I-Star D-Storm Series D-300 3U
Rackmount Server Chassis Review
working with servers, I have found it much easier to work with a
rack-mount chassis. Though they are not nearly as stylish as a standard
tower chassis, they have come a long way from the plain Jane chassis of
years past. I-Star has been manufacturing power supplies and rack mount
chassis for over 15 years, today we will be looking one of their entry
level 3u enclosures with an included 300w power supply, the D-300.
Here you can see the front
of the chassis in basic black, definitely the mainstay color of the
rackmount chassis industry, however one nice feature from I-Star is the
ability to buy different color doors. You can either jazz up the
otherwise standard appearance of the chassis or color code different
types of servers in a fully populated rack environment, making them
easier to locate quickly. Colors are available in Red, Blue, Silver or
Golden. Rounding out this view are the sturdy handles on either
side of the front.
Taking a closer look at
the front we see the standard indicator LED's. Power and disk activity
as well as fan and alarm. Also on the front is a security key lock for
shared rack environments and two USB ports. The key lock feels solid
which will keep out unwanted visitors.
Opening up the doors we
see four 5.25" bays and two 3.5" bays. If you will notice the doors,
they contain washable air filters to help keep the inside of the server
dust free. On the right side are the reset and power switches which
when pressed have a nice solid feel to them.
Taking a look at the rear
of the chassis we see two locations for mounting 6cm fans with one
already installed. There is room for 7 expansion cards in an upright
orientation so there is no need for slot riser adapters. Rounding out
this view is the back of the 300w power supply, a standard ATX gasket
opening and a couple knock outs for additional ports if you need them.
Looking inside we see the
two drive cages, motherboard connectors, cooling fan and power supply.
The stiffening bar smack dab in the middle of the chassis is hard to
miss. It gives it a nice solid feel to chassis, but as I found out
later you need to remove it to install your components easily. The
drive cages are held in by the four screws on the top so they are easily
removed for configuration or maintenance. The power supply has the
right length of cables for providing power to all locations that require
it and both molex and SATA power connectors. One final thing to note is
the venting, there's tons of it, so you don't need fans that move enough
air to lift a small plane to keep it cool. The two 6cm fans in the rear
do a nice job of ducting out the hot air keeping all the components
inside cool and happy without deafening everyone nearby.
Lets not forget the
included hardware. All the standard screws, etc. were included. Even a
couple tie wraps to tidy things up once you are all done installing the
guts of the server. One nice thing that I-Star did was to separate the
screws into two different bags, the motherboard stand offs and the
associated screws in one and the misc. chassis screws in the other, so
finding the screw you need is easy. On the box is the pin-out of the
USB connector, you don't really need it since the connectors themselves
were clearly labeled.
For the build up I used a
Asus PC-DL Deluxe motherboard. It is a full size ATX board with dual
processors. As you can see here it fits nicely with plenty of room for
expansion cards. I will be using the on-board Promise SATA raid
controller for the drive configuration.