U-NAS NSC-800 8 Bay ITX Chassis Review With my every growing data needs, I was searching for a case to house my backup server - a server to mirror the important stuff that is kept on my main server, mainly photos and documents, most of which is too large to upload to the cloud thanks to Australia's abysmal uploads speeds. I missed Speedster20's thread made last year, but also came across the U-NAS NSC-800 case. U-NAS were kind enough to subsidise the cost of the case in exchange for a bit of a write-up. Their sponsorship has not affected my opinions on the product overall. I purchased the U-NAS NSC-800 along with their recommended 400w power supply. At full retail, this came to $199.99 for the case, $119.99 for the PSU and $45 for shipping via EMS. Shipping was fast and was delivered to my doorstep in under a week via Auspost (so they will leave at the local PO if that is important for you). There are a lot of pictures coming up. Clicking on them will take you to a higher resolution image if you wish to see more detail. Box arrived wrapped in 2 layers of bubble wrap. Don't have a pic, but it had one small dent in the corner. Let's hope the case survived! Opening the box, we can see that there is a thick layer of foam padding around the sides of the case. It's a very tight fit, so there is no movement inside the box. A smaller box is wedged between the case and the box. The small box contains all the small items required in the assembly of the system. Everything of weight is wrapped up in bubble wrap so that they don't scratch each other. Unpacking this box, we have a power cord (which isn't for Australia, luckily I have heaps of spares), a PCI-e x16 riser, a bunch of standoffs and screws, a fan splitter, and a number of trays for 2.5" drives. Absent from this package is an instruction manual. As a result of this, I'm not really sure how 4x 2.5" drives are able to fit into this case (not that I tried). Taking the case out of the foam padding and the plastic bag, you immediately notice the nice soft-touch coating the front has. This case now has the addition of a USB 3.0 port at the front which was not present on Speedster20's revision. Looking at the back, we have 2x 120mm fans, the PSU, the PCI-e expansion slot (note the missing blanking plate! would be nice to have had one included in the case I wasn't using the expansion slot), and a cut-out for the I/O shield. Also note the protective plastic coating on the outer cover. Flipping the case to the bottom, there are 4 rubber feet. I like that they're screwed on and not simply stuck on with tape (as ones stuck on with tape inevitably move or get lost over time). Good to see that this has also passed some QC checks too. Here's a comparison of the drive trays from the U-NAS vs the Enhance Tech trays which I purchased as part of a group buy on OCAU in 2009 here http://forums.overclockers.com.au/showthread.php?t=814298. They hinge at the top instead of the bottom, and the light channels are also in opposite positions. The U-NAS trays look very similar to the older IBM drive trays. Here's a close-up of the drive tray with the latch open. I'd like to note that the locking mechanism is made of plastic with very few metal components. In comparison, the Enhance Tech trays have a full metal hinge assembly and feel sturdier and less likely to break. These won't be removed a whole lot anyway, so not a big deal. Here's the top cover of the NAS. Simple inverted U shape, similar to that of Shuttle systems. It was quite hard to remove, and just as hard to put back on. It's fiddly but it has a tight fit. Not a huge deal as this is supposed to be an appliance - once it's built I hopefully won't need to take it apart very often. The arrows are just the protective plastic coating. The top has a brushed metal finish to it. Opening up the case, we see the jungle of cables which need to fit into such a tight space. The power supply has not been connected to anything and has just been screwed in for shipping. SAS cables (SATA to SFF-8087) are preinstalled, but are just standard cables with equal lengths for each plug. Would have been nice if the cables were custom length for each port so there is no slack in the cables. Here's the 400w power supply that has been provided. I believe it's a standard 1U PSU. It can provide 32A on the 12v rail and has an 80 plus gold rating. Has a single 40mm fan on the back, which isn't overly noisy (no that it is anywhere near 400w). On the left side, we have the bulk of the connectors - two SFF-8087 connectors, a USB 3.0 header connector, two 3 pin fan connectors and the various connectors for the front panel, including 2x HDD LEDs (allows for one on the RAID card