonic S12G S12G-550$79.99Link
Desktop MediumSeaSonic S12G S12G-550$79.99Link
Desktop LowEVGA 100-W1-0430-KR 430W$39.99Link
Server HighSeaSonic G-750 SSR-750RM$119.99Link
Server MediumSeaSonic G-750 SSR-750RM$119.99Link
Server LowSeaSonic S12G S12G-550$79.99Link

And now…we have a place for our home lab to live.  The end is near!  Next up…storage options.  This should be interesting with all of the new options out there these days between standard SSD’s and NVMe hitting the market with a giant surge in performance.  Can’t wait!

Brian @ KScope 16
The EPM Week In Review: Week Ending February 13, 2016


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