and on the motherboard). On the right side, we have two Molex connectors which provide power to the backplanes. I decided to tear the case down even further for science! The two fans installed are Gelid Silent 12 fans. They run at 1000RPM, push 37CFM of air and have a noise level of around 20dBA. These fans are cheap ($6 for PCCG) and aren't silent as the name would suggest. But they do keep the drives cool and their sound isn't too annoying. I also pulled out the backplanes for anyone interested. Each backplane is held in by 8 screws, making them very secure (no flex when inserting/removing drives). The caps installed are the solid electrolytic type. 4 SAS/SATA ports are provided. No multi-path SAS support here. A SFF-8087 connector would have been preferred for ease of cabling as well. Here's a view of the rear of the backplanes. All the SAS cables and Molex cables came cable tied so they don't interfere with the fans. This is the motherboard I'll be installing. It's an ASRock E-350/USB3 board paired with 2GB DDR3 RAM. It will be running XPenology so should be plenty. And the legendary M1015 flashed to IT mode. Plug and play with XPenology. It's a very tight fit. The board is mounted with the back facing the outside, so everything must be plugged in before screwing the board to the chassis. This board has no USB 3.0 headers, and no adapter to a USB 3 A plug or USB 2.0 header is supplied, so I will have to source one myself. A plastic sheet is provided to place between the motherboard and the outside chase to prevent shorts. It's probably not required, but better to be safe than sorry! View from the top with the board screwed in. It's a tight fit, I don't think ram with those tall heatspreaders will fit, and probably not many aftermarket heatsinks for 115x cpus will fit either. PCI-e riser installed, ready for the installation of the M1015. M1015 installed and SFF-8087 cables plugged in. It's a tight fit, but I was able to route the SAS cables under the card to make things a little neater. View from the front of the card installed. Full height cards may be a bit tighter depending on the position of the SAS connectors, but most should be on the end I think. Wouldn't want the card to be much longer though. View of the back with the card installed. The rear bracket is perforated for a bit of airflow if required. The M1015 doesn't seem to get hot from my testing, so I haven't installed any fans in that top section. Connected up the two Molex connectors with two feeds from the PSU for that extra current carrying capacity! If your PSU doesn't have enough connectors, I'm sure that connecting it all to one cable would be alright too. \ Cable tied everything up to make it somewhat neat with the limited space available. You can also see some standoffs above where the drive sit. I think this is for the 2.5" drive trays to mount to the chassis, but the SAS HBA is blocking some of the mounts, so it's unable to be used. If you needed an OS or cache SSD, you could always just Velcro it. Picture of the back with everything installed, protective plastic removed and ready to roll! There's a small hole above the expansion slot which doesn't have a cover. Most other cases I've seen that have a similar design usually have a flap that hinges to cover this hole but this is just left open. Minor detail though. Finally, I made up some little stickers to stick onto the front of each drive. Each one has the capacity, model and serial number for easy identification. One thing I did notice is that inserting the drives can be a little tricky sometimes. I'm not sure if its misalignment of the SAS backplane, but it sometimes feels as though pushing on the latch to insert the drive will break it. If i remove the drive a little then push it in with a bit of momentum, it usually goes in fine. Also, when sitting the drives popped out (as I'm only using the first 4 drives atm), the latch for the drives sits against the front of the front panel. I can see this damaging the soft touch finish. I'm not sure how scratch resistant it is, and I'm not really willing to find out either! The front LEDs are blue and are quite bright. Might want to keep that in mind if you're putting it in your bedroom. You could just unplug it if it’s a problem, or chuck a resistor in-line. Overall it's a great little case to run as a NAS appliance. The equivalent Synology is well over $1000, so this is great value. Build quality is fairly good with only a few complains (mainly the plastic locking mechanism of the trays). There are no sharp edges inside the case which is a bonus! If you have any further questions feel free to ask and I will attempt to answer to the best of my ability